First Obama got one, not on the basis of anything he'd done at that point, but more because of sentiment and wishful thinking. Three years later, the country he leads is still at war--and will soon be at war on a second front (to be fair, this will happen whether Obama wins another term or not).
I will give the sitting president of the United States some credit for softening the sharp edges of American hegemony. Many on the right are horrified at this, because
Perhaps they have a point there. America's compulsive pie-poking over the last sixty years or so has kept World War Three at bay...but boy, has it ever increased the terrorism. Personally, I'd just as soon let sovereign nations keep their own councils, and be ready to step in if and only if they insist on acting out. Maybe I'm naive...or maybe invading and occupying countries serves only to breed more terrorists.
No minds will change on the matter at this late date. Suffice it to say Mitt Romney's alpha-male chest-beating resonates with a great many Americans who yearn to return to a time when the U.S. was the unchallenged cock of every walk. And should Romney win next month, as is looking entirely possible, expect war to begin almost immediately.
But back to the Nobel Peace Prize, and the joke it has become. The European Union? Really? Oh, again, points for sentiment. The idea behind the EU was to unite and unify a fractious continent, and a noble (and Nobel) point it was. This prize would have made a hell of a lot more sense in 1994--if it had gone to the people who brought the EU into being, that is.
As about three thousand wags have noted--just on the one news site I sampled-- at this point the only good reason to award the Peace Prize to the European Union in 2012 is because my God, do they need the $1.4 million that goes with it.
The EU, sad to say it, is almost certainly doomed. I've watched world stock markets yo-yo over "Euro debt fears" for two years now and I've become convinced that the marketeers are bouncing the indexes up and down like children on a bed, wringing fortunes out of every rise and fall. The long-term outcome of the game, I'm certain, is not and has never been in doubt: the only thing left is to play it.
I mean, come on. Nothing has fundamentally changed in Europe: the southern half of it is, to varying degrees, bankrupt. Every new infusion of money serves only to keep the game going another turn...and also to make the endgame more catastrophic. Money printed out of thin air always evaporates back into the thin air whence it came, and once this pile does, the inrushing thin air is going to make one almighty boom. And probably more than a few booming echoes of the sort militaries the world over are intimately familiar with. In my darker moments, I wonder if this bauble should henceforth be referred to as the Nobel Piece Prize.
I can think of so many deserving candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. Most recently, Mulala Yousufzai, who has captured the world's attention because she believes that girls should get an education. This is a heresy in her benighted native land...but perhaps not for overmuch longer.
If the keepers of the Nobel flame really wanted to make a statement, they'd give the thing to Julian Assange. His life's mission to make governments and corporations transparent to all will do more for world peace than anything else I can think of.
You know what else deserves a Peace Prize, now that I think about it? Twitter. Without Twitter the Arab Spring would never have come to pass.
Then there's the perennials, or should-be-perennials, like Doctors Without Borders, GLAD, and most of the women's rights organizations you can name, especially those operating in regions where women are not yet people.
But the EU? All I can say is, enjoy it while it lasts.