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by John Helmer, Moscow 

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte (right, centre) was the first leader of a NATO state to try to send his soldiers on to the Ukrainian battlefield to fight Russian forces directly.  That was in July 2014, in the aftermath of the Ukrainian shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. That Rutte scheme failed after it was vetoed by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel; she insisted on more time to prepare the NATO forces in the Ukraine to fight Russia. Now that they are, Rutte is the US candidate to become the new secretary-general of NATO.

For the first time, however, his appointment is being vetoed by a NATO member, Hungary, which has proposed an alternative candidate – the ethnic German Klaus Iohannis, who is  President of Romania. Because NATO rules require unanimity on the secretary-general, the Hungarian objection puts the Rutte nomination in the soup — make that goulash.

Rutte’s plan to deploy up to 9,000 troops in the Donbass had been devised in the summer of 2014 with two other Dutchmen – David Petraeus, who is also a US national, a US Army general,  and former CIA director; and Sandra Roelofs, a Dutch national who held Georgian citizenship because she was married to Mikheil Saakashvili, onetime President of Georgia.  Their cover story was that the NATO military intervention force was required to recover the black boxes of the downed MH17 aircraft and the bodies of the passengers, most of them Dutch.  Read more of that story here.  

Every one of Rutte’s attempts to go to war with Russia has ended in exposure of his personal lying; the collapse of the Dutch-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); and the loss of almost €30 billion in bilateral trade – oil and petroleum products from Russia;  Dutch pharmaceuticals, medical technology, financial services, cut flowers, seeds and plants. None of these losses has had material or political impact on the domestic Dutch constituencies or the Dutch media, which have accepted the state propaganda line, and in the case of the Dutch media owner, Derk Sauer, the money to keep repeating it.  

Source: https://tradingeconomics.com/netherlands/exports/russia 

Read the full Rutte archive here.  

The book documenting the collaboration of Rutte and his officials in fabricating the narrative of Russian culpability in the MH17 crash, concealing the role of Kiev president Petro Poroshenko, and manipulating the evidence at The Hague District Court show trial,  can be read here.  

Defeated at the Dutch parliamentary election last November, Rutte has been replaced as prime minister by a coalition of parties led by Geert Wilders, who agreed this week to Hendrikus (“Dick”) Schoof as prime minister. Schoof is a Dutch deep-stater and career liar who was promoted by the MH17 affair into the Dutch equivalent of the FBI, and then into the top job of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.

According to a veteran Dutch political analyst, “the nomination of Dick Schoof is a terrible fact. He is the head of the secret services responsible for NATO agitprop on MH17, on OPCW, on the so-called Covid protective measures. Also, he was responsible for the protection of Geert Wilders [from Islamic attacks]. In a way Wilders has been his prisoner – Schoof has been the jailer who has held the keys to Wilders’s physical survival. Schoof has also been protecting Rutte from personal scandal. He’s the J.Edgar Hoover type of secret policeman.”

Left:  Dick Schoof, liar in chief to be prime minister of The Netherlands; right, the truth of the matter.

The Russian reaction to Rutte’s nomination for the NATO post was muted until the Hungarian government announced that it is opting out of NATO operations, financial support and arms supplies to the Ukraine war;  and that it will not accept Rutte at NATO. “We certainly can’t support the election of a person to the position of NATO’s secretary general, who previously wanted to force Hungary on its knees,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said several weeks ago.  

In this week’s report from Vzglyad, the semi-official security analysis platform in Moscow, the Russian interest in the disarray at NATO headquarters contest is analysed by Yevgeny Krutikov, who has longstanding links to Russian military intelligence and General Staff thinking.

By the way, in the western and Russian reporting on Rutte’s fight for the NATO job, there is no mention of either the British candidate for the NATO job, Sir Mark Sedwill, inventor and director of the Novichok operation against the Skripals in March 2018; or the Ukrainian who is deputy prime minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland. Both of them have been reported in their country’s press as NATO secretary-general candidates. However, both of them failed to make the cut in Washington.

This means Russian history’s ashcan for Sedwill, and for Freeland the same when the Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party government loses power at the next election. Follow Sedwill’s story here.  

Krutikov’s piece appeared in Vzglyad on May 28. The text has been translated verbatim without editing; pictures, URL links and captions have been added for illustration and reference.

Source: https://vz.ru/world/2024/5/28/1270399.html

May 28, 2024
How does Russia influence the election of the new head of NATO
By Yevgeny Krutikov

For the first time in history, a sizeable coalition of states has formed in NATO opposing the candidate for the post of head of the organization who was nominated by the United States of America. Which countries are we talking about, why are they against the American candidacy,  and how has Russia already been able to influence this competition?

The current Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has already exhausted his term of office, but his term was arbitrarily extended because of the inability of the Alliance to agree on a new candidate in 2022-2023.  But this autumn the Norwegian will still have to leave the secretary general’s post, and there is still no clarity on the new candidate. More to the point, there is still a deadlock.

In particular, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said that Hungary would block the candidacy of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the post of NATO Secretary General. The Hungarians have an alternative candidate – Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Left to right, Mark Rutte, Klaus Iohannis.

Meanwhile, the main player in NATO, the United States, insists on the candidacy of the Dutchman. “The United States has made it clear to the allies that, in our opinion, Rutte would be an excellent secretary general,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council. Earlier, the media have reported that Rutte’s candidacy would allegedly be supported by the main major countries of the alliance — Great Britain, Germany,  and France.

