Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

A New Wartime NATO Chief In July?

by Oui Mon Apr 17th, 2023 at 10:56:31 AM EST

Candidates need to be approved by the White House and will not be a U.S. citizen ... no name will officially be put forward as all the discussion, evaluation and lobbying will be behind the curtains of diplomacy until a clear candidate floats on top to be the lead contender.

NATO is well entrenched in hawkish policy, a European land war that will endure, don't do diplomacy or takes initiatives to a ceasefire or peaceful settlement. All eyes are set on deployment towards Indo-Pacific to confront a growing power of China and the need for posturing in defense of China's province Taiwan.

Public opinion is formed by manipulation and war propaganda, si skills need to be broad and a career of experience. So the European foreign ministers or country leaders will be watched as candidates. Easy entry to the White House and Joe Biden will be imperative, as is leadership in partnership on military investment and activity.

I am watching VDL and Mark Rutte for their candidacy ... both have turned quite hawkish pro-NATO where their difference lies in loyalty to the EU. Rutte is more a Atlanticist pro policy as represented by Boris and Donald. This means larger states from the Franco-German-Italian axis will not support Rutte. For New Europe states their preference will be a NATO chief from their group of nations, strong opinion anti-Russia. However, NATO has become more of a global player and not focused on Europe and Russia alone. Chance for Rutte to get support from the Eastern front.

Game is on ...

Well, this was a false start as no one was willing to replace Stoltenberg during a war with Russia. Even today there is an option for another year delay ...

A wartime NATO struggles to replace its chief | Politico |

The job is suddenly politically sensitive and high-profile, driving people to float names like Ursula von der Leyen that are unlikely -- for now.

It's the rumor inflating the Brussels bubble: The EU's top executive, Ursula von der Leyen, could be crossing town to run NATO. 

The rationale makes sense. She has a good working relationship with Washington. She is a former defense minister. And as European Commission president, she has experience working with most NATO heads of government. Plus, if chosen, she would become the alliance's first-ever female leader. 

The conversation has crested in recent weeks, as people eye current NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's pending exit at the end of September.

Yet according to those inside NATO and at the Commission, the murmurings are more wish-casting than hints of a pending job switch. There is no evidence von der Leyen is interested in the role, and those in Brussels don't expect her to quit before her first presidential term ends in 2024.

The chatter is similar to the rumblings around Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a long-serving leader who checks every box but insists he doesn't want the job. [denial or shrugging shoulders is a requisite for wanting the job]

The (very) short list

From the German government's perspective, keeping von der Leyen at the helm of the Commission might also be a bigger priority than NATO -- even if she comes from the current center-right opposition. The EU executive is arguably more powerful than the NATO chief within Europe, pushing policies that affect nearly every corner of life.  

Predictably, the Commission is officially dismissive of any speculation.

The Netherlands is also relatively muscular on defense -- it has been one of Europe's largest donors to Ukraine -- but not quite as hawkish as countries on the eastern flank. 

"Rutte's name keeps popping up," said the second senior European diplomat, "but no movement on this beyond gossip." 

[Searching for a war hawk fitting new NATO policy?]

Others occasionally mentioned as possible candidates are Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and to a lesser extent British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová. 

But despite the gossip, officials acknowledge many of these names are not politically feasible at this stage. 


Most unlikely person for the job may well get the position when strong-armed by the [CIA] White House of course former Polish FM Radek Sikorski. Great positive for Joe he can talk directly to Anne to convey his message. 😂 🇺🇸 🇵🇱 🇬🇧 Sikorski was  CIA agent from his time as "reporter" in 1980s and British citizenship. This call will certainly antagonize our enemy Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov. No diplomacy guaranteed.

In the past 18 months, Dutch PM Rutte has been a frontrunner in support of NATO aggressive policy and has been prolific as partner in hybrid warfare against the Russian threat  for over a decade. See my writings about Nine Eyes, NSA, GCHQ, AIVD, MIVD, Cozy Bear, Mossad ...

Evidence Rutte can work across party lines [from rightwing to extreme rightwing 😡] with Democrats and Republicans, well established pro-Zionist support for Israeli politics ... ticking all the boxes.

The Dutch already got an incentive bonus from NATO ...

NATO Innovation Fund to Establish its Headquarters in the Netherlands

News item | 20-03-2023 | 19:30

The headquarters of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) will be located in the Netherlands, the NIF has announced today. The NIF is one of NATO's initiatives to drive innovation within the alliance. The Netherlands had proposed within NATO that the offices for the fund be established in the Netherlands. That was a close collaboration between the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), Techleap.nl and the Ministry of Defence. The NIF will be officially launched during the NATO summit in Vilnius in July this year.

How VDL has positioned her speeches to conform to NATO war representative, not a leader of the economic bloc of nations, the EU-27. Protecting EU economic interests ... NOT ⁉️

VDL Twitter shows a busy schedule ...

