You've got to hand it to the Nobel Peace Prize committee--they just keep coming up with ways to top themselves. Granted, the Peace Prize has "jumped the shark" so many times it ceased to be a serious honor decades ago (The award to long-time terrorist Yasser Arafat for no longer openly advocating blowing up Isrealis--and President Obama for, uh, um, talking about closing Guantanamo Bay? Or was it talking about ending the war in Afghanistan? I have to admit we are all still a little confused on that--pretty much sealed the fate of any seriousness tied to the Prize) (Editor's note: I was going to include Neville Chamberlain on this list--but he apparently won his Peace Prize as part of a group that negotiated a treaty in the 1920's--before he signed away a quarter of Europe to Hitler--and still sowed the seeds for World War II with his appeasement strategy in 1939.)
Apparently hard up for people or groups working toward actual peace, the Nobel Committee awarded this year's prize to the European Union. They cited the Union's work in "creating peace on the previously war-torn continent" and "fostering collective economic growth among member nations."
The Prize apparently is based on past performance--and has nothing to do with what the EU has done in say the last 5-years or so. On the "economic growth" front, half the EU countries have spent themselves into nearly irreversible fiscal crises. I'm sure the 25% of Greeks who are currently unemployed will be glad to hear that their leaders are being honored for the "good work" they have done. And the Spaniards looking at billions of euros in additional taxes to bail out their entire banking system will all shout "Ole" in unison in hearing that news as well. Crushing deficits in Ireland and Portugal are examples of some fine economic guidance too.
And as far as the "Peace" element of the Peace Prize goes...I'll grant you there haven't been any major wars on the Continent for two generations now--but the seeds of yet another major conflict are always there--ready to germinate. The fact that all of the lazy Southern European countries owe so much cash to the harder working, penny pinching Northern European countries is already building discontent and mistrust between the nations. (Think of it as the same response fiscal conservatives had to President Obama's attempts to "redistribute wealth".) German Chancellor Angela Merkel is portrayed as a Nazi in many countries--all because she doesn't think people should retire with full government benefits at 52--and that maybe you should have factories that don't shut down for a month at a time so people can all go to the beach. I'm also guessing that the austerity and immigration riots in Greece, Spain and France won't be included in the "highlight" video when the EU oficials come to claim the prize.
So enjoy that Nobel Prize, European Union. Those of us grounded in reality look forward to the day we no longer celebrate your doomed "social experiment".