A few touches to the portrait of Kersti Kaljulaid
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters is already called a “lame duck”, although the Norwegian will remain the chief official of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for another year. Only next October will a new one be elected, who will become the head of the North Atlantic Council and be responsible for the overall coordination of the alliance’s work.
The changer will have to work in other semantic horizons. For example, “reconcile” France with the United States and Great Britain. Washington and London not only pushed Paris in a submarine deal for Australia, but also agreed with Canberra to create a triple alliance AUKUS bypassing NATO allies. The three of us agreed to be friends against China.
Emmanuel Macron accused Americans of duplicity. France has officially made it clear that a new military alliance should not be built at the expense of NATO resources. French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced a revision in favor of strengthening Europe’s defense of the strategic concept of transatlantic security: “Being allies does not mean [для европейцев] to be hostages of the interests of another country “…
Paris has long spoken about “NATO’s brain death” and is promoting the idea of creating a European army, as Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Clement Bon says, in the interests of “broad strategic military autonomy.” Berlin, tired of American gas cavils, likes the French initiative. Presumably, the Germans will not give up Russian gas under any chancellor, be it the leader of the SPD Olaf Scholz or the head of the CDU / CSU Armin Lashet.
The future head of the military alliance will have to reduce transatlantic interests with continental ones into some kind of middle common line. The alliance, of course, will not fall apart, but the crisis will leave an imprint on any decision. For example, Paris and Berlin are unlikely to support Theresa May if she decides to storm the NATO secretary general’s chair, which is not excluded by the “personnel officers” of the Brussels headquarters.
Dalia Grybauskaite, photo: politexpert.net
According to rumors, in this position they prefer to see a woman (fashion!), It is possible that from Eastern Europe. Therefore, the former presidents of Croatia and Lithuania, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Dalia Grybauskaite, plus the current president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, are nominated to replace Stoltenberg. In the author’s opinion, the chances of the latter are preferable.
At first, Mrs. Kersti has long been working with an eye to a high position in the transatlantic military alliance. She achieved that funding for Estonia’s defense reached 2% of GDP, which favorably distinguishes this small country from other NATO members (only four members of the alliance – the USA, Great Britain, Poland, Greece – reached the 2% mark, except for Estonia).
Kersti Kaljulaid, photo: politobzor.net
Secondly, Kaljulaid does not look like a hawk. Yes, she expresses concern about Russia and Belarus, accusing the latter of a “hybrid attack” against two members of the bloc – Poland and Lithuania. However, in April 2019, she flew in to Moscow on a working visit, and this “study” trip turned the peripheral politician into the main newsmaker in the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union.
The world is changing, the President of Estonia agrees with this. Donald Trump in 2018 directly told his Baltic partners: only “very stupid” do not want to get along with Russia. Kirsty got the hint. If you keep in mind that Joe Biden would like to “stabilize” relations between Russia and the West, Kaljulaid in the rank of NATO Secretary General is beneficial to Biden.
In addition, Kersti Kaljulaid, while on a visit to Ukraine, allowed herself to moderate Kiev’s transatlantic appetites, and when she returned to Tallinn, she repeated: in the next 10-15 years (at least), Ukraine will not join NATO. In Washington, they reason about the same, but it is inconvenient for the Americans to make such statements. Kaljulaid is helpful here.
There are many differences of opinion in the transatlantic community. Therefore, the main task of the new secretary general will be to balance different interests. The NATO Secretary General, who understands that it is necessary to contain Warsaw and Vilnius, Ukraine’s main guides to the alliance, is an understandable choice for the current US administration.
Summing up, we can say: Kersti Kaljulaid has competently built her “road map”. Critics say she has little experience – 12 years in the EU Audit Chamber and the presidency of a tiny country in terms of territory and influence with a population of just over 1 million people. This is true, but unlike, for example, Jens Stoltenberg, she does not have a leftist past.
Someone will say: does Dali Grybauskaite, especially Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovich, have less chances? Smaller.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovich, photo: istorski.hr
It is not very convenient to nominate Grybauskaite with her suspicious biography and tough anti-Russian initiatives: Moscow would consider the appearance of Grybauskaite in a new incarnation as an act of irreconcilable hostility. Litovka will pull Ukraine into NATO, criticize Paris for the idea of a European army and elevate the United States as the backbone of a military alliance. As a result, there will be more conflicts within NATO.
As for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, her potential is exaggerated, although she led the Croatian diplomatic mission to the United States (2008-2011), worked at NATO headquarters as Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy (2011-2014), in the Croatian government, during head of state. Only all this was a long time ago, since then the world has changed.
Of course, the author may be delusional. The successor (or successor?) Of Stoltenberg will be unveiled in early summer 2022. Let’s wait.
Cover photo: REUTERS / Francois Lenoir