The time has come. It has never been done before but, apart from the fact that the post becomes vacant in September, there would be three reasons to wish that a Frenchman became Secretary General of NATO.
The first is that at a time when Americans and Europeans are providing Ukraine with support on a comparable scale, all aids taken into account, it would be fully justified for the only real military power in the Union and the only one of its states sitting in the Security Council to take command of the Atlantic Alliance. This would show that Europeans are no longer the protégés of the United States in this war, but increasingly their equals in rights and duties. It would show American taxpayers that they are not alone in financing the resistance to Russian aggression. The right wing of the Republicans could no longer even suggest that it is primarily the Europeans who should pay to defend themselves, and no one in Europe would be able to claim that it is the United States that is dragging the 27 into a hot replica of the Cold War.
Because at the beginning of this century there are no longer two superpowers facing each other, but a new balance being sought between China, the United States, the European Union, Russia, India and many other players on the way to emancipation, the democracies must, in a word, join the fray by affirming the Atlantic Alliance as an alliance of virtually equal powers. A consensus on the nomination of a Frenchman to the NATO General Secretariat would mean that both sides of the Atlantic accept the need for this development, and that is not all.
By defending the candidacy of one of its own, France would mean that, contrary to what is always said, it does not wish to substitute a European Defence for the Atlantic Alliance but, on the contrary, to reinforce it by providing it with a European pillar allowing a sharing of tasks among Westerners. The day a Frenchman would take over the leadership of NATO, not only could the countries that left the Soviet bloc lose their last fears about the supposed persistence of a rejection of the Atlantic Alliance in Paris, but the trial of anti-Americanism constantly brought against France would quickly be dismissed.
On that day, it is without further concern that all 27 could walk with redoubled steps towards the European Defence of which they have laid the foundations by arming Ukraine together and then by placing their ammunition orders together. The war that is being waged in Europe is not the last one of the 20th century but the first of the 21st. Everything is moving, everything is changing and such upheavals call for a Frenchman or a Frenchwoman at the head of NATO.