United States Sen. Ben Sasse says global leaders expressed concern about both short-term and long-term problems as well as an absence of American leadership during the Munich Security Conference.
Sasse was among the bipartisan delegation of senators traveling to Germany for the conference.
Sasse says he returns a bit concerned about global as well as national security.
“It’s incredibly sobering to be with all these global leaders and have reconfirmation of the fact that the global order is in shambles,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Global stability is at the low point since the end of the Cold War 27 years ago, in 1989.”
Sasse says the long-term issues which cropped up during the conference were global jihadism and cyber warfare. He says worries in the short-term center on the Syrian civil war that created the refugee crisis and Russia’s use of the crisis to undermine security in Europe.
Sasse says Russian President Vladimir Putin has been using the refugee crisis to destabilize countries in Europe, what some in the military term as Putin “weaponizing” refugees.
“You can’t make sense of what’s happening in the Middle East and in Syria without recognizing Putin’s view of the world and his long-term ambitions,” according to Sasse. “Putin is a guy who thinks that the worst moment in modern Russian history was 1989 and was the end of the Cold War, which we won. And he wishes that he could renegotiate those terms and so he’d like to fracture NATO.”
Asked if a new Cold War is emerging, Sasse replies it appears pretty hot in places such as civilian populations around Syria being pounded by Russian bombing sorties and the portions of Ukraine which have been invaded by Russian troops.
Sasse says many of the leaders at the conference are raising questions about America’s leadership on the global stage.
“We know that we as your allies can’t rely on you,” Sasse says they told him. “You’ll say you’ll draw a red line and you don’t mean it and your enemies surely don’t fear you anymore. What is happening in America and when are you people going to have a long-term foreign policy again.”