Tag Archives: global security

Munich Security Conference – the 49th reunion/ February 2013

The 49th annual meeting of Munich Security Conference (MSC) takes place (Bayerischer Hof Hotel) from 1 to 3 February 2013 and as usual, will bring together many senior figures from around the world to engage in European and transatlantic security policy. Event’s hosts estimate that more than 400 decision makers msc-logo_1representing international business and political spheres will attend.  Roughly “one dozen heads of state or government,” as well as five EU commissioners are included in that total. Close to 60 CEOs from large German and international companies are also expected. In addition, roughly 700 accredited media outlets are expected cover the event. MSC has become a not-to-be-missed annual event for the international  “strategic community” in the field of foreign and defense policy and is an independent forum dedicated to exchanging new ideas and promoting peaceful conflict resolution, cooperation, and dialogue in dealing with today’s and future security challenges.

Like recent years, decision makers in foreign and security politics as well as from the business sector are expected again in Munich. The Conference Chairman , Wolfgang Ischinger, said on Thursday in the Bavarian capital: “We expect even more participants from even more countries, with even higher ranks than ever before.” Among others important leaders will be also US Vice President Joe Biden. He will travel to Germany to participate in the 49th Munich Security Conference the second time as Vice President of US. His presence is a “meaningful political signal” said Wolfgang Ischinger at a press conference previewing the start of MSC. Four years ago, at the beginning of President Obama’s first term, Biden gave a widely noted speech (link), calling for a “reset” in the relationship between Russia and the United States.

In terms of German governmental representation, Ischinger named several prominent leaders: Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich. Furthermore, he noted that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is scheduled to give a talk on the European debt crisis.

Other expected guests include Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and UN special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. A representative of the Syrian opposition was also invited. The Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is also expected to attend and discuss about his country’s controversial nuclear program.

Meetings’ agenda of world security leaders are dominated by the crisis situation from Mali, Syrian folder, the recent protests from Egypt, but also include discussions dedicated to the European sovereign debt crisis (often referred to as the Eurozone crisis). The Iranian nuclear program are also to be addressed.

Update_1: The Munich Young Leaders 2013 will take place at the sidelines of the 49th Munich Security Conference from January 31 to February 3, 2013. The Munich Young Leaders Round Table on Security Policy brings together young leaders in the field of foreign and security policy. You can find all further information here.

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Munich Security Conference – the 47th edition/ February 2011

The 47th Munich Security Conference (MSC) takes place from 4 to 6 February 2011 and again bring together senior figures from around the world to engage in European and transatlantic security. The traditional meeting includes a record number of international delegations this year. Agenda of meetings of world security leaders are dominated by the upheaval in Egypt, but also include discussions dedicated to “Implications of the Financial Crisis for Global Stability and Security”, “Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament: What’s Next ?”, “Cyber Security”, “NATO and Afghanistan: A Regional Approach ?”. On Sunday (February, 6) agenda of MSC includes a special panel dedicated “A Tribute to Richard Holbrooke”.

At the beginning of the Security Conference, German Defense Minister  – Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, NATO Secretary General – Anders Fogh Rasmussen and British Foreign Secretary – William Hague pointed out the need for security cooperation in times of shrinking defense budgets. The German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg detailed how the German army is becoming smaller, more professional and more capable. He outlined the difficulties of responding to financial concerns whilst maintaining the national interest. Also, he noted the importance on foreign policy consensus among the North-Atlantic Alliance. The Strategic Concept is a “solid base” for accomplishing defence tasks, he said.

In his speech “Building security in an age of austerity”, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reminded that: “What is less good news is that we continue to face the effects of the financial crisis.  And this years’ conference focuses on dealing with a major challenge – how to build security in an age of austerity.  Despite signs of a recovery, not

Dr. Angela Merkel (le), Federal Chancellor, Germany, David Cameron (mi), Prime Minister, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Wolfgang Ischinger (ri), Chairman, Munich Security

least here in Germany, the effects of the financial crisis will be felt for some time in all our nations.  And governments face tough decisions to bring their economies back into balance”. Full speech of Mr. Rasmussen can be read here.

Secretary of United State Hillary Clinton’s agenda at the 47th Munich Security Conference include (February 5) an exchange of documents with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, that will put into force a nuclear weapons treaty START 2 between their countries. Clinton also will meetings with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to the State Department.

Responding to allegations that by holding a Strategic Defence and Security Review, Britain is somehow retreating from an activist role in the world, Prime Minister David Cameron wanted to remind that “Britain will continue to meet the NATO two per cent target for defence spending. We still have the fourth largest military budget in the world. And at the same time, we are putting that money to better use, focusing on conflict prevention and building a much more flexible army”. Also, Cameron has delivered a speech setting out his view on radicalisation and Islamic extremism. “We need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of these terrorist attacks lie – and that is the existence of an ideology, ‘Islamist extremism’. And we should be equally clear what we mean by this term, distinguishing it from Islam. Islam is a religion, observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a political ideology, supported by a minority. We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing. (…) The root lies in the existence of this extremist ideology. What we see is now a process of radicalisation.”.

I will return in a future post on discussion between Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Ministry, Moscow 
 and John McCain, U.S. Senator, Washington D.C..  Also we take a look at panel discussions «Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament: What’s Next ?»  where attended Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Foreign Ministry – Ankara, Toomas Ilves, President of the Republic of Estonia,(Chairman & Moderator), 
 Sergei Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator – Washington D.C., Frank-Walter Steinmeier, SPD Chairman of the Group Parlamentary – Berlin and Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security – Washington DC.

