Culture, interests, multidimensional threats, and Italian defence policy

We are pleased to talk about a paper that has been just published on the Italian Review of Political Science. The article, which is part of an interesting Special Issue on Italian foreign policy, focuses on the Italian military post-Cold War dynamism, aiming at assessing the role played  by interests and culture in addressing multidimensional threats to national security.

The paper (Stick to the plan? Culture, interests, multidimensional threats, and Italian defence policy“) is co-authored by (our) Fabrizio Coticchia and Michela Ceccorulli.

Here the link to the paper (gated)

Here below you can find the abstract:

The international context seems to be increasingly exposed to multidimensional and transnational challenges, ranging from irregular migration and piracy to the violation of basic human rights. Rather than excluding a potential role for the military, many European states rely on it to face a complex security scenario. What are the reasons behind this activism? Taking Italy as a case study, this article works out two main arguments (ideational factors and interests relating to the so-called military–industrial complex) and tries to intercept their weight in the national debate leading to the decision to intervene militarily (or not) in Sri Lanka (2004–05), Haiti (2010), and in the Central Mediterranean (2015–). Ultimately, this effort contributes to understanding the role of the military instrument in Italy, a state particularly exposed to the new challenges ahead, and offers tools for research to be potentially applied in other countries that make similar use of armed forces to deal with non-conventional security threats.

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Il caso F35. Una prospettiva diversa.

I temi della Difesa sono spesso relegati agli angoli dalla discussione pubblica in Italia. Gli approfondimenti sono tendenzialmente scarsi e il livello complessivo di attenzione di media e opinione pubblica è generalmente limitato. Eventi drammatici, spesso in contesti di crisi, contribuiscono ad incrementare un interesse collettivo che permane però volatile, destinato ad affievolirsi in fretta.

Un tema che ha suscitato invece una considerevole (e costante) attenzione è stato quello della controversa acquisizione del caccia JSF F-35. Le ragioni di tale “ribalta” sono state molteplici: i costi del mezzo in uno scenario di crisi, il dibattito politico, le campagne dei movimenti pacifisti.

Sul tema, segnaliamo con piacere un recente articolo del nostro Fabrizio Coticchia, dal titolo: “A Controversial Warplane Narratives, Counternarratives, and the Italian Debate on the F-35“.

Il paper è uscito in early view nella rivista “Alternatives“. Qui il link al pezzo (gated)

L’articolo (ne avevamo parlato di una sua versione precedente qui) esamina, da una prospettiva interdisciplinare, il contenuto delle narrazioni e della contro-narrazioni adottate da partiti e movimenti pacifisti. I suoi risultati (basati su interviste, analisi del discorso e analisi del contenuto) evidenziano l’evoluzione dei plot al centro del dibattito e la capacità delle contro-narrazioni (grazie alla capacità della campagna e ad un contesto partitico mutato) di introdurre i propri frame nella discussione.

L’articolo è parte di un progetto di ricerca più ampio, che si concretizzerà in una monografia, scritta da Fabrizio Coticchia e Andrea Catanzaro, dal titolo: “Al di là dell’Arcobaleno: narrazioni strategiche, politica di difesa e movimenti pacifisti in Italia’”, Vita e Pensiero (di prossima pubblicazione).

In calce l’abstract del paper

The literature on strategic narratives has started to pay growing attention to the concept of “narrative dominance,” stressing the role played by counternarratives in hindering a wider acceptance of a specific message. However, limited consideration has been devoted to counternarratives, which have seldom been assessed in a systematic way. The aim of this article is to fill these gaps by examining the underrated case of Italy. The article investigates the main content of narratives and counternarratives developed by parties and peace movements regarding the decision to acquire the F-35. The article, which is based on primary and secondary sources, adopts a multidisciplinary approach, combining security studies and social movement studies.

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No time for Uncertainty. The European Defense and Security in the Time of Terror: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities

We are organizing a panel at the next SGRI conference (Trento, June 29-July 1).

