Nobel Peace Prize 2012: “What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy…”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has done it again…  This time they have decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU).  *shakes head*

As a sceptical Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes at the Telegraph blog

The EU’s high priests draw on a caricature version of history that must be challenged. The post-war national democracies – nurtured by the Marshall Plan, Nato, and benign American influence, nota bene – are not the problem, they are the solution. They have been the foundation of Europe’s peaceful order for 60 years, even if some are not yet fully anchored and secured.

Yes, you can argue that the prospect of EU accession helped Greece, Spain, and Portugal move to democracy, with eastern Europe following. But it is a specious argument. Most of Latin America has evolved towards democracy over the same period, and large parts of Africa and Asia too. It is a global shift.

The central threat to this once happy state of affairs in Europe comes from EU aggrandisement itself as it builds structures beyond parliamentary control. We will find out soon enough whether Euroland really will cross the Rubicon to fiscal union to stop the euro breaking apart, and in doing so usurp the tax and spending powers of these parliaments altogether, that is to say whether EMU leaders are really willing to rip the heart out of democracy.

The Nobel committee likes to deploy prizes to push its agenda and encourage what it believes to [be] benign behaviour. In this case the purpose is to press North Europe to stand full square behind the Project.

“We want to focus on what has been achieved in Europe in terms of peace and reconciliation,” says the Committee’s Thorbjørn Jagland.  “It is a message to Europe to secure what they have achieved and not let the continent go into disintegration again because it means the emergence of extremism and nationalism.”

We should not doubt his good intentions. We may however, abominate his judgment.

Whilst Michael White has “a more agnostic (and healthy) attitude” at the Guardian Politics blog

The outcome is pressure to create a trans-eurozone banking union and – who knows – an EU finance ministry with real teeth, and to do so at breakneck speed. The austerity imposed on Greece and other stricken states is creating a backlash in the name of democratic accountability, the resurgence of the very nationalism the EU was created back in 1957 to quell for ever.

It looks ugly and could easily become uglier. If it is averted it will be via a German-dominated core Europe, the kind of outcome which Britain has struggled for centuries – against France, Spain, Russia and Germany itself – to prevent. The future is clouded. Yet the word from Oslo – and from Brussels – is that another Franco-German war is unthinkable. Let us fervently hope they are all right.

But nothing is unthinkable.

And from the BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt

But the Nobel committee’s decision will puzzle many. Despite the EU’s successes, it failed in the Balkans. It lacked the will and determination to intervene and save lives. The massacre at Srebrenica happened in Europe’s backyard.

And the prize comes at a moment of violence and tension on the streets of many European capitals as a young generation endures years of hardship and high unemployment. For them the European dream has not delivered.

It should not be forgotten that the committee in Oslo awarded US President Barack Obama the peace prize when he had few achievements to his name. It was a prize offered more in hope.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the prize was an inspiration. She said it was a “wonderful decision” and said it would inspire her personally to press ahead with closer integration.

That, of course, raises an intriguing question. Will “ever closer union” deliver more democracy and peace or will it sow tension and division?

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  • Mc Slaggart

    “Despite the EU’s successes, it failed in the Balkans. ”

    I think you will find the EU in the Balkans. You may *shakes head* as much as you like but the EU has been successful in the area of bringing peace to Europe.

  • HeinzGuderian

    First Obama. Now the EU. Who next,Harry Potter ?
    They are making a laughing stock of a once,Noble institution.

    **shakes head**

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    So, the fact that there has not been a longer period of peace between the major European powers since “nation states” came into being means nothing? I accept that the award to Obama was strange, if not even weird, to say the least.

  • HeinzGuderian

    1815 to 1914 wasn’t bad going.

    Ze Germans,having failed twice to achieve their aims,have now decided to use the back door,and to Hell with the lesser ‘nation states’ who can’t keep up the pace.