Although MSC is considered too close and opaque , a meeting where are deciding in secret world politics, about the public accessibility of the Munich Security Conference, conference organizer Wolfgang Ischinger explains that: “The Munich Security Conference operates with a maximum degree of transparency and does not take place behind closed doors. Not only are there several hundred journalists who prepare detailed reports about the conference – with the live stream, we offer the interested public an additional opportunity to follow the conference live on the internet, too.”

What’s happening in the Arab World ?

The participants to the discussion of this topic have been: Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkye, Uzi Arad, National Security Advisor of Israel, Javier Solana, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (ret.), Volker Perthes, Director, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) from Berlin, Frank Wisner, Special Envoy, Washington D.C. (via live conference).
Discussion was moderated by: Nik Gowing, BBC, London

The main conclusion of the discussion focused on the importance of time required to achieve orderly transition. Moreover, this view was reflected in recent days in most of the statements of political leaders from EU, US, Russia, Israel. Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, along with the premiers of Italy and Spain, called upon Mubarak to step down and facilitate a “quick and orderly transition to a broad-based government” on Feb. 3. A similar message came from the Kremlin after a telephone conversation between President Dmitry Medvedev and President Hosni Mubarak. So nothing new in that regard. But it is worth noting some aspects of the discussion.

According to Volker Perthes, difference between the approach suggested by the international community and chaos of the uprising in Egypt comes from the fact that politicians see things in terms of political strategy for the Middle East, by contrast, the population is not interested in these issues, people want economic prosperity, living standards decent. He called on Europeans to quickly initiate specific steps helping the Tunisians in particular. While the United States was especially involved in Egypt, the Tunisians were primarily looking north. The EU, for example, could remove trade barriers for food, or ease visa requirements.

Javier Solana noted that what is happening now in Egypt and how this crisis will be resolved may dictate the future policies that will be constructed toward Islam. Frank Wisner said that the movements in the Middle East and in North Africa are further indicators for a period of major upheaval in the intertwining dynamics of an increasingly globalized world. He agreed that democracy is not limited to holding free and fair elections. Jasmine Revolution is not a revolution made on Facebook, but is a revolution of the young generation in the Arab world who socialize on FB and Twitter, which informs and which have common ideals and aspirations. They aren’t attracted to Islam moderate of Muslim Brotherhood, as they are not interested in Mubarak’s nationalism. They want opportunities, jobs, a better life than their parents. One aspect that politicians should take into account when they design their strategies.

Update: 2011 February 6

NATO and Afghanistan: A Regional Approach ?

The topic for the final day of the conference was Afghanistan, where the withdrawal of international combat forces could begin this year. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was present in Munich for the discussions. In his speech, president Karzai noted that he is “determined to demonstrate Afghan leadership and ownership of the transition process” as Afghanistan prepares to take full responsibility for its security by 2014. Karzai has told that US spend more than 100 billion dollars a year for Afghanistan, and nearby 8 billion goes on financing of national forces of a security. But…he also spoke about “parallel structures” such as private security firms, the NATO-led international force’s provincial reconstruction teams and direct support to provincial offices.”They don’t produce the desired result” Karzai said. “Rather, they are contributing to weakened Afghan government and to impediments to the growth of the Afghan state structures and good governance”. Oh, yes ! it is exactly that aspect because I fear that the fight against corruption of Karzai government will remain unattainable goal stage.

The invocation of global security – a insufficient motivation

President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones said Tuesday, October 5, that nations need to work together better to combat money laundering and other crimes that send arms, drugs and other deadly weapons across international borders. Gen. James Jones told a security conference in the southern Russian resort of Sochi that such cross-border crimes are a growing national security threat. He expressed concern that criminal syndicates could collaborate with terrorists seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, report Associated Press.

Gen. Jones’ statements come amid the U.S.’ invitation on a possible integration of Russia into NATO. Remember that although  on the agenda Russia – NATO meeting in November 2010 discussion on this topic are planned, the authorities in Moscow have received an invitation with skepticism and avoided comments on this issue. Of course, discussions on a new security architecture aren’t new.

Raised challenges to global security are the same: terrorism, organized crime, drugs, weapons of mass destruction. But different priorities are almost impossible to concrete results. The way how did the U.S. Congress on ratification of a new strategic arms reduction deal with Russia is relevant about the differences in priorities. More, Russia also has its own vision in this respect. And the security strategy proposed by President Medvedev to the partners in the European Union appears to be gaining adherents even among the European members of the North-Atlantic Alliance. The appearance is visible even in the Memorandum signed by President Medvedev and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The document looks like a mix between the Russian president’s vision and a set of basic concepts of NATO. However, a possible integration of Russia in NATO, without a substantial reform and a new identity of Alliance,  is unlikely. No matter how persuasive would like to be President of U.S. advisers statements.

Update: President Barack Obama announced Friday, October 8,  that Jones “has decided to step aside” and will be replaced by Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. Mr. Obama praised Jones as a “dedicated public servant and a friend to me” and thanked him for his service.
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, the president said he has relied every day on Jones’ advice and counsel, and that during his tenure Jones reformed the White House national security staff. “Reflecting the new challenges of our time, he put new emphasis on cyber security, development, and climate change, and made sure that Homeland Security is fully integrated into our efforts” Mr. Obama said.
Jones’ resignation will take effect in two weeks.