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The 50th meeting of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) was intended as a celebration of sorts. More than 400 “movers and shakers” attended, including 20 heads of government and 50 foreign and defense ministers as well as numerous legislators. The half-
The latter aspect was sorely tested during the 50th conference. While Viktor Yanukovych still held the presidency in Ukrain and Russian forces had not yet occupied the Crimea, the diplomatic standoff over the domestic crisis in Kiev had clearly begun. It was the first major security crisis in Europe since the Balkan conflict, and naturally received significant attention at the MSC.
Ironically, the other set of tensions dominating the conference played out between the United States and Europe. In the wake of the Snowden revelations the European partners called for new standards of conduct to ensure that national sovereignty and civil rights are maintained in the digital age. While firm on this issue, the European participants also stressed the need to prevent the US National Security Agency’s surveillance programs from undermining the cohesion of the Transatlantic partnership. Perhaps Russia’s bullying tactics vis-
The third aspect dominating the conference was the call for Germany to assume greater responsibility in global affairs.