Mark Rutte will be the next Secretary General of NATO – POLITICO

Rutte will assume leadership of NATO at a critical time. He will start his new position by October 2, just over a month before the US elections, which will determine the fate of the military alliance that has served as Eastern Europe’s most successful deterrent in the face of an aggressive Russia. Former US President Donald Trump, the current Republican candidate, pledged to remain in NATO, but threatened to do so. Cutting US aid to Ukraine If he is re-elected.

However, observers credit Rutte as a “Trump whisperer,” thanks to his ability to cut deals with politicians from different backgrounds, and he even earned praise from the then US president: “I love this guy!”

Rutte’s confirmation also means the succession issue has been resolved before July when NATO leaders head to Washington to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary.

Rutte’s quest for the top job in NATO has been a long journey. He has been campaigning for the position since last November.

Rutte has been criticized for not being active enough in garnering support from Eastern European countries, who questioned his pre-2014 support for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Rutte also consistently failed to raise Dutch defense spending to the NATO target of 2% of GDP throughout his 14-year presidency of the EU’s fifth-largest economy. The Netherlands is finally expected to achieve that goal this year, according to the latest NATO figures.

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