Nobel Prize 2012!

(38 Posts)
JodieHarsh Thu 11-Oct-12 13:06:58

So Mo Yan has this year's Nobel Prize for literature...

Not read him, to my shame.

Anyone here know his work? Where ought one to begin? And did anyone really think Bob Dylan would get it?!

DoubleMum Thu 11-Oct-12 20:03:52

I would start with Red Sorghum. He's the first Chinese national to win but his books are frequently banned in China.

JodieHarsh Fri 12-Oct-12 10:55:04

Oh hello! I was wondering if anyone would pick this up....thanks for the recommend: I shall Kindle it forthwith. I'm ashamed to say the only Chinese literature I've read is by Jung Chang. Time to up my game!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Oct-12 18:23:06

And the EU gets the peace prize. Take a bow everyone.

MrJudgeyPants Sat 13-Oct-12 00:13:39

70 years of peace and harmony because of the EU. Nothing at all to do with NATO, the atom bomb or Mutually Assured Destruction then!

Just think, the Second World War would have all blown over without a shot being fired if only someone had thought of giving Mr. Hitler a big fat expense account and a place on a committee discussing straight bananas!

A farce!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 08:37:56

Not a farce at all. Unifying Europe and putting an end to the frequent and disastrous wars between the nations of Europe has been an incredible achievement for peace. Some might say that was its main aim, it was achieved too soon, and the more controversial stuff of recent years has been because it is an organisation searching for a new goal. Imagine if there was an equivalent 'Middle East Union' that had kept peace in that region for 60-odd years.

flatpackhamster Sat 13-Oct-12 09:50:12

The EU didn't achieve it. They had nothing to do with it.

If anyone brought peace to Europe it was Britain and America.

Interestingly, I was reading that Thorbjørn Jagland, head of the prize committee, is also Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Further, the person on the committee who was opposed to EU's receiving the prize (Ågot Valle, former deputy leader of the "No to EU" campaign) was away sick on the day the vote took place.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 10:10:45

The EU may not have physically ended WWII but the fact that all the nations involved were happy to subsequently enter a long-term political pact has certainly maintained the peace. The 1918 armistice only lasted another 21 years. The 1945 armistice has never been breached. That's a remarkable achievement.

flatpackhamster Sat 13-Oct-12 10:18:51

CogitoErgoSometimes

The EU may not have physically ended WWII but the fact that all the nations involved were happy to subsequently enter a long-term political pact has certainly maintained the peace.

You do know that WW2 didn't end in 1945? It ran on - in the guise of the Cold War - until 1990. What part did the EU play in holding back the Soviets? Where were the EU's tanks? Where were its planes, submarines, nuclear weapons and spies?

The 1918 armistice only lasted another 21 years. The 1945 armistice has never been breached. That's a remarkable achievement.

The EU wasn't founded in 1945. It was created in 1992.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 10:51:10

You're splitting hairs. The EU project began in 1950 with the European Coal and Steel Community starting down the road of economic and political peace with the six founding countries Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. 1957 the Treaty of Rome created the EEC - European Economic Community or Common market. Of course the Cold War happened at the same time but, compared to the days of bombs dropping on European cities or an entire generation of young European men wiped out on the fields of France and Belgium, a few spies swapping secrets was far less traumatic.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Sat 13-Oct-12 11:09:44

Of course, the other good thing about the Nobel Peace Prize award is that it will stick in the craw of that pathological liar Nigel Farage.

MrJudgeyPants Sun 14-Oct-12 01:50:16

Cogito Of course the Cold War happened at the same time but, compared to the days of bombs dropping on European cities...

To be fair, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and specifically once the Soviets got the A-bomb, the idea of dropping bombs on European cities was an entirely different barrel of monkeys. The threat of MAD prevented the cold war from going hot thus maintaining the peace, not a talking shop.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 08:39:19

The threat of MAD didn't stop war breaking out in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Neither did the intervention of the EU specifically bring it to an end. However, the prospect of being part of the EU has kept those former enemies on best behaviour & been a big factor in maintaining that peace. I don't know why people find it tough to accept that the EEC/EU has been an agent for peace. That was its original stated goal and it is the one thing that it has been particularly successful in achieving.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Sun 14-Oct-12 15:55:38

I don't know why people find it tough to accept that the EEC/EU has been an agent for peace.

