Helmut Schmidt: "MSC stays important"

For Helmut Schmidt, the Munich Security Conference remains a significant place of international exchange. In the interview conducted by Theo Sommer, Schmidt also reminds the conference that i has to deal with the consequences of the global change.

In an interview for the Munich Security Conference (MSC), Germany’s former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt gave his perspective on the future of the conference. On the one hand, it continues to fulfill its function as an important forum for dialogue between political and military decision-makers and between "outsiders" and "newcomers" on the other hand. This exchange is important for breaking up the sometimes narrow technical perspectives and opening up new ways of thinking about joint challenges. All in all, the security conference should deal more closely with the changes in global security politics, he said.


Schmidt predicted that the US would lose interest in its global hegemony in the foreseeable future. Schmidt further predicted that the majorities in American society would have shifted in favor of the present ethnic minorities by 2050. Afro-Americans and Latinos would prefer to invest state resources in precautionary and educational measures, the 95-year-old social democrat said. This would be of more importance for them, Schmidt said, "than to interfere in a quarrel about any islands in the China Seas."


Considering the question of the probability of a "new isolationism," Schmidt pointed out that this would not be anything new; rather, American foreign policy had been characterized by different competing main ideas for about 200 years. Isolationist tendencies had been in co-existence with imperialist, world-improving and internationalist tendencies. At different times, some of these paradigms had decisively determined U.S. foreign policy.


Schmidt added that challenges in security policy had fundamentally changed since the end of the Cold War. He forecast demographic change, urbanization and poverty migration as the challenges for the future. On the whole, these developments affect the national security of Europe as a destination of migration. "Lampedusa was only a prelude," the 95-year-old former chancellor warned.


You may take a look at the whole video interview with Helmut Schmidt in our media library.

01 February 2014, by Daniel Furth, Alexander Hamann and Christoph Schwarz