    Having said that,it was a damned good result for Ze Germans(and me) tonight. Ya vol. ;-)

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    What? The Franco – Prussian war of 1870-71 doesn’t count? Re-read your history books mein general.

  • Henry94

    Peace in Western Europe made the EU possible not the other way around.

    What did the EU have to do with the end of the cold war? Nothing. It sad to say but the Tour de France retains more credibility than the Nobel Peace Prize. They winners might be doped up but they still have to ride the course.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Henry,

    I don’t know what age you are but the EU was started in the mid 50s with the intent that France and Germany become so interdependent that a war between them would not be possible.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘What? The Franco – Prussian war of 1870-71 doesn’t count? Re-read your history books mein general’

    He who clutcheth at straws,invariably falls.
    (an old canadian/londonderry saying Herr Joe.) ;-)

    But let’s run with it,for the sake of discussion.
    Let me see now. 1815 to 1870 is,ermmmm,55 years.
    1945 to 1956 ( the Hungary Uprising ) is,ermmmm,11 years ?

    Hmmmmm.

    Maybe they should have picked Trinidad and Tobago. :-)

  • Alias

    “So, the fact that there has not been a longer period of peace between the major European powers since “nation states” came into being means nothing?”

    It simply means that nuclear deterrence works, as both France and Germany have them. Do you really think that the EU is the only thing preventing a war between them? That’s the type of brainwashing that this absurd prize is intended to further engineer among the gullible.

    In addition, the division of Germany after WW2 put an end to its warmongering, as did the creation of NATO and American involvement. It had zero to do with an anti-democratic regime such as the EU.

    The only difference the EU will make next time around in a unified state is that all of the current member states will become involved in the EU’s warmongering whether they want to or do, whereas before unity they had the option of staying out.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    What? The Hungarian uprising was a war between European major powers? Clutching at straws? Right back at ye mein herr.

  • Alias

    Type: “…whether they want to or not…”

  • HeinzGuderian

    @Hundreds of tanks went into Budapest and probably 30,000 people were killed. To flee the expected Soviet reprisals, probably 200,000 fled to the west leaving all they possessed in Hungary. Nagy was tried and executed and buried in an unmarked grave. By November 14th, order had been restored. Kadar was put in charge. Soviet rule was re-established.@

    Maybe not much of a war by your standards Herr Joe…..but it probably seemed so to those involved ?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Strange, Heinz, but that is one of my early memories. We had a fund raising at my primary school to try to help the people in desperation. I made a house out of a cornflakes box with a chimney large enough to accept pennies.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Before my time Joe,(just).
    But in all seriousness,do you not think this award is a little bit ridiculous ?
    Just off the top of my head,that 14 year old school girl,who was shot by the Taliban the other day,seems a much more honourable recipient.
    She defied their death threats,and stood up for women’s education.
    Wouldn’t that have sent a better message to the world ?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Yes.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Of course there was peace, with a massive “Iron Curtain” splitting the continent in half, including dividing the most powerful nation so it was not a threat, that is until it was reunited 20 years ago, took a while to get over that but as has been said they are certainly flexing their finincial muscle.

    So if you really want to give a prize to the greatest peace keeper in Europe since 1945 I nominate Uncle Sam and his GI Joes, and more importantly the Marshall plan, possibly the most genrous forward thinking act of any nation in history.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    DR,

    The Marshall Plan and the rebuilding of Japan were incredibly forward thinking. There were many who advocated turning both states into purely agrarian societies with virtually no industrial capacity. Democracy may teeter in some places but dictatorships (including the false “democracies of the people” ) in Europe and South America seem to have been successfully banished.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Joe, it is sad to think 99% of people probably wouldn’t know what the Marshall Plan was. Your reference to democacries was proved in Venezeula this week, I’m no fan of Chaves, and beleive he was a threat, but he saw the value of a free and fair election.

