NATO’s new boss will today outline his vision of the way forward for the military alliance, as casualties increase among its forces in Afghanistan.Former Danish leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen took over as Secretary-General from Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Saturday. The job won’t be easy. “This is a difficult time for the alliance,” confirmed Tomas Valasek of the Centre for European Reform think tank. “The alliance is in a shooting war in Afghanistan that is not going well….not to mention other important issues: fraught NATO-EU relations, tense NATO-Russia relations, possibly a defence budget crisis because of the economic slowdown that has taken hold all over the NATO territories.” The first former prime minister to lead NATO, Rasmussen will have to use all his political know- how in his new role. And, in one key area, he starts with a handicap. In the Islamic world, where the alliance faces big security challenges, there was outrage in 2006 over Rasmussen’s failure to apologize for a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. As a result, his candidacy as NATO chief was resisted by Turkey. While Ankara was eventually won over, it is likely to be watching his news conference with particular attention today. You can follow it live on EuroNews at 11am Central European Time.
New NATO chief to set out vision