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Peace & Gossip in Munich

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the 2023 Munich Security Conference.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the 2023 Munich Security Conference. Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
February 21, 2023

The official theme at this year’s Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of the who’s who of the trans-Atlantic community’s national security elite—current and former heads of state, foreign ministers and ministers of defense, generals, congressional delegations (CODELs), think tankers, activists, journalists, hangers on—was, you guessed it, “Zeitenwende on Tour.” Zeitenwende, one of those nifty German turns of phrase capable of folding a complex concept into a single word, means “the end of an era,” and it refers to the speech that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave to the Bundestag three days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.