  • HeinzGuderian

    If you want to give the Nobel Prize for Peace to any Nation,I nominate The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    She stood alone,against the Nazi tyranny. Indeed,Marshall predicted her surrender after the fall of France.

    It is sad to think that the Lend/Lease Policy was even implemented by the USA,when the very freedom of the entire planet was at stake.
    The Empire was sacrificed to save the things that half arsed historians(as witnessed above)take for granted today.

    GI Joes ? What,3 years too late ?
    Where was the invasion of Europe coming from if Britain had fallen ? Across the Atlantic ?
    After the fall of Britain,how long would the USSR have been able to hold out,with only one front,far superior weaponry,and fighting troops ?

    This world owes a debt to Great Britain and Northern Ireland that it will never be able to repay.
    Unlike the USA,we ask nothing in return but gratitude.

    I thank you,and goodnight. :-)

  • Mc Slaggart

    HeinzGuderian

    The United States wanted the Eastern European countries to break away from Russia. They carried out work to that end. When Hunagry did almost break away the Russians moved back in and the NATO could do very little as they had a Suez Crisis created in part by two of its members one of which was the UK.

    The EU does not have an army so don’t blame it for the inaction of NATO.

  • Mc Slaggart

    HeinzGuderian (profile)

    “If you want to give the Nobel Prize for Peace to any Nation,I nominate The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

    I may be wrong but I think their may have been some trouble in Northern Ireland?

  • Rory Carr

    Oh not just Northern Ireland, McSlaggart. This most warfaring of natins has been continuously at war since 1945 (as indeed it had been continuously at war before then. It is always and ever at war. War is what it does.

    British Wars from 1945 to the Present :

    Greek Civil War (1944-1947)

    Palestine, 1945-1948

    South East Asia, 1945-1946

    Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960

    Korean War, 1950-1953

    Anglo-Egyptian War of 1951-1952 (1951-1952)

    Mau Mau Insurgency, 1952-1956

    Cyprus Emergency, 1955-1959

    Suez/Sinai War (1956)-

    Muscat and Oman Intervention (1957-1959)

    Jordan Intervention (1958)

    Indonesia Conflicts, 1960-1966

    Ugandan Army Mutiny (1964)

    Aden Conflict, 1964-1967

    The Conflict in Northern Ireland (1969-Ongoing)

    The Falkland Islands War (1982)

    Gulf War (1991)

    Former Yugoslavia Peacekeeping Operations

    Afghanistan War (2001-Present)

    Iraq War (2003-Present)

    Operation Phillis, Cote d’Ivoire, 2004 (MoD)

    Libyan War (2011)

    Lee, R. “British Wars (1945 to the Present)”

    http://www.historyguy.com/british_wars_1945present.htm

    But the Nobel Committee it seems are uninterested in what savagery European nations inflict upon non-EU peoples (or small communities of no consequence within the EU). It applies a pecular form of military NIMBYism that its conscience not be troubled.

  • Henry94

    MisterJoe

    I don’t know what age you are but the EU was started in the mid 50s with the intent that France and Germany become so interdependent that a war between them would not be possible.

    It wouldn’t have been possible anyway because they were both dependent on America to defend them from the Soviet threat. Peace through irrelevance was the reality. It still is.

  • aquifer

    “The EU’s high priests draw on a caricature version of history”

    We should know that caracature versions of history are what helps make revolutions.

    The model of free trade areas could have massive benefits for places like Africa that are riddled with corruption. No customs duties and the brakes come off economies.

    Also, when economies have grown beyond primary extraction and people have something to lose, conflict becomes less viable.

    War may be a great spectator sport, but nowadays civilians are generally the smushed meat in the armament sandwich.

    EU directives are much nicer than fragmentation bombs and hunger.

  • BluesJazz

    Switzerland isn’t part of the EU, so loses out on this ‘honour’. But then as Orson so memorably spoke:

    Harry Lime: Don’t be so gloomy. After all it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.