As reported in there website: The annual SGRI Conference is an opportunity for scholars throughout Italy to come together and discuss topics that are relevant to international relations. The 2017 Conference will be held for the sixth time in Trento from June 29th to July 1st and will be organized by IPLab (International Politics Laboratory), a joint venture involving the Bruno Kessler Foundation and the University of Trento.

Here you’ll find a list of the all panels.

Here below the details of “our” panel (“No time for Uncertainty. The European Defense and Security in the Time of Terror: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities“):

Chair: Giampiero Cama (University of Genova)
Discussants: Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna) & Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genova)

Date: TBD
Room: Sala Grande

According to the European Union Global Strategy “terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility, climate change and energy insecurity” are significantly endangering Europe (EUGS, 2016). The EUGS emphasizes the need for an “appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy”, enhancing common efforts especially on cyber, counterterrorism, energy and strategic communications. In other words, Member States should “move towards defence cooperation as the norm”, providing a greater contribution to collective security, working closely with its allies and partners, such as NATO. The panel aims at collecting empirical papers that, through different methodological perspectives, try and understand how current transformations (political, such as Brexit and Trump election but also technological, such as the “rise” of drones) are impacting traditional European and national security practices.

The panel explores how Member States, as well as the EU, have faced so far the above- mentioned challenges, examining in details the following key-areas: (a) shared assessments of internal and external threats (e.g., Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, including the role of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and satellite communications); (b) the evolution of digital capabilities to secure data, networks and critical infrastructure; (c) the transformation of (national and European) counter-terrorism; civil-military relations in operations; (d) the development of European procurement (especially regarding full- spectrum land, air, space and maritime capabilities); (e) the military doctrines at the national and regional level.

Confirmed Papers: 

  1. Edoardo Baldaro (Scuola Normale Superiore – Pisa), The EU in the Sahel: Assessing Strengths and Limits of the European Integrated Approach to Conflict
    Nowadays the EU is facing renewed security threats coming from its instable Eastern and Southern borders. State fragility and civil conflicts in the peripheries are considered as factors that can endanger European internal security and cohesion, asking for concrete initiatives and responses by European institutions. The European Union Global Strategy (EUGS)introduces a new ‘integrated approach to conflict and crisis’, in order to propose innovative and shared solutions concerning conflict-management and crisis-relief.Adopting an ideational and social constructivist approach to the study of European foreign policy, this article aims to explore the “fragile state” and “resilience” concurring policy paradigms informing this new European strategic concept. Analysing the EU’s initiatives in the Sahel, one of the regions where the EU elaborated and tested its renewed approach, the paper underlines ideational and practical weaknesses of the European action, focusing the attention on three dimensions: 1) inter-agency efficiency and cooperation; 2) EU – member states coordination; 3) effects on local governance and environment. We finally argue that even if the EUGS is going in the right direction, the EU still suffers from cognitive problems and lacks internal cooperation.

    In the conclusion I argue that even if the EUGS is going in the right direction, the EU still suffers of cognitive and normative problems and pays a lack of internal cooperation, all factors that can still put into question the EU’s approach to fragility and conflict in the South.

