The 58th Munich Security Conference begins today.
Today’s meeting will take place in person, albeit in a smaller format than years past.
Formulating a response to Russian aggression toward Ukraine is a key agenda item for the Western leaders in attendance. Both US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Vice President Kamala Harris will attend this year’s conference, where they will reassure European leaders that US security commitments to Europe are ironclad. Russian officials have declined to attend.
Between public forums, expect attendees to negotiate weapon sales to Eastern European countries. The US has already allocated $650 million in lethal aid to Ukraine this past year, and many EU members have followed suit. Germany, on the other hand, has refused to send military equipment to Ukraine. Expect US and EU officials to push German representatives to help facilitate Ukraine’s defensive capabilities through weapons sales.
Despite the push from allied countries, it is highly unlikely that Germany will take up the mantle of weapons exporters given its history abstaining from sending lethal aid and role as a negotiator with Russia. Germany’s dovishness is a source of continued division between EU members, complicating the country’s role as a European leader.
Mario is a Current Development’s Analyst who writes on security issues, with regional interests in Latin America, Europe and North America.