PRIO Director's Speculations 2002

PRIO Director Stein Tønnesson’s tip this year is that the prize will be awarded to two Americans, Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn. Through their initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme, the two have been spearheads in securing American support for dismantling nuclear missiles, submarines and securing fissile material (as well as other reductions in chemical and biological weapons, and other WMD) in ex-soviet states. Lugar and Nunn have been nominated three years in a row.

These are of course speculations, but that said, a prize for the republican Senator Richard Lugar and the retired democratic Senator Sam Nunn would not come as a surprise.

The main leads in this direction are as follows:

  • The prize would represent a combined focus on environmental and security issues
  • The prize would support efforts that are indirectly anti-terrorist; limiting the supply of uranium available for the illegal trade and the potential for producing "dirty" bombs that could fall into the hands of terrorist organisations
  • The prize could not be accused of being anti-American, but Richard Lugar has been one of the architects behind a proposal to the Senate to ensure that all diplomatic efforts must be exhausted before the USA considers an attack on Iraq, as well as restricting the targets of a possible bombing. Lugar may thus be a moderating factor in American foreign policy, as well as a man of increasing influence since he may be the next Chair of the foreign relations committee of the Senate
  • The prize would also have a regional touch relevant to the Nobel Committee as much of the problem of ex-Soviet nuclear arms is located in the Kola peninsula close to the Norwegian border
  • The CTR programme represents an important task in the struggle for future peace – reducing possibilities that nuclear arms may fall into the hands of terrorists - and also prevents situations where nuclear scientists may be te tempted to work for terrorist organisations

Other possible candidates for the prize:

  • Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
  • Patriarch Bartholomew (an Ecumenical religious leader with strong environmental views – also known as "the Green Patriarch")
  • Bono, rock star of Irish band U2 and year-long activist for human rights and debt/poverty relief

Stein Tønnesson’s personal preference would be the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who is representing the most promising Muslim democratisation from within.