  • Greenflag

    @ henry 94 ,

    ‘It wouldn’t have been possible anyway because they were both dependent on America to defend them from the Soviet threat. ‘

    Not entirely -De Gaulle’s “Force De Frappe ‘ was not purely for French defence .De Gaulle had stated several times that for France a nuclear exchange would start NOT when Soviet troops reached the French border but when Russian troops crossed the East German /West German border . The Soviets might have ‘doubted ‘ American resolve to sacrifice 100 million American lives for ‘Europe’ but they had no doubts about about the French resolve -and French nuclear missiles were no more than a three minutes strike from silos in France to Moscow .

  • Greenflag

    @ blues jazz ,

    ‘ In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. ‘

    And the Red Cross . Of course the Swiss also run the worlds biggest and safest ‘haven ‘ for monies pillaged and looted by disreputable dictators ,corrupt politicians , warlords , politicians , tax evading corporations , crooks , drug mafiosi , financial sector criminals etc etc :(

  • Greenflag

    @ Alias ,

    ‘It simply means that nuclear deterrence works, as both France and Germany have them. ‘

    Not true -The French have them but not the Germans .Any nuclear weapons in Germany are under USA control and can only be fired by Americans .

  • Alias

    It doesn’t matter which state holds the launch codes with collective nuclear deterrence since all states signed up to the treaty enjoy the protection of nuclear deterrence. France cannot attack Germany because of NATO and because Germany has a nuclear deterrence. Likewise, Germany cannot attack France because France has a nuclear deterrence. Therefore, the EU is not required to prevent war between those two states.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, the nuclear wapons in Germany are not under US control. They are under the control of the German army which is trained and equipped to deliver them to their targets. It is only the launch codes that are under US control.

  • DC

    “What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy…”

    Well stranger things have happened, but i guess it beats Sir Jimmy Saville and Sir Fred the Shred.

  • Greenflag

    @ Alias ,

    Your anti EU /anti European paranoia has reached new lows . Your expertise in launching ‘nuclear’missiles is obviously of such a high standard that I am forced to ask you how is it possible as you state above

    ‘to deliver them to their targets. ‘

    as you suggest the Germans can

    If you don’t control the launch codes ?

    I’m sure that the American, Russian , Chinese, Indian , Pakistani , French , British , North Korean and Israeli Presidents would like to know your answer as they may be under the impression that it is only their ‘nationals ‘ which can start a nuclear war and not the nationals of other countries who are non members of the nuclear ‘club’ ?.

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    Greenflag @ 11:28 am — and that pre-supposes the UK has real and fully-functioning independent control of its nukes.

    AWE Management Ltd runs the Atomic Weapons Establishment. It is a third owed by each of
    — Jacobs Engineering Group Inc of Pasadena, California;
    — Lockheed Martin Corp; and
    — Serco Group PLC.

    Yes: you’ve read that aright. The UK leads the world in privatising its nukes.

    Anyway, the fewer than 58 Trident II D-5 missiles in and out of the Vanguard-class submarines are merely “leased” from the US (seems a bit like like party glassware out of Sainsbury’s, sale-or-return). They are part of the US Navy’s Atlantic resource, which operates out of the Second Fleet’s Naval Submarine Base at King’s Bay, Georgia. US-controlled missiles are all fitted with an over-ride, to prevent “unauthorised” use. Allegedly the British ones have this function decommissioned (or not installed) because we’d be glowing in the dark before the authority could be sent from the UK. So remember to keep Radio 4 on the air (because if it’s not, that’s the OK to fire).

    Lest we forget, Tom Lehrer reckoned that awarding the Peace Prize to Kissinger in 1973 made political satire obsolete. Good to see a tradition well maintained.