    In today's meetings I highlighted the need to address imbalances and risks stemming from dependencies and export of sensitive tech, as well as our vigilance on China's actions on Ukraine.

    I stressed our concerns on human rights

EU Commission not speaking with one voice ...

From my recent diary ...

  • Macron Is Proven Right: NATO Is Brain Dead!!
  • However Germans's legacy of pacifist policy post WWII will hamper her to get support.

    Germany's foreign minister said there are several reasons why isolating Russia might not be a good idea, speaking after meeting with his Polish counterpart. The two discussed the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline at length.

    For over a century the Netherlands was known for its pacifism, anti-war and human rights stance. Carnegie build and funded the Peace Palace in The Hague, location of the UN International. Court of Justice (ICJ) and the troubled International Criminal Court (ICC) for war criminals by exception for Americans and Israelis.

    Miss Jane Addams of Chicago leads party of 39 women to attend peace meeting in The Hague - 1915

    In 1883, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that Aletta Jacobs was not permitted to vote because she was a woman.

    Translated from German by Google:

    Against the War: Courageous pacifists middle of a war frenzy

    Amazing and very courageous women, read the article!

    How that changed in the 21st century and especially today when everyone is seen coming from Mars, not Venus. Welcome to life after 1984.

    🇬🇧 HMS Defender and 🇾🇪 MS Evertsen #WeAreNato sailing for Crimea | Sept. 17, 2021 |

    Dutch Strategic power in well known old-colonial seas off Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan.

    Related reading ...

    International Coalition to Defeat [Progressive Left and Social] Democrats in 2016 | July 8, 2018 |

    "state-controlled" Politico.eu.com | Criminal [?] complaint adds to Ursula von der Leyen's Pfizer text woes, 18 Apr Fran Memorial
    pressure is mounting to reveal the extent of her personal role in the deal, which has left countries on the hook for millions of unneeded doses at a time when her name is increasingly being bandied about as a candidate for a second term [!] as Commission President
    and first term as NATO secretary general!
    what exactly was said in messages exchanged between von der Leyen and Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the run up to a massive deal for up to 1.84.6 billion doses of BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the spring of 2021 [alone].
    In the US "legal jeopardy" does not mean what you think it means in Belgium.
    Legal jeopardy

    First reported by Belgian outlet Le Vif, [Belgian lobbyist Frédéric] Baldan filed a criminal complaint [case number?] in Belgium against von der Leyen on April 5 with a judge at the at Court of First Instance in Liège[, BE, city of].

    The filing comes in the wake of a case brought by the New York Times against the European Commission in the European Court of Justice over access [read: public record disclosure, ie FIOA] to the texts, which itself follows a finding of maladministration [citation?] against the institution [personal or EC capacity?] from the European Ombudsman for failure to search for the messages in response to a [EU or BE?] freedom of information request.

    subtract 10 more pts
    "My first reaction—without, again, having read the briefs—is that this legal action is almost a provocation attempt at raising the visibility around the inability of the Commission to respond to the European ombudsman claims, and to add up to the pressure that the New York Times legal action brought before court," [HEC Paris EU law prof Alberto] Alemanno said.
    The lawyer that represents him [Baldan], Diane Protat, also represents a vaccine-skeptical French organization called BonSens, which has previously lobbied against the COVID-19 response. BonSens says it has also  in the U.S. [nope] and France, the former to obtain the  text messages compel NIH response to FIOA
    Stevi and The New York Times v Commission, ECJ case T-36/23
    Informed Consent Action Network [ICAN] v. FDA (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 28, 2022) disposition
    ICAN v. NIH (D.D.C. April 4, 2023), complaint, In Re application (14.12.22), docket
    and the latter aiming to nullify the COVID vaccine contracts between the EU and Pfizer.
    Cour administrative d'appel de Paris - 4ème chambre, Decide/(US-Eng.) judgment (27.01.23)
    fat chance. trim another 10 pts.
    The EU's budget watchdog, the European Court of Auditors, also ran up against a wall of silence when it tried to learn more about the negotiations.
    European Court of Auditors (ECA) Special Report 19 (06.07.22)
    Prosecutor confirms probe into Europe's COVID-19 vaccine purchasing (17.10.22)
    ECA | Special report 19/2022 UPDATE (09.12.22)
    But one institution investigating the contracts could, in theory, force the Commission President's hand. The European Public Prosecutor's Office -- whose role is to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment "crimes against the financial interests of the EU" -- has an open investigation into the EU's vaccine purchases. It hasn't said if von der Leyen is being investigated, but given that EPPO cited the "extremely high public interest" in its announcement, it wouldn't be surprising if it was looking into the high profile case.
    archived phmpt.org Jan 8th, 2022
    by Cat on Wed Apr 19th, 2023 at 09:36:34 PM EST
    Nothing here to see ...

