The first day of  GLOBSEC 2018  got off to a productive start with energetic panelists, lively (and occasionally heated) discussions, but all with a focus on meaningful change for the future.

 

 

 

Highlights:

Introductory remarks:

  • Central Europe and the wider world are currently experiencing the most dangerous and uncertain of times, But it’s not all bad news. There are many opportunities for positive change.
  • There’s been an unfortunate eroding of the moral fabric of our societies. Some controversial issues and ‘redlines’ have become acceptable.  It’s a   trend that must be reversed in order for us to prosper.
  • The general future for Central Europe looks bleak. The region needs to accept that its vision of the European Union (EU) is no longer valid. A more flexible approach to membership is required.

Globsec Sustanability Platform: Future Sustainable Mobility

  • It’s time to develop a fully equipped infrastructure for alternative cars (e.g. charging stations’ network) and alternative fuels (like biofuels) for specific means of transport.
  • A stable and long-term framework of investments into the EU’s energy infrastructure will guarantee member states’ smooth and effective.  Regulatory protection and guarantees should help..

The West and Russia: Managing The Flashpoints

  • The state of relations: there was broad agreement that the Russia-West relationship is at a very low point. Without a return to meaningful dialogue, there is a danger that relations will only get worse.
  • Practical steps: several ideas were floated, with western panelists in agreement that finding a solution to the ongoing violence in Donbas should be a starting point. The Russian participant suggested that a  meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin would help to ease tensions.
  • Transatlantic differences: European participants and audience members stressed that the United States’ current policy on Russia is ambivalent. On one hand the administration and Congress have adopted an assertive approach when dealing with   Moscow, however on the other  President Trump is looking for accommodation with Putin. Washington’s new approach to Iran  has resulted in bad blood and an erosion of trust in the transatlantic relationship

AI in Conflict: Hyper War No Longer Sci-Fi

  • Armed forces are starting to make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions.  The current focus is on less controversial applications such as training, and logistics.
  • NATO maintains a doctrine that requires humans to be the decision loop. However, other players seem to be less concerned about this requirement, thereby putting pressure on decision making. Officers need to adapt and innovate in order to minimise disadvantages associated with automated decision processes.
  • It is unclear if AI will play a stabilising or destabilising role in global security. While it may provide better early warning and monitoring, AI is also empowering dangerous non-state actors.

Global Economy: How Fair & Free Can Trade Be?

  • The main reason behind the upsurge in populism is migration. It’s a phenomenon that might be prolonged by Europe’s shrinking population,  as well as ongoing and potential future conflicts. Free and equitable trade, aid and education may alleviate migration pressures.
  • Growing inequality is also behind the tide of populism and increased, however, this will not undo changes to the global economic structure and will only weaken states that adopt such policies.

Cyberwar: Military Build-up in the Fifth Domain

  • We are living in a state of permanent cyber conflict that’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
  • There are no clear escalation paths for responding to cyber conflicts. This means that states,  international bodies, and  perpetrators of cyber-crimes do not know what responses will look like, a to the confusion surrounding cyber war itself.

Multilateralism in the “Me-First” World with No Rules

  • The world needs a Multilateral Renaissance – a term proposed by H.E. Miroslav Lajak – to overcome the current downturn in security and global coexistence. This should come with a rethinking of not what but how it is being said. Dialogue is the key  and it should aim to  balance conflicting narratives
  • Today’s o conflicting narratives are multilateralism with anti-multilateralism. However, neither side has put constructive and alternative proposals on the table. But. This is also why the current United Nations (UN)  is the best working and universally acceptable format, particularly the veto mechanism in the Security Council. In fact, the UN’s existence helps other formats like the G8 or OSCE to develop and change

GL Chat: Energy transition to the post-oil era: sharing the know-how

  • OPEC will most likely act to balance the global oil market in  its upcoming meeting
  • Oil producing countries need to start investing into a capacity to meet growing demand

En Garde! Towards a European Defence Union

  • Europe has finally realised that its security is slowly coming back into its own hands. However, this will be nothing more than a narrative while budgets and funding fall below NATO spending commitments.
  • Permanent Structure Cooperation (PESCO) could be a game changer but it depends how it will be implemented. The French approach is about delivering security operations while Germany puts an emphasis on keeping integrated continental structures.
  • Enhanced European security rests on a “Go European” policy that favours the continent’s  defence industry
  • There are substantial differences in national strategic cultures that for the time being prevent a unified European strategic culture. However, small steps such as joint operations are becoming a more promising form of defence cooperation.
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GLOBSEC Talk: Parallel & Undercover World of Blockchain

  • Blockchain allows for unlimited, free market, decentralised competition by being not just disruptive but also foundational. In order to create the world of tomorrow, which will be determined by 100,000s of transactions a second, the current hierarchical structures will have to be abandoned.
  • There’s no way to predict what the blockchain world of the future will look like.  Put simply, the blockchain community will  grow naturally and in unpredictable ways

Keeping Pace with the Digital Energy Revolution

  • Energy companies are expanding their business models to include technological advances including data mining
  • Europe is lagging behind in investments in infrastructure and R&D
  • Technology helps to optimise energy usage