Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Welcome to a special edition of Foreign Policy’s SitRep! We’re in Munich, Germany, for a major international security conference with world leaders, defense ministers, spy chiefs, and experts. Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest news, tips, and analysis from the 2024 Munich Security Conference (MSC). The head of state and other dignitaries are set to arrive tomorrow, but there’s much to cover today. Here’s what’s on tap: The West’s reckoning with Russia, potential U.S.-China meeting, key questions for foreign leaders at MSC, and more.

In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference that seems to have foreshadowed future events. He warned about NATO’s eastward expansion and criticized the notion of a unipolar world led by the United States. Now, 17 years later, Western leaders are facing a reckoning with Putin, who was not invited to this year’s conference.

The major topics at the conference this weekend include the West’s relationship with Russia and Ukraine, the impact of the U.S. presidential election on Europe, major national security funding stuck in Congress, and Europe’s approach to China as a potential threat. Additionally, the Middle East crisis and the U.S.-European relationship are adding to the stress.

The conference will be attended by Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, China’s top foreign-policy chief Wang Yi, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, the chief of Britain’s secret intelligence service (MI6) Sir Richard Moore, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, among others.

Apart from the public panels, the conference will also feature private meetings between officials and other participants, where much of the actual diplomacy takes place. The three big questions being asked this weekend include the impact of a potential second term for Trump on NATO and Ukraine, Ukraine’s prospects for winning the war, and the possibility of an off-ramp to the Middle East crisis.

We have a lot to cover throughout the weekend, so stay tuned for more news and updates from the 2024 Munich Security Conference.

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