What have you done for me lately?

Note to the Canadian media:

NATO’s Secretary-General has always, traditionally, been a European.

The top spot has never been, and never will be, a North American.  This is by design, because America contributes the bulk of NATO’s forces and also names SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), its military commander.  Incidentally, SACEUR’s deputy is traditionally a Brit or a German.  No Canadian has ever occupied that slot.  Canada tends to lose out on these types of glamour assignments.  Unlike America’s joint warfighting commands (NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, PACOM, etc), Canada tends to lack dual-hatted warfighting commands that, by virtue of their Canadian role, also inherit a corresponding NATO command simultaneously.

The reason is obvious.  Canada does not have large numbers of soldiers, sailors and airmen at wartime readiness all over the globe.  That would be because Canadians are fundamentally unserious about their own defence, let alone having to make hard, realist decisions about defending an entire continent a few thousand miles away.

So when a Canadian gets mentioned as a possible successor for NATO’s top military or civilian jobs, you can determine, well in advance, that it is never going to happen.  Regardless of the competence, popularity and reputation of said Canadian.  That is not how the alliance works.

The only way a Canadian can become NATO Secretary-General is if that person moved to Europe, renounced their Canadian citizenship, and became a citizen of some European country.

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