Oh, I do.

It's because they hate the EU so much they can't accept the instances that it has been of benefit.

flatpackhamster Sun 14-Oct-12 17:51:33

I think that making up instances where it has been of benefit doesn't help your case.

CogitoErgoSometimes

The threat of MAD didn't stop war breaking out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Cold War was over by the time that broke out. Yugoslavia was the first of the Soviet Union's puppet states to break apart. NATO intervened in Yugoslavia, not the EU.

I find it hard to credit the willingness of EUFanatics to rewrite history in order to pretend that the EU is anything other than what it is - a tool for shovelling Other People's Money in to the pockets of big business and big government.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Mon 15-Oct-12 09:55:12

flatpackhamster

I think that making up instances where it has been of benefit doesn't help your case.

How is citing the ECSC (an ancestor body of the EU) a 'made-up instance'?

Robert Schuman proposed the ECSC to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". How is this 'made up'?

Schuman also formed the ECSC despite the existence of NATO (presumably because the NATO treaty only covers external attacks against its members and not between its members, and only asks that in such an event that members commit themselves to some sort of response that doesn't have to include military action from each member - as we saw with 9/11 when NATO was wheeled out as a response to that attack).

Honestly - it's this kind of nonsense that shows how hysterical and blinkered some people are as soon as the acronym 'EU' is uttered.

flatpackhamster Mon 15-Oct-12 11:48:10

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

How is citing the ECSC (an ancestor body of the EU) a 'made-up instance'?

Robert Schuman proposed the ECSC to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". How is this 'made up'?

Schuman also formed the ECSC despite the existence of NATO (presumably because the NATO treaty only covers external attacks against its members and not between its members, and only asks that in such an event that members commit themselves to some sort of response that doesn't have to include military action from each member - as we saw with 9/11 when NATO was wheeled out as a response to that attack).

Show me where the EU has been an 'agency for peace'. Give me an example of two EEA/EEC/EU members who were at risk of going to war and, thanks to their membership of the EEA/EEC/EU, decided not to.

It's like me claiming that there haven't been any wars inside China since 1950 and therefore India is a great agent for peace. It's a non-claim.

I agree that the purpose of the ECSC/EEC/EU was to shackle Germany in order to prevent further wars. There have been three major wars in Europe in the last 150 years and Germany started all three.

However, the main reason that Germany hasn't gone to war hasn't been the EU, but their own change of behaviour and attitude. The constitution in Germany makes it impossible for them ever to go to war. The devolution of powers, the limiting of government through the constitution and so on, all of them stop that.

Honestly - it's this kind of nonsense that shows how hysterical and blinkered some people are as soon as the acronym 'EU' is uttered.

Careful with that jerking knee. You'll do yourself an injury.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Mon 15-Oct-12 14:08:13

Show me where the EU has been an 'agency for peace'.

Initiative for Peacebuilding
European External Action Service

Give me an example of two EEA/EEC/EU members who were at risk of going to war and, thanks to their membership of the EEA/EEC/EU, decided not to.

How? By journeying down some sort of rabbit hole into a Looking Glass world? And you haven't even answered how ECSC is 'made-up' yet.

You completely miss the point of the influence that bodies like ECSC have. By meeting regularly concerning areas of mutual benefit, it's clear that any potential dispute gets nipped in the bud right at the start because there are permanently open diplomatic channels between ministers.

Something that wasn't possible where one of the members wasn't a partner, such as the Cod Wars.

In any case, there is a practical example of how the intensity of feeling in a border dispute within the EU has decreased due to mutual EU membership - Olivenza, where in recent years and following a number of EU structural projects in the area, towns on both sides of that part of the Portugese-Spanish border have set up a Euroregion to foster greater co-operation and understanding.

Careful with that jerking knee. You'll do yourself an injury.

In response to you calling people 'EUFanatics'.
Pot, kettle, black?

flatpackhamster Tue 16-Oct-12 08:07:26

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

Initiative for Peacebuilding
European External Action Service

I didn't ask for examples of EU bureaucracy. Where's the 'agency for peace' stuff there? They're talking shops.

How? By journeying down some sort of rabbit hole into a Looking Glass world? And you haven't even answered how ECSC is 'made-up' yet.

