Disillusionment at the Munich Security Conference
(Source: compiled by Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Feb 19, 2018)
PARIS --- Meeting for two days of speeches, meetings and informal talks at the Munich Security Conference on Feb 17-18, ministers and senior defense and foreign affairs officials projected a morose outlook, according to Tobias Bunde, the conference’s Head of Policy and Analysis.

In a series of tweets posted Sunday night, as he was on his way home, Bunde concisely expressed his disillusionment about this year’s conference, and his pessimistic outlook about the future of the United States, Europe and transatlantic relations.

We have reproduced here a transcript of Bunde’s thread, which is embedded below.

Transcript of the entire thread:

On my way home from the Munich Security Conference (MSC2018) - and even more worried than before. When people who don't spend much time with world politics ask whether it is as bad as the media say, I now respond: No, it's actually worse.

First, the world has seen a frightening amount of brinkmanship recently. Whether it's East Asia, the Middle East or even Eastern Europe - there is an increased risk of escalation. Many speeches at MSC2018 have underscored this - in many cases, they added fuel to the fire.

Second, there was a lack of constructive ideas to solve some of the most pressing conflicts: The participants of the Normandy format didn't even meet to discuss. It's hard to imagine a good solution to the INF issue. And it's even worse when it comes to Syria or North Korea.

Third, beyond these "classical" (and more immediate) security crises, we are facing tremendous long-term challenges related to the rise of new technologies and the rise of illiberal great powers (...and we are only beginning to grasp their implications).

Most importantly, the traditional "guardians" of the liberal international order seem overwhelmed and paralyzed. To many in Munich, the US increasingly looks like a rudderless ship, and the Europeans mostly offer analyses rather than strategies.

The community of liberal democracies is showing signs of disintegration. Some allies threaten each other, some even did not want to sit on stage together in Munich. Major politicians (not just in the US) now regularly attack basic liberal values.

As someone who thinks that the relations among liberal democracies are indeed special because of their underlying collective identity, I fear that this doesn't bode well for the future of institutions such as NATO and the EU. And this doesn't bode well for the world.


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