  • Greenflag

    Malcolm Redfellow @ 5.09 pm

    Good grief that’s bloody AWEful not to mention scary ;( I suppose there is an inexorable logic to the ideology of privatisation which leads inevitably to the privatising of ‘nukes ‘ . If you can destroy the world’s financial system via deregulation and privatisation why not go the extra mile and just destroy the entire planet while you are at it .Think of the money saved on having to repair it :(

    Lest we forget 50 years ago the world was within minutes of a nuclear winter with hundreds of millions dead in the USSR and the USA with Europe including the UK wiped off the face of the Earth .

    Fortunately cooler heads prevailed at the time both in the USA and USSR .

    It seems as if ‘itchy fingers ‘Romney & Ryan are eminently capable of ‘succeeding ‘ in delivering the ‘nuclear winter’ that Kennedy & Khrushchev avoided.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/14/162860710/how-kennedy-stepped-back-from-the-brink-of-war

    .

    Vince Cable is reminding us of what a Euro collapse could lead to .

    Meanwhile the short sighted anti EU could listen to what ex Yugoslavs

  • Greenflag

    A couple of weeks back the Ulster Covenant ‘rememberers’ reminded us of events that took place in 1912 .

    Nobody mentioned or remmebered the tens of thousands of lives lost in wars in the Balkans in 1912/1913 prior to and which led up to 1914 and WW1.

    Here’s why Ex Yugoslavs among others in Eastern Europe are pro EU and why despite the present setbacks the EU remains the best safeguard for a future Europe at peace .

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-14/ex-yugoslavs-know-why-eu-deserves-a-nobel-prize.html

    Meanwhile Vince Cable is reminding us of what a Euro collapse could lead to for Europe and how Britain and it’s economy would not escape unscathed .

  • Alias

    ‘to deliver them to their targets. ‘

    Quite simple really. There are 22 B-61 thermonuclear bombs at the German Luftwaffe’s Fliegerhorst Buechel airbase in Rhineland-Palatinate. The Luftwaffe is trained and equipped to deliver the nuclear weapons (which are attached to airplanes) to their targets. In case you don’t know what damage one B-61 can do, think 12 times Hiroshima.

    Did you grasp it that time?

  • Harry Flashman

    Well, having handed out the Nobels to Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and *shakes head so hard it almost falls off* Barack Obama, I suppose the Committee felt they had exhausted their “not George W. Bush” award list.

    But the EU? C’mon folks, the bloated bureaucracy that got fat on the back of half a million US troops and the British Army on the Rhine doing the dirty work of keeping the Russkis at bay.

    Nato was more deserving of the award surely, it was Nato who kept Western Europe free and peaceful, it was Nato who finally put manners on the Serbs when the EU peacekeeping troops had lined up the male population of Sebrenice into nice orderly lines for Ratko Miladic’s buses, it was Nato that welcomed the former oppressed nations of Eastern Europe when they finally broke free from their Marxist masters.

    You know who should have won the award back in 1990?

    Well they could have picked a triumvirate made up of people from Europe and America, East and West, male and female, secular and religious, the obvious trio who finally brought peace to Europe and liberated millions, step forward Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.

    The three statespeople who ended the Cold War without firing a shot, who brought freedom, peace and democracy to millions, but no, Nobel gave the award to the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, one of the most evil organisations ever to have existed in the history of human crime.

    Gorbachev * spit* the man who was to the ending of the Cold War what Doenitz and Hirohito were to the end of the Second World War, the defeated tyrants who finally had the wit to surrender.

    The Nobel peace prize is a repulsive sham.

  • Greenflag

    @Alias,

    American ‘nuclear ‘weapons in Germany are under American CONTROL . The Luftwaffe may be trained to deliver them but thats a separate issue from that of control .And the same applies to the launch codes .

    It’s quite simple really

    Your ‘grasp ‘ of this matter is blinded by your infantile rage at the EU .:(

  • Greenflag

    ‘@ hairy man ,

    ‘The Nobel peace prize is a repulsive sham.’

    Most war mongers would agree with you ! The vast majority of peace loving people everywhere would consider your quoted comment above to be utter s***e!

