Spencer Ackerman has more on NATO chief and former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s surprisingly definitive statements on Afghanistan policy:
Krasnik has been doing some reporting into Rasmussen’s already-controversial tenure as NATO secretary general, which is barely a year old. “He has bypassed NATO ambassadors on several occasions, discussing budget and Afghanistan strategy with defense ministers and not diplomats,” Krasnik said. “NATO ambassadors accuse him of being ‘out of control’ and ‘over confident’ — that is: not an empty suit looking for the middle ground between the members. ‘He will last 1 to 1.5 years tops,’ as one NATO diplomat told me the other day.”
Interestingly, one of the only NATO ambassadors to support Rasmussen is Ivo Daalder, Obama’s man in Brussels and a Hillary Rodham Clinton ally. “‘Fogh does what he is supposed to do. He is leading the alliance,” Dalder told a Danish newspaper this Saturday,” Krasnik said. That has led to speculation in Copenhagen that Rasmussen’s position comes with at least the tacit approval of the Obama administration. “My feeling is that he wouldn’t take a public stand like this just before the Bratislava meeting without clearing it with the U.S.,” Krasnik said. “One argument here is that Obama needs others than the GOP and army generals to ask for more troops, so why not the NATO-chief?”
Of course if this is kabuki, it’s hard to know what the point would be. It’s not as if Rasmussen is going to move the dial on American public opinion. This may just be a case of a hard-charging, confrontational, ambitious guy who happened to land in what’s normally a very low-key post.