    Biden v. Macron

    The White House said in a statement that the two leaders "discussed President Macron's recent travel to the People's Republic of China and their ongoing efforts to advance prosperity, security, shared values, and the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Biden v. VDL

    Also on Thursday, Biden separately spoke with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. A White House statement said of the phone call: "The two leaders discussed President von der Leyen's recent trip to Beijing and their shared commitment to upholding the rules-based international order, human rights, and fair trade practices."

    Ursula von der Leyen Might Be Too Pro-American for Europe | FT |

    The president of the European Commission has Washington's back on China--but does she have Europe's?

    'Sapere aude'

    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 05:46:27 AM EST
    It's truly time to move on Jens ... Europe can't stand more damage to its soul and future

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 01:11:58 PM EST
    ... for repentance perhaps you could support Norway to renounce nuclear weapons.

    More and more countries support the ban on nuclear weapons #TPNW, new report shows. Norway is among the minority who doubt the possibility of deterring other countries with the use of weapons of mass destruction. @BanMonitor @ Norwegian People's Aid @ Labor Party @ Department of Foreign Affairs

    'Sapere aude'

    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 01:13:34 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    ... or serve in Norway's Human Rights for Palestine NGO in Gaza or OpT ... experience destruction first hand.

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 01:36:48 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    When I think about Norway, I think about fellow blogger ask here @ET and @BooMan

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 01:42:56 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 01:58:28 PM EST
    Even after 20 years, you'll find career opportunities in Iraq ...

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 01:59:52 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 02:04:48 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Nevertheless, your failures may give China an opportunity to broker deals to restore ties in the Middle East for Iranians, Syrians, Iraqis and Palestinians.

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 02:03:37 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Jens you are not expendable ... many other fools in Europe looking for a career opportunity in Brussels ... NATO or EU.

    Throwing good money at a bad cause ...

    Progress in Ukraine is measured in US dollars -- $55bn -- Worth of Support

    'Sapere aude'

    by Oui (Oui) on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 02:10:07 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    EU-Ukraine "aid" to date €150B (USD 136B)
    US-Ukraine "aid" to date $113B

    2022 "growth": USD 249B compared to GDP years 1988-2021

    That don't even include serial IMF loans since 2013!

    Yet Zelensk* plans to meet or exceed Stoltenberg 2% GDP dues to NATO "guarantees"? + USD 750B "reconstruction" finance + EU budget "accession"? y'all tripping over body count, rapes, mass grave site, decapitations, torture testimony, child abduction, Russian asset forfeiture, and "ecocide" contributions to Special Tribunal War Crime accountability prepared by Bellingcat "investigators".

    Ukraine Pitches High Returns in Wartime Fire Sale of State Firms, 20 Apr

    "Most of the investors I have spoken to -- these are corporate and institutional investors -- have said that, for them, Ukraine's market isn't attractive at all," he said. "But from the point of view of justice, of the desire to support Ukraine, that's it."
    Tiniest marachi seranade evah
    by Cat on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 at 05:36:20 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    SIPRI | World military expenditure reaches new record high as European spending surges, 24 Apr illustrated Fact Sheet

    Invasion of Ukraine and tensions in East Asia drive increased spending
    World military spending grew for the eighth consecutive year in 2022 to an all-time high of $2,240 billion. By far the sharpest rise in spending (+13 per cent) was seen in Europe and was largely accounted for by Russian and Ukrainian spending. However, military aid to Ukraine and concerns about a heightened threat from Russia strongly influenced many other states' spending decisions, as did tensions in East Asia.
    Cold war levels of military expenditure return to Central and Western Europe
    Military expenditure by states in Central and Western Europe totalled $345 billion [?!] in 2022. In real terms, spending by these states for the first time surpassed that in 1989, as the cold war was ending, and was 30 per cent higher than in 2013. Several states significantly increased their military spending following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, while others announced plans to raise spending levels over periods of up to a decade.

    archived post-Cold War era definitively over
    Some of the sharpest increases were seen in Finland (+36 per cent), Lithuania (+27 per cent), Sweden (+12 per cent), and Poland (+11 per cent).

