Monitor: Nato's new boss
Comment on the appointment of George Robertson as the new Secretary General of Nato
Saturday 07 August 1999
MR ROBERTSON's main task at Nato will be to push European members to beef up their militaries. The Kosovo conflict exposed a growing gap between European and American defence capabilities. The EU's push for a common defence policy, with Nato's blessing, is also seen by some as a possible attempt to weaken the ties between the US and Europe.
IT'S A tough job being the guardian of the free world in times of crisis. But George Robertson is just the man to do it. He won the respect of everyone during the Kosovo conflict. From the top brass to the squaddies, they all admired him. The world knows Robertson's not to be messed with. We wish George good luck - because he's a good guy.
THE BRITISH were amazed that Germany turned down the highest civilian post in Nato. Blair did not hesitate. Robertson will have to allay smaller members' fears that his appointment will give the US too much influence. He has good relations with Germany, but these will be tested as our cautious plans to reform our forces do not match his.
WASHINGTON CHOSE George Robertson for three reasons: the force of the special relationship; the prominent role played by Tony Blair in the Balkans and the lack of credibility of the other candidates.
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