Denmark’s glee at the choice of former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the new secretary-general of NATO is not shared throughout Europe, at least according to a Der Spiegel study of the way that senior international posts are filled.
The Spiegel article, which says there is a tendency to pick ‘second-best’ and in NATO the ‘lowest common denominator’, studies various global secretary-generalships such as the United Nations, the IAEA and NATO.
“The man who will be applauded next Friday as the new secretary general of the alliance, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 56, is a conservative politician who promoted an anti-immigration policy in an otherwise liberal country. He was the lowest common denominator that everyone could agree on,” Spiegel says.
And it adds: “No one seems to be troubled by the fact that Rasmussen, an economist, is not a military expert.”
Dr. Hans Mouritzen PhD of the Danish Institute of International Studies says that Spiegel’s analysis is not only an abusive attack against Fogh Rasmussen, but also wrong.
“Generally you could say that the lowest common denominator is chosen – simply because all member countries have a veto, and that means you have to find someone everyone agrees on,” Mouritzen tells B.T. He does not agree, however, that this was the case with Anders Fogh Rasmussen and says that the lowest common denominator would have been the Canadian candidate – Defence Minister Peter McKay.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen takes over the secretary-generalship of NATO on Saturday of this week.