The argument that you were making was that the EU in all its myriad guises has prevented war on the European subcontinent. I want an example of where two nations were going to go to war and their membership of some sort of EU body prevented that.

That you immediately try to turn the argument to something else tells me that you can't come up with an example. Of course you can't. There isn't one. So that reason for the existence of the EU - and the hilarious idea that it deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - is invalid.

You completely miss the point of the influence that bodies like ECSC have. By meeting regularly concerning areas of mutual benefit, it's clear that any potential dispute gets nipped in the bud right at the start because there are permanently open diplomatic channels between ministers.

Perhaps I do. Perhaps I was under the impression that being an 'agency for peace' involved a bit more than lots of meetings on expenses in nice hotels.

Before the EU sucked that power away from member states they were perfectly capable of holding meetings on expenses in nice hotels.

Something that wasn't possible where one of the members wasn't a partner, such as the Cod Wars.

AIUI from what little I've read, since Iceland and the UK were members of NATO there was diplomatic contact at that level and the final outcome of the Cod Wars was decided by NATO.

And I've just read that there is a conflict building over Iceland's new mackerel quotas. So we'll have to see how the EU's amazing diplomatic talents deal with that. Lucky they've "nipped it in the bud though", isn't it?

In any case, there is a practical example of how the intensity of feeling in a border dispute within the EU has decreased due to mutual EU membership - Olivenza, where in recent years and following a number of EU structural projects in the area, towns on both sides of that part of the Portugese-Spanish border have set up a Euroregion to foster greater co-operation and understanding.

Since they don't seem to have gone to war over that scrap of land in the last 90 years, I don't really see that it's an argument for One Government To Rule Us All.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Tue 16-Oct-12 10:02:42

hamster

I didn't ask for examples of EU bureaucracy. Where's the 'agency for peace' stuff there? They're talking shops.

You get peace by talking. Duh.

Eventually, people need to sit down if they want a peaceful settlement whether it is before or after conflict.
Are you really so ignorant that you don't know this?

AIUI from what little I've read, since Iceland and the UK were members of NATO there was diplomatic contact at that level and the final outcome of the Cod Wars was decided by NATO.

Eventually. After about twenty years, and only when Iceland threatened to close down its NATO base. Great speedy work done there by NATO on promoting peace, don't you think?

That you immediately try to turn the argument to something else tells me that you can't come up with an example. Of course you can't. There isn't one. So that reason for the existence of the EU - and the hilarious idea that it deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - is invalid.

You're the one trying to turn the argument into some sort of alternate history guessing game. It's ridiculous.

You've got such a limited view of international relations that you can only see peace and war as some sort of binary switch. Going to war isn't something that countries do on the flip of a coin - there are always factors that ratchet up or down to either of those two states. Did the Falklands War happen just like that? Maybe in your world view perhaps, but not in reality.

Plus, I notice that you flippantly comment on the Olivenza situation, completely ignoring the obvious proof that EU membership has enabled Spain and Portugal to ratchet down disagreement. Didn't like that, did you?

Since they don't seem to have gone to war over that scrap of land in the last 90 years, I don't really see that it's an argument for One Government To Rule Us All.

<sigh> We don't have 'one government to rule us all' - we have a supranational body where member nations co-operate to mutual advantage over items that concern them.

But of course, this will be mere static to you. The fact that you can't even take a step back and bring yourself to say "Well, I don't like the EU but even as a talking shop it may have been a contributory factor in the peace and stabilisation in a continent previously riven with war for hundreds of years" speaks volumes about you. As does the sticking your fingers in your ears and going 'la la laaa'.

I suggest you go away and do some proper reading on this, rather than gorge yourself on batshit conspiracy theory websites (my favourite is the one that says the EU is a Vatican plot, by the way).

somebloke123 Tue 16-Oct-12 10:15:37

Since up to 1973 the various forerunners of the EU only contained 6 countries (Benelux, France, Italy ,West Germany) and if it really was the EU that has preserved peace, then it seems little short of a miracle that the 20 odd non-members were not at each other's throats during the 50s and 60s.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Tue 16-Oct-12 10:20:26

somebloke - You're forgetting about all the other supranational bodies that were ultimately folded into the EU.

somebloke123 Tue 16-Oct-12 10:37:53

No not at all. The suggestion here is that the EU itself is responsible for keeping the peace, to the extent that it deserves a prize. The Nobel Prize was awarded to the EU, not to supranational bodies in general, nor retrospectively to precursors of the EU. If one were to award it to such a body then NATO would be far more deserving.

