Saturday, April 04, 2009

No Canadian in Brussels

Anders Fogh Rasmussen will be political head of NATO

If political opponents ever attempt to use his failure to win the office of NATO Secretary General against him, at least Peter MacKay can continue to insist that he was never pursuing the job to begin with.

Today current Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen will be his replacement.

The die was officially cast for MacKay yesterday, when Turkey retracted its objection to Rasmussen.

"I look very much forward to continuing the good job done by Secretary-General Scheffer in the transformation of NATO to manage the new challenges of the 21st century," Fogh announced.

MacKay is the second Canadian to come close to winning the job in recent history. Former Liberal deputy Prime Minister John Manley also came awfully close.

And while it is unfortunate that, once again, Canada's ambitions to lead in NATO was thwarted by mere European parochialism -- even after the offer of an important key structural compromise by US Vice President Joe Biden -- NATO's new leadership should be well-poised to move the alliance forward, both in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

There will be other times, and other offices for Peter MacKay. Some day, almost certainly, Prime Minister of Canada.

If anything, MacKay's failed bid for the NATO leadership has left him free to pursue the agenda that MacKay himself insisted came first -- his duties in Canada.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Can of Contemplation - "NATO Sticks With Old Europe"


  1. Patrick,

    Our politics differ but I've always thought of you as a farily reflective and level-headed guy. However, re: "There will ... other offices for Peter MacKay. Some day, almost certainly, Prime Minister of Canada." Please tell me you were on mushrooms when you wrote this - you don't really believe MacKay is PM material ... do you?

  2. I'm not impressed by MacKay at all.

    Remember, this was the guy who wasn't able to win leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party on his own, and could only do it by cutting a deal with David Orchard.

    As we all know, he then proceeded to stab Orchard in the back and go for the merger anyway. He could have refused the deal with Orchard, or refused the merger, but instead all he did was get the worst of all worlds.

    I remember asking Peter Lougheed about this a couple of years ago when he came to give a talk at the Campus Saint-Jean, and he expressed his displeasure at the way it was handled. He said that he accepted it because the delegates eventually did so, but I suspect he was really upset by the way it was handled, and remained diplomatic to avoid burning any bridges-it was clear he was pretty unhappy by how the whole thing turned out.

  3. Peter MacKay did what was good for his party, and good for the country. David Orchard, out of his own ideological parochialism, would not.

    That's the kind of thing that a Prime Minister does. I've never heard MacKay complain about the number of people who question his integrity over the affair, but I think MacKay's integrity would have been more badly compromised by allowing his party to continue on in the state of irrelevance it had sunk into.


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