    'While the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 certainly affected military spending decisions in 2022, concerns about Russian [and China] aggression have been building for much longer,' said Lorenzo Scarazzato, Researcher with SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

    english.elpais  | Ukrainian General Sergei Melnik: 'Only the Russians can change Russia. That's when the war ends', 24 Apr
    Russia has built [captured] 500 miles of [Ukraine ATO trench] fortifications since last summer to protect the ["temporarily occupied" Donbas] territories it occupied in the invasion. Melnik estimates that the superiority of [Uktraine] fire and troops that will be needed to break through these Russian defenses is four to six times that of the enemy's. This data confirms the titanic challenge facing Ukrainian troops, [but] military theory indicates that for an attacking army to succeed, it must have at least a three-to-one superiority over the defending  army.
    He admits that Ukraine needs more troops, but not only men, also ammunition for artillery and tanks. But soldiers on the front lines need more frequent rotations in the face of an enemy that has more resources: "The problem is that we will never have enough people and equipment. Because those who are professional soldiers, hardened in patriotism, are already exhausted, injured or recovering. Or they have died. That's why we invite people with no military experience and train them." In Ukraine there is a growing chorus of voices warning that a draft could take place, ending the current ["]voluntary recruitment["]. But Melnik rejects the idea: "There is always a shortage of men, but we are not Russia, which carries out covert mobilizations."

    Melnik is convinced that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have enough weapons to coordinate the spring attack, but concedes that the more modern weapons they receive from their international allies, the better.

    elpais | El general ucranio Serguéi Melnik: "Solo los rusos pueden cambiar Rusia. Será entonces cuando termine la guerra"
    "Serguéi Melnik (Vinnitsia, Ucrania, 45 años) es el paradigma de la generación de hombres entre los 40 y 50 años que está liderando la defensa de Ucrania..."
    by Cat on Mon Apr 24th, 2023 at 09:36:51 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

    'Sapere aude'
    by Oui (Oui) on Sun Apr 23rd, 2023 at 07:27:39 PM EST

    Ukraine will struggle to win the war and Russia will struggle to lose, increasing pressure for a negotiated solution

    'Sapere aude'

    by Oui (Oui) on Sun Apr 23rd, 2023 at 07:28:53 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by Cat on Tue Apr 25th, 2023 at 01:42:22 PM EST
    H.Res.322 - Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on Ukrainian victory., Rep. Wilson, Joe [R-SC-2] (Introduced 04/25/2023)
    (2) holds that the peace brought by Ukrainian victory must be secured by integrating Ukraine into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other [e]uro[-A]tlantic institutions, as consistent with longstanding United States policy, including the explicit statement in the 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration, "NATO welcomes Ukraine's and Georgia's [e]uro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO."; and
    See? Nothing unexpected in this week's road rage manifesto except this part:
    (3)(B) the global community helps to rebuild Ukraine;
    That thar needs a UNGA-condemning-Russia resolution citation and more meme stocks or "multilateral institution" USD-denominated loan origination, possibly both.

    yahoo! WH Press Club correspondent diner | Senators join House lawmakers in pushing for bold Ukraine victory resolution

    "We must not repeat the error of Sept. 1, 1939," the resolution's chief sponsor, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., told Yahoo News, refer[ring to] Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland [26.04.23], which followed desperate efforts to appease NAZI Germany and prevent a second world war.
    On Tuesday evening, the Senate followed with a bipartisan victory resolution of its own, introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island [cradle of colonial American navy "whistleblowers"], both of whom are Democrats, and Sen. Lindsey Graham Cracker of South Carolina, a Republican.
    S.Res.172 - A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on Ukrainian victory.
    "Ukraine will win the war -- and win the peace -- if America continues its steadfast support, as this resolution strongly states," Blumenthal said in a statement forwarded by his press secretary. "To our NATO allies as well as Ukraine, our message must be that we'll have your back in this fight for freedom and democracy -- yours and ours together."

    The resolution requires passage from the full [US Senate] chamber, where support for Ukraine has generally been stronger than in the House [?!], which is controlled by Republicans. Its introduction comes at a time when both Ukraine and Russia have struggled to break through a months-long stalemate marked by brutal fighting around the city of Bakhmut [25.04.23, L. Johson, VIPS].

    Your guide to the 2023 White House Correspondents' dinner week parties and events, 24 Apr
    by Cat on Wed Apr 26th, 2023 at 06:04:11 PM EST
    by Cat on Thu Apr 27th, 2023 at 03:12:23 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Biden vows to fight for Americans 'wrongly detained' abroad at correspondents' dinner, 29 Apr
    COVID-19 free Fourth Estate at the Washington Hilton
    "Jill, Kamala, Doug, and I, and members of our administration, are here to send a message to the country and quite frankly to the world -- a free press is a pillar, maybe the pillar, of a free society, not the enemy," Biden said.
    [Evan] Gershkovich was arrested late last month by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on espionage charges, which both the Journal and the White House have rejected. Secretary of State Antony Blinken officially designated the reporter as "wrongfully detained" earlier this month.

    Biden also vowed to "keep the faith" for journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped while reporting in Syria in 2012.

    "Journalism is not crime," Biden said. "Evan and Austin should be released immediately, along with every American held hostage or wrongly detained abroad."

    except Britain
    by Cat on Sun Apr 30th, 2023 at 01:12:18 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

    Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]