Friday, October 12, 2012

Reflections on Nobel Peace Prize for the E.U.

It was announced today that the E.U. is the recipient of this years' Nobel Peace Prize.  As a European living in the U.S., I'm not sure how I can claim my share, but peace in post-war Western Europe is indeed a great achievement.  However, the European project, founded on the idea of the mutual surrender of certain powers to a supranational authority in exchange for peace, is perhaps now more in doubt than ever.  The timing might therefore feel strange, but the Nobel committee likely wishes to remind Europeans of the big picture.  I think the idea of surrendering power to a greater authority that can guarantee peace is a very wise idea.  However, how do we find an authority that all will respect?  Here are some thoughts from an earlier post:
After the Second World War, an attempt was made to bring balance to Europe by establishing a supranational authority, run by Europe’s best and brightest, that would override national and ethnic enmities that had bloodied the continent for millennia. First, France and Germany ceded control over coal and steel production to the European Coal and Steel Community. In the following decades, closer and closer union was pursued, and Brussels was populated by brilliant minds seeking the best for Europe – peace and prosperity.

But, as things stand, national differences threaten to tear the EU asunder. National interests it seems cannot be trumped by bureaucrats in Brussels, however visionary and well-intentioned. Europe is still very much a group of sovereign nation states unwilling to surrender authority to a supranational body.

So, it appears that the European project has failed to produce balance. Moreover, any human authority that tries to settle disputes between nations is likely to be accused of bias by one or more parties to the dispute, and may even become the target of wrath. So, even if we were to find a very wise and virtuous person, who held humanity’s best interests at heart, no one would follow him or her.

We need someone with unquestioned authority to settle the disputes of humanity. This is the picture we find in Isaiah Chapter Two.
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:3-5 (New International Version).
Only a supremely wise, just, and unbiased being could convince disputing nations to beat their swords into plowshares. No more wild experimentation. No sincere appeals that it will be different this time. No more claims to have learned the lessons of history, when at the darkest times it becomes painfully clear that the lesson that we always forget is that history repeats itself.

Humanity clings desperately to the hope that one day swords will be beaten into plowshares. However, it seems, that the biblically-inspired hope of perpetual peace and justice cannot be established without the biblical-described source of such peace – God’s kingdom of justice established on earth as it is in heaven.
 You can read the entire post here.

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