The 2012 Nobel Peace Price has been awarded to the European Union for its stabilizing role in transforming "most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace."
"The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France. Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.
In the 1980s, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the EU. The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership. The fall of the Berlin Wall made EU membership possible for several Central and Eastern European countries, thereby opening a new era in European history. The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled."
Completely absent from the award statement is recognition of the indispensible role played by the United States in providing both the economic and military security that made the creation of the European Union even feasible.
Rainer Nowak, writing in Die Presse, makes this point quite succinctly, I think:
Dass auch die US-Truppen mit ihrer Befreiung Europas, später ihrer Militärpräsenz, beziehungsweise ein gemeinsamer äußerer Feind, nämlich der Ostblock, mitverantwortlich waren, fiel in Oslo leider unter den Tisch. Auch dass das Verdienst für den echten Frieden in Europa, nämlich die Beendigung des Kalten Krieges durch den wirtschaftlich-politischen Sieg des Westens über den Kommunismus, wohl eher Ronald Reagan, Maggie Thatcher und Karol Wojtyła denn der EU-Kommission zugeschrieben werden muss, blieb vorerst unerwähnt. Und in einem Punkt wurde das Preiskomitee unfreiwillig zynisch: durch die Erwähnung des „Prozesses der Aussöhnung“ auf dem Balkan, der durch die mögliche Aufnahme von Kroatien als Mitglied, die Einleitung von Aufnahmeverhandlungen mit Montenegro und den Kandidatenstatus für Serbien vorangetrieben worden sei. Es war die EU, die lange tatenlos dem Morden und den Vertreibungen in den Balkankriegen zugesehen hatte, bis endlich die USA intervenierten und Europa wieder aus der Bredouille halfen. Und nein, da war kein Öl zu holen.
(The fact that US troops, with their liberation of Europe and later with their military presence, or alternatively a common external enemy, namely the East Bloc, were also responsible was evidently overlooked in Oslo. Also not mentioned was the fact that Ronald Reagan, Maggie Thatcher and Karol Wojtyła deserve more credit for bringing true peace to Europe, namely the end of the Cold War, than the EU Commission. On one point, in addition, the Nobel Committee was unintentionally cynical: in mentioning the 'reconciliation process' in the Balkans through the possible accession of Croatia, the start of accession negotiations with Montenegro and the candidacy of Serbia. It was the EU that stood by and allowed the murders and expulsions in the Balkan region to go on for so long, until finally the US intervened and once again helped Europe out of the mess. And no, there wasn't any oil involved.)
The United States does not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize. Not after the wars of choice in Vietnam and Iraq which ended badly. But if you're going to recognize the achievement of peace in Europe, at least give America its due.