Image credit: Johannes Simon/Getty Images

February 20, 2023

Of Strategy and Schnitzel: Munich Security Conference 2023

By Richard Fontaine

This piece was originally published by War on the Rocks.

My first Munich Security Conference, back in 2005, was a wonky gathering of transatlantic security policymakers. All the proceedings took place in the Bayerische Hof ballroom, and a cloud hung over the largely European (and theoretically nonsmoking) audience. Delegates’ eyes lit with excitement as they debated NATO’s strategic concept, evaluated the war in Iraq, and urged each other (but not their own governments) to boost defense spending. Beer flowed liberally — brats were consumed en masse.

The West is, they all said, in this for the long haul, and will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

Nein more. The beer and brats remain, but the conference has grown bigger, global in scope and participation, glitzier and replete with media and roving security details. Getting a seat for the most popular speakers means showing up well before a session begins. Side events compete with off-the-books gatherings, dinners, and (I’m not making this up) a foosball tournament. The net effect is more Zirkus than Konferenz.

Read the full article from War on the Rocks.

  • Podcast
    • March 17, 2023
    The Future of the Transatlantic Partnership, with Max Bergmann and David Kleimann

    What do the visits to the White House by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mean for the transatlantic partnership? Max Bergm...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Max Bergmann & David Kleimann

  • Podcast
    • March 17, 2023
    The Battle of Bakhmut

    In this episode of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project Podcast, John Spencer is joined again by Michael Kofman, director of the Russia Studies Program at CNA. He researches Russia and...

    By Michael Kofman

  • Podcast
    • March 17, 2023
    Defense & Aerospace Report Washington Roundtable

    On this week’s Defense & Aerospace Report Washington Roundtable, Dr. Patrick Cronin of the Hudson Institute, Michael Herson of American Defense International, former Pentagon ...

    By Jim Townsend

  • Podcast
    • March 14, 2023
    How to Think About Bakhmut and a Ukrainian Spring Offensive

    Fresh back from his research trip to Ukraine, Mike Kofman joins Ryan for a discussion about what he learned. They discuss the battle for Bakhmut, munitions shortages and force...

    By Michael Kofman

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia