Munich Security Conference | Where world leaders brainstorm on peace
A week ago the latest edition of the MSC assumed importance because it was here that the Ukrainian President appealed for help before the Russian offensive
In January 1944, an audacious plan was made to eliminate Adolf Hitler. The plan involved a military man packing two modified bombs in his pocket to detonate the Führer. It was a suicide operation executed by 24-year-old infantry captain Axel von dem Busch. Bush was to capture Hitler during a planned visit. But an Allied bombing raid sabotaged that plan, and Bush failed the mission.
A second attempt was made soon after February. This time, Ewald Heinrich von Kleist, the young son of General Ewald von Kleist, one of Nazi Germany’s anti-Hitler officers, was assigned to wear a suicide vest. The date of the suicide mission was fixed as February 11, 1944. But again, the bombings disrupted the plans and Hitler survived.
The failure of the suicide mission was Heinrich von Kleist’s first shot at global fame. Ewald Heinrich von Kleist would emerge unscathed from World War II, but Germany itself was divided into two parts – West Germany and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – which belonged to two separate blocs that had fought the Cold War after World War II. Defined four decades. Warning. Interestingly, at the most dangerous moment of the Cold War, Ewald Heinrich von Kleist would have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a culture of dialogue and diplomacy.
The most dangerous flash point of the Cold War came in the autumn of 1962. As part of the nuclear muscle flexion, the United States placed Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey, which were then bordering the Soviet Union. Jupiter, a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a range of 2,400 km, was primarily aimed at major Russian cities, including the capital Moscow, and challenged the might of Nikita Khrushchev’s government. This happened with Bay of Pigs when the US government attempted to overthrow the Fidel Castro-led Communist government of Cuba and denounced the Soviet bloc.
Outraged by direct intimidation through missiles and insulting Castro, the Soviet Union placed SS-4 missiles in Cuba. The US government of John F. Kennedy discovered MRBMs in Cuban defense facilities through high-altitude photography. The deadlock brought the world closer to nuclear annihilation in a matter of days. Following this dramatic event, a need was felt to promote a culture of closer consultation and dialogue within Western countries.
Ewald Heinrich von Kleist began an annual conference to discuss international politics in this background that would become the Munich Security Conference, the most detailed international discussion on global security outside the United Nations.
Couldn’t have imagined a better venue for such an annual event. Munich was home to Christian monks but had a reputation for being a city of entertainment, books and a world-renowned beer culture that supports a tradition of conversation and friendly debate. During the inter-war period, Munich also earned a reputation as a city of diplomats, and it was here that Hitler hosted the Italian fascist ruler Benito Mussolini and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and signed the Munich Agreement, which established the Sudetenland. allowed the German occupation. of Czechoslovakia which was later blamed for fueling Hitler’s territorial greed.
A meeting point
The Security Conference began as an annual meeting between West Germany and Western European partner countries, and the US and Canada. It was designed as a close consultation between the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In the 1960s the meeting was a close forum with ideological uniformity. It was also an attempt to tap into the old European tradition of consultations and conferences, which had been going on for centuries, especially in the early 19th century. The primary objective of the MSC was to make sense of international affairs in an era when weapons of mass destruction became a part of the game. Munich gained a serious reputation during the 1973 Olympics when the Israeli team was taken hostage by the Palestinian Black September group. The incident diverted the world’s attention from the great spectacle of the Olympics and started a debate about the rapidly evolving security threats the world was facing. In its sixty years of existence, the MSc will address threats such as terrorism, religious bigotry, cyber warfare, electronic intelligence and will emerge as the ultimate platform for policy makers to exchange views in a friendly environment.
From an exclusive gathering of security experts and experts, the MSC emerged as the top destination for world leaders in the post-Cold War era. Over the past three decades, prominent names such as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Angela Merkel, a range of British, American, Japanese, Chinese and Indian leaders have attended the conventions. Though considered a place of great sophistication and dull debate on the side of think tanks, the MSC is also known for its moments of drama and exaggeration. In 2018, Mr Netanyahu took the MSC’s podium and, while addressing the Iranian threat to Israel, he referred to recent drone intrusions into Israeli airspace. He then proceeded to remove a wing of the drone that was shot down by the Israeli army. Addressing the Iranian delegation, he asked, “Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
The MSC is often remembered as the place where President Putin made his famous 2007 speech, when he elaborated on Russian security concerns after the Cold War and publicly supported the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). protested and opposed the placement of nuclear-laden missiles in the East. Europe. The speech is considered a classical description of Russian concerns about the dangers of the new generation that concerns Moscow. MSC was also recently in the news for providing a platform to world leaders before President Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine. It was timely and a historic event as seventy years later there is a war in Europe – a threat the MSC was created to avert.
In the latest edition of the MSC, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a rally for help before Russian troops stormed the Ukrainian capital Kiev on February 25. And people are dying in Europe?” Mr Zelensky asked in a passionate speech, where he placed the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which intensified with the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Kremlin, which by February 2022 turned into a dangerous face-off between the two sides.
The latest edition of the MSC also highlighted the complexities of new powers like India and China. While pressure mounted on India to oppose Russia’s belligerent plans on Ukraine, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar chose to mention the “complicated” history of the crisis and refrained from favoring the West.
The security convention set up by the anti-Hitler Germans has come a long way in the past six decades. Von Kleist was replaced by Horst Telschik, who guided the conference as it moved from a transatlantic conference to a worldwide dialogue, where new groups such as the Indo-Pacific and the Quad are being discussed.