Friday, 13 March 2009

New NATO Secretary General Part III

It seems that Turkey is expressing ever stronger opposition to the candidacy of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen for the job of NATO Secretary General. In particular, they object to his handling of the Danish cartoons crisis in 2005, but also because Denmark allows the Kurdish PKK to operate from their soil. The PKK has been fighting Turkey for decades, and their radio station broadcasts from Denmark. The Obama administration has signalled publicly that it has not yet made a decision, a blow to Rasmussen's supporters, but also to those of Canadian Defence Minister Peter Mackay who was thought to have US support. The International Herald Tribune has a good article on this. Der Spiegel has a good take on it too.

What is certain is that with NATO operating in Afghanistan, and running the Mediterranean Dialogue with numerous Muslim countries, whoever is the new NATO Secretary General needs to be well regarded in the Muslim world, a well as within the Alliance.

Other names newly mentioned in the past day or so include Czech deputy Prime Minister Alex Vondra (although the angry outbursts about President Obama's scepticism on missile defence deployments to Europe won't help his chances); and former Bulgarian foreign minister Solomon Passy (who is something of an outsider). Watch this space.

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