Munich Security Report 2017



How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America’s Role in the World

Chollet, a former senior Obama official, maintains the President’s grand strategy was defined by playing the “long game,” carefully projecting “global leadership in an era of seemingly infinite demands and finite resources.” As he argues, this has benefited the US’s ability to lead in the future.1

CHARLES CLOVER: Black Wind, White Snow 

The Rise of Russia’s New Nationalism 

The former head of the Moscow bureau of the Financial Times Charles Clover discusses the concept of “Eurasianism,” a distinct theory that bases Russian national identity on ethnicity and geography and that, as the author shows, has vastly influenced the geopolitical reasoning of Moscow’s present political elites.2


The Challenge to Democracy 

How can advanced democracies better respond to today’s authoritarian threats? In this collection of compelling essays, experts investigate how authoritarian regimes across the globe repress democratic development and share ideas on how the liberal international order can be protected.3 


Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis and the Failure to Protect 

What long-term ramifications will the Syrian crisis have for neighboring regions, countries that host refugees, and for the international community? This book looks beyond crisis management and addresses humanitarian challenges that will keep policy makers busy in the future.4 


Ten Principles for a Connected World 

Citing from this timely book by Garton Ash in his farewell speech in early 2017, outgoing German Federal President Joachim Gauck supported the author’s central call for a “robust civility” in our digital age, meaning that we need to “argue intensely yet respectfully as well as with a thick skin.”5 

MICHAEL V. HAYDEN: Playing to the Edge 

American Intelligence in the Age of Terror 

Few intelligence services have sparked such intense debate as the NSA. As former director of NSA and CIA, the author led US intelligence through trying moments of American history. In this book, he gives an insider’s account of the United States’ response to terrorism – ranging from phone surveillance to targeted killing.6 

PETER R. NEUMANN: Radicalized

New Jihadists and the Threat to the West

Predicting “a new wave of terrorism that will occupy us for a generation,” Peter R. Neumann provides a thorough analysis of Daesh as well as jihadist terrorism in general, and puts forth suggestions on how to counter this phenomenon both abroad and at home.7

GIDEON RACHMANN: Easternisation

War and Peace in the Asian Century 

Journalist Gideon Rachman argues that we are standing at a historic turning point, with the rise of Asian nations and the decline of Western influence marking the beginning of a new era of global instability. Rachman offers an insightful analysis of a momentous shift of the established global order.8

BRENDAN SIMMS: Britain’s Europe

A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation 

Britain and the European mainland share a turbulent history. Historian Brandon Simms offers insights into past encounters and thoughtfully links these to present-day challenges that trouble the Euro-British relationship, including Britain’s referendum on EU membership.9

DMITRI TRENIN: Should We Fear Russia?

In this concise analysis of the current state of Russian-Western relations, Dmitri Trenin cautions against drawing hasty Cold War analogies, which he views as easily misleading. Discussing crucial differences between the Cold War and today’s tensions, this book helps to better understand the true intricacies of dealing with Russia.10

GRAEME WOOD: The Way of the Strangers

Encounters with the Islamic State 

Described as an “intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State’s true believers,” Yale University scholar Graeme Wood’s gripping book illustrates what motivates individuals across the globe to give up their lives and join Daesh.11

ROBERT F. WORTH: A Rage for Order

The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS

What has remained of the optimism and opportunities that marked the Arab Spring? Not much, argues New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth. By sharing intriguing stories of personal encounters, the author offers a powerful yet dark portrayal of today’s Arab world.12


  1. Derek Chollet, The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America’s Role in the World, Public Affairs (New York), 2016. 
  2. Charles Clover, Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise of Russia’s New Nationalism, Yale University Press (New Haven), 2016. 
  3. Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, Christopher Walker (eds.), Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore), 2016. 
  4. Elizabeth Ferris and Kemal Kirisci, The Consequences of Chaos: Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis and the Failure to Protect, Brookings Institution Press (Washington, D.C.), 2016. 
  5. Timothy Garton Ash, Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World, Yale University Press (New Haven), 2016. 
  6. Michael V. Hayden, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, Penguin Press (New York), 2016. 
  7. Peter R. Neumann, Radicalized: The New Generation of Jihadis and the Threat to the West, I.B. Tauris (London), 2016. 
  8. Gideon Rachmann, Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian Century, The Bodley Head (London), 2016. 
  9. Brendan Simms, Britain's Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation, Allen Lane (London), 2016. 
  10. Dmitri Trenin, Should We Fear Russia?, Polity Press (Cambridge), 2016. 
  11. Graeme Wood, The Way of the Strangers: Encounters With the Islamic State, Allen Lane (London), 2016. 
  12. Robert F. Worth, A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil. From Tahrir Square to ISIS, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York), 2016.