An attempt to correct a manipulated image.
In its last edition, Duly Noted called attention to the deformations surrounding the granting of international awards. The case of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and Time’s Man of the Year played a central role. These illustrated the exploitation of the seeming impartiality of honors given to whip up legitimacy and to lend moral capital for tainted agendas.
Hot air from a global platform confirms the charge in another recent case. The attempt is energized by distortions presented under the cloak of objectivity to make an otherwise earth-struck balloon rise. The story meant is the European Union’s Nobel Prize.
Officially, there is a justification for the honor. The generous Committee tells that it acts because the EU has kept Europe at peace. Thereby a distortion of history is exploited to justify the choice. The fib causes aches in the brain –if turned on and under power.
To begin, a confession. Regardless of what might be insinuated from the above and by what follows, your correspondent is in favor of unity in “Europe”. This also applies to a fair number of those that criticize the union that is being created by “Eurocracy”.
One is made to wonder about the reason behind the award. The weightiest factor seems to be the interests of the crowd that benefits from an artificial and bureaucratically regulated Europe. Unencoded, that means a Europe run by officials that can interpret its ukases. Devoid of popular sovereignty’s mandate, the system seeks legitimacy. It is to justify the rule by the few that are declared to be right, when they act against the many that are rated to be wrong if they resist their leaders.
A factor is picked to be the “ace” in this encounter between skeptical majorities and their born-to-be leaders. To serve the cause, it is proclaimed that there is “no alternative” to the EU and that its virtues prove the critics dumb as well as immoral. The claim’s keystone is that the EU is credited with the fifty-five years of general peace in Europe. There is some truth in this allegation. Indeed, the general local peace has held for the time claimed. If you remove the “general” then the case weakens.
To begin with, peace and war are not necessarily determined by the movement of national armies and by a declaration of war. If these formal criteria are projected out of the picture then, the “Cold War” is a war by other means. The same applies to the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the USSR’s 1956 war against Hungary and the invasion of the Czechoslovakia in 1968. Separating in a 19th century manner Europe from the rest of the world also distorts the picture. The civil war in China, the Korean War, even Viet Nam, has European aspects even if they did not involve directly the states there.
Still, let us allow as the decisive issue the seeming peace within Europe, which limits the selection to the western periphery of Eurasia whose states had once been great powers. Even if peace in that fringe is accepted as a point of departure, it remains an open question whether the implied cause, namely the EU and its forerunners, are to be credited. Here we need to remind ourselves of a law of logic; events that correlate in time do not necessarily stand in a cause and effect relationship. The rise of the number of Baptist ministers and the shrinkage of bikinis are unrelated developments.
So then, is the “peace” in its limited definition that ignores global relationships, a product of a consolidation of which the EU represents the latest stage? Alternatively, could the EU be a product of the calm? Clearly, while the term “peace” is doubted, the writer is inclined towards the second of the alternatives. The difference is significant. It matters if the horses draw the carriage or if the coach pulls the nags.
In the World Wars Europe’s states had initially a globally leading position. This pertains to military power as well as the economic, technological, financial and cultural components that are expressed through the might of armies. In 1939, perhaps 1931 - the date Japan attacked China - could be the decisive point in time, European powers and their likes (such as Japan), were sufficiently significant to cause a worldwide conflict. When the war ended in 1945, even the most global of Europe’s states, Britain, has sunk into the minor league. Continental powers, America, the USSR and China, rose. These superpowers had super weapons and means to conduct global conflicts. The new scale emerged that dwarfed local European issues.
In the conflict-laden nuclear peace, even for traditional foes such as the French and the remnants of Germany, the centrality of European matters faded. Instead of contesting primacy among themselves, securing the mere survival of the countries of non-Soviet occupied Europe moved into the foreground. Once survival took central stage, the domination of the shrunken dung-heaps by hostile roosters became secondary under the shadow cast by the condor that hovered above them.
America, rallying to the defense of Europe against a threat to which the Continent could not measure up, wished for “unity” within its protectorate. Monstrous Soviet rule in central and east Europe trivialized the differences about Alsace and Lorraine. Not only has Europe’s global power wilted, the divisive conflicts of earlier times lost their significance when measured against a global scale.
The peace of Europe shrunk in significance once the Soviet threat waned. Even that had little to do with the process that led from the Coal and Steel Community to today’s EU. Again, symptoms should not be confused with causes. Moreover, even if unity and peace correlate, the relationship must not be overstated. Divorced from the superpower stalemate, peace in Europe, even if attributed to its unity’s current form, does not compellingly validate all the structures that express unity.
Crediting the EU with Europe’s peace when the USSR provided the threat to cause bonding, and the USA contributed the free-of-charge protection, ignores the facts of the case. The folks that should know better present distortions to justify current practices and dubious future projects. Thereby they demonstrate that they realize that, in its current form, the “Europe” that is being constructed lacks legitimacy. That is why the crutch of a lie is needed to replace a missing leg.