Alwaght- The 56th Munich Security Conference was held from Friday to Sunday. Unclear economic and security future and the regional security challenges across the world overshadowed the topics and speechless of this year’s conference.
The MSC was first founded by Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin, a German veteran, in 1963 to promote an atmosphere for dialogue and thus prevent further wars like the world wars.
The main goal is to provide chain security globally and to help exchange ideas about the security challenges at present and in the future. About 40 heads of state and 100 foreign and defense ministers joined this year’s gathering.
The key stated theme of discussion this year, according to a report published just ahead of the conference, was “Westlessness.” This topic is picked for this year because the European countries and the US which once won WWII now are forlorn to solve the global security challenges.
Wolfgang Ischinger, the head of the conference, criticized the Western show of weakness in such cases as Libya, Syria, and Yemen, saying that while these points are witnessing fierce conflicts, “we are just watching.” Other cases of the discussion were Persian Gulf tensions, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria’s Idlib, and Iran nuclear program.
Topics and addresses
Germany’s President Frank Walter Steinmeier accused Washington, Beijing, and Moscow on Friday of jeopardizing the international order by stoking global mistrust and insecurity with a “great powers competition.”
“The upshot is more mistrust, more armament, less security…all the way to a new nuclear arms race,” said Steinmeier.
Without explicitly naming US President Donald Trump, Steinmeier criticized the “make America great again” catchphrase: “‘Great again’ – even at the expense of neighbors and partners.”
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the second day of the event rejected Steinmeier’s comments and said that he sees things are doing well thanks to the current US administration’s policy. He tried to use enthusiastic words to cover up the negative effects of the Trump policy on other countries. Pompeo said that the West is winning a competition with China and Russia.
“I’m happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly exaggerated. The West is winning, and we’re winning together,” he told the audience.
Another addresser of this conference was President Emanuel Macron of France. He in his speech somehow echoed the worries of Steinmeier on the US unilateralism. He said the US for some time has embarked on a policy of reviewing its relations with Europe. He implicitly introduced an independent EU army as the best way to face the American unilateralism. He also criticized the EU failure over the past decades to found its own army, saying the failure of this policy in Europe was a historic mistake.
The US tried to highlight the Chinese Artificial Intelligence (AI) advances and Iranophobia in the event. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that Beijing uses its technologies to support the state-owned companies and the international community should be severely concerned about China’s AI technology. Pompeo said Iran threatens Saudi Arabia with its ballistic missiles and interrupts the regional networks with its cyber attacks.
Iran and MSC
The US has recently issued visa limitations to the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif at the UN. So, the Munich event provided a convenient opportunity for the Islamic Republic to talk with various countries. Zarif met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. He also met foreign ministers of China, Japan, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Finland. In a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, Zarif talked West Asia security conditions, US mistakes in the region, EU commitments to the Iran nuclear deal, the reality of American-European relations, and also the ways to boost Iran-EU trust and cooperation.
After meeting with Zarif, Trudeau said that he was impressed by Zarif’s call for an independent investigation into the crash of the Ukrainian passenger plane in Iran. Zarif in a press conference commented on the US tension-making actions in the region, saying the assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was an American miscalculation because it prompted the realization of the Iranian goal of US withdrawal from Iraq.
Zarif also talked to Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the expansion of Iranian-Turkish ties. Cavusoglu in his MSC address told the US the anti-Iranian sanctions will never succeed.
Zarif told the conference that Tehran was ready to settle the differences with Saudi Arabia. He said Iran was ready to guarantee the Saudi security adding after the assassination of General Soleimani, Riyadh sent a message of willingness to talk but did not answer to Iran's offer for regional peace, officially known as Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE).
The MSC over the past years focused on fixed issues. Last year, for example, the theme was EU consolidation, inter-continental cooperation, and the outlook of powers competition. This year, Steinmeier opened the conference with criticism of the US, China, and Russia. He said the American unilateralism, Russian authoritarianism, and Chinese selectionism in dealing with international trade regulations as the main causes of global instability. He said that the world is yet to solve these challenges.
Like in the past years, the Venezuela home crisis, Syria civil war, and eastern Ukraine crisis were the repetitive topics of discussion at the conference, demonstrating that the world actors failed to solve the security challenges.
The US geographic remoteness from the hot spots has made Washington only sensitive to the protection of its interests against terrorist threats. Not only Americans do not help to uproot terrorism but also they stand as a factor creating crises in West Asia, the Korean Peninsula, Eastern Europe, and Chinese and Russian borders.
On the other side, the disputes over long-standing security challenges distract the MSC participants from climate change challenges.
What can be read from the great powers’ remarks is accepting the fact that the world is on the threshold of a multipolar order and the main blocs of power try to prepare for entering the new order and grow immune to the initial economic and security challenges of the multipolar world.