Norway’s award to the 27 countries, but not all, of the European continent, or to the countries of the European Union (EU), therefore, is a reminder of peace at a time of grave crisis for European unity.
EU unity since the post-war days of 1953 and 1954, of a burgeoning European common market and the Bilderberg Group on the heels of the American Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of World Wars I and II-torn Europe after the aspiration for a grand Third Reich of Adolf Hitler, a tantalizingly precarious order, Europe’s perestroika – as the late American president Richard Nixon had conceived the post-Cold War Soviet Union in 1992 in his lecture on foreign policy to George Herbert Walker Bush – has been a challenge and, hopefully, a lesson learned in the world of resurgent contagions, biological, financial and geopolitical in this new century.
Europe – a continent formed between the island archipelago, Atlantis, of Plato’s Atlantis and Athena, the Alps of the African plate in Switzerland and Italy, and the Urals of the Asian tectonic plate – has indeed experienced the political metaphor of its geography since the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus after the Etruscans in 753 B.C.E.
The quest for European unity in the land of Ister is as old as the enlightenments of the world, from Roman vacillation between republic and imperium to imperial Germany and Napoleonic France, and of course, of the Republic of Plato in observance of the city which predates all of the pre-Socratics of antiquity including Pythagoras and the destruction of the first Solomonic Temple, in the shining city on a hill in Jerusalem, by the Babylonians.
Rivers of dreams – the Danube (Ister), Rhine and Volga – have also been Europa’s rivers of blood as the Vikings of Norway and Sweden violently marauded the continent for about 900 years, from the beginning of the second millennium of the common era to 1901 when Alfred Nobel of Sweden established the Peace Prize, literally in fear of the dynamite he had invented and in realization of the implications of his legacy for his continent.
Nobel was an oracle of Europe’s fate, the fate of near-death among the three fates, when the Germanic search for a common German and European identity had to be brutally ended by the Allies off-shore in 1945, led by Sir Winston Churchill since 1911 and more so after his post-World War II second election to Number 10 in 1951, in celebration of the myth of King Arthur and his Round Table of Knights and, of course, of William the Conqueror in 1066 who had won England for the English from the Vikings.
The German Angles and Saxons of 1945 were clueless about who they were in the face of the attacks from the Anglo-Saxons which had bequeathed the German House of Windsor to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The dust from the detritus of post-war Berlin won the Peace Prize for the European Commission which appears to have, in wisdom, decided to work hard for its vision of expanding unity through 2050 rather than use others, such as the United States or Asia, to do its work as if the rest of the world owed Europe a debt of gratitude for The Renaissance and for civilization itself. Europe, however, is not a role model for the world and can never be.
Peace had come to the Vikings also in enlightenment which had pervaded the fertile crescent of the Aryan lands from Turkey to India since about 776 B.C.E, a few years before the Etruscans were nowhere to be found.
Regionalism is older than EU. Nevertheless, the Peace Prize is both a self-adulation and a reminder that is both timely and well-deserved lest the union fracture into many because of the crises in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.