Shaping the New Normal
Entitled ‘Shaping the New Normal’, LMC 2016 focused on the future of Europe and the West. The world is a different place from the one we envisioned ten years ago: International treaties are being blatantly violated; national borders are being changed by force once again; huge masses of people are on the move seeking refuge; national identities are being challenged, and extremist tendencies are flourishing. The United States, the key guarantor of transatlantic security, is overstretched. Europe’s role as the source and home of universal values is eroding. In essence, the West has lost the initiative.
The New Normal has so far been developing despite our wishes; at best, the West has only been able to react. For liberal democracies, there is a strategic dilemma: do we seize the initiative and shape the course of events ourselves, or do we let new realities be developed against our will? Assuming the former is chosen, how can the West, with a skeptical electorate and with leaders focused on domestic issues, actually take the driver’s seat?
What should the West do to consolidate Europe’s interests and keep the transatlantic alliance together? What should be the key deliverables of the NATO Warsaw summit? How can it stop Putin’s new military adventures? What should the West do to defeat ISIS and create stability in the wider Middle East? How will the leadership role of the US develop both before and after its presidential elections? How can we convince the Eastern Partners to stay true to Europe and relieve the anxieties of the EU’s Southern Neighborhood? How can we handle China’s rise? What tools should the West use to fight information wars and respond to cyber-attacks? How should it tackle climate change and its serious consequences?
These and many other real policy questions were raised and discussed during the conference.