The Nobel Committee says the EU has, over the years, “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” As evidence, the panel asks us to consider how former foes France and Germany are now peaceful allies, and how once-fascist Spain and Portugal are now democracies.
True enough, but that’s not the complete picture. What about what’s happening right now in the Eurozone, where bully Germany (the EU’s strongest country) and its neoliberal allies “seem determined to strip periphery countries of sovereignty and put not just their economies but their societies on the rack in a failing plan to save the banks of the surplus countries”? That, apparently, never entered the Nobel panel’s considerations.
Henry Kissinger, after all, was awarded the prize jointly with Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho for a ceasefire in that Asian country’s sad military conflict. It’s worth noting that the United States, of which Kissinger was Secretary of State, did not withdraw its troops from Vietnam until much later, so one can’t truthfully say the ceasefire achieved peace.
Moreover, Kissinger is a criminal thug who (among many crimes) enabled the kidnapping and murder of a Chilean general in 1970, funded the carnage-filled overthrow of a democratically elected Chilean government in 1973 (the year Kissinger was awarded the Peace Prize!), looked away in 1975 as Indonesia invaded and began mass killings and unlawful occupation in East Timor, and was behind the U.S.’s secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos – and that’s only a partial list of the power-mad sociopath’s many offenses against humanity.
Mother Teresa got the prize in 1979 as a reflection of much of the world’s enduring affection for the “saintly” Albanian-born nun who headed the Missionaries of Charity in India. A few observers dared to question the choice when it was made, and subsequent events confirmed that she was indeed an abysmal pick. Two years later, for instance, she accepted a “Legion of Honor” award from notorious Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier; a photograph of her with Duvalier and his wife was then used repeatedly to boost the murdering thug’s esteem. She also wrote a letter in support of U.S. savings-and-loan swindler Charles Keating to plead with a judge for leniency in his sentencing – plus, she took a lot of ill-gotten money from Keating. And there’s much more, including her charity’s somewhat shady financials, and its fondness for letting sick people suffer for God.
Of course, the current occupant of the White House is another one of the Nobel committee’s worst choices. The 2009 prize could kindly be described as representing the hope that many had for Barack Obama as a President for peace. He hadn’t really done anything to deserve the prize other than make speeches and promises. Afterwards, he expanded the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, kept Guantanamo open, ordered lethal drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries, created an ongoing “kill list,” and did much more that could not be described as Peace Prize-worthy.