    If the Cold War ended without firing a shot you had better thank your ‘god’ that Gorbachev was Soviet leader and Helmut Kohl was German Kanzler at the time .Their mutual understanding and agreement were in the first instance the most important determinants that ensured that the whole of Eastern Europe was not plunged into civil wars or even pre empted a nuclear exchange .

    While Reagan and the Pope deserve credit for their roles it was Bush senior who had to rap Mrs Thatcher on the knuckles for her stated opposition to German ‘reunification ‘at the time . Thatcher does however earn kudos for her effective dealings with Mr Gorbachev .

    Just as well HF that they don’t have a Nobel War Prize eh ?

    No prizes for guessing who would top that league table for the past 25 years :(

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    I’m retracing this thread to attempt to see where it went into alternative history. Oh, and in passing, it looks as if C.J.Sansom’s next, Dominion, due 25th Oct, goes that way, after Deighton’s SS-GB (1978), Harris’s Fatherland (1992), and others. Should appeal to the natural arm-extending twitchings of some present.

    As for the “wit” of Karl Dönitz and his Flensburg rump, may I recommend Ian Kershaw’s The End? Not my favourite historian by a long list, but aversion therapy (especially pages 350) for any admirer of that unpleasant Staatsoberhaupt.

    That apart, one simple question: what gesture did Margaret Thatcher ever make to ending the Cold War, bringing peace to Europe and liberating millions? Now, don’t cite the bromides of Dr Ted Bromond of the Heritage Foundation, please! — they’re just too trite for thinking souls.

    And perhaps one small wrinkle more: which brought peace to Europe and liberated millions — a few nugatory gestures by NATO (mainly involving radar sites and ideological-purging among the upper echelons of the military) or extending the capitalist benefits of the EU into the eastern accessions? Actually, my pick would be the long-term effect of consumer lifestyles transmitted by West German and Austian TV.

  • Greenflag

    ‘my pick would be the long-term effect of consumer lifestyles transmitted by West German and Austrian TV.’

    Yes there was that too although their TV signals did’nt get much past mid Poland . Those caught watching western TV tended to end up as salt miners in Kamchatka for their sins .

    The card which brought down the house of cards (the Berlin Wall ) was picked from the bottom of the deck by the Hungarian border guards who tired of refusing East German tourists to Hungary permission to cross into nearby Austria . Once that domino fell the game was up .

    Some Hungarians maintain that it was the ‘Revenge of Imre Nagy ‘ 40 years late . In the interim it had built up a head of steam which led to the end of the USSR .

    ‘Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought ‘

    Albert Szent Gyorgyi -Hungarian Nobel Prize winning scientist .

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Has Gorbachev written about his thoughts and, if so, can anyone enlighten us?

  • Greenflag

    Mister Joe ,

    Mr Gorbachev’s memoirs -only for the seriously committed .

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/0553506366

    Mr Gorbachev was in Dublin a number of years back and was invited to Bono of U2 fame’s house in Dalkey Co Dublin by the Bono himself . The door was answered by Mrs Bono who had no idea who the man was :( Bono was suitably mortified of course . I think they are still married ;) ?

    We all got lucky when Gorbachev climbed to the top of the Soviet ‘greasy ‘pole .

    And had General Curtis Le May been USA President in October 1962 instead of Kennedy -what we call western civilisation would have been wiped from the face of the Earth . There might have been a few human survivors in those remote areas of the Earth which might have escaped a decade long nuclear winter .

    We should’nt take ‘survival ‘ of the species for granted . The Earth can get by well enough without us as it has done for the 99.99% of time that it has existed without the benefit of having ‘homo sapiens ‘ on board .

  • Harry Flashman

    I have to laugh, I’m being accused of rewriting history here?

