The Munich Conference: Hindering European Security

By the next annual session of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Feb. 6-8, 2015, its chairman Wolfgang Ischinger has issued a new Munich Security Report “Collapsing Order, Reluctant Guardians,” which aims to initiate a substantial expert discussion before and during the conference itself, as well as to encourage the search for mutually acceptable solutions in the constructive exchange of views.

The report examines the key issues confronting today’s international and regional security policy, which are in urgent need of balanced and constructive solutions, with a spotlight on the policies of the US, Germany, and Russia on the European continent. These policies are not without their deficiencies, which should be kept in mind when preparing for the upcoming meeting in Munich and when drafting subsequent reports.

Specifically, little or no attention has been paid to important global security concerns such as the continued deployment of the US missile-defense system in Europe; America’s tactical nuclear weapons, which are being systematically updated and continue to be stationed on the European continent; the need to prevent the weaponization of space – an issue that has yet to be resolved by contemporary international legislation; and the American strategy of “offensive nuclear deterrence,” which allows for a preemptive nuclear strike.

158030221For example, in regard to the massive and uncontrolled deployment of the multilayered US missile-defense system on and around the European continent, no concern is evident, either in the report or in the many statements by Western leaders, that in the coming years the number of interceptors that make up this “missile shield” will exceed the limits set by the Prague START Treaty (New START) for strategic offensive nuclear weapons. As a result, a situation might arise in which state “X” could launch a nuclear first strike against any “rogue state” and protect itself from retaliation with such a “shield.”

Incidentally, the Pentagon and the US State Department simultaneously classify three of the five types of tactical nuclear bombs as “strategic weapons,” because they can be delivered to their targets not only using medium-range fighter aircraft, but also via strategic heavy bombers able to refuel in mid-air, giving them an intercontinental range of up to 18,000 km.

Nor does the report make any mention of the operational and strategic “mix” of nuclear missiles with anti-ballistic systems and conventional weapons, which was documented at the last two NATO summits in Chicago and Newport.

There was no discussion of the advantages of drafting a new and improved Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), which, lacking the flaws of its predecessor, might actually be ratified by all its NATO signatories. Although Russia signed the previous CFE, it has not been ratified by a single member of the alliance that endorsed it.

Without a joint search for answers to these fundamental questions, I feel it is pointless to talk about strengthening security on the European continent. Without such measures, any security will be incomplete and unbalanced.

20140429_NATO1The MSR submitted for discussion claims that overall, the quantity of armed forces and weapons stationed in Europe has fallen sharply over the past 20 years. However, this ignores the fact that after the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine in February 2014, the number of American and NATO armed forces and weapons in Eastern and Southern Europe has expanded significantly, and includes a 500% increase in NATO military activity in the immediate proximity to the Russian border. At the NATO summit in Newport in September 2014, not only was there an announcement of the intention to significantly enhance the responsiveness of the NATO Response Force (NRF), but also a commitment to establish a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) – a new Allied joint force that will be able to deploy within a few days to respond to challenges that arise, particularly at the periphery of NATO’s territory.

Europe remains a region with a lopsided threat map, where security for one group of states is provided at the expense of the security of another group of countries. The MSR never mentions this obvious paradox. One wonders why?

The document contains biased wording when it comes to Russia. For example, it states, “Many now consider Russia more of a spoiler than a contributor to international security and stability.”

The report quotes from the final document of the NATO summit held last September in Newport (UK) about Russian “aggression” against Ukraine. Another statement from Chancellor Angela Merkel is also included: “Russia is violating the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine,” although it is common knowledge that Russia has not committed any acts of aggression against that country, neither in connection with Crimea’s reunification with her ancestral homeland, nor associated with the current massive, undeclared war being waged by the leaders in Kiev against the citizens of the Donbass, many of whom still hold national Ukrainian passports. One gets the impression that those who made such declarations are not familiar with the definition of “aggression” approved by the UN forty years ago.

large_20081203_Cluster_bombsBut on the other hand, information is readily available about the numerous victims of the war crimes and policy of genocide carried out by the Kiev regime in the southeastern and eastern parts of Ukraine, as well as the massive destruction of housing, in addition to the region’s social, transportation, and energy infrastructure. But the report does not breathe a word about this. Nor does it acknowledge the evidence that cluster munitions and phosphorus bombs, which are prohibited by international conventions, are being used against the civilians of the Donbass, as are operational ballistic missiles with 500-kg warheads and the Grad, Uragan, and Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS).

Those who were responsible for drafting this report are either unaware or do not wish to be aware of these facts.

But in truth it is Ukraine that is the aggressor state against her own people. Kiev and many Western capitals do not understand two basic concepts:

1) the fire and sword being wielded by the leaders of Ukraine will not bring about the solution they desire in the Donbass, where the residents do not want to live as part of the inhumane state that Ukraine has proven herself to be since last April;

2) by ruthlessly killing her own citizens, Ukraine is killing her own geopolitical and economic future: the most active and able-bodied segment of the country’s population is being sacrificed upon the bonfire of this undeclared war, and it will be many decades before they can be replaced.

By pursuing such a policy, Ukraine is in gross violation of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, OSCE documents, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Unfortunately, NATO and the EU are abetting her actions. Not only morally and economically, but also by supplying lethal weapons.

By justifying the intervention into Ukraine’s internal affairs by the leading nations of NATO, with the US at the helm, the document submitted at the 2015 Munich Security Conference continues to encourage officials in Kiev to persist in their fratricidal war and to violate the ceasefire signed in Minsk last September. Such a policy is at odds with a number of statements made by international mediators. What’s more, European leaders seem unable to grasp that Kiev’s perpetuation of such a war can never lead to a strengthening of security in Europe. On the contrary, it will be undermined for many years to come.

Naturally, such a one-sided presentation of security issues resulted from the absence of Russian delegates within the working group preparing the report. There is also a glaring omission in the report of references to any objective Russian research or monograph on European security issues.

In the preface to the work, Wolfgang Ischinger expressed hope that future reports of the Munich Security Conference would include more of the brilliant research work that is being done, and promises that “ … we will do our very best to make future editions of the MSR even more of a ‘must-read.’”

Why not start this work now?

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