The 2018 Munich Security Conference continued the trend of promoting a New Cold War while diplomats openly disparaged Russia and fretted over the Trump presidency, Gilbert Doctorow reports.
By Gilbert Doctorow
The annual Munich Security Conference is to geopolitics what Davos is to global economics: a forum for public discussion of challenges and trends, as well as a venue for side meetings off the official schedule by Very Important People that are at times even more intriguing than the formal events. By the latter I have in mind, for example, the tête-à-tête behind closed doors between former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the Russian ambassador to Germany that set tongues wagging back in Kiev and Moscow, even if it was passed up in the Euronews coverage.
The very biggest names in global politics make their appearances at Munich and occasionally catch the imagination of all with substantive as opposed to merely clever remarks. No one familiar with the venue can forget Vladimir Putin’s speech there of February 2007. It set in motion the open challenge to US global mastery that has evolved into the deep cracks in the world order which were the main theme of Munich a year ago, and which presented themselves again for consideration in the latest, 2018 edition, which took place 16-18 February.
Last year the biggest name in Munich was Chinese President Xi, who did not disappoint and stole the show by his robust defense of free trade, global cooperation to combat climate change and other leading issues of the day from which Donald Trump’s America seemed to be retreating. This year there was no one leader who commanded the attention of the audience and media. What special meaning the gathering had could be found in the Report of the organizers, which highlights the issues and guided the discussion in the various sessions over three days.
Parsing an 88-page text like the Report might be a step too far. But a word about its style is in order since that takes us directly to analysis of its content.
The Munich Security Conference takes place in Germany. Its website and promotional literature are bilingual, German-English. However, the…