In which I stumble my way through some questions and answers in a HuffPost Live segment on the European Union’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. My appearance was pegged to an article I had published on Friday in The Atlantic, in which I argued the following:
It did not take long for the howls of derision to begin after the Nobel Foundation awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. A sneering tone was detectable across Twitter and even in the pages of fair-minded magazines like Foreign Policy, in which Daniel W. Drezner labeled the EU victory “humorous” and an award for “the greatest hits of the past.” The tone was dismissive, odious, and repugnant. It reflects a total failure to recognize and appreciate the historic accomplishments of the European Union — but also the work it continues to do to eliminate economic barriers and foster international and interethnic cooperation, on a continent that was for centuries stuck in a cycle of perpetual war.
…The timing of this year’s award to the EU is nakedly political. It is intended partly as an act of reassurance, as the European Union, and especially the core monetary union, suffers through a sovereign debt crisis. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone hit 11.4 percent in August, topping out as high as 25 percent in Greece and Spain. For young people, the problem is even worse and the next couple of years carry a projected GDP growth forecast of just 1.0 percent for 2013.
But that doesn’t make the award any less right or just, for present difficulties do not obscure or negate the idea that there is no single institution more responsible for economic prosperity and political harmony in postwar Europe than the European Union. Indeed, it is high time the European Union was celebrated for its achievements in this regard. This award not only bestows legitimacy upon Europe and the European project, but it also goes some way to restoring the status of Nobel Peace Prize, repeatedly besmirched and degraded by its misattribution. In spite of the snarky protestations, I hope it is not too novel an idea to wish that the Nobel Peace Prize might be actually awarded to a person or organization that has, in the words of Alfred Nobel, “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations and the promotion of peace.”