Munich to act as showplace for Obamas new foreign vision

Just a couple of days before he takes office, European security experts are hoping Barack Obama will outline his security vision for Europe at next month’s Munich Security Conference.

Munich to act as showplace for Obamas new foreign vision
Photo: DPA

Nato insiders in Brussels have told news agency DDP they are hoping that he will attend the high-profile security conference, and tell everyone how he sees the transatlantic alliance’s future.

Berlin politicians agree that they expect Obama’s presidency, which starts on Tuesday, to herald, “completely new aspects to international security policy.”

The Munich conference, on February 6-8, may also see Afghan President Hamid Karsai attending, considering that developments in his country will be one of the top themes of the discussions.

Christian Democrat, CDU, defence spokesman Bernd Siebert, said one should give Obama time to define his aims on such a subject, but said he expected greater demands to be put on Germany in Afghanistan. “One can say that there is a high probability that Obama will call for more engagement in Afghanistan,” he said.

Free Democrat, FDP defence expert Elke Hoff said she expected intensive discussions to be held about a new strategic concept for Nato.

She said the alliance must be better prepared for the probable demands of the 21st century.

Head of the Brookings Institute in Washington, Strobe Talbott has said that Obama will want to make clear right from the beginning, “that we Americans should see ourselves as members of the world community.”

Hillary Clinton will be the new secretary of state, or foreign minister, and will also be keen to quickly establish a new way of dealing with other diplomats. She said her credo will be one of smart power, which will not only be dependent on military means.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have said they want to demonstrate cooperation, particularly in the 60th year of NATO. Sarkozy has indicated he may bring France back into the military aspect of the alliance, 43 years after his predecessor Charles de Gaulle left it.