    In 1980 the Russian Marxist imperialists had just invaded Afghanistan and were setting up a client state in Nicaragua, this was five years after their wholly owned Hanoi subsidiary swallowed up South Vietnam, they were about to go on to take up large chunks of sub-Saharan Africa aided by their Cuban allies. Poland was under the Russian jackboot as were the Czechs, Hungarians, Latvians, Estonians and many other once free, independent European nations.

    The US under Jimmy Carter was a busted flush who couldn’t even get their embassy staff out of the hands of a bunch of Iranian students. Britain was the sick man of Europe, with rampant inflation and having to be baled out by the IMF.

    Ten years later, Britain and the US were arguably the most powerful and influential nations on earth, Russia was busted, Poland and dozens of other vassal states of the Russian empire were free and independent again. Democracy was spreading across Europe and South America, free markets were thriving as the dead hand of state control was lifted and citizens were once again allowed to make their own decisions in their lives without having to ask a government official’s permission first.

    The massive technological boom directly stemming from the US military and space expansion was freeing up information, liberating people and leading to a revolution in global communication that is still unfolding today.

    And that was all thanks to the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party apparently, a bald bloke who finally admitted his ideaology was a load of crap and his nation was economically and ideologically bankrupt.

    He’s the bloke to thank, is that it?

    (NB to Malcolm and Greenhorn [See? Two can indulge in puerile name-calling] the above is how one gets a point across; using your own words and expressing your own thoughts, cutting and pasting links to other writers, links that no one ever bothers clicking on, is not the same as debating your own case.

    You both should try it some time)

  • Greenflag

    @ Harry Flashinthepan ,

    ‘The US under Jimmy Carter was a busted flush who couldn’t even get their embassy staff out of the hands of a bunch of Iranian students.

    The US under Dubya Bush in 2007 was not only bust but had dragged the entire western world economies with it into the crapper . And far from defeating the Communist Chinese the USA Treasury is totally dependant on the good offices of Chinese ‘investors ‘ in US Treasury bills which keeps the US dollar from resembling it’s former Zimbabwean counterpart :(
    The bad news now is that the Chinese are giving up on the dollar and they have now been downgraded to second place in the long list of Asian currencies and countries whose investors keep Uncle Sam being able to spend half the world total of money spent on weaponry with 5% of the world’s population :(

    As for not reading any links Harry I guess that explains why you remain so uninformed and behind the times .

    Try it sometime -it might even upgrade some of your contributions from the witless level to the half wit level You may even surpass the bould Alias on the lunatic fringe of neo conservative war mongering Friedmannites and Greenspanners and Randian sociopaths now baying for more blood in Iran and wherever else they can :(

    As ever yours truly Greenhorn :)

  • Harry Flashman

    “The US under Dubya Bush in…yadda, yadda, ya”

    Christ on a bike! Will lefties ever let go of Dubya?

    He’s your perennial bogey man isn’t he? He’s almost like a comfort blanket, any problems anywhere in the world, “Blame Bush!”, it’ll always be Dubya’s fault.

    Anyway it’s all irrelevant to my point, as usual Greenfield, Maggie, PJP2 and Ronnie ended the Cold War, Gorbachev merely acknowledged his nation’s utter defeat at the hands of strategically better thinkers.

  • Greenflag

    Good old Dubya the persona non grata of the Romney/Ryan campaign. He’s been airbrushed out of the Republican presidential campaign in what can be described as Orwellian Newspeak .

    ‘He’s your perennial bogey man ‘

    Actually no -I even preferred him to Al Gore in 2000 . Bush’s Presidency got off to a rocky start with 9/11 and by the time he finished Wall St had put a gun to his head and to the Congress and demanded the financial sector bailouts or there would be complete financial chaos worldwide with a meltdown in the USA that would make the 1930’s Great Depression look like a Golden era of prosperity .

    I actually fear a Romney/Ryan presidency and foreign and domestic policy more than I ever feared Dubya’s truth to tell .

    But heres a short ‘explanation ‘ on why capitalism is in trouble and why the Romney Ryan formula and even the Obama /Biden formula for the ‘cure ‘ are both passe in this new economy .

