The political profession of Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Fee, has been outlined by bungling and incompetence. She is deeply unpopular with voters, distrusted by colleagues and has frequently been mired in scandals. And but, someway, she manages to maintain rising up the ranks of worldwide politics.
Now von der Leyen has been tipped for an additional plum job on the worldwide stage. Based on stories within the Telegraph this week, US president Joe Biden is pushing for her to be named as secretary-general of NATO. He thinks she is greatest positioned to interchange Jens Stoltenberg when he steps down in 2024.
This should set off alarm bells. No matter one thinks of NATO, there might hardly be a worse candidate to steer it than von der Leyen – particularly proper now, whereas conflict wages in Ukraine and NATO faces considered one of its most critical challenges in its 73-year existence.
Simply have a look at her time main the EU. She was parachuted into the function in 2019, unelected, over the heads of European residents. She was a singularly unimpressive candidate. In reality, some argue that this was why she was chosen. ‘When EU leaders picked von der Leyen… they intentionally eschewed candidates with larger expertise, charisma or crafty’, in accordance with a Bloomberg report. The European Council apparently wished a Fee chief that it might simply push round. Ultimately, regardless of being the one candidate, she managed to influence a majority of simply 9 MEPs to again her within the job.
MEPs have been proper to be sceptical. Her incompetence grew to become all too clear when she confronted her first main problem as president – the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Whereas von der Leyen boasted of taking ‘private cost’ of the EU’s vaccination programme, the rollout was infamously gradual, lagging behind the remainder of the world. On the time, fellow commissioners, civil servants and different officers have been brazenly venting their misery together with her management.
Von der Leyen does, nonetheless, have some expertise in defence issues. Earlier than she was appointed to the EU’s prime job, she served as defence minister in Angela Merkel’s authorities. Certainly this can be a plus for a task at NATO?
Quite the opposite. Arguably, her tenure as defence minister was her largest failure of all. On her watch, the German military and its tools have been critically degraded. Troopers had to make use of cellphones to speak as a consequence of an absence of encrypted tools. The military’s standard-issue assault rifles couldn’t shoot straight in excessive temperatures. And most infamously of all, troopers have been at one level compelled to conduct army workout routines with broomsticks as a substitute of weapons.
All through her time as defence minister, von der Leyen spent huge quantities of taxpayers’ cash on exterior consultants. She was accused of nepotism in her awarding of contracts. Conveniently, all the proof from her cell phone had been deleted earlier than she may very well be correctly investigated for all this.
Strikingly, none of those failures, none of those scandals, has ever slowed her meteoric rise. Von der Leyen has develop into a part of an untouchable, worldwide aristocracy. She is shielded from democratic scrutiny and political accountability, whilst she bungles each new temporary she is given.
That is what occurs when the general public will get frozen out of politics, when key appointments are made by way of backroom offers and horsetrading. You find yourself with the worst attainable candidates, on the worst attainable time. You find yourself with Ursula von der Leyen – a politician who has solely ever failed upwards.
Fraser Myers is deputy editor at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Comply with him on Twitter: @FraserMyers
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