Monday, February 06, 2023

Sommer Time

By Detlef Prinz

For us, Theo Sommer was always Ted.

The invitation to call him Ted was both a sign of familiarity and an expression of generosity, magnanimity and the absence of any kind of conceit on his part. People who had the pleasure of working with him never found themselves speaking to Herr Sommer, that towering figure behind DIE ZEIT. Instead, they were always inevitably talking to Ted.

Theo Sommer was the very embodiment of a journalistic heavyweight. He was stupendously well-read, pursued a wide range of interests and had infinite curiosity. Amid his pallet of favorite subjects, however, he had a unique passion for foreign policy and security issues. Indeed, despite his penchant for sober analysis and journalistic …

Pledge of Alliance

Pledge of Alliance
By Christine Lambrecht

NATO and the EU can rely on Germany

For more than a decade, the strategic focus of global politics has been shifting steadily toward Asia. And yet, today, at the Munich Security Conference, the emphasis is once again on Europe. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which was carried out in violation of international law, and …

Permacrisis Europe

Permacrisis Europe
By Wolfgang Ischinger

The West V. Russia.

“The question of war and peace has returned to the European continent,” said then-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in 2015. Less than one year earlier, Russia had invaded and annexed Crimea in a cloak-and-dagger operation. What followed was international condemnation and a period of intense shuttle …

All together now

All together now
By Detlef Prinz

There’s no question that the Munich Security Conference (MSC) is being held this year in a perilous international political environment. We hope that all participants can take full advantage of the opportunity for intensive discussion, debate and negotiation. This is what matters, now more than ever.

As delighted as I am to greet the large …

“Germany sometimes walks around Europe like it owns the place.”

By Security Times

In an interview with The Security Times, Sigmar Gabriel discusses Germany’s complicated relationship to the US, to Russia and to the states of Eastern Europe.


The Security Times: What role does the German-American partnership still play in 2022? Is Berlin still a reliable ally of Washington? And vice versa?

 In light of the near-tectonic …

Down to the wire

By Dmitri Trenin

The blow-by-blow of Europeʼs ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

1. The current crisis in Russia-West relations is not primarily about Ukraine, but essentially about the architecture of European security. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s current goal is not to take over Ukraine or wrestle it back to the Russian sphere of influence. Rather, it is to replace …

Mr. Precedent

By Kristin Helberg

What Russian intervention in Syria says about Putin

By Kristin Helberg

The West is bewildered. What is the driving force behind President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy? What are his goals and what tools is he willing to use to achieve them? To answer these questions, it would be wise to take a look back at …

Separating chimeras from realities

By Rüdiger von Fritsch

Behind Moscow’s roar lies the realization that its international influence is on the wane.

“German weapons for Ukraine?” “Will Nord Stream 2 sink to the bottom of the Baltic if Russia attacks?” If German and international policymakers continue to focus on naval-gazing issues like these, they face the grave danger of losing sight of the …

Warsaw unpacked

By Pawel Karolewski and Claus Leggewie

How will Central Europe react to Russian aggression against Ukraine?

After 1990, it seemed that all was right with the world. With the demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the hitherto semi-sovereign states of Central and Eastern Europe were given the opportunity to determine their own security policy interests. And their choice …

Origin story

By Martin Schulze Wessel

Putin’s doomed attempt to reconcile Russian myth with today’s realities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a leader who scrupulously weighs his interests, calculating the risks of each policy and balancing them against the potential rewards. The limited military interventions pursued thus far by Russia in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine, for example, would seem to confirm …

The Big Chill

The Big Chill
By Henning Hoff

The security crisis unleashed by Putin in Europe has the SPD rethinking its Russian policy.

In politics, timing is often everything. And, sometimes, when a particular series of developments appears simultaneously, it can lead to moments of clarity and truth. This is precisely what has happened to Germany’s governing SPD with regard to how they …

Back in the USSR

By Oliver Rolofs

Putin’s gaze spans the entire Soviet sphere of influence.

A Russian invasion of Ukraine, reminiscent of the 2014 incursion, is a real possibility. With Russian forces once again massing on the Ukrainian border, the European Union must take heed of Ukraine’s security concerns. Appeasement of the Kremlin would have disastrous consequences – not just for …

Cracking China

By Joseph S. Nye, JR.

Will China succeed in what some call its grand strategy of displacing American power? Whichever scenario emerges also depends on the strategy the US chooses in response.

Many Chinese elites saw the Great Recession of 2008 as a sign of American decline. Leaders abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of hiding capacity and biding their time and …

Opportunistic bedfellows

By Theo Sommer

China and Russia have formalized their alliance against the West.

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will not go down in history as an exhilarating event; with just a smattering of snow and no spectators, they turned out a rather macabre affair. But when the history of international affairs in our century is written, …

That other crisis

By Dana Landau and Lior Lehrs

Israel-Palestine risks becoming a forgotten conflict – the world should pay attention.

In January 2001, US President Bill Clinton met with President-elect George W. Bush and presented him with a priority list of the most important global security issues. At the top were two issues – Osama bin Laden/al Qaeda and “the absence of peace …