Report: German Defense Minister Favored to Head NATO

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière

From Spiegel:  SPIEGEL has learned from sources that [Defense Minister Thomas] de Maizière is currently a promising candidate to succeed Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the next general secretary of NATO. Rasmussen’s term ends in the summer of 2014.

Within de Maizière’s ministry, the Chancellery and NATO headquarters, officials have indicated that the 59-year-old may make a bid for the post after this autumn’s federal elections in Germany.

Senior Statesmen

Other countries that are members of the military alliance have also signalled interest in fielding candidates, but of the possible successors so far discussed, the German politician is believed to have the best chances. The United States would be uneasy with the choice of former Polish defense and current Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini is considered too close to Silvio Berlusconi to be widely acceptable — and the fact that he is no longer in government is another possible strike against him.

Other possible candidates include Belgian Defense Minister Pieter De Crem, who officials within NATO consider to be one of the most experienced politicians. However, it is unlikely he would prevail in direct competition with de Maizière given that Germany is the second biggest funder of NATO after the United States. The last time a German ran NATO was from 1988 to 1994, when Manfred Wörner, a foreign policy expert with the CDU, headed up the alliance.  (photo: Anna Neuhaus-Fischer/Bundeswehr)

Image: bundeswehr%207%209%2013%20de%20Maziere.jpg