  2. Eugenio Cusumano (Leiden University), Migrant Rescuing as Organised Hypocrisy: EU Maritime Missions Offshore Libya Beyond Humanitarianism and Border Control
    In October 2014, the Italian Navy maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) operation offshore Libya Mare Nostrum was replaced by the EU border agency Frontex operation Triton, followed in 2015 by the Common Security and Defence Policy mission EUNAVFOR Med ‘Sophia’. Both Triton and EUNAVFOR have increasingly advertised their  involvement in SAR operations. As the two missions focused on reducing illegal entries to Europe rather than SAR, their commitment to migrant rescuing was not matched by consistent action. This paper conceptualizes the mismatch between humanitarian rhetoric and activities primarily meant to reduce migrant flows as a form of organised hypocrisy. Based on a decoupling between talk and action, organised hypocrisy allowed EU maritime missions to reconcile contradictory pressures from their external environment, such as EU willingness to reduce maritime migrations and the normative imperative to act against the loss of life at sea
  3. Artem Patalakh (University of Milan Statale), Soft Power Revisited: How Attraction Works in International Relations
    The paper puts forward a constructivist interpretation of how Joseph Nye’s soft power works in International Relations (IR). In particular, it focuses on the functioning of attraction, soft power’s main pronounced mechanism. On the basis of a theoretical literature review, the author identifies three primary issues that require further specification in Nye’s account, namely a clear disentanglement between hard and soft power, a psychological mechanism behind attraction and the relationship between agentic and structural forces in the soft power relationship. To address these issues, the author locates soft power in the constructivist IR paradigm, viewing power in its broadest terms (as including all the four “faces” of power). Then, the author applies French and Raven’s typology of power bases to build a framework that classifies attraction into three types, each with a particular psychological mechanism: “rational” attraction (which means that actor A is positively evaluated by actor B of the basis of its actions that do not aim at other IR actors), “social” attraction (which implies that A is positively evaluated based on how it treats other IR actors) and “emotional” attraction (which happens if B is positively evaluated by A, because B is useful for A to fulfill its identity, its perceived position among other IR actors). Having said this, the author uses insight from social psychology to provide theoretical explanations for each type of attraction, illustrating them with relevant examples from contemporary international politics.

  4. Mirco Elena (USPID)

 

 

See you soon in Trento…

 

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“Guerra, Pace e Sicurezza alle Porte del Mediterraneo” (2017)

Anche quest’anno il Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche (DISPO) dell’Università di Genova organizza il ciclo di seminari. “Guerra, Pace e Sicurezza alle Porte del Mediterraneo”, che si pone lo scopo di approfondire i temi relativi all’evoluzione della sicurezza internazionale attraverso una serie di workshop e convegni con accademici, politici, giornalisti, esperti e practitioner del settore.

Tali eventi, direttamente collegati ai corsi “Guerre, Conflitti e Costruzione della Pace” di Andrea Catanzaro e del nostro Fabrizio Coticchia, e del corso di Relazioni Internazionali di Giampiero Cama, sono aperti a tutti gli studenti.

Qui i tre seminari organizzati per Marzo e Aprile.

Il seminario esamina il complesso processo di integrazione del mercato europeo della difesa alla luce dei più recenti eventi (“Brexit”, EU Global Strategy, European Defence Action Plan, elezione del Presidente Trump) e le sue possibili implicazioni politiche e istituzionali. Alla fine del seminario saranno brevemente presentate le attività di stage proposte dallo IAI – Istituto Affari Internazionali di Roma.

Il workshop ha l’obiettivo di esaminare l’evoluzione del rapporto tra ricerca scientifica, informazione e movimenti nell’ambito degli studi sulla pace e la sicurezza in Italia. Il recente rapporto di “Osservatorio Mil€x” sulle spese militari in Italia rappresenta una interessante occasione per affrontare i temi della difesa e della sicurezza dal punto di vista “empirico”. Appare sempre più opportuno, infatti, interrogarsi sullo stato della “peace research” in Italia, per comprenderne le cause del lento affermarsi nella penisola e le caratteristiche dei più recenti sviluppi.

Il workshop ha l’obiettivo di esaminare l’arco di instabilità che caratterizza la sponda meridionale del Mediteranno, con particolare riferimento alla Libia e al Sahel. L’obiettivo sarà quello di illustrare la recente evoluzione dei conflitti locali, il ruolo di organizzazioni criminali e terroristiche, e la complessa relazione tra gli stati dell’area ed i paesi europei in rapporto ai temi della sicurezza. Il workshop cerca di esaminare in modo approfondito tali argomenti grazie alla vasta conoscenza in materia degli autori, i quali da anni svolgono ricerca sul campo.

