US-Supported Mark Rutte To Become Next NATO Secretary General

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jun 23, 2024 - 11:00 AM

Authored by Kyle Anzalone via,

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be named the next secretary general of the North Atlantic alliance. The White House backed his ascension to become NATO’s top civilian official. Rutte will replace outgoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

In his bid for the job, Rutte has secured support from all 32 member states and is expected to officially take over at the NATO summit in Washington next month. He has served as the Dutch prime minister for 14 years, but reportedly plans to step down.

Image via Euronews/AP

Hungary was the last holdout for Rutte. Prime Minister Victor Orban said Budapest threw its support behind him after he pledged that Hungary would not have to support the alliance’s proxy war in Ukraine.

“I am aware of the outcome of talks between Jens Stoltenberg and you regarding NATO’s support for Ukraine,” he posted on X. “It is my understanding that you stressed that no Hungarian personnel would take part in these activities and no Hungarian funds will be used to support them.”

During a 2018 press conference, Rutte interrupted when then-President Donald Trump was speaking to disagree with him. Gordon Sondland, who served as Trump’s envoy to the European Union, told POLITICO that Rutte “has had a history with him of pushing back when he thinks Trump is wrong, and he does it right to his face.”

Sondland noted that Trump did not dislike Rutte despite their clashing views.

The swell in support for Rutte comes in part because Western leaders believe he will be able to push Trump towards continuing the proxy war in Ukraine. However, Brussels has failed to implement any concrete “Trump-proofing” policies.

Fabrice Pothier, who served as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s policy chief, said she did not believe Rutte’s appointment would be enough to stop Trump from ending the war in Ukraine.

“I’m just skeptical that Trump-proofing NATO and Trump-proofing the transatlantic relationship will do the trick,” Pothier said. “Trump, and some people around him, won’t be tricked a second time.”

On the campaign trail, Trump has pledged to end the fighting in Ukraine, without presenting a concrete plan for doing so. When he ran for president in 2016, he discussed withdrawing from NATO and improving US-Russian ties, calling the bloc “obsolete.” However, during his term, the relationship between Washington and Moscow significantly deteriorated, and Trump began shipping weapons to Ukraine.

Rutte is replacing Jen Stoltenberg, who has been in the role for a decade. On Thursday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the only challenger to Rutte, dropped out of contention. Two US officials said Washington was pleased Iohannis cleared the way for Rutte.