The Norwegian press has been buzzing with rumors lately that Jens Stoltenberg — who until the autumn of 2013 was the Prime Minister of Norway — is a serious candidate for becoming the new Secretary General of the Western defense alliance NATO. The former Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen is stepping down from this position later in 2014.
Apparently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed Stoltenberg for the job. Merkel made her proposal directly to US President Barack Obama, who agreed that he was a good choice for the role. Stoltenberg allegedly spent months discussing the role with the US Secretary of State John Kerry and his security advisor Susan E. Rice while he was in New York, ostensibly in his role as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change.
This is not a done deal yet, however. One of Mr. Stoltenberg's presumed rivals for the job as head of NATO is José Barroso, Portugal's former Prime Minister and also a former Communist. In 2014 Barroso will be stepping down as President of the European Commission, the unelected and unaccountable government for half a billion people in the EU. Barroso has held this job for ten years. Other possible NATO candidates who have been mentioned are Franco Frattini, Italy's former Foreign Minister, and Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland's current Foreign Minister.