Tuesday, May 21, 2024

We shall prevail

By Wolfgang Ischinger

Dear readers of The Security Times, dear speakers, participants, partners and supporters of the MSC,

At the invitation of publisher Detlef Prinz, I have stepped into the very big shoes of Ted Sommer (see page 27), whose passing last year we continue to mourn.

Under Ted’s leadership, The Security Times developed into a highly useful source of information and inspiration for all those present at our annual flagship Munich Security Conference (MSC) event.

After 15 years piloting the MSC, this is the first year in which I no longer carry operational responsibility. Christoph Heusgen and the MSC team, headed by Benedikt Franke, have done an top-notch job organizing the first post-pandemic conference. We expect more than 40 heads of state and government, and approximately 100 foreign ministers, defense ministers and heads of international organizations – we’re going to have a capacity crowd!

The ongoing success story of the MSC fills me with enormous pride as I continue to serve as President of the MSC Foundation Council.

Over the last decade and a half, our success has been built on three elements in particular:

  • Our independence – no single sponsor or partner is allowed to contribute more than 10 percent to our overall budget.
  • Our effort to embrace the broadest possible definition of security, including climate security, global health security, energy security and other transnational security issues.
  • Maintaining a strong trans-Atlantic link as the backbone of MSC activities, while reaching out more and more to other parts of the world, including to China, India and other countries of the Global South.

Finally, the 2023 gathering is the first Munich Security Conference obliged to focus on a war in the heart of Europe – the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Last year, at the 2022 MSC, I had the privilege of welcoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, literally four days before the Russian invasion began. It is my sincere hope that our discussions this year in Munich will produce ideas and initiatives to help end this war sooner rather than later. If, as we all hope, Ukraine prevails, the next big strategic challenge will be how to exercise restraint in victory.

Security Strategy