Munich Security Conference releases first Munich Security Report

Wolfgang Ischinger Münchener Sicherheitskonferenz 22.01.2014

The Munich Security Report, 70 pages long, is published this year for the first time prior to the three-day meeting scheduled for early February. It is intended as a primer for the Munich Security Conference.

Since 1963 the Munich Security Conference has been a staple in the calendar of global policy makers and scholars. But for 2015, the organizers are offering a new service that is available for the public as well.

Titled "Collapsing order, reluctant guardians" the document introduces the major issues of the current international policy agenda as seen through the lens of the Conference organizers and a host of global think tanks which collaborated on the report.

Divided into four sections, the publication shines a spotlight on key actors, major hot spots and emerging challenges on the global stage before suggesting to readers noteworthy reports or books if they want to dive deeper into certain issues.

Conversation starter

To be sure, the Munich Security Report offers no exhaustive treatment or possible solutions for today's most pressing international relations topics. But that was not the intention of the publication as Conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger states in his introduction.

"The report is meant, first and foremost, as a - hopefully thought provoking - conversation starter for our conference," writes Ischinger.

"It's a good development," said Thorsten Benner, head of Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute and a regular at the Conference. "It shows that the Munich Security Conference is really committed to content, that it is committed to providing policy makers and analysts with the latest thinking on these issues and that they do that with the necessary humility."

Another long-time participant, James Davis, professor of international politics at the University of St. Gallen concurs: "It adds a number of important questions even if it doesn't provide any real answers to them. I think it should be understood as it is advertised to be - an invitation to dialogue."

Both Davis and Benner highlight the section on rising powers and whether some of them are "free riders" as a valuable starting point for further discussion in Munich and beyond.

Another important question posed is "whether the current instabilities we see in the international system are a function of a collapsing order or of a failure on the part of the United States to lead," noted Davis.

Public document

A third reading suggestion per Benner, "in terms of new and up-and-coming topics is information warfare and in general asymmetric warfare which we have seen in the case of Ukraine and they highlight that very well in the report."

While the Munich Security Conference itself is not open to the general public, even though its key debates will be streamed live via DW's homepage, the Munich Security Conference report is not just geared for Conference participants, but available for the interested public as well.

"I think this is an important effort to educate the public about the important topics we must talk about and it can also help to correct some of the misconceptions about the conference," said Davis.

You can read the Munich Security Report here.

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