Opinion: Stoltenberg got to prove his worth now

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has a massive hurdle to pass over. As French President Emmanuel Macron and the French government is reacting to a secretive alliance agreement between United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia (AUSUK).

This agreement or alliance is not only shaping the military alignment in Indo-Pacific sphere, but in Europe as well. The Biden Administration has with this thrown more shade and fire on a fickle organization. Which was already bickering and had lot of internal strife’s.

It is not like NATO has been running smoothly in the Trump era. No, it has been raised havoc and Trump has caused diplomatic furore over his actions. However, Biden is causing even more damage by selling sub-marines and making strategic agreements without considering close allies. This is not a wise move. The United Kingdom has been a running mate of Washington D.C. since the time of Tony Blair. So, it isn’t new on that front and post-Brexit this is just showing their own way.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has a huge burden on his hands. Not only clean up the mess left behind from Afghanistan and other missions associated with NATO. Now he also has a diplomatic task of epic proportions. He has to sit-down and discuss with all the allies. Stoltenberg has to appease the French, meet with Biden and zoom-call Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Because, this has to be settled.

NATO will pay a price for this. The levels of distrust the French feels might goes to others as well. Just like the Turkish are closing the waters of the Greeks in the Mediterranean. The Turks have blocked a Maltese vessel from doing it’s scientific mission in Greek waters. Therefore, Stoltenberg doesn’t only have Macron and the French to appease.

An alliance like NATO builds it’s structure on trust and protocol. This was not only business of military industries of the French, but of their pride as a sovereign within an alliance. They were promised and this wasn’t kept. While the NATO members haven’t talked or been upfront about things. That hurts the pride of Paris and surely they will feel betrayed by their allies. USA and UK might not care, but do they really want more friends anyway?

Stoltenberg has to be clever. He got to be wise and hopefully he got good council at NATO. Since these troubling times will not be easy on him. He has to stand stall until the end of his office in September 2022. Stoltenberg has had the office in 2014 and he thought the idiotic times Trump would be bad enough. However, this will be his biggest personal challenge.

As the Secretary General he has to be strong, confident and humble meeting these Head of State. Stoltenberg needs to confine and find time to build trust. He needs reassurance and security on behalf of the alliance. While trying to forge relations between Macron, Biden, Johnson and Morrison. These has to appeased and feel the vibe. That will not be easy. Yes, Stoltenberg is a seasoned politician and has touched upon trouble before.

Nevertheless, this will be a huge operation. It cannot be saved by speeches or poetic statements. No, this is mending wounds and healing relations between allies. That will not be easy. Especially, when the French says it could even ditch the whole alliance. This is why Stoltenberg have to show character and do it quick.

If NATO is still going to matter. Stoltenberg have to prove it and he got to show courage. He needs to go to Paris, Washington D.C., London and Canberra. Stoltenberg needs to show his whole skill-set of diplomacy and political game of compromise.

This will not be easy. Stoltenberg has to pass over this mountain with a proper compass or a map. He needs to follow streams, use his gut-feeling and follow the lights on the horizon. There will be no second chances and he got deliver. NATO depends on it….

Stoltenberg has to prove it’s validity and it’s value. While building trust…. that’s huge task and it’s his to bear. He got to carry it and resolve the matter. That is an unforgiving mission, but that’s what he signed up for when he accepted the office. Peace.

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