The 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) was recently held under the theme “Unlearning Helplessness.” The essence of the theme is that human beings don't have the luxury of ignoring the necessary lessons of their past mistakes and experiences with all the violence, pain, regional tensions, world wars and loss of life. Many parts of the world are experiencing heavy tragedies including occupations, terrorism, poverty and migration. What's worse is that the world, especially some leading countries, continues to threaten geographies and societies on a global and regional scale, apparently ignoring what happened in the past.
On behalf of the Munich conference, MSC Chairperson Wolfgang Ischinger said that the world is in danger, underlining that the familiar certainties of world politics and economy have collapsed and the global threats and vulnerabilities continue to proliferate. He stressed that the rule-based world order is increasingly under attack, reminding that the need for dialogue for the world has never been greater.
In his opening speech at the MSC, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the threat to global security is much more complex and dangerous. He underlined that there were mechanisms in the background to prevent crises before, however, "today, those mechanisms are no longer there." He also reiterated his warning that the geopolitical divisions are getting deeper and wider and the world is evolving into a much more perilous process.
Due to the deepening of the geopolitical divisions, Guterres stated that the decision-making processes in the U.N. Security Council were also paralyzed. This creates space for state and non-state actors where they are immune from punishment and believe they can do whatever they want, he added. Indeed, the assessment in the Munich Security Report 2022 underlines that global challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, the climate change threat, the vexing vulnerabilities of an interconnected world or escalating geopolitical tensions further deepen the “loss of control” for the global system.
Ischinger said that despite having all the tools and resources to overcome the collective desperation and challenges, the “feeling of helplessness” that has become increasingly heavy in the global system has turned into a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. It has been pushing mankind to give up, he expressed.
Guterres, on the other hand, said that the rising discrimination and economic, social and cultural inequality increase the risk of violence and military conflicts. He also noted that the pandemic has increased the systemic injustice between the northern hemisphere and the south and added that climate change is “out of control,” reminding that the climate crisis-led migration can destabilize many regions as well. Considering the recent hot developments between Russia and Ukraine, we understand how critical the above-mentioned issues are and that 2022 will not be easy.