Who is Jens Stoltenberg: Demonstrated against NATO and challenges Putin today

“An economist with no defense experience, a social democrat with good relations with Russia.” with these words BBC He told Jens Stoltenberg, the then new NATO secretary general, on October 1, 2014, when he took over the Atlantic alliance. The first to be surprised by his appointment were his Norwegian friends. A year ago, they had sent him home after eight years at the head of government in Oslo. Few could count on the NATO success of the former prime minister, who took to the streets in the 1970s to oppose the war in Vietnam and was accommodating to the Russians. Stoltenberg, we sang “Norway, Norway, get out of NATO”.

realpolitik towards Moscow

Above all, there was a woman who believed in him, Angela Merkel. “He’s his favorite Social Democrat,” reporter Stefan Cornelius said. Süddeutsche Zeitung. The qualities of his favorite, most admired by the Chancellor, have aged badly over time and have become the main criticisms of an entire generation of European leaders: realpolitik and openness to Russia, as witnessed by different countries. photo opportunity With Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, whom Stoltenberg gathered during his years at the head of the Norwegian government.

Endorsed by Obama and Trump

In 2014, the Scandinavian leader also gained the trust of then-US President Barack Obama, and was even endorsed by his successor, Donald Trump, who later threatened the United States to leave NATO. On the other hand, as Emmanuel Macron said when commenting on the war in Syria in 2019, when various NATO members such as the US, Turkey and France were seen on opposite fronts, the alliance was “brain dead”. Paradoxically, the alliance has been reunited by the most serious threat to NATO since the Cold War, or when young Jens was far from convinced of his Euro-Atlantic position.

On the streets against NATO

The future NATO secretary general was born in Oslo in 1959. His father, Ambassador Thorvald Stoltenberg, was a key figure in the Labor Party, destined to become Minister of Defense and then Secretary of State. Jens’ mother, Karin Heiberg, was also involved in politics until she became a New Jersey-born geneticist and undersecretary of commerce. But he has a sister Camilla, a militant of the Marxist-Leninist Red Youth group, to impress the rising star of Norwegian politics in his teenage years. It was he who brought the young Stoltenberg to demonstrations against the United States during the years of protest against the war in Vietnam, a future trick of the Atlantic alliance. scans choirs urge Norway to leave NATO. In 2002, Stoltenberg will also admit to using cannabis in his youth.

rise and fall

He graduated from the department of economics, wrote for the newspaper Arbeiderbladet from 1979 to 1981. After quitting journalism, he devoted himself to politics, joining the Norwegian Labor Party. President of the Working Youth League since 1985, he began teaching economics at the University of Oslo in ’89. Academic experience does not take long. The following year, Stoltenberg became the leader of Oslo’s Labor department and entered the national Parliament, Storting, in 1993. He became the Minister of Trade and Energy in the same year and has been serving as the Minister of Finance since 1996. In 1997, the Labor Party remained in opposition and consolidated its internal leadership after the center-right executive was overthrown in 2000, which led to it receiving the mandate to form the new government from King Harald V of Norway. But the minority government led by Stoltenberg struggled to persuade the 5 million Norwegians in the 2001 election, who punished the Labor Party with the worst result since the 1920s. Game over for Stoltenberg? Not possible.


The future head of NATO battles internal challenges and wins to stay in the Labor Party seat. In 2005, his centre-left coalition achieved a narrow victory that opened the door to Stoltenberg’s second term. This time the progressive government continues during a time when the prime minister has managed to keep the unemployment rate in check and the opposition has attacked him for his tax burden and his policy of opening up to immigrants. He won re-election in 2009 and became the first Norwegian prime minister to be re-appointed since 1993. Nazi Anders Breivik killed 77 people, mostly young Labor militants aged 14 to 19. Images of the Scandinavian prime minister, himself the target of attacks, leaving bouquets of flowers on the island, which has turned into a blood theater, are circulating the world.

The success of the state wealth fund

Norway is also becoming a model state for the management of public finances through its state wealth fund, which reached $750 billion during the years of the Stoltenberg government. The fund fed by the huge income from the energy sector is taken as an example by the major oil exporting countries and the years of the current NATO secretary general at the head of the country go down in history with successful investments, so much so that in 2022 he will be offered the position of Chairman of the Central Bank of Norway. Good results reported on the economic side amid the global financial crisis allowed Stoltenberg to re-present himself as coalition leader in 2013. Labor comes first, but this time the winner is the centre-right. Then bending.

First war in Ukraine and NATO divided

Stoltenberg was elected as NATO secretary general, replacing the Danish Anders Fogh Rasmussen. After leaving the Labor Party, he became head of the alliance in October 2014. Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine began months ago and will end a few months later with the signing of the Minsk agreements. But Russia is in power in the Crimea and in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Thus begins a long period of latent tension in Eastern Europe, forcing NATO to once again strengthen its eastern front. But meanwhile, Stoltenberg realized he had to manage the country’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, with the country’s immediate return to the Taliban after two decades of NATO occupation and new crises in the Middle East arena that were driving the progress of the allied states. have their own and often different goals.

Reply to Russia

Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House restores a minimum of cohesion within NATO, which since February 24 last year has become essential for a joint response to Putin’s Russia’s new invasion of Ukraine. Unlike the 2014 conflict, this time the West aids Kiev and immediately imposes sanctions on Moscow. The shipment of “defense weapons” soon becomes a constant supply, which allows Ukraine to keep up with the Russian army nonetheless. Stoltenberg’s mandate was extended for another year to add continuity to NATO’s activities.

On the way to NATO

In the last few hours, the secretary general has announced that he is not seeking new reelection. In October, Stoltenberg will be replaced, on second consideration, by his successor, who will be elected in the coming months.

Source: Today IT