The release of the latest Munich Security Report comes at an opportune moment. Opportune because US President Joe Biden is coming to Europe on his first foreign trip: He is set to attend the G7 summit in England, and then a NATO summit in Brussels where the leaders of the most world's most powerful military alliance will gather, followed by a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
Against this backdrop of transatlantic diplomacy comes the Munich Security Conference's latest security report, "Between States of Matter — Competition and Cooperation."
The title describes the central dilemma of the 160-page report: Western democracies are being challenged, particularly by China. At the same time, the two sides need each other, not only as business partners, but also to confront major global challenges.
The authors call on Europe and North America to integrate like-minded partners in other parts of the world. Only once the scope of democratic cooperation is broadened more considerably, can they respond to competition from autocratic systems, the authors write.
But to do this, European nations must first work together, says Wolfgang Ischinger, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference. It is all the more important for the foreign policy of the future to maneuver between the poles of cooperation and competition or even of confrontation.
"Developing a relevant European foreign policy not only vis-a vis China and vis-a-vis Russia, but also of course vis-a-vis our transatlantic partners is, in my view, the absolute essential necessity of the day going forward," Ischinger said.
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