Ci vediamo a Genova (ci saranno delle grosse novità per il secondo anno del workshop su “Conflicts&Institutions di Giugno…stay tuned)

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La politica estera e di difesa del governo Renzi

In seguito alla vittoria del “no” al referendum costituzionale, il Presidente del Consiglio, Matteo Renzi, si è dimesso. Data l’incertezza del contesto politico attuale si moltiplicano analisi e commenti relativi al futuro esecutivo, alla riforma della legge elettorale e allo scenario che porterà il paese alle (ennesime) elezioni.

Oltre a cercare di capire cosa succederà nelle prossime settimane, riteniamo importante comprendere cosa sia successo in questi anni in materia di politica estera e di difesa. Per questo motivo segnaliamo volentieri (come già fatto qui) il workshop organizzato dal Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche dell’Università di Genova sulla politica estera e di difesa nei (quasi) tre anni di governo Renzi.

Qui trovate tutte le informazioni relative al workshop, organizzato nell’ambito del ciclo di Seminari 2016-17 “Guerra, Pace e Sicurezza alle Porte del Mediterraneo”, legato al corso “Guerre, Conflitti e Costruzione della Pace” (qui e qui le info sul corso)

Al workshop interverranno

Interverranno:

On. Lia Quartapelle Commissione Esteri e Affari Comunitari, Camera dei Deputati (Capogruppo PD) e Research Associate presso l’Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale – ISPI

Pietro Batacchi Direttore della Rivista Italiana Difesa (RID)

Andrea Locatelli Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano

Fabrizio Coticchia DISPO, Università di Genova (qui trovate una sua breve analisi dei fattori di continuità e discontinuità della politica di difesa del governo Renzi)

Modera Giampiero Cama DISPO, Università di Genova

Ci vediamo a Genova…

Schermata 2016-12-10 alle 21.50.02

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NATO, UE, politica estera e di difesa italiana. Due seminari…

Segnaliamo volentieri due interessanti seminari relativi al processo di evoluzione della politica estera e di difesa italiana nello scenario redazionale, caratterizzato dalla profonda trasformazione di NATO e Unione Europea. Entrambi gli eventi si terranno alla Facoltà di Scienze Politiche dell’Università di Genova.

Il primo seminario si svolgerà il prossimo Lunedì 21 Novembre 2016 (14-16 Aula 3 Albergo dei Poveri) e si intitola: “L’evoluzione della Sicurezza Europea tra NATO e Unione Europea“. Il seminario prevede l’intervento del dott. Alessandro Marrone (IAI), il quale illustrerà agli studenti anche le possibilità di stage all’Istituto e il Programma Sicurezza&Difesa.

L’incontro si svolge all’interno del corso di Scienza Politica del Prof. Giampiero Cama. Modererà l’incontro il dott.Fabrizio Coticchia (Università di Genova).

Il secondo workshop si intitola: “L’Evoluzione della Politica Estera e di Difesa Italianae si svolgerà il prossimo Venerdì 16 Dicembre 2016 (14-16. Aula 16, DISPO, Albergo dei Poveri). Interverranno:

On. Lia Quartapelle Commissione Esteri e Affari Comunitari, Camera dei Deputati (Capogruppo PD) e Research Associate presso l’Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale – ISPI

Pietro Batacchi Direttore della Rivista Italiana Difesa (RID)

Andrea Locatelli Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano

Fabrizio Coticchia DISPO, Università di Genova

Modera Giampiero Cama DISPO, Università di Genova

Il workshop ha l’obiettivo di illustrare l’attuale processo di evoluzione della politica estera e difesa italiana. La crescente instabilità regionale e globale ha sollevato una rinnovata attenzione sui temi della politica internazionale. Che ruolo svolge l’Italia in tale contesto? Quali sono state le principali scelte compiute dal governo Renzi in materia di difesa e politica estera? Come valutare i risultati ottenuti? Il workshop, attraverso il confronto tra prospettive diverse, cerca di rispondere a queste domande.

