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The European Parliament in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/The Associated Press

There was great mirth on Friday of the "at least the Nobel committee did not give the European Union the economics prize" variety. Except that the use of the Nobel Peace Prize as a morale boost for Eurocrats struggling to contain a currency crisis is no laughing matter. It diminishes the prestige of the prize – and the achievements of those who truly deserve it.

Worse, the pretext offered, that the EU gave Europe peace, is an insult to the role of Canadians and Americans in ending centuries of European bloodshed. If there is one institution that has ensured the peace in Europe it is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Want to trace the origins of European peace? Read Article 1 of the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, which calls for members to settle international disputes "by peaceful means." Article 2 committed members to maintain a "free" political system. This was backed up by military muscle, placing an enormous strain on budgets, including Canada's. NATO succeeded not only in ensuring former European belligerents were allied, but fended off the Soviet threat. The year NATO should have been given the prize was 1991, when the West won the Cold War.

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Except that would have meant giving the Nobel Peace Prize to NATO militaries, with the U.S. military earning the biggest share in it, something the leftish Norwegian Nobel Committee could not countenance.

And so the committee, ignoring riots, mass unemployment, the rise of political extremism and the continued threat of the generalized impoverishment of the continent as a result of the Euro crisis, opted for the bright side. The citation declared the committee "wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result ... the stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace."

Gregory Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association, argues the committee's ideological agenda has twisted the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize beyond recognition. He pointed to the 2009 award to President Barack Obama, before he had a chance to have much of an impact, as another example. "These are both awards which hoped to shape a future agenda rather than, in reality, to recognize achievements already confirmed."

Peace in Europe is a gift of NATO, one safeguarded in large part by the U.S. and Canadian militaries.

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