    Not that there is a Marxist solution as even Harvey admits but his analysis of the current chaos is not far off the mark!

  • Greenflag

    link here

  • Alias

    “American ‘nuclear ‘weapons in Germany are under American CONTROL .”

    I already dismissed that as irrelevant to nuclear deterrence:

    “It doesn’t matter which state holds the launch codes with collective nuclear deterrence since all states signed up to the treaty enjoy the protection of nuclear deterrence.”

    It’s called nuclear sharing.

    “Your ‘grasp ‘ of this matter is blinded by your infantile rage at the EU .”

    Your herd-mentality following of the EU as your Great Leader blinds you to the sublime irony of awarding a prize for promoting democracy to an anti-democratic supranational authority. It’s like awarding the job of Nubile Protection Officer to Jimmy Saville…

    Incidentally, the pseudo-intellectual class were also fond of telling all and sundry how great the USSR could be. HUA syndrome.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Harry,

    You’re too dismissive of Gorbachev. His “problem” was that he was a decent human being. If he had been a sociopath like his predecessors he might still be the top dog of a geriatric Politburo comprising the current crop of Russian billionaires.
    You should know as well as the rest of us that a thug able to gather a bunch of murderous henchmen around him can terrify many people into “keeping their heads down” and rise to the top. That’s where Kings and Dictators came from.
    Deluded fools like the Prussian general Guderian were but foolish tools in the hands of psychopaths.

  • abucs

    It seems to me that the people doing the choosing for these awards strongly lean to people not too far from their own politics.

    I used to respect the Nobel prizes.

  • Harry Flashman

    “You’re too dismissive of Gorbachev.”

    He was decent oul’ geezer Joe, I’ll give you that, my point however is that he does not deserve to be recognised as the man who ended the Cold War.

    The leader of a defeated nation who signs the surrender document is not the man who gets credit for the ending of the war, Dwight D Eisenhower and Marshall Zhukhov ended the Second World War in Europe, not Admiral Doenitz.

    In the same way foreign minister Marmoru Shigemitsu, by signing Imperial Japan’s surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri, didn’t end the Pacific War, the credit for that goes to Admiral Nimitz and General McArthur who sailed the aforementioned battleship into Tokyo Bay after persuading Shigemitsu’s God Emperor that the game was up.

    Likewise, Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II were the masterminds behind the overwhelming defeat of Soviet Russia and the liberation of vast millions of Europeans and Asians from its tyranny and it is to them rather than the out-fought, out-witted, out-spent and out-played general secretary of the CPSU who we must give the credit for peace and democracy in modern day Europe, Latin America and much of Asia.

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    I see in my absence Harry Flashman persists in making up his story (not the same as history) as he goes along. The whole point of historiography is to verify one’s facts and sources. Which is why I will continue to cite and use those pesky hot-links. So, tough.

    I notice that nobody, not even the renowned Sir Harry Paget Flashman, has risen to the challenge. So I repeat it [see above, 16 October 2012 @ 3:08 pm, for correct HTML format]: what gesture did Margaret Thatcher ever make to ending the Cold War, bringing peace to Europe and liberating millions?

    Now that would involve some real history, a bit of thought, rather than a bilious concoction of sad nostrums.

    Reagan as the great pacifier? I’d prefer Fred Kaplan’s neat gloss, from 2004:

    If Yuri Andropov’s kidneys hadn’t given out, or if Konstantin Chernenko had lived a few years longer, Reagan’s bluster and passion would have come to naught; the Cold War would probably have raged on for years; indeed, Reagan’s rhetoric and actions might have aggravated tensions.

    Now, were Sir Harry to pursue that hot-link, he might be able to plunder comments which suit his slanted view, for Kaplan concedes some of Reagan’s significance. But it would be surrendering his own subjectivism, wouldn’t it?