International Security in the 21st Century
The post-Cold War global security structure is facing a number of challenges contributing to destabilization. Russia’s present foreign policy resulting in a deteriorating relationship with the West, violent upheaval in the Middle East, and China’s leadership claim in the South China Sea region highly affect European countries. Germany must adjust its policies to align with these developments. The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) brought together young security experts in Berlin to discuss a way forward during the book presentation of “International Security in the 21st Century: Germany’s International Responsibility.” The book’s editor Professor James D. Bindenagel and contributors Dr. Jörg Forbrig, Professor Wolfgang Ischinger, and Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp gave stimulating inputs.
Experts agreed that the current unraveling of the European and international order is not to be underestimated: It is a fundamental change in climate rather than just a bad weather period. Given the development towards a post-bipolar international system, it was controversially debated whether a strategy for a completely new world order is needed or if the existing order has to be defended more consequently. A more holistic approach to investments in security related areas was raised as one suggestion for adapting policies to these circumstances. Instead of insisting on a mere increase in defense spending to the 2 percent NATO goal, raising spending within a framework of a global engagement policy, including investments in development, human rights promotion, climate adaptation, as well as military provisions should be considered. Furthermore, clear security strategies and roles for international institutions like NATO, OSCE, or the Common Security and Defence Policy need to be reformulated and advanced so that they are well-equipped to resist attempts to challenge their relevance. Germany is expected to assume expanded responsibilities within the international security environment, suggesting that further discourse on Germany's security policies and its strategic alignment have to be advanced within various political and societal contexts.
Photo credit: U.S. Navy
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