But the NATO secretary general must be approved by the full consensus of all members. This means that  Hungary and the alliance it has put together may well, if not completely block, then greatly complicate the passage of Rutte’s candidacy. And Rutte is extremely aggressive towards Russia and fully supports the transfer of Western weapons to Ukraine. It was the Rutte government which led this process, outstripping even Germany and the United States in the transfer of weapons. Most likely, this position of the Dutch prime minister is the decisive factor on which Washington’s support for his candidacy is based.

It may even seem that Hungary is unwittingly helping Russia by blocking the candidacy of an extremely Russophobic candidate for NATO secretary general. However, the circumstances go  deeper than that.

In the last twenty years, the appointment of the NATO secretary general has turned into something similar to the election of the Holy Roman Emperor in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries —  a lot of applicants with their support groups from small principalities; bribes, intrigues,  and final victory for a representative of a large dynasty like the Habsburgs. The role of the Habsburgs is now played by the United States, which has successfully imposed its candidates on the European allies after Javier Solana [Spain] left in 2009. As a rule, these have been the representatives of the “northern peoples” – the Scandinavians and the Dutch.

Left, bearing close resemblance to the new Dutch Prime Minister Schoof, Francis II, was the last Holy Roman Emperor from 1792 to 1806, until Napoleon forced him to concentrate on ruling Austria, Hungary, the German principalities and Croatia. Centre, the last Dutchman to serve as the NATO Secretary-General was Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, a Dutch foreign ministry bureaucrat who was promoted to NATO between 2004 and 2009.  Right, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who has promoted her NATO candidacy on the “Eastern Front” in this fashion.  

But in the last few years, a very unexpected competition has arisen in which self-nominees have appeared and coalitions have begun forming mainly from Eastern European countries, arranging themselves in different configurations.

In addition to the purely regional confrontation between the three stable clans (the United States, the “old” NATO countries and the “new” ones), new vectors of competition have appeared. First of all, there is the so-called gender tolerance, never mind how you want to call it.  It was on that foundation that the Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas has pressed herself forward. Besides her, other women have applied for the post – Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and even Ursula von der Leyen.

For the very ambitious Kallas, as for many similar figures from the Baltic states and Eastern Europe, the pan–European structures represent a new career advancement.  At some point Estonia turned out to be too small for her, and so Kallas has become in fact a self-nominee for promotion, exploiting just two of the largest new factors of modern Western politics – her gender and Russophobia.

The attitude towards Ukraine and its relations within NATO is, of course, more important than gender tolerance. But Callas has overdone that quite a bit. She became so immersed in her Russia hating that she no longer can meet the diplomatic criterion of ability to negotiate.

Roughly speaking, in the position of the secretary general, as in other key positions of the European bureaucracy, there should be a person with whom Moscow will still deal when the situation changes. As a result, Kallas talked herself on to the wanted list of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and consequently, the Russian Federation can no longer negotiate with her. So Kallas has lost her chance to apply for some of the juicier plums of the European bureaucracy.

February 13, 2024 -- source: https://www.politico.eu/

That’s how, surprisingly, Russian investigators intervened in the behind-the-scenes struggle for the post of the NATO Secretary General. It’s not a fact that this works universally with all candidates, but it worked with Kallas. But now she is offended by the “old” Europe for not appreciating her Russophobia.

At the same time, there is no evidence that Kallas has put together any kind of support group even from her own nextdoor neighbours in the Baltic. Usually these three [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania] work together, but now both Latvia and Lithuania have their own candidates for positions in the European bureaucracy, and there is no coordination here.

But the Hungarians have been able to put together a small group, starting with their historical neighbours and even opponents – the Romanians. [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban and Szijjarto are now lobbying Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for the position of NATO secretary general. The idea of Budapest is precisely that the representative of Eastern Europe has never been the Secretary General of NATO.

At the same time, Budapest would not like to see, for example, a Pole or a Czech in this position, because they would easily become instruments of US policy or “old” Europe. Iohannis seems, among other things, to be a convenient figure for Germany: by nationality he is not a Romanian, but a Transylvanian Saxon (German) with native German language and studies in Germany.   In theory, besides the Hungarian-Romanian alliance, Bulgaria and Slovakia should support Iohannis’ candidacy.

In addition, the Hungarians have personal grievances against Rutte. Szijjarto frequently repeats  that Rutte had previously threatened to “bring Hungary to its knees.” “It is very difficult to imagine that a person who formulates and defends such a position will be elected head of an organization where one hundred percent trust is of fundamental importance… And if someone still believes that Hungary should be brought to its knees, it is difficult for us to trust such a person,” Szijjarto said at a press conference in the Romanian city of Targu Mureş.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/ 

The claim against Stoltenberg in Budapest is different. Hungarians call the outgoing NATO Secretary General ineffective, since he has not been able to force the countries of “old” Europe to increase military spending to 4%-6% of GDP.

And so this is the first time in the history of NATO that a stable coalition has emerged against a proposed US candidate for the post of secretary general.

Earlier, many intrigues have also been woven, but they have remained within the framework of the personal career stories of the candidates – indeed, it hasn’t always been the case that the candidates were keen to accept this post. The same Stoltenberg has been trying to leave his chair for a long time.

Of course, Hungary is not going to promote Russia’s interests in this way. But the situation has developed in such a way that the competition for the position of the NATO Secretary General has suddenly become embedded in the pan-European context. As a result, situational alliances within Europe and NATO may also affect Moscow’s relations with Brussels. Moscow, albeit indirectly, has an impact on the competition within NATO, even if the competing parties themselves did not intend it.

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