Home Uncategorized Mark Rutte moves from leading Netherlands to heading Nato

Mark Rutte moves from leading Netherlands to heading Nato


Mark Rutte, the long-serving Dutch PM, was formally named the new secretary general of Nato on Wednesday, putting an experienced, strongly pro-Ukraine leader with a reputation for conciliation at the head of the alliance. Rutte, 57, will take over from Jens Stoltenberg on Oct 1, at a difficult time for Nato in the face of Russia’s war against Ukraine and in the midst of a tight race for the US presidency that could bring Donald Trump, who disparages the alliance, back into power.
The decision, sealed by Nato ambassadors during a meeting at the 32-nation alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, removes a potentially contentious issue from the alliance’s 75th anniversary meeting next month in Washington. US Prez Biden and his Nato counterparts will formally welcome Rutte to their table at a summit, which begins on July 9.
Long a favourite of Biden for the post, Rutte served as the Dutch PM four times, for nearly 14 years, building complicated coalitions through debate and compromise. Those skills should serve him well in an alliance that works by consensus, where one country can block the intentions of the rest.
Rutte turned down Biden’s request that he seek the Nato job at least once before, forcing the alliance to extend Stoltenberg’s term for an extra year.
Now serving as a caretaker PM before a new Dutch government is sworn in, Rutte is known as a hard worker but an affable boss. A man of habit, the son of a car dealer, he has lived in the same modest house, with the same furniture, for the past 30 years. Every summer, he rents the same house with family members and spends a few days each year in New York with the same friend, staying in the same modest hotel in Chinatown, wrote Caroline de Gruyter, Europe correspondent for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, in Foreign Policy.
He is also known for riding his bicycle to work, a habit that will have to change because his new job will require him to endure significantly enhanced security wherever he goes. He will also have to drop the weekly social studies class he has taught for years at a high school in The Hague.
Rutte will take over with Nato struggling to find a way to reassure Ukraine of its long-term commitment to its security at a time when the country is facing increased Russian pressure after more than two years of war. Allies are also concerned that Trump, who has been openly hostile to Nato and some of its leaders, could win back the presidency, although Rutte got along well with Trump when he was in office.
In Feb, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Rutte told Europeans to “stop moaning and whining and nagging about Trump,” and instead act in their own interests by beefing up their militaries and producing more ammunition for Ukraine. Americans will decide the next president, he said, adding: “I’m not an American, I cannot vote in the US. We have to work with whoever is on the dance floor.”
Rutte’s view of the Kremlin was deeply affected by the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, with 196 Dutch people among the 298 people killed by a Russian antiaircraft missile that had been provided to separatist forces by the Russian military. In Sept 2022, Rutte told the UN of Prez Putin: “He won’t stop at Ukraine if we don’t stop him now. This war is bigger than Ukraine itself. It’s about upholding the international rule of law.” He has described Putin as “coldhearted, brutal, merciless.” Under Rutte, the Netherlands has increased military spending to over 2% of GDP demanded of Nato members, and it has provided F-16s, artillery, drones and ammunition to Kyiv while investing more in its own military. nyt

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