| 20 February 2017
Munich Security Report 2017
With Foreword By Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference
The annual Munich Security Report, first published in 2015, is our conversation starter for the Munich Security Conference and aims to serve as a useful compilation for decision-makers, security professionals, and the interested public. Ahead of the Munich Security Conference 2017, we are pleased to present the report’s third edition.
The international security environment is arguably more volatile today than at any point since World War II. Some of the most fundamental pillars of the West and of the liberal international order are weakening. Adversaries of open societies are on the offensive. Liberal democracies have proven to be vulnerable to disinformation campaigns in post-truth international politics. Citizens of democracies believe less and less that their systems are able to deliver positive outcomes for them and increasingly favor national solutions and closed borders over globalism and openness. Illiberal regimes, on the other hand, seem to be on solid footing and act with assertiveness, while the willingness and ability of Western democracies to shape international affairs and to defend the rules-based liberal order are declining. The United States might move from being a provider of public goods and international security to pursuing a more unilateralist, maybe even nationalistic foreign policy. We may, then, be on the brink of a post-Western age, one in which non-Western actors are shaping international affairs, often in parallel or even to the detriment of precisely those multilateral frameworks that have formed the bedrock of the liberal international order since 1945. Are we entering a post-order world? How this question will be answered in the years to come will depend on all of us.
With this report, we try to make sense of today’s security environment by presenting information on important current trends, actors, places, and issues. As in previous editions, the list of topics is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive.
This report would not have been possible without the generous support of the numerous renowned institutions, friends, and partners who made their research and data available to the Munich Security Conference. I wish you an interesting and thought-provoking read!
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference
Is the world facing disorder and the rise of illiberal actors? Just ahead of the 53rd edition of the Munich Security Conference from February 17-19, the Munich Security Conference Foundation released the third edition of its annual report on key issues in international security (download a PDF version of the report here).
Entitled "Post-Truth, Post-West, Post-Order?", the Munich Security Report 2017 offers analyses, data, statistics, infographics, and maps on major developments and challenges in international security. The report aims to serve as a companion and conversation starter for the discussions at the Munich Security Conference 2017 and as background reading for participants. At the same time, it is also made available to the interested public. Last year's report was downloaded more than 25,000 times, with significant press coverage in both German and international media. Twitter discussions about the report are led under #MSCreport and the hashtag for the Munich Security Conference, #MSC2017.
Central topics of the new edition include the crises of the international order and of liberal democracy as well as European security and defense policy. In addition, the report assembles information on the jihadist threat, the manipulation and "weaponization" of information, and the security situation in the Pacific and the Middle East.
For this report, the Munich Security Conference, which was recently rated the world's "Best Think Tank Conference" by the University of Pennsylvania's "Global Go To Think Tank Index" for the fourth year in a row, cooperated with numerous renowned institutions and think tanks. These include the International Crisis Group, IHS Markit, Chatham House, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Hertie School of Governance, and McKinsey & Company.
Watch the trailer video:
A few select highlights of the report:
An exclusive analysis by McKinsey & Company assesses and compares the number of major weapons system categories used by the armed forces of the United States and of European states: 178 in Europe, 30 in the US. The analysis also shows how the defense industry in Europe has consolidated over recent decades.
Projections by IHS Jane's Defence Budgets show that until 2020, defense expenditures will barely rise in Western Europe but will increase by more than 3% annually, on average, in Eastern European countries.
Analyses by multiple sources find that a mounting number of citizens who live in democracies believe in authoritarian solutions, and indicate a decline of freedom in the world.
Data compiled by IHS Conflict Monitor establish that only 20% of Russian air strikes in Syria in 2016 were targeted at Daesh/ISIS.
Exclusive polls on public opinion in Iran conducted by the Center for International Security Studies at Maryland show: a majority of Iranians is convinced that European countries are moving slower than they could to trade and invest with Iran due to fear and pressure of the United States.
Newly assessed and in part unpublished data by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) illustrate the number of ceasefire violations in Ukraine as well as how the conflict parties have been obstructing the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.
Previously unpublished analyses carried out by the Hertie School of Governance compare the budgets and social media reach of state-funded public international broadcasters: Russia's RT and China's CCTV rank especially high. In recent years, these states have also made strides in expanding the global presence of state-funded cultural institutes.
New analyses by the International Institute for Strategic Studies' "Military Balance 2017" show the current state of Russian missile capabilities in Kaliningrad as well as China's expanding naval capabilities. Moreover, an overview of the US presence in the Pacific is provided.
An analysis by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Nuclear Threat Initiative documents North Korea's advancement towards a nuclear intercontinental missile that could reach the West Coast of the United States.
A framework of risk-enhancing factors created by Chatham House depicts how the outbreak of a deadly disease can evolve into a global pandemic. Chatham House also shows, based on WHO data, that 60% of all attacks on health care infrastructure since 2014 were deliberate.