Carnegie Europe was on the ground at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, offering readers exclusive access to the debates as they unfold and providing insights on today’s immense threats to international peace and stability.


Each year at the Munich Security Conference, I ask a topical question to a random selection of participants. They are asked to answer in about ten words. Answers are listed in the order of who responded first. A big thanks to everyone who responded as they scuttled between panels and meetings.

Nikola DimitrovMinister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of North Macedonia

For the West to do the job, it has to start to think big again.

Elmar BrokChair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs

The West does not exist anymore as a strategic community because of Trump’s policies.

Linas LinkevičiusMinister of Foreign Affairs, Lithuania

We could be.

Javier SolanaFormer EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of NATO, and Foreign Minister of Spain

It is not totally up to the job. We don’t have the people to take that responsibility.

Carlos PascualSenior Vice President, Global Energy, IHS Markit

Our leadership is fractured and reaction has overtaken vision

Cem ÖzdemirMember of the German Bundestag Alliance '90/The Greens and Chairman of the German Parliament’s Transport and Digital Infrastructure Committee

It has to be. There is no option. Otherwise the gap will be filled by Moscow and Beijing.

Carl BildtFormer Swedish Foreign Minister

I’m not quite certain what the West is. The EU has yet to make itself into a power of relevance.

Kenneth RothExecutive Director, Human Rights Watch

Yes, with non-traditional leaders. Coalitions of smaller and medium size countries have filled the leadership gap.

Barbara WiessallaGeneral Director for Infrastructure, Environmental Protection Service, German Defense Ministry

Of course.

Eva-Maria KernProfessor, Bundeswehr University Munich

We must be careful not to lose the best heads.

Michael McFaulFormer U.S. Ambassador to Moscow and Professor at Stanford University

It depends on how you define the West. I’m a long-term optimist but a short-term pessimist about the future of the West.

Stefanie BabstHead of Strategic Analysis Capability, NATO

We can try hard. But I’m not sure we are confident enough about ourselves.

Rose GottemoellerDeputy Secretary General, NATO

Yes. NATO’s up to the job.

Deidre BergerDirector, American Jewish Committee

It’s an open question that is unexpected, and that’s what’s frightening.

Almut Wieland-KarimiExecutive Director, Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF)

We could be up to the job. We know what is wrong. But it takes big leadership.

Franziska BrantnerGreen Party Spokesperson, German Parliament’s Committee on European Union Affairs

No. It’s struggling to deal with the challenges together.

David MilibandPresident and Chief Executive Officer, International Rescue Committee

Yes. We have the right values that this world needs more and more.

Nora MüllerExecutive Director of International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

In principle yes, if it succeeds in overcoming internal divisions.

John KerryFormer U.S Secretary of State and Visiting Distinguished Statesman at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Totally. 100 percent. If the job is living up to NATO and Article 5, the answer is yes. To fulfill the full transatlantic alliance, we need a new president.

Florence GaubDeputy Director, European Union Institute for Security Studies

Yes, if we stop being ashamed of who we are and what we stand for.

Sauli NiinistöPresident of Finland

We are living in confusing times, not only in the West but globally. Are we facing the end of diplomacy? That is something we should never see.

Katinka BaryschGroup Strategy and Portfolio Manager, Allianz

No. After globalization, the West by itself can never do the job of fixing the post-1945 era.

Aleksey PushkovChairman of the Commission on Information and Media, Council of Federation, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

I don’t think so. I think the West is carried away by its own agenda. It fails to see the agenda of others.

Ian BremmerPresident and Founder, Eurasia Group

If the job is a U.S.-led global order, no.

Mamuka BakhtadzePrime Minister of Georgia

If the job is to support free nations and is value-driven, yes.

Daniela SchwarzerDirector, German Council on Foreign Relations

We still don’t want to realize what we have to offer and what we have to lose.

Gwendolyn SasseDirector, Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS)

Only if the “West” (EU, U.S., NATO) is rebuilt.

Senior Iranian Foreign Ministry Diplomat Who Asked to Remain Anonymous

No. Because of double standards, normative arrogance, and demagogic politicians.

Image source: MSC / Kuhlmann