MADRID – European security has again risen to the top of the world’s geopolitical agenda. Despite continued diplomatic efforts to defuse the Ukraine crisis, tension and suspicion between Russia and the West has escalated to levels not seen since the Cold War. This is forcing a rethink of the current regional security framework, which is based on three fundamental pillars: the United States, Russia, and Europe.
Addressing the challenge of European security will no doubt dominate the discussions among political leaders and international relations experts from both sides of the Atlantic at this weekend’s Munich Security Conference (MSC). But, in addition to Ukraine’s plight, the impact of technological and digital innovation on security will also feature prominently.
The ongoing geopolitical tensions over Ukraine reflect a conventional, predominantly geographic, conception of security – reflected in the frequent use of terms such as “spheres of influence,” “NATO expansion,” “territorial integrity,” and “post-Soviet security space.” But although this vocabulary is indispensable to understanding the current NATO-Russia confrontation, the enormous geopolitical changes wrought by globalization and technological advances over the past 25 years will increasingly eclipse it.
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