Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The annual Munich Security Report (MSR), released ahead of next week’s Munich Security Conference, warns that a mounting tide of mutually reinforcing crises threatens to overwhelm societies and political systems in general.
The report notes that there is a widespread sense of helplessness in the face of current and impending threats as viewed by its correspondents from the 12 surveyed countries. The MSR argues that, like people suffering from “learned helplessness”, that resigned sense that nothing one does can make for a positive change, societies could also come to believe that they are helpless and unable to respond to the challenges they are facing. If true, this attitude could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, preventing the world from addressing its most crucial crises before it’s too late.
The Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, veteran diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, told DW that he “could not recall a time when there were so many overlapping crises”. The latest security report focuses on a wide range of challenges, including the ongoing Ukrainian impasse, the challenges posed by Iran, China, the global supply chain bottleneck, the evolving Euro-Atlantic security architecture and others.
The report also notes that the pandemic and recent geopolitical power moves have brought vulnerabilities in the technology sector into focus. The semiconductor supply bottleneck has exemplified what can happen when supply chains depend on single points subject to failure and on geopolitically fraught supply sources.
Even though these challenges are real, the report stresses that the tools and resources necessary to address them exist and are available. It recommends that transatlantic leaders work hard to revive the optimism and momentum that permeated the early days of the administration of current US President Joe Biden. Western democracies should “unlearn helplessness” and demonstrate that democracies can still deliver.