Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg named next NATO chief

NATO announced on Friday that Jens Stoltenberg, the former prime minister of Norway, will be the alliance’s chief starting in October.

The 55-year-old Stoltenberg will replace Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has been the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the past five years, reports The New York Times.

His unsurprising selection as the new secretary general comes as NATO is trying to figure out the best way to shore up security of allies as everyone waits for Russia’s next move. The countries most at risk are not in the alliance.

“If the task for NATO now is to defuse the crisis with Russia over Ukraine, then Stoltenberg will be eminent,” Frank Aarebrot, professor of comparative politics at the University of Bergen, said, according to Reuters. “He thrives on compromise. If the task is escalation, he won’t be bad, but there are others who could do a better job.”

Stoltenberg has made it known he backs Ukraine over the issue with Crimea and Russia. He said, “Russia’s use of military force to modify its borders is unacceptable.”

The Norwegian has dealt with Russia before, but back when Dmitry Medvedev was president. He was able to solve a disagreement over their Arctic naval borders that had been going on for almost 40 years.

Stoltenberg was Norway’s prime minister for the Labour Party from 2005 to 2013. He also served in parliament for over two decades.

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