Mark Rutte to Lead NATO as Next Secretary-General: Allies’ Decision

NATO Allies Unite: Mark Rutte Chosen as Next Secretary General

Nato’s 32 states picked outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the alliance’s next leader on Wednesday, putting him in charge at a critical time with Russia on the march in Ukraine and US elections approaching.

Rutte will succeed Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on October 1, after major states, led by the United States, agreed on his selection ahead of a Nato leaders’ summit in Washington next month.

“Mark is a strong leader, a true transatlanticist, and a consensus-builder” Stoltenberg posted on social media following the approval of the appointment by NATO ambassadors.

“I know I am leaving Nato in good hands” he stated.

After Stoltenberg’s ten years leading NATO come to an end, Rutte called it a “tremendous honour” to succeed him.

“The foundation of our collective security has been and will continue to be the alliance. I accept great responsibility for leading this organization,” he wrote on social media.

The experienced Dutch leader, whose 14-year term as head of state of the Netherlands is about to expire in a few weeks, is seen as a reliable hand that can guide NATO through difficult times.

Leaders of the 75-year partnership hailed his appointment, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz calling it “a good choice for freedom and security” and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak among them.

US President Joe Biden according to the White House, thought Rutte will make an excellent secretary general.

Rutte must deal with the threat posed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin in addition to the prospect of former US president Donald Trump, who has long criticized the alliance, making a comeback to the White House. Rutte is 57 years old.

Following the fall of his Dutch coalition government last year Rutte staked a claim for the NATO position and had to use all of his diplomatic abilities to win over reluctant allies Turkey and Hungary.

He finally clinched the race last week when his sole challenger, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, dropped out.

Back Ukraine, tame Trump?

A staunch supporter of Ukraine, the straight-talking Dutchman has spearheaded a push to give Kyiv F-16 fighter jets to help beat back Russia’s invasion.

As Nato chief, he will play a key role in marshalling allies to keep backing the war-torn country — while treading a fine line over Kyiv’s push to join the alliance.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, posted on social media, saying, “We anticipate that our joint work to ensure the protection of people and freedom throughout our entire Euro-Atlantic community will continue at good pace.”

The assault on Ukraine by the Kremlin in 2022 has reenergized an alliance that frequently found itself lacking direction following the end of the Cold War and forced European countries to raise their defence budgets.

Now that Moscow may pose a threat for years to come, Rutte will need to make sure NATO is prepared to handle it and closely monitor China’s increasing power.

The hardest test, though, would be maintaining the coalition in the event that Trump wins the president again.

During his first administration, Trump reportedly considered leaving NATO as a military powerhouse, but Rutte and other leaders dissuaded him.

This time around, while running for office, the volatile former reality TV star alarmed allies by declaring that he would support Moscow in attacking nations who do not pay enough on defence.

Crucial elections are approaching in other important nations like France, so political unrest is not limited to the United States.

NATO Allies Unite

As the leader of NATO during its most significant decade since the end of the Cold War Stoltenberg will be a model for Rutte.

The unflappable former prime minister of Norway received praise for keeping NATO strong and united during a turbulent time.

As it struggled for two years to find a replacement for Stoltenberg, NATO was forced to twice prolong his tenure. Initially many countries had hoped to designate a woman and someone from Eastern Europe to take over.

Since the alliance was established in the wake of World War II, Rutte will be the fourth Dutchman to lead it in a confrontation with the

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