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Europe’s Convergence of Crises

The Transatlantic Community Responds to Refugee Waves and Russian Advances

Sidney E. Dean, Editor

Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly
Vol. XVI, Nr. 2 (April 2016)

The 52nd Munich Security Conference (12th February 2016) was dominated by two issues: Russia’s threat to eastern Europe, and Syria’s ongoing civil war.

Discussion of the latter also was marked by the inherent threats to Europe, from the flow of Middle Eastern refugees to the growing aggressiveness of the so-called Islamic State – most often now referred to by the Arabic term Daesh in order to deny the terrorist movement any religious legitimacy.

Observers at the conference and in think tanks warn that Europe is facing a convergence of crises unseen since World War II. While these warnings may be exaggerated – consider various Cold War standoffs or the identity-shaking impact of the Warsaw Pact’s collapse – but it is undeniable that the European Union and even NATO are facing internal as well as external challenges.

Anti-Europe parties are growing in many key nations, feeding on myopic nostalgia for the “safety and stability” provided by national border checkpoints and national currencies. And last but not least, where does all this leave the Transatlantic Alliance?