Is NATO’s Chief An I-Speak-Your-Weight Machine?

Christopher Lee - photo (1)

30th October 2015

London

Listening to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg being interviewed on BFBS’s Sitrep analysis programme it is clear that he may as well have sent his PR man.  Stoltenberg had nothing he could say.

James Hirst the interviewer asked Stoltenberg how was it that President Putin took no notice at all when Stoltenberg gave one of his regular speeches telling Russia to get out of Crimea, out of Ukraine and nowadays, out of Syria. Stoltenberg said NATO’s job was to defend Alliance members.  We could have got that off his answer phone.

Hirst, a good journalist, pushed him and kept asking the same question.  Stoltenberg as an ex-Norwegian Prime Minister knew all he had to do was sit out the interview.

The result? A clear reminder that NATO is not willing to do anything about anything when it comes to Putin and that above all Putin knows this.

There would never be an East-West confrontation over Crimea, Ukraine and Syria.  Also it is unlikely that Putin would have gone into (or sent people into) Ukraine if that place had been a NATO member.  What is disappointing is the inability of a Secretary General to forget the I-Speak-Your-Weight-Machine answer to a very important question.

How about an answer that discussed the very question and the dilemma? How about something along the lines of a teach-in on the practicalities of a Secretary General being a ring master of 28 member states and a person trusted to say nothing that US President Obama has not already said.

Instead the Secretary General gives the impression that he is just a mouthpiece.

In the present case what a pity the talking cannot be left to the deputy Secretary General Sandy Vershbow.  Here is a recent US Ambassador to Moscow (and North Korea) plus a former Washington hand responsible for international security.  Vershbow is cool.  He talks with experience and wisdom of having walked the defence and security bazaars for a decade or two whereas Stoltenberg’s subject is climate change and got to Brussels because he was no longer currency as PM in Norway.

After that Sitrep interview (@bfbsSitrep.com) and in these times it is pretty clear that NATO needs more Vershbows and fewer Stoltenbergs. Maybe someone would put up a Jo Luns Memorial Award to grade how the job should be done.

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