The basic reason for peace in Western Europe has been that the countries have been relatively free democracies and free democracies tend not to go to war with one another.

I would withdraw this ludicrous award from the EU but as a consolation let them have a Jim'll Fix It badge.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Tue 16-Oct-12 12:52:51

somebloke

The EU ended up incorporating the European Coal & Steel Community, EURATOM and the Western European Union (as well as other minor bodies). So as the current body that incorporates all of those historical groupings there really isn't any other way to present an award.

If you think about when some long-lived band is given a Lifetime Achievement Award, it's the current members who step up to receive the award even if early or founder members are long dead (and/or their best days are long behind them). I've never heard anyone begrudging such an award to The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac etc in the same way that some are so begrudging to the EU.

As I said earlier, NATO aren't really deserving of a peace award - principally because it has proved incapable of stopping individual members from waging war. Its only benefit for peace within Europe has been the integration of procedure and equipment (common aircraft signalling, standardised ammunition, integration of command structures etc) as well as constant joint exercises and officer exchanges that means senior officers between nations view each other as colleagues and not rivals or potential enemies.

I actually think that it's a factor - it's like an oil that makes the wheels move more easily. But for the military only, unlike the various EU bodies that provide a similar service in trade, standards, resource allocation, research, economics, infrastructure, education et cetera. In this sense, NATO and the EU aren't really that different in the services they offer as supranational bodies (except that the EU has more democratic controls than NATO). And whilst I respect the position of people who oppose both of these supranational bodies from a political philosophy that opposes any pooling of sovereignty, as far as I'm concerned anyone who supports membership of NATO whilst opposing membership of the EU is quite clearly fucking insane.

Anyway - NATO. The main idea that people have about their role of providing peace in Europe is solely down to NATO protecting us from the Warsaw Pact, which is riven with 1950s-era US groupthink - not everyone in Europe actually bought into it, and documents uncovered after 1989 show that the Warsaw Pact's planning was primarily based around responding to NATO 'first strike' interventions. Obviously, it could then be argued that an absence of NATO would have made invasion more likely but then we're back into the Alice In Wonderland supposition that FlatPackHamster loves so much.

As for the point about democracies - that's true. But countries were only allowed in the EEC/EC/EU if they became democracies and could prove they were politically robust enough to stay democracies (Spain and Portugal weren't admitted following the end of their respective dictatorships until they could do this). Democracy becomes not just an end point but a means to an end, and the EU offered a lot of support and assistance to the Eastern European nations and some former Soviet republics post-1989 in transforming from authoritarian regimes to stable democracies. It's instructive to see how those republics who are more involved with Russia than the EU are a lot less stable and free than those that are.

somebloke123 Tue 16-Oct-12 13:21:08

Although the EU may require new member states to be democracies, the fact remains that the EU itself is not a democracy. The point has been well made that if it applied to join itself it would fail. (Assuming that it that the EU followed its own rules which it in fact doesn't - did you know that bailouts of individual states who got into financial trouble were supposed to be strictly verboten according to the terms of the treaties? This by the way was one of the "safeguards" that was used to reassure Euro-sceptics before the introduction of the Euro.)

The EU is not, was never designed to be, and cannot be, a democracy. To have a democracy you need by definition a demos, a people as in "we the people". Monnet's vision was of supranational entity which would be run by an "enlightened" administrative elite, who would decide for the people what was best for them, and which placed itself above the nation state, which in time was supposed to wither away. It is also anti-democratic. Whenever a member state has a referendum and gives "wrong" answer, it is made to rerun it until it gets the "right" answer, which is then taken as being irrevocable.

A single state without a demos is doomed to fail, as we are seeing with the unrest in Greece and Spain. Meaningful democracy in Greece, Spain and arguably the Republic of Ireland, have been suspended, with EU placemen having been parachuted in to govern them and run their economies.

You can't "pool" sovereignty by the way, any more than you can pool virginity. You can let go of it - let it pass to a higher level, or you can hang onto it.

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