L’incontro si svolge all’interno del ciclo di seminari “Guerra, Pace e Sicurezza alle porte del Mediterraneo” (organizzato da Andrea Catanzaro e Fabrizio Coticchia) che si pone lo scopo di approfondire i temi relativi all’evoluzione della sicurezza internazionale attraverso una serie di incontri, workshop e convegni con accademici, politici, giornalisti, esperti e practitioner del settore. Tali eventi, direttamente collegati al corso “Guerre, Conflitti e Costruzione della Pace”, sono aperti a tutti gli studenti.

Qui e qui troverete ulteriori dettagli relativi ad entrambi i seminari, aperti a tutti gli studenti.

Ci vediamo a Zena.

 

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Parlare di pace e guerra in Italia (parte terza)

Prima di una breve pausa per le vacanze estive Venus voleva ricordarvi alcune novità per il prossimo anno.

Come abbiamo già scritto in precedenti post (qui e qui) non è facile parlare di pace e guerra in Italia, dai media al Parlamento, dal dibattito pubblico alle università. Pertanto, anche nel prossimo anno accademico, confermiamo il  ciclo di seminari “Guerra, Pace e Sicurezza alle porte del Mediterraneo” (promosso dal Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche dell’Università di Genova e organizzato da Andrea Catanzaro e dal nostro Fabrizio Coticchia).

Molte le iniziative realizzate quest’anno (si veda per esempio qui) ehe confermeremo anche nei prossimi semestri, invitando a Genova esperti italiani e stranieri, politici, giornalisti, militari, pacifisti.

La novità del prossimo anno è la creazione di un Osservatorio sui conflitti (il nome ed il relativo acronimo sono ancora da decidere..) legato proprio ad iniziative analoghe. Anche Venus parteciperà direttamente.

Quindi, stay tuned e buone vacanze

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“Narratives and counter-narratives: security issues and peace movements in Italy”

The programme of the 2016 SISP (Italian Political Science Association) annual convention has been published. The conference will be held in Milan (15-17 September 2016).

Here you’ll find all panels and papers.

Our Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genoa) and Andrea Catanzaro (University of Genoa) will present a paper on strategic narratives, security issues and peace movements.

Here more details on the panel “Social Movements and Practices of Resistance in Times of Crisis”.

Here below the abstract of the paper:

Existing studies on strategic narratives have persuasively illustrated the features that make a plot compelling to shape public attitudes regarding military operations. A growing body of the literature has started to pay attention to the concept of “narrative dominance”, stressing the role played by counter-narratives in hindering a wider acceptance of a specific message. However, a limited consideration has been devoted to security issues other than military missions, while the key- features and the effectiveness of counter-narratives have seldom been assessed in a systematic way, especially for non-institutional actors such as “peace movements”. The paper aims at filling this gap, focusing on Italy. How and to what extent have counter-narratives successfully contested the official strategic narratives? What ideologies underlie them? To answer these questions, the research investigates the main contents, the theoretical backgrounds and the effectiveness of counter-narratives developed by national “peace movements” to contrast the “plot” designed by Italian governments to gain the support of public opinion towards selected post-2001 security issues: defense acquisitions, political reforms and missions abroad. The manuscript, which is based on interviews, discourse and content analysis, adopts a multidisciplinary approach, combining IR, political thought, communication and social movement studies.

 

See you soon in Milan.

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Italian Foreign and Defense Policy at the Time of the ‘Bulldozer’

We are pleased to invite you at the panel we have organized at the next SGRI Conference.

The IX annual Conference of the Italian Standing Group on International Relations is a two-day session that brings together scholars, researchers and PhD students from Italian academia to discuss issues related to global politics, European studies, foreign policy, regional dynamics and international theory. The 2016 Conference will be held for the fifth time in Trento from June 23rd to June 25th and will be organized by the Bruno Kessler Foundation‘s Research Center on International Politics and Conflict Resolution (FBK-CERPIC).

Our panel focuses on “Italian Foreign and Defense Policy at the Time of the ‘Bulldozer’”. Since becoming prime minister in February 2014, Matteo Renzi has promoted a change of pace to the controversial debates over policy reforms in Italy. While the literature has devoted significant attention to the transformation occurred in the domestic context, few analyses have focused on the evolution of Italian foreign and defense policy in historical and comparative perspective. The panel aims at filling this gap, collecting different perspectives on diplomacy, security, foreign policy analysis, international and European politics. Finally, the supposed continuity or discontinuity of the Renzi’s foreign and defense policy will be assessed.

