Jeffrey LewisIAEA DG Horserace

I’ve been struggling to say something witty about the race to succeed Mohamed ElBaradei as IAEA Director-General.

Mark Heinrich at Reuters sums it up pretty well:

The International Atomic Energy Agency failed to agree on a new chief on Friday, with Japanese frontrunner Yukiya Amano falling one vote short of the required two-thirds majority.

He consistently outpolled South Africa’s Abdul Samad Minty in five rounds of voting by the nuclear watchdog’s board of governors. But neither was seen as broad-based enough to replace Mohamed ElBaradei, who steps down in November after 12 years.

So, instead, I just made baseball cards for the candidates. Enjoy


  1. Smith (History)

    I demand you add appropriate superpowers to those cards.

  2. Jodi (History)

    VERY cute Jeffrey. I will ignore the fact that you left out Luis Echevvaria and my friend Vilmos Czerveny…

  3. Jodi (History)

    Oops! My bad. You got Luis.

  4. MWG

    Ernesto Zedillo has also been mentioned. He chaired ElBaradei’s Commission of Eminent Persons, which proposed an expansive vision of the IAEA’s future role.

  5. peter zimmerman (History)

    Pierre Goldschmidt has also been mentioned.

  6. Allen Thomson (History)

    OK, so why Suomi but not Magyar or España or 日本 ?

  7. Bug

    wow Tibor looks pretty hot in that picture. Pink tie is a nice touch.

  8. Tosk59 (History)

    What I find funniest is that “Washington and western countries” have complained that the IAEA has been politicized…

  9. V.S. (History)

    I say we need a man with even more experience…

    From a developing country preferably…

    A country however with a substantial nuclear infrastucture…

    And a Ph.D. wouldn’t hurt…

    Of course having a clean criminal record is a must, but that means that you have no conviction, in our case maybe even to not ever have been officially prosecuted about anything…



    Abdul Kadeer Khan!!!!

  10. Andy (History)


    If you’re going to use baseball cards, we need to see the backs to compare stats.

  11. A Finn

    Why is that every other candidate has his nationality expressed in english form except Mr. Heinonen has it in his native tongue? Is it subtle criticism of the typical finnish man’s not-so-fluent grasp of the english language?

    Not that I’d disagree with that; me too have trouble understanding what our politicians are saying when they talk english.

  12. Andreas Persbo

    My heart is with Heinonen (he is a fellow Scandinavian after all), but he’s said that he’s not interested in running, so my money is on Skocknic. Although Chileans beware, there are some here in Europe that doesn’t think he’s seasoned enough!

  13. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Finland v. Suomi

    When I was a kid, I always noticed that baseball cards were seldom uniform. I was always puzzled by the inconsistencies in abbreviation, color, etc.

    So, I thought that the cards needed that, too.

    I could have picked Magyar instead of Hungary, but I just liked Suomi.

    Plus, a friend of mine dated a Fin for a long time and he has a SUOMI t-shirt.

    So, I don’t know, it just amused me.

    No dig intended at Olli Heinonen; And yes, it seems the smart money is on Skoknic.

  14. Andreas Persbo

    Interesting speculation about NEA by the way. There are some interesting interplays between the OECD/NEA and the IAEA. But I do wonder if the BoG would like someone coming in from Paris.

  15. Andreas Persbo

    By the way. I opened a poll on the VIC blog page. Vote for your favourite! (just click my name to get there)

  16. Allen Thomson (History)

    > me too have trouble understanding what our politicians are saying when they talk english.

    Don’t feel bad. I’m American and I have trouble understanding what our politicians are saying when they talk english.

  17. Hairs (History)

    I also laughed at VS’s comment – but seriously folks, it’s really worth a few seconds’ consideration! Perhaps more than anyone else Dr. Khan would know the darker back-alleys of Proliferation-ville.

    Poacher turned gamekeeper – why not? If the UN could accept Sudan sitting with the Human Rights Commission then it shouldn’t have too much trouble putting Dr. Khan in charge of the IAEA. At least when nations refuse to answer questions from the IAEA, Dr. Khan could provide some of the answers himself! In these days of economic constraint just think of the man-hours and flights that could be saved… 🙂

  18. Robot Economist (History)

    This is probably the only time you see a Brazilian pulling for an Argentinean, but Rogelio Pfirter runs a tight ship at the OPCW. The IAEA could use a healthy dose of that over the next few years.

  19. V.S. (History)

    On the “Finland vs. Suomi” and “Hungary vs. Magyar” discussion.

    Add also “Japan vs Nippon” and “IAEA vs. UN watchdog”.

    For the first one (names of countries) I have no preference. But I’m sick and tired of the term “UN watchdog”!

    Again, who came up with this term in the first place?

    And how should we call NATO then?
    “UN bad dog”
    Or UN’s World Food Program (WFP)?
    “UN hotdog” maybe…


  20. V.S. (History)

    And finally…

    Since we are talking details.

    Watch out for fake cards!

    If you observe closely in Minty’s card his current position with the Board of Governors is marked as “BOG” (all letters capitalized) while in the authentic cards it should be written “BoG” (the “o” in lower case) as you can see in Amano’s and Skoknic’s cards.

    And of course you know that BOG in russian means GOD, which clearly indicates that the fake cards are made and then circulated by a “far out” splinter sect of a religious cult in one of the Russian speaking countries, which cult professes that in the second coming the Savior will incorporate Himself as the IAEA DG and they clearly state their preference by circulating this seemingly innocent card in an effort to subconciously influence the electorate body.

    Elementary dear Watson!

    Jeffrey, how could you have missed that? Or are you member of the cult yourself?!?… Hmmm.

  21. Alex

    As a Finn, I actually smiled when I saw “Suomi” instead of “Finland”. Go Olli!

  22. Yan

    In my years in this trade I´ve come to believe that the word “politicization”, when used by a western country, is shorthand for “things are not going our way 100% of the time”.

  23. jill (History)

    Pickings getting slim—The deadline to run was midnight Monday April 27. Amano and Minty reentered. Three other candidates became official: Jean-Pol Poncelet, AREVA VP and former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, Spainard, Luis Echavarri who heads up the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD in Paris, and the Slovenian Judge, Ernest Petric, who was an ambassador in Vienna, at least at some point.

  24. Jill (History)

    Pickings getting slim—The deadline to run was midnight Monday April 27, there are now 5 official candidates. Amano, Minty, and Luis Echavarri reentered. The two others are: Jean-Pol Poncelet, AREVA VP and former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and the Slovenian Judge, Ernest Petric, who was an ambassador to Vienna at some point.