U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is due to attend the event in the Bavarian capital, which comes after Washington said earlier this month it would suspend compliance with a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia.
“Given the prevailing strategic outlooks in Washington, Beijing, and Moscow, expectations of a new era of great power competition are seeming to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy,” the report read.
“If everyone prepares for a hostile world, its arrival is almost preordained ... The post-Cold War period – and the general optimism associated with it – has come to an end.
“But it is unclear what kind of new order will emerge ... and whether the transition period will be peaceful.”
Conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Washington, urged policymakers from mid-sized powers including the European Union to do more to preserve a liberal international order.
In a newspaper interview, Ischinger suggested France’s nuclear arsenal should serve the purpose of shielding the whole of the EU and not just France. This would mean EU countries would have to share the cost of maintaining France’s nuclear weapons, he told the Funke group of newspapers.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who addresses the conference on Saturday, is using her last term to focus on a foreign policy aimed at defending and refreshing multilateralism.
But the report said Berlin and Paris needed to work together more effectively to boost the capacity of the “ill-prepared” EU to deal with heightened great power competition.
Running through other mid-sized powers, the report turned to Britain and said “Brexit proceedings will continue to inflict wounds on both sides of the Channel for years to come.”
Looking further east, it said: “Those counting on Japan to anchor security in East Asia may yet have to temper their expectations.”