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Who'll be the next NATO chief?

US President Joe Biden meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office at the White House.

US President Joe Biden meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office at the White House.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

When US President Joe Biden met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in the White House on Tuesday, the two talked about who'll replace Stoltenberg when the Norwegian steps down in September. So far, there are two frontrunners.


One of them is UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who has openly expressed interest. Although his boss, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is pushing hard for Wallace to get the job, many NATO members would prefer someone from the EU who has executive experience.

The other is Danish PM Mette Frederiksen, who would be the first female NATO chief. But her candidacy might face two big hurdles: Turkey is not feeling the Nordic love these days, and Denmark has yet to meet the NATO goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense.

Officially, NATO's secretary-general is picked by consensus among the alliance's 31 members. Yet, it's an open secret that as the biggest contributor to NATO's budget, the US has the final say. Biden has kept silent for now, but he can't wait much longer.

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