As 2008 nears its end, it is time to look back and identify the top arms control successes. To do that, staff of the Arms Control Association have nominated the following individuals and organizations as the 2008 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year:
(Voting is now closed. Click here to see the winner.)
Jonas Gahr Støre, Foreign Minister of Norway for spearheading his government's initiative to bring states together to negotiate the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans existing types of these weapons and was signed by 94 countries in December.
Former Secretaries of State George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn for their catalytic January 2007 and 2008 op-eds in The Wall Street Journal calling for renewed U.S. leadership on practical steps "toward a world free of nuclear weapons."
Christopher Hill, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, for persistently maintaining a difficult dialogue with North Korea on steps leading to its eventual denuclearization, potentially preventing the resumption of its plutonium production for nuclear weapons.
General Secretary Randall Howard of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) who declared that its port members would not unload a Chinese cargo ship loaded with weapons supplies destined for the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe for fear that the weapons would contribute to internal repression in Zimbabwe. SATAWU instead called for the ship to return to China with the arms onboard and for a peaceful solution to be sought to the political instability in Zimbabwe.
Thomas Fingar, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman, National Intelligence Council (May 2005 - November 2008) for improving information sharing between intelligence agencies and helping to re-establish integrity and objectivity to the analytical process. The November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, produced under his supervision, proved pivotal in reframing the conversation about Iran's nuclear program and timeframe for nonmilitary measures.
Representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) and Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) for standing up for the principles of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and for offering amendments that would have addressed some of the deep flaws in the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement.
The legislators of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, for completing the ratification process for the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (CANFWZ) in 2007 and 2008. The CANFWZ is the world's fifth such zone free of nuclear weapons, and the first to require its members to adhere to the IAEA Additional Protocol, the Comprehensive Nuclear Text Ban Treaty, and the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
Desmond Tutu and other members of The Elders, including Jimmy Carter, who continue to speak out about humanitarian crises fueled by arms and recently supported an effort under the Global Zero initiative to set a date for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Stuart Levey, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, for raising international awareness regarding the issue of proliferation financing and leading negotiations with governments, businesses, and financial institutions to warn them of the risks of doing business with suspected proliferators.
The Panel of Experts on the Sudan established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1591 (2005) for monitoring and reporting on violations of the arms embargo against Sudan and recommending in November that the embargo extend to all of Sudan, Chad, and parts of the Central African Republic in order to stem the tide of violence ongoing in Darfur.
Former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in collaboration with Thai authorities, for their role in the March apprehension of notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, preventing the sale of arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and potentially other war torn regions around the world.
(See the 2007 winners here.)
If you see the poll mentioned in the media, have trouble voting, or would like to be sure that results are sent to you, please let Jeff Abramson know by emailing him at [email protected]. Please also spread the word about the poll and visit ACA's Arms Control Tomorrow site for updates.