The world can be grateful as this New Year takes flight. While we have seen much conflict in 2013, we have also seen two significant episodes of peace that characterize the hope and goodwill in people. There is always a chance to better ourselves, no matter the weight of our burdens.
The world breathed a collective sigh of relief in 2013 when the Syrian government volunteered to relinquish its large and menacing chemical weapons arsenal. Chemical weapons are like the “poor man’s nukes”. While less expensive, they can still reduce an enemy to a fraction of its former strength. They are disastrous and fearsome. Nevertheless, a horrid feature of war making in the Syrian conflict will soon disappear. Gratitude is deserved by the diplomats who arranged this bargain, and the specialists who must spend 2014 removing the chemical weapons from this volatile region.
The illegal marketing and transfer of conventional arms has spread weapons around the world like a plague. Yet the United Nations has worked hard to enact the Arms Trade Treaty as a screen against the illicit trade and transport of weapons between nations. There is a lot of work left to do in 2014, and member states still have to ratify the ATT, but this is a good step in the right direction. The main idea of this endeavor is that innocent civilians, chiefly women and children, are immediate victims of the illegal transfer of weapons.