A new article in the Telegraph says that Boris Johnson may become the next NATO chief and that Richard Drax and Mark Francois, two high-ranking Tories, have officially endorsed Johnson for the role.
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Could Boris Johnson be named NATO’s Secretary General in the future? According to a recent, somewhat unexpected story in The Telegraph, “Ukrainian and Tory MPs support idea of PM being a possible candidate, though sceptics suggest he would likely be greeted with a French veto.”
When his current term ends in September 2023, Jens Stoltenberg, who has served as the NATO secretary general since 2014, is expected to resign. The recently embroiled Johnson has visited Ukraine twice in the past six months of the war and continues to be one of the most outspoken hawkish Western leaders, frequently denouncing Russia and Vladimir Putin. Johnson may be trying to divert attention away from the so-called “Partygate” scandal at home.
Reportedly as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Stoltenberg’s own tenure was extended. Theresa May and David Cameron, among other former UK prime ministers, have recently been courted for the position.
Richard Drax and Mark Francois, two high-ranking Tories on the influential defense select committee, have officially endorsed Johnson for the role whenever he departs the UK. Drax told the Telegraph, “Any distinguished Brit would be a great choice. If indeed that is what Boris Johnson wants to go and do, of course I would support that.”
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Francois also emphasized his steadfast “anti-Russia, pro-Ukraine” stance. According to the report, he said, “People will probably argue over Boris Johnson’s legacy for years – but one thing which is clearly inarguable is his absolutely staunch support for Ukraine in the face of Russian barbarity.”
This is also the reason why the US and the Zelensky government in Ukraine would probably support him as well (albeit only with a symbolic voice given that it is not a member of NATO).
Johnson’s nomination for the top NATO position might be advanced, but France would probably block it because Emmanuel Macron has in many respects adopted a totally different strategy of continuously looking for a way forward to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.
Since the start of the war, Macron has received criticism from some quarters of Europe for having more than a dozen phone conversations with Vladimir Putin of Russia.