World Politics Review quotes NATOSource Director and Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Fellow Jorge Benitez on NATO’s new secretary-general:

“Being secretary-general of NATO is one of the most difficult jobs in international diplomacy,” Jorge Benitez, director of NATOSource at the Atlantic Council, says in an email interview. “Most national leaders find it hard to manage the many competing interests of their domestic political systems. The secretary-general of NATO has to manage the leaders and national interests of 28 democracies, plus 40 international partners. It is a job full of expectations and challenges, but the secretary-general is given little power and few resources.”


Benitez echoes these points. “Stoltenberg’s most pressing priority is to deal with NATO’s hollow armies . . . The eruption of threats from Russia, ISIS, the Sahel and elsewhere are exposing that NATO’s cupboard is bare of deployable military capabilities,” he says. On top of that, the U.S. is still planning on reducing the total number of troops it has deployed in Europe. Given ongoing debate over these issues, Benitez adds that, “Washington is one of the capitals where Stoltenberg should make his voice heard on the need to strengthen deterrence in Europe and rebuild decreasing military capabilities in NATO.”

Budgetary concerns are also affecting the U.S. commitment to NATO. Even without more U.S. reductions in Europe, Gen. Philip Breedlove, the head of United States Europe Command (EUCOM), has already “grounded 25 percent of U.S. squadrons in the region due to cuts from sequestration,” Benitez says. “NATO finds itself in the dangerous situation where the demand for its capabilities is exceeding its limited resources.” 

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