DECEMBER 9, 2022
NATO News USA News

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Become NATO Secretary General

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Become NATO Secretary General

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be the next secretary general of NATO, with strong backing from the White House. Rutte will succeed Jens Stoltenberg as the alliance’s top civilian official.

Having secured support from all 32 NATO member states, Rutte is set to officially take over at the NATO summit in Washington next month. Rutte, who has served as the Dutch prime minister for 14 years, plans to step down from his national role.

Hungary was the last holdout for Rutte’s candidacy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban confirmed his support after Rutte assured that Hungary would not be required to support NATO's proxy war in Ukraine. Orban noted 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.”

Rutte has a history of directly challenging then-President Donald Trump, particularly during a 2018 press conference. Despite their differences, former US envoy to the EU Gordon Sondland noted that Trump did not dislike Rutte.

Western leaders believe Rutte will be effective in persuading Trump to continue supporting Ukraine. However, Fabrice Pothier, former policy chief to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, expressed skepticism that Rutte’s appointment alone could prevent Trump from ending the war in Ukraine. Pothier remarked, “I’m just skeptical that Trump-proofing NATO and Trump-proofing the transatlantic relationship will do the trick.”

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump called NATO “obsolete” and discussed improving ties with Russia, but his presidency saw increased tensions with Moscow and the provision of weapons to Ukraine. On the campaign trail, Trump has pledged to end the fighting in Ukraine but has not detailed a concrete plan.

Rutte will replace Jens Stoltenberg, who has served as NATO Secretary General for a decade. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the only challenger to Rutte, withdrew from the race, paving the way for Rutte’s appointment and pleasing US officials.

 

 

 

 

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