So, I see that the Nobel Peace Prize committee has become a retro music station -- they're trying to award the greatest hits of the past:
The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for six decades of work in advancing peace in Europe.
The committee said the EU had helped to transform Europe "from a continent of war to a continent of peace"
Let's look a little more closely at that Nobel statement:
The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe....
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....
The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been on an unfortunate downward trajectory for some time, and this Prize ain't going to help matters, for a couple of reasons:
1) As the statement suggests, this award is entirely retrospective. It's for things the EU did in the past. In contrast, Obama's peace prize was suggestive of things he would do in the future. There's no consistency.
2) Look, the EU really does deserve a fair amount of credit for fostering a remarkably calm security situation in a bloody continent -- but if the committee was going to be honest about things, then NATO and the U.S. Strategic Air Command would have been co-winners of that Peace Prize.
3) Since the start of the 21st century, the following organizations have won a Nobel Peace Prize besides the EU: The United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Grameen Bank, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. So... maybe not winning a Nobel Peace Prize is better.
Still, I would like to thank the Nobel committee for a very humorous start to this Friday.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.