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The Munich Insecurity Conference

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Be worried. Very worried.

The Munich Security Conference — a forum conceived during the Cold War to discuss security threats and challenges — has never been an event for the faint of heart. Even so, the mood at this year’s gathering, the 55th, would best be described as funereal.

Long a showcase for the solidity of the postwar Western alliance and America’s enduring commitment to European security, this year’s conference has looked more like a transatlantic reality show.

“People are not talking to each other, nor at each other, they are talking through each other,” said Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister who has been attending the conference for more than 20 years.

It’s no secret Europeans and Americans (i.e. the Trump administration) have been at odds over a laundry list of issues including the Iranian nuclear deal, climate policy, trade and commitment to NATO. Yet the interaction between the two sides in Munich – which bordered on the caustic, both in public and behind the scenes – left some participants warning that the estrangement threatens to hobble the transatlantic security alliance at a time of growing instability.

James Stavridis, a retired American admiral who served as NATO’s supreme allied commander until 2013, said the alliance’s paralysis was........

© Politico