Munich Security Conference 2024: Roundup on the Four Pillars

Feb 20, 2024News

Minh Nguyen, BGF Editor

The Munich Security Conference, an annual conference focused on security and defense issues around the world, took place over the past week. Top issues discussed were the Russo-Ukrainian war and the war in Gaza. In addition, delegations discussed issues in the Indo-Pacific and Africa.

It is clear that the Four Pillars, or at least those focused on the war in Ukraine, should continue the return to capacity of NATO – meaning increasing defense spending to the 2% target, continuing ammunition and artillery production to Ukraine. It is clear that if Ukraine fails, that puts the rest of Europe in danger, as well as the broader global order in Asia and elsewhere too. As it were, Europe must continue ramping up defense.

However, the “vibes” and sentiments of the participants, as it were, were not positive coming out of the conference. Trump’s comment on NATO members, the death of Alexei Navalny, and Ukraine’s loss in Avdiivka signals a more grim portent for the Pillars. These challenges are things that they will have to grapple with in not just the coming months, but years. Still, some remain optimistic about Ukraine’s chances at winning the war.

Ursula von der Leyen, the current EU Commissioner and a recipient of the AIWS Peace and Security Award, has announced that she is seeking a second term as commissioner. Her current tenure has faced challenges in the pandemic and the invasion, but it has also brought back federalism and a stronger EU.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris smile at the end of a press conference at the Munich Security Conference in Munich on Feb. 17. Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images