Munich Security Report 2017

Foreword

Dear Reader,

 

The annual Munich Security Report, first published in 2015, is our conversation starter for the Munich Security Conference and aims to serve as a useful compilation for decision-makers, security professionals, and the interested public. Ahead of the Munich Security Conference 2017, we are pleased to present the report’s third edition.

The international security environment is arguably more volatile today than at any point since World War II. Some of the most fundamental pillars of the West and of the liberal international order are weakening. Adversaries of open societies are on the offensive. Liberal democracies have proven to be vulnerable to disinformation campaigns in post-truth international politics. Citizens of democracies believe less and less that their systems are able to deliver positive outcomes for them and increasingly favor national solutions and closed borders over globalism and openness. Illiberal regimes, on the other hand, seem to be on solid footing and act with assertiveness, while the willingness and ability of Western democracies to shape international affairs and to defend the rules-based liberal order are declining. The United States might move from being a provider of public goods and international security to pursuing a more unilateralist, maybe even nationalistic foreign policy. We may, then, be on the brink of a post-Western age, one in which non-Western actors are shaping international affairs, often in parallel or even to the detriment of precisely those multilateral frameworks that have formed the bedrock of the liberal international order since 1945. Are we entering a post-order world? How this question will be answered in the years to come will depend on all of us.

With this report, we try to make sense of today’s security environment by presenting information on important current trends, actors, places, and issues. As in previous editions, the list of topics is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. 

This report would not have been possible without the generous support of the numerous renowned institutions, friends, and partners who made their research and data available to the Munich Security Conference. I wish you an interesting and thought-provoking read! 

Sincerely yours, 

 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger
Chairman of the Munich Security Conference