Topic 3: Is multilateralism facing possible extinction?

The Munich Security Conference, held during the weekend of 15-17 February 2019, describes itself as “the world’s leading forum for debating international security policy”. This year’s MSC highlighted that multilateralism and multilateral institutions like NATO are facing serious threats. According to MSC chairman Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, “the whole liberal world order seems to be falling apart[1]”. During her address at the conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed these sentiments, warning of “global political disintegration[2]” and advocating for the preservation of traditional multilateral approaches such as the NATO alliance[3].

Judy Dempsey, Editor in Chief of Carnegie Europe, argues that perhaps it’s time to reassess our understanding of the “West” (who are the actors and where are the geo-political boundaries?) and, by extension, the MSC itself.

During this meetup, we will review Dempsey’s article, “Misplaced nostalgia for the Old West”, available here: (<5 minute read).

Are the multilateral approaches of the “old” West, as long upheld by the MSC, in need of change? If so, how realistic are aspirations for a redefined multilateralism in today’s divided political climate?

A&S Bücherland have kindly agreed to host this meetup. Attendees are encouraged to make a 5€ contribution to assist with the venue’s running costs. Additionally, the venue has tea and coffee facilities and a selection of drinks are also available for us to purchase.

[1] Wolfgang Ischinger, “Food for thought: Who will pick up the pieces?” Munich Security Conference, February 19, 2019,
[2] “Angela Merkel warns of global political disintegration at Munich Security Conference”, Deutsche Welle, February 16, 2019,
[3] ibid.

Online Meeting