The Daily Telegraph, July 8, Gwythian Prins
As the situation begins to fracture in Moscow, we stand at a cross-roads in the pan-European war that Vladimir Putin started. It is a hot and bloody war for the Ukrainians and “grey” for its allies, as we experience cyber and information warfare attacks in which Russia is very skilled. This should be a moment for maximum cohesion in Nato which – with Finland’s arrival and Sweden’s soon to follow – is objectively at its strongest ever. Yet the alliance approaches this week’s Vilnius summit in a state of disarray which can only benefit the Kremlin.
The most visible symptom is President Biden’s reported preference for Ursula von der Leyen as Jens Stoltenberg’s eventual successor as Nato secretary-general. But her track record is as the worst minister of defence in recent German history. She is also the president of the EU Commission. In backing her, the American president rows in behind Emmanuel Macron’s ominous and Anglophobic view that the next Nato leader should come from the EU.
Yet the obvious candidate by a mile is Ben Wallace, a soldier’s soldier who was instrumental in saving Ukraine in February 2022. By rights, he should follow in George Robertson’s footsteps from the Ministry of Defence to Nato HQ. He has ruled himself out, however, for now at least.
At such a critical moment, such musical chairs are worse than a crime. They are a mistake. And they point to a deeper and hitherto misunderstood threat to British national security; for we are under attack on two fronts.
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