Here below the papers we will discuss:
1. Anna Caffarena and Giuseppe Gabusi (University of Turin), Making sense of a changing world: foreign policy ideas and Italy’s national role conceptions after 9/11

In a rapidly changing world, middle powers with no obvious place on the global scene have the difficult task to read the international environment in order to formulate and implement a coherent and possibly effective foreign policy. In order to do so, decision makers either reproduce old ideas or develop new ones. Considering the ideas put forward in their inaugural speeches by Prime Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers in office after 2001, the authors suggest that Italy’s institutional actors appear to be aware of the changes occurred in the international system after 1989, and in particular after 9/11. The National Role Conceptions sustaining Italy’s present foreign policy goals reflect such awareness, being quite different with respect to the picture offered by Holsti in his seminal work published in 1970. Ideas expressing foreign policy goals are also reasonably well grounded either in ideas on how the world works or in operational ideas, yet the country’s foreign policy appears feebly focused, even though focus is explicitly very much sought for. Some explanations for such a lack of focus which makes Italy’s foreign policy design rather ineffective are offered.

*****

2. Antonio Calcara (LUISS School of Government – Rome), Italy’s defence policy in the European context: the case of the European Defence Agency

The European Defence Agency (EDA), thanks to the adoption of a large number of strategic documents and reports, its expertise in the formulation of projects and data collection, has been able to spread an homogeneous discourse on the necessity of a common European defence approach. The EDA is pushing for a progressive “europeanization” of the defence field through pooling and sharing of resources, liberalisation of the defence market, europeanization of military standards and support to dual civilian-military research.
Italy has always had a pro-integration stance on defence matters and it presents the EU as the political and functional framework in which the Italian defence policy will develop – both at the strategic and at the procurement level – in order to rationalise the defence spending. However, going into detail, Italy’s engagement with EDA seems to be more nuanced, especially in the preservation of national sovereignty in some particular technological areas and, in general, has resulted in an ambiguos position between a pro-NATO’s view (and the related “Smart Defence” initiative) and a pro-european “Pooling and Sharing” process, under the EDA’s framework.
While academic literature has devoted significant attention to the transformations occurred in the domestic context, few analyses have focused on the evolution of Italian defence policy in the context of the European institutional framework.
This study is aimed to answer to the following questions: What is the relationship between Italy and the EDA? What is the role of Italy in the EDA? Do the collaborative activities promoted by the Agency have altered the Italian defense policy, especially concerning the new White Paper on International Security and Defence? Can we consider Italy as a “policy entrepreneur” in European defence matters or, beyond declaratory level, it continues to maintain a strong “national” approach?

*****

3. Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genoa) and Jason W. Davidson (University of Mary Washington), Explaining Renzi’s Foreign Policy: The International Effects of Domestic Reforms
Since becoming Italy’s Prime Minister in February 2014 Matteo Renzi has attracted a lot of attention for his domestic political reforms. Journalists and scholars have focused far less interest on Renzi’s foreign policy, however. This lack of attention is striking given some of the Renzi government’s actions on the international stage. For example, Italy has refused to participate in air strikes against ISIL in Iraq and has favored accommodation with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Based on primary (interviews, official documents) and secondary sources, this paper attempts to explain the Renzi government’s foreign policy.
First, because Renzi is focused on domestic reform, foreign policy is an afterthought. Renzi’s government has avoided costly policies (e.g., air strikes, peace-enforcement mission in Libya, etc.) because they would undercut his economic plans. Second, because Renzi’s domestic reforms anger many on the left, he has chosen a foreign policy that appeals to–or at least does not create further problems with–the left (e.g., vocally asking for anti-austerity measures in the EU during the semester of Italian presidency). Finally, Renzi, who lacks foreign policy experience, centralized decision-making regarding international relations.

