International Security // Comments

21 february 2017

The Mood of Uncertainty in Munich

Andrey Kortunov Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

The Munich Security Conference reflected the overall mood of uncertainty and even confusion that is more than common in the West today. The U.S. delegation from both the executive and the legislative branch of the government tried hard to convince everybody that America under President Trump would continue to carry its burden of the responsible global leadership provided that American partners are committed to a fair burden-sharing. U.S.-European allies welcomed this rhetoric, but appeared to remain concerned.

The future of the European Union after Brexit was another elephant in the room; the modalities of Brexit procedure itself was a subject of intense debates between proponents of a “hard Brexit” and supporters of softer approaches to the defecting United Kingdom. The new balance of powers in Syria as well as potential implications of the U.S. — Iranian confrontation added some spice to the Conference deliberations.

The Ukraine-related discussion did not generate any innovative ideas. Neither had it demonstrated any visible progress on the ground. Russia reconfirmed its previous positions on major international matters clearly indicating that it is in no mood for any concessions or innovative proposals at this stage.

The big question looming on the horizon was about whether the world had already entered a post-West stage or it would be still premature to make a final judgment on this question.

Source: Russia-Direct

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Andrey Kortunov, “The Mood of Uncertainty in Munich,” Russian International Affairs Council, 21 February 2017,

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