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French and Germans Likely to Block British Candidate for NATO Chief

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French and Germans Likely to Block British Candidate for NATO Chief

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.

The UK is lobbying for its defense secretary, Ben Wallace, to become the new head of NATO. An important Western media outlet reported this news recently, pointing out that the British Prime Minister will suggest to the US President that the project be supported. In practice, this would mean new escalations amid the scenario of global tensions, considering the “hardline” that Wallace follows in his work in the UK.

On June 4, The Telegraph reported that Rishi Sunak will speak with Joe Biden on this topic. Both leaders will meet at the White House in the second week of June to discuss matters of relevant interest, such as Ukraine, energy and security. Insiders believe that the possible choice of a new commander for the Atlantic alliance will also be in the talks. In this regard, Sunak plans to use the event to advance the British official’s candidacy and try to garner an American endorsement.

In fact, the subject is not really new. Previously, both Ben Wallace had already admitted interest in the NATO post and Sunak had also shown his endorsement of the plan. In March, the same media outlet had already published an article about Wallace’s personal interest in getting a job at NATO. In May, the secretary of defense emphasized this issue during an interview with the German media, stating: “It’s not for me to decide. It’s for all the other allies [However] I’ve always said it would be a good job. That’s a job I’d like”.

In the same vein, Sunak has repeatedly made clear his personal interest in having a Brit as the organization’s secretary general. In interviews, the British leader emphasized Wallace’s important work to support Kiev, mentioning the aspect as an important quality for the NATO position. Last month, he commented on Wallace’s candidacy in an interview stating: “I know he’s widely respected by his peers for the role that he has played (…) He’s focused right now on supporting Ukraine. He’s doing a great job of that.”

Furthermore, it was said by sources that Sunak would have used the meetings on the margins of the G7 summit to lobby for Wallace with his allies. Apparently, the UK’s concern is that the French and Germans will unite to block a British candidate. The tendency is for both countries to support the next leader coming from the EU, as a European candidate will be able to consider the bloc’s interests more emphatically during the alliance’s decision-making process.

In the current international context, the EU maintains some divergences from the US regarding the bloc’s autonomy in the American liberal unipolar order. Although European countries are absolutely aligned with Washington regarding support for Kiev and the war against Russia, historically, European countries have different interests from the US in some points. French President Emmanuel Macron is the European leader who most echoes these differences, having recently taken attitudes contrary to American interests, mainly with regard to agreements with China and de-dollarization.

On the other hand, London and Washington are strongly integrated, with joint decision-making in practically all strategic sectors. Therefore, Sunak hopes to get Biden’s support for a British candidacy in NATO. Considering that the Atlantic alliance is a kind of international unit at the service of Washington, the support of the American president tends to be decisive.

In practice, a British management of NATO would be disastrous for international geopolitics. London has been at the forefront of major escalations in the Ukrainian conflict, mainly due to Ben Wallace’s bellicose and hardline work. The UK was the first country to send long-range missiles and radioactive depleted uranium weapons to the Kiev regime. Furthermore, Wallace has been the UK’s biggest advocate of an expanded defense budget, having recently demanded an extra package of 11 billion pounds from the government in order to increase military spending.

In fact, if Wallace reaches the post of general secretary of NATO, the tendency is that he will use his position of influence to advance in other countries of the alliance the same projects that he implemented in the UK. Certainly, the level of violence would increase and there would be a greater imbalance in West-Russia relations, increasing the chances of a direct military confrontation in the future.

Sunak and Wallace are not guaranteed to get American support. There are reports that Washington will endorse Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland for the post. Some experts also suggest that Estonia’s prime minister Kaja Kallas is a strong candidate. The important thing, however, is that the new chief should be someone more prudent and supporter of peace and diplomacy, concerned with avoiding an escalation of tensions. Unfortunately, none of these candidates seem to fit these requirements.

You can follow Lucas on Twitter and Telegram.

Source: InfoBrics

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