Monday, March 09, 2009

NATO's Last Secretary General a Canadian?

DefMin Peter MacKay is said to be in the running to replace the ineffectual Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Given all he did for the Progressive Conservative Party, MacKay should have no trouble presiding over the demise of NATO too.


JimBobby said...

Whooee! If Petey takes on the NATO job, does he quit his MP job?


Andrew P. said...

Elizabeth May must be licking her lips

JimBobby said...

Elizabeth May must be licking her lips

Sorta what I was thinking. Lizzie's gonna hafta run against a Liberal next time around, though. Still, if there's no MacKay running to carry on the family dynasty in Central Nova, the race could get interesting.

Anonymous said...

Under Harper and MacKay Canada's role in NATO has been to act as a sort of Judas bull, leading the nations of Western Europe away from the European defence alliance that the original NATO was, to the new NATO, a league of American client states providing auxillary forces for America's colonial wars. Wisely, the French and the Germans have declined to follow in Afghanistan.

Selecting an American surrogate to head up NATO is unlikely to make the Europeans any more amenable to this change.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Now, I'm not a huge MacKay fan either (though for a Tory, I'd prefer MacKay over many, MANY alternatives) but to me, as a potential head of NATO, I just think his "Canadianess" outweighs his "Conservativeness" in terms of the potential advantages to Canada. I just think it'd be better for Canada for there to be a Canadian head of NATO than not.

Now, I can see how people who are waiting for NATO to fall apart (or who want it to return to some much more limited mandate) wouldn't like someone like MacKay as S-G. However, NATO's just not going to choose an "anti-NATO" head of NATO, I don't think. I think generally, one is going to end up with a generally somewhat "right of center" (or at least "centrist") person with a decided interest in security issues as head of NATO, whether that's MacKay or someone else. That's just the nature of the beast.

As I said, I don't think MacKay would be so bad (and I think it might be at least a bit of an advantage to Canada to have a Canadian there) but even for MacKay's detractors I'd suggest it might very well be a case of "better the devil you know...".

The Mound of Sound said...

I don't see the Euros supporting a defence min from a country that's pulling out of Afghanistan.

All kidding aside, I think MacKay would probably be decent enough as Sec-Gen but I'm not sure the Euros would trust him not to try to transform NATO into America's Foreign Legion.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference now. Sarko is gradually moving France into the NATO Command Structure. With the exception of pacifist Germany, MacKay's possible tenure at Sec Gen would be suitable for the new NATO.

I actually like MacKay. He may be the only credible Con Cabinet Minister these days.

The debate we should have in Canada is this. Should Canada participate in a more militarist NATO that is becoming bogged down in places such as Afghanistan, Congo, or Chad. It deviates from the country's traditional peacekeeping role of Canada and would represent a gradual move away from NATO advocated by progressives such as the Mound. Alas, with Harpo and Iggy as Canada's two main leaders, we will not be having this debate anytime soon.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree on the need for a debate but I think it needs to be held in Brussels. The member states need to decide whether NATO is to be proactive or whether it is going to remain a mutual defence alliance as originally conceived.

NATO's involvement in Afghanistan has been so haphazard because that debate was never undertaken, because the alliance's roles and intent were never hammered out.

To function at all, NATO absolutely needs coherent policies and consensus around which it can structure genuine commitments Afghanistan has shown how poorly NATO operates in the absence of that bond. This has to be a top down effort driven by government leaders and heads of state, not something left to defence and foreign ministers.

In the 60's there was a line about what happened if they gave a war and nobody showed up? That could become NATO's epitaph.

Anonymous said...

The buzzword for NATO is "collective security". What this means is anyone's guess.

I personally hate that word.