Munich Security Conference afterthoughts 💭

Dear readers, 

Security is not that complicated. It just needs commitment.

I spent the last three days at the Munich Security Conference, to learn and listen. I am not a security or defense expert, but maybe we can’t afford not to be experts anymore. 

The 3 things that stuck with me most, are the following:

  • The West lacks commitment: It’s amazing, 2 years after Russia’s full-scale invasion, some people still haven’t really felt the shot. In a backroom briefing with defense industry reps and politicians I learned that, while the German government decided to significantly up its defense budget, we are unable to agree on contracts that ensure predictability (x units per year) with our main contractors.
  • NATO is stronger than Russia – But for how long? There is no question: NATO could defend its own borders without loss of territory or even time. But ther are certain scenarios that could weaken that capability: US leaving NATO (very low likelihood scenario!), the rise of populism everywhere, a conflict in Taiwan, Ukraine losing, and losing the capability race against Russia over the years. All of these scenarios lead to the same conclusions: support Ukraine in its victory with all we have and build sufficient European defense capabilities.
  • Find the pearl: The most interesting discussions I attended where in smaller side-events with a handful of people, not on the main stages. One exception: It was incredibly interesting to listen to Hillary Clinton and Deborah Lipstad talk about the horrible rise in antisemitism (“the Jews are…”) and differentiate it from criticism of the government of Israel.

Well, that’s it. Ah, and one more thing I learned: there is too much ego in most talks. To ensure I don’t fall into the trap of becoming to full of myself, I created the little matrix below (thx you, consulting). Feel free to forward to anyone who needs it 🙂