The Munich Security Conference 2019: An Overview


This year’s Munich Security Conference 2019 did a good job of reflecting the conventional wisdom in Europe about the Trump Administration, and allowing geopolitical adversaries of the United States a good world stage.

And Chancellor Merkel provided a “feel good” speech to rally Europeans nostalgic for a world before Donald Trump or Brexit.

Even featured was a good representative of that world, former Vice President Bidden.

In some ways, on the European side this felt a bit like that moment in history when the Congress of Vienna met after the capture of Napoleon Bonaparte and the ancien regime was re-establishing itself.

Clearly, Bidden appealed to the notion that it would be good to move the current President offshore to somewhere like the island of Elbe and get on with nostalgia foreign policy.

The only problem is that the world is not to be found in the domain of nostalgia policy.

Not liking the Trump Administration may be an instinct but it is not about facing the realities to which the President has himself focused upon.

As Ahmed Charai put it in a recent piece published by The National Interest:

At the Munich and Warsaw conferences this past week, we saw once again the ritualistic gathering of the “Atlantic family”—the founders of the NATO alliance—coming together to one again announce unity and brotherhood. 

Like all old families, the members are not equal, and the divisions are hardly hidden. 

Let’s start with dispensing the polite fiction that when U.S. officials met their EU counterparts, it is a meeting of equals.

It is not.

He added a really core point regarding the challenge of facing the world we have, not hankering for the world we once lived in.

Missing from the conversations was any vision regarding Russia and China. 

Moscow is a military superpower but has an economy smaller than Germany and cultural power equal to Belgium. 

This may explain why the Trump administration does not see it as a great author of the world to come. 

On the other hand, China is now the world’s second-largest economy, has developed a blue-water navy, sent satellites into orbit and spacecraft to the moon. And, at least within Asia, its culture continues to attract millions of non-Chinese. 

More importantly, China is placing a big, strategic bet on “big data.” 

It is amassing vast amounts of information about its citizens and plans to issue a social-rating score for each of them. 

China is busily buying up communication companies around the world. 

The Chinese regime, without making waves, has a vision of influence and domination. 

It is building its own brave new world. 

In our Munich Security Conference 2019 update, we include our pieces on the Conference as well as speeches made there as well.

Munich Security Conference

And for an ebook version of the update: