NATOwatch: Talking Turkey

This corner is pleased to entertain the hypothesis of Peter MacKay becoming secretary-general of NATO because (a) this corner has a documented history of sympathy for the idea of getting out of Ottawa every now and then; and (b) whatever MacKay’s chances might be, simply by studying all the speculation we can perhaps learn how the world works. So onward.

Bad news for Radek Sikorski, dashing well-connected Polish foreign minister and former foreign correspondent who never gives me an interview when I ask, not that I’m bitter. The Brits, French and — crucially, in this case — Germans think even this urbane Pole is too recklessly anti-Russian to fit NATO’s task of sucking up to reconciling with Vlad Putin over the next few years.

Since nobody’s ever heard of the Bulgarian solution de rechange Sikorski himself had advocated, it’s looking good for Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen, he of the suspiciously well-dressed No. 2 — or it would look good if it weren’t for those pesky Turks, who remember that Fogh Rasmussen was the Danish PM during the unfortunately named “Danish cartoon” uproar of a few years ago.

Since Joe Biden is now denying his preferred candidate is MacKay, the only factor making Canada’s man a worthy foe to the worthy Fogh is the support of Turkey and the acquiescence of Russia, or of those NATO members who worry what Russia thinks. So he’s a shoo-in as long as nobody finds out about this or this.

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.