Why is a former NATO secretary general lobbying for a member of Russia’s military alliance?
It is easy to forget in this time of war in Ukraine that NATO is an organisation supposed to enable peace.
So, why would anyone raise questions when a past NATO secretary general goes to a country not in the NATO alliance to foster or pitch peace between it and its long-term rival and neighbour?
This happened in mid-March when former Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Armenia — an ex-Soviet nation in the Caucasus — trying to negotiate a peace treaty with its neighbour Azerbaijan after a conflict two years ago.
But when Armenia is not just a member of Russia’s six-nation CSTO military alliance, but the chair of the organisation — and the former NATO chief was being paid by the Armenian government for the visit — it calls for some answers.
Rasmussen didn’t mention this in any of the interviews, tweets, and media articles he generated, something he should have done even when his transactional relationship with Russia’s military ally is listed in the EU’s lobbyist register.
By not being upfront, he’s been disingenuous, which is unbecoming of a man of his status.
Rasmussen still surprised many — and triggers a bot army
But the real surprise is what he said while the Armenians were paying. In the most significant media interview of his visit, he raised the prospects for peace, and extolled the undeniable economic benefits for the people of Armenia if a peace treaty is signed with their neighbour.
He also raised the fact that to achieve that peace, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh — an unrecognised majority Armenian ethnic breakaway state inside the borders of Azerbaijan — needs to be settled.