Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Turkey and Poland: We'll take Peter MacKay to block

Much like his on again, off again political career, the bold dream of Peter MacKay becoming NATO chief MAY be somewhat back on again, if these reports are to be believed:

A senior Turkish legislator says his country does not back Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO's next secretary general.

Suat Kiniklioglu, a top foreign policy official in Turkey's government, says Ankara favours Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay for the role, even though MacKay has said he prefers to keep his current job.

Fogh Rasmussen is seen as the front-runner to replace Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as NATO secretary general when his term ends at the end of July.

But Turkey, a NATO member, objects to Fogh Rasmussen because of the 2006 Prophet cartoon crisis, his reported opposition to Turkey's EU membership and his stance on Kurdish rebels.
And this report, via Wells:
According to press reports, Poland is to join Turkey in opposing the candidature of the Dane, Anders Fogh Rasmussen for the post of NATO secretary-general. Warsaw will instead back the Canadian defence minister Peter MacKay for the post, it is being speculated.
Poland says they’re backing the MacKay and want to block the Dane because the Canadian is “young, super-intelligent, dynamic and resourceful” (have they met our Peter?) but Turkey is making it clear they don’t want Rasmussen because, among a number of reasons, of his strident support of the right of the Danish newspapers to publish the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad:
"It is unacceptable that NATO be headed by an individual who has in the past rudely disrespected our values and religious beliefs," Kiniklioglu said in reference to Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked Muslim protests worldwide.

Fogh Rasmussen defended freedom of speech amid the protests.
It’s still a long shot, but I’m rooting for Peter MacKay to get the job now more than ever, if only to see the reaction from Conservatives as they try to balance their pride in Peter’s success, Canada's back, yada yada, with the fact he only got the job because Rasmussen strongly supported publishing the Danish cartoons and was therefore deemed an unacceptable NATO boss.

I particularly look forward to Ezra’s commentary.
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Paul Wells said...

Ah. You get it. I've been waiting for somebody to connect those dots.

Kevin C said...

Someone else who's hoping MacKay gets the big job: Elizabeth May.

Jumping WAY too many steps ahead - if MacKay does resign his seat, will Iggy continue Dion's policy of not running a candidate against May?

What is the timeline on appointing someone? When will we know who it is and how soon would their term start?

Jeff said...

Paul, I'm sure they'll think it through eventually. Although it will be fun if they don't.

Kevin, the Liberals will run a candidate in Central Nova. And I think the NATO boss will be announced at a leader's meeting in the next few weeks.

The Rat said...

But that's not the only reason Turkey wishes to block Rasmussen. Apparently he was quoted in 2003 saying "Turkey will never be a full member of EU". That may be just a bit more important to the Turks than the cartoon thingy.

Jeff said...

Rat, I noted it was among the reasons and not the only one. The spokesperson did seem quite adamant about it, however.

Patrick Ross said...

It seems like a silly reason to cast Rasmussen away.

Tben again, the time is long overdue for a Canadian to serve as the Secretary General of NATO.

The one thing that concerns me is that John Manley seems to have dropped off the radar screen entirely. I recall hearing that he was going to campaign for the job again, but I've heard nothing about it since.

Manley would make a fine Secretary General as well, although MacKay remains my preferred candidate.

Colored Opinions said...

Hard to know what will happen. Obama is not Bush and NATO is not the EU.