Jeffrey LewisArms Control Person of the Year

The Arms Control Association is hosting a contest for the “Arms Control Person of the Year.” Go to to vote or suggest another candidate worthy of mention and why.

And the nominees are ….

Jonas Gahr Støre, Foreign Minister of Norway for spearheading his government’s initiative to negotiate a treaty banning cluster munitions after the failure of states to agree to such talks at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 2006.

Representatives Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) for leading the House of Representatives and Congress to zero out funding for the controversial Reliable Replacement Warhead program.

Prakash Karat, General Secretary of India’s Communist Party and his left parties allies for slowing progress on the implementation of the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation deal.

Former Secretaries of State George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn for their catalytic January 2007 op-ed 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 negotiating and keeping on track the plan to implement the six-party agreement on the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Margaret Beckett, former U.K. Sec. of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for her June 2007 speech calling for renewed action on key nuclear disarmament steps, including the CTBT, deeper nuclear reductions, and more, as a means to strengthen global nonproliferation efforts.

Jan Neoral, the mayor of the Czech village of Trokavec, whose residents voted 71 – 1 against deployment of a U.S. strategic missile defense radar in their town.

Phil Goff, New Zealand’s Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, for his leadership on a nonbinding UN resolution calling on nuclear-armed states to lessen the alert level of their deployed weapons, which won the support of 124 countries despite U.S., British, and French opposition.

Lulzim Basha, Albanian Foreign Minister, for helping his country become the first to verifiably destroy its chemical weapons stockpile as part of its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Scottish Parliament for their June 14 vote in opposition of the U.K. government’s replacement of the existent Trident nuclear-armed submarine system.

I thought it was a tough call between several candidates, but ended up voting for Chris Hill because of the direct and immediate benefit to international security through arms control from the disablement of North Korea’s plutonium infrastructure.


  1. Robot Economist (History)

    I went with Chris Hill as well.

    If India’s Communists manage to keep the Bush-Singh deal on ice until next November, Prakash Karat will have the ’08 award well in hand.

  2. SQ

    I went with Visclosky and Hobson on the narrow (semantic?) grounds that Hill is engaged in nonproliferation or disarmament, not arms control. At least that’s the idea. Whether it’s more likely to end up as arms control is another question.

  3. Joshua Foust (History)

    Considering the extremely violent Naxalist insurgency in India — Naxalists are closest to the Maoists in Nepal or the old school Marxist-Leninist insurgents from the Cold War, and supported by the Communist Party — I’m a bit surprised the ACA put Karat on the list. Personally, I’d shy away from lavishing their party chief with praise, considering the chaos they’re fomenting.

    Also, how is Chris Hill keeping anything on track? Isn’t the disablement many months behind schedule?

    I went with Basha, because he’s taking concrete action, rather than just talking about how he will— some others on this list have as well, but I think his example, as an official from one of the poorest countries on the planet, stands out more.

  4. Jeff A (History)

    Results as of 9AM this morning are:
    33%- Christopher Hill.
    20%- George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry, and Sam Nunn.
    13%- The Scottish Parliament.
    8%- Peter Visclosky and David Hobson
    7%- Jonas Gahr Støre.
    6%- Jan Neoral.
    5%- Phil Goff.
    3%- Lulzim Basha.
    3%- Other (UNMOVIC, Douglas Roche, David Petraeus).
    2%- Margaret Beckett.
    2%- Prakash Karat.

    Total votes: 106

    Keep spreading the word.

  5. PC (History)

    “Considering the extremely violent Naxalist insurgency in India — Naxalists are closest to the Maoists in Nepal or the old school Marxist-Leninist insurgents from the Cold War, and supported by the Communist Party — I’m a bit surprised the ACA put Karat on the list. Personally, I’d shy away from lavishing their party chief with praise, considering the chaos they’re fomenting.”

    Oh, we’re well aware that Karat is doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons. It is a kind of a bitter irony that we’d be grateful to the Indian communist parties for their role throwing salt on this deal—but, politics and bedfellows and all that.

    Apparently, that irony is not lost on the Indian Express :

    “NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 20: This one may make CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat go red in the face.

    A well-known nuclear non-proliferation lobby group from no place else than the United States of America has named him and his Left allies as one of the top 10 contenders for its showpiece award based on an online poll: the Arms Control Person of the Year. His achievement: putting the brakes on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

    It’s another matter that the Washington-based Arms Control Association (ACA) is against the nuclear deal for reasons exactly opposite to those of Karat, arguing that it violates non-proliferation goals by letting India retain its weapons programme.”

  6. Mark Gubrud

    For actually accomplishing something, Chris Hill gets my vote.

    The thought of Henry Kissinger receiving another peace prize is too much.

  7. mark F (History)

    I sent a link to Canadian Broadcasting corp, “the Current” I hope they mention this.

  8. Key B.

    As someone who has worked with Rep. Hobson and his staff, I would suggest a vote for him, although his staff does not agree with his voting record on non-proliferation issues, especially his Defense staff member.

  9. Robot Economist (History)

    Since someone nominated David Patraeus for arms control person of the year, I think it is only fair to nominate him for “Mother of the Year” and “Australian of the Year” as well.

  10. Karl Schenzig (History)

    Dear Mr. Lewis,

    Forgive me for being sceptical, but I do not think that Shultz et al actually catalysed anything concrete. I would be glad if you proved me wrong.

    Dear Robot Economist,

    I do not know who nominated David Petraeus (notice the spelling), but perhaps they meant that he has as little to do with arms control as Indian politicking. This would be a point of view with which I sympathise.

  11. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    Flipping over the archives of this website, it is clear that the contributors to this website have spent considerable amounts of time and effort in making this an authoritative, quality source of public information.

    Many of the discussions here probably meet or exceed the quality of discourse by all but the best IC using non-public information. Except everything here is pretty much based on public information.

    An honorable mention for for the ‘Arms Control Person of the Year’ award would certainly be in order.

    I already voted for Chris Hill, would someone care to nominate this site for the prize?

  12. Jeffrey (History)

    I didn’t say Shultz et al “catalyzed” anything.

    That is a quoted passage.

    I voted for Hill.

  13. FOARP (History)

    Go Curveball!