*****

4. Mirco Elena (USPID), Implications of different energy strategies on national security and on international relations

Several factors have to be considered while developing a national energy strategy: amount and cost of resources in the medium and long term, need to import primary energy, number and reliability of suppliers, suitability for the productive sector, vulnerability to uncontrollable external events, resilience of the supply chain in case of conflict, … Many of these elements have important implications from the point of view of a nation’s international relations.
Traditionally, energy production has favoured big, centralized infrastructures. If these are advantageous in terms of, e.g., power plant efficiency, there are also negative consequences which can make a nation much more vulnerable in case of war.
Modern technological developments in the energy field have major implications also with regard to national security and this fact should receive more attention from government authorities.

*****

5. Matteo Faini (University of Venice Ca’ Foscari)
For democratic countries, intelligence agencies are a threat and a necessity. They often provide vital information for national security, but they can also engage in unauthorized activities, like attempting or threatening to remove their own government, i.e. subversion.
I develop and test a typological theory of the relationship between intelligence agencies and policy-makers in democratic countries. I answer two questions: how can intelligence agencies be controlled? When will intelligence agencies engage in subversion?
Intelligence agencies will differ depending on who their main enemies are. An agency will be political if it has a strong domestic subversive movement as one of its main enemies. These agencies will not be politically neutral and the divide between foreign and domestic intelligence will be blurred. Because of these characteristics, it will be harder for policymakers to control them. They will engage in subversion when they perceive their own government as insufficiently dedicated to the anti-subversive fight and when an upcoming close election or divisions among the agency’s principals give them an opportunity to install a stronger government. Ironically, an agency that is designed to fight against subversion will be more inclined to subvert itself. Instead, if an agency does not have a strong subversive movement as one of its main enemies, it can afford to be non-political: politically neutral and with a sharp divide between foreign and domestic intelligence. Non-political agencies will be strongly controlled by policymakers and will not engage in subversion.
I test this theory on two case studies: British intelligence from 1909 to 1924 and Italian military intelligence from 1943 onward. I find that intelligence agencies shift from being non-political to being political when a strong subversive movement is included among their main enemies. Political intelligence agencies have attempted to remove governments even in rich democracies normally considered immune from coups-like phenomena, like the UK in 1920 and 1924.
I then draw implications for policymakers, focusing on the present-day Italian intelligence community. I argue that the current trend towards a non-political intelligence community is at risk of being reversed, under pressure from politically aligned appointments and the rise of political parties that can be construed as subversive.

The discussant will be J.P. Darnis (IAI – University of Nice)

Here additional details on the panel.

Here you’ll find all the panels at the SGRI Conference.

See you soon in Trento.

 

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Italy’s military interventions and new security threats

The end of the Cold War represented a turning point for Italian defense. The bipolar constraints vanished and Italy was “allowed” to adopted a more dynamic military approach, sending troops in several operations abroad. The military missions  addressed also multidimensional threats: illegal migration, humanitarian crises, piracy, organized crime, etc..

But what has pushed Italy to intervene specifically through armed forces (instead of using other tools, such as Civil Protection or diplomacy)? Michela Ceccorulli and (our) Fabrizio Coticchia answer the above-mentioned  question through their latest paper, which examines the missions in Somalia, Darfur and Haiti, assessing three different hypotheses.

Here below the abstract:

Recently, Italy has employed the military instrument abroad to deal with new, multidimensional and transnational challenges, ranging from irregular migration and piracy to the violation of basic human rights. What has pushed the country to intervene specifically through armed forces? Through three main arguments (strategic culture, domestic interests and international norms) emerging from the interplay between internal and external dynamics, the paper analyses the national debate in the run-up to the decision to intervene militarily in Darfur (2007–2010), Somalia (2009) and Haiti (2010). In so doing the work hopes to contribute to understanding the role of the military tool in Italy, a country particularly exposed to new challenges ahead.

Here you’ll find additional info on the paper.

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