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Jean-Claude Juncker’s Dangerous Defense Strategy

Post-mortems of this year’s Munich Security Conference amounted to something of an indictment of the increasingly rudderless global order. The one big idea – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call to shift authority over foreign and defense policymaking in the EU from the member states to the Commission – is a very bad one.

MADRID – These days, there are just three events that bring together all of the main actors in international politics: the annual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, G20 summits, and the Munich Security Conference. That makes it all the more disappointing that the latest MSC, which took place in mid-February, brought only one big idea – and not a good one.

The MSC has long been a place not just to see and be seen, but also to hear and be heard. Yet, at this year’s meeting, what was not said seemed to speak louder than what was. Post-mortems of the gathering amounted to something of an indictment of the increasingly rudderless global order. Observers largely focused on how little in the way of new ideas or innovative solutions there was, despite much handwringing about the state of the world.

This stands in stark contrast to years past. In 2015, the MSC helped to generate momentum for the subsequent deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Last year, it was at the MSC that key members of US President Donald Trump’s administration first met their global counterparts. In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin famously used the MSC to present his stark worldview, in a speech that presaged Russia’s interventions in Georgia and Ukraine.

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