Conference On Security Or Militarization

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Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Valentina Tzoneva exclusively for SouthFront

A conference on security will be held in Munich from 17 to 19 February at Bayericher Hof hotel. It will be attended by more than 500 senior politicians and experts from around the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, European Council President  Donald Tusk, head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the President of Poland  Andrzej Duda  and Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine ( whose presence is symptomatic) confirmed attendance. A large delegation from the US, headed by Vice President, Michael Pence will arrive in the capital of Bavaria as well. It includes Defense Minister, James Mattis, Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly and members of Congress. Russian President, Vladimir Putin will not participate in the conference again. This was announced at the end of January by Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the head of state, who later, on February 12, 2017, stated the following: “Munich Security Conference will demonstrate the determination of the majority of the Euro-Atlantic elites to assert their positions on Syria, Ukraine and the anti-Russian sanctions. Russia will be represented at the conference by Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.” “The absence of the President and the Prime Minister of the Russian delegation is fully understandable because no change in the policy towards Moscow is expected in Munich.” The main topic of the conference will be the fight against terrorism. It is assumed that a major part of the discussions will be linked to the question of how to counter the new forms of terrorism faced by Europe. Such setting will affect another important topic: how terrorism is linked to migration flows and the actions of Merkel which led to opening wide the doors of EU for migrants. The issue of Brexit will be discussed under the theme of interaction between the European Union and London in the sphere of security. The conference is expected to be one of the most important events of 2017, but it is more like a demonstration of the hypocritical unity of European countries against Trump’s political messages. After Trump was elected for President of the United States, Europe focused on increasing armaments and discussed the possibilities of creating its own army. Previously, Europeans relied on NATO’s deployment of additional military units in NATO bases in Europe, but NATO has always rejected these requests. Now, the EU already has a firm intention to become militarily more independent. Analysts, however, believe that no new cardinal proposals or changes in the sphere of international security can be expected to be adopted at the Munich conference. More interesting is the question whether the impressive delegation of the United States is not a signal that Washington intends to review its policy on security? So far, the new US administration intends to achieve three important goals in their military priorities: increasing the combat readiness of the armed forces, formation of balanced programs for military construction and modernization of armaments. Trump, however, has repeatedly stated that for him the increase in US military might is much more important than the balance of the military budget. It was the opposite with Obama; military spending was slashed to match provisions of the law for control of the budget, which was adopted in 2011 for a period of ten years. The law’s objective was to limit military spending to $ 500 billion a year, but this goal was never achieved. Now, no one remembers this restriction. On the contrary, from 1 March, the Pentagon must submit an additional request for increased military budget in 2017. According to estimates of senior officials in the Ministry of Defense, additional funding is likely to reach 40 billion dollars. In 2018, the Pentagon budget should reach 640 billion dollars, which is about 90 billion dollars more than what is enshrined in the law for control of the budget in 2011. In other words, we are facing a new arms race, but this time it is not between Russia and the West but between the US and the EU. Major point in this race takes the increase in the number of nuclear weapons and the rapid incorporation of tactical nuclear weapons in the overall nuclear potential. These intentions of the West will hardly lead to detente, but rather will further intensify tensions in Europe and worldwide. The presence of Poroshenko at the conference is not accidental. Forum participants, mainly from Europe, intend to demonstrate their support for Kiev and again raise the issues of Crimea, the Minsk agreements and the “bad” Russians who violate them. On the other hand, it will hardly cause a reaction from the US delegation. USA seems to have forgotten about Ukraine. If one follows the discussion in the US Congress it becomes quite obvious that the topic of Ukraine is not discussed. Therefore, the presence of Poroshenko in Munich amid deliberately provoked escalation of the conflict in Donbass only pursues the goal of reminding of its existence to the Western “partners”. Generally, aside from possible surprises on the part of the US delegation, the conference will be held in the spirit of the phrase: “much ado about nothing.”

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