The Arms Control Association is, again, holding its annual contest for “Arms Control Person of the Year.”
Richard Lugar, as always, has a strong case — but he won last year and it is tough to vote against the 11 year old land-mine victim.
And the nominees are …
Sumiteru Taniguchi and other hibakusha-the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki-for their powerful presence and call to action for world free of nuclear weapons at the 2010 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at UN headquarters in New York. More info.
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) for his courageous and unflinching leadership for prompt Senate approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty despite months of partisan division in the Senate on the treaty. More info.
The leaders of Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe for signing the Kinshasha convention to control the flow of small arms and light weapons in central Africa. More info.
The Utah State Legislature for its unanimous approval of a resolution sponsored by Republican Representative Ryan Wilcox, Democrat Trisha Beck, and Republican Rebecca Edwardscalling for the U.S. Senate to provide its advice and consent for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. More info.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for their leadership efforts to negotiate and sign the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which would reduce each side’s strategic deployed nuclear arsenals by 30% below current limits and reestablish on-site monitoring of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals. More info.
Eleven-year-old Daniel Yuval for turning his landmine injury into a catalyst for change in Israel and becoming an international ambassador for a mine-free world, which requires ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty by key hold-out states, including Israel, the United States, China, India, Russia, and others. More info here and here.
The Nigerian State Security Service for helping to enforce the UN arms embargo on Iran and prevent illicit small arms trafficking by seizing 13 containers aboard an Iranian vessel carrying rockets, mortars, anti-aircraft ammunition, and other munitions and light weaponry. The containers, labeled as “building materials” are believed to have been headed to Gambia, which cut all ties with Iran following the weapons seizure. More info.
Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov, National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Thomas D’Agostino, and their international partners for securing material containing 10 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and three metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, which is enough to make about 775 nuclear weapons. The operation is the largest of its kind and is an example of the international cooperation envisaged by the leaders attending the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. More info here and here.
Writer-Director Lucy Walker and her collaborators on the feature film documentary Countdown to Zero, which raised public awareness and understanding of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons in the 21st century and helped mobilize support for practical steps to reduce those dangers. More info.
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and other members of the coalition government for the October 2010 decision to retire 45 nuclear weapons, thereby reducing the British nuclear arsenal by 25 percent, and to postpone a decision to build a new ballistic missile submarine until 2016. More info.
Click here to vote and enter “2010″ as the password.
Past winners of the “Arms Control Person of the Year” are: Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009), Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry’s Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
There are three reasons that I probably won’t vote to reelect Barack Obama, one of which is the Administration’s position on landmines. Last year, I was torn between Lugar and Patrick Leahy, for his tireless efforts on behalf of landmine victims. Having voted for Lugar last year, and with an 11 year old landmine victim on the ballot in 2010, this isn’t so tough.
I am voting for Daniel Yuval, in the probably futile hope that it will shame the President into doing the right thing.
Not that politicians have shame. But, you know, if they did.