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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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Call for papers at SGRI2016: “Italian Foreign and Defense Policy at the Time of the ‘Bulldozer’”

We have organized a panel at the next SGRI (Italian Standing Group on International Relations) Annual Conference (which will be held at the FBK, Trento, June 23-25).

Here you’ll find additional details on the conference, which 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”.

Here all the panels on “Exploring Foreign and Security Policy in International Relations

Here below the structure of the panel we have organized:

Italian Foreign and Defense Policy at the Time of the ‘Bulldozer’
Chairs: Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genoa) and Francesco N Moro (University of Milan – Bicocca)

Discussants: Jean-Pierre Darnis (Istituto Affari Internazionali – Rome and University of Nice)

Date: TBD
Room: TBD

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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.

 

So, we are waiting for your papers (please send the abstract to fcoticchia@consules.org)

For further information about the 2016 SGRI Conference: sgri@fbk.eu

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“Comunicare la difesa”

Venus in Arms è lieta di dare visibilità ad un convegno molto interessante, che si terrà il prossimo Giovedì 7 Aprile a Gorizia, sul tema: Comunicare la difesa”.

L’evento si svolgerà al Polo Universitario di Santa Chiara (Via Santa Chiara, 1 Gorizia, Aula 3). Per informazioni sul Polo dell’Università di Udine si veda qui

Qui in calce il programma della giornata:

09.00 – 09.30               Registrazione partecipanti

09.30 – 09.40              Saluto del Magnifico Rettore dell’Università degli Studi di Udine prof. Alberto Felice

De Toni

09.40 – 09.50              Saluto del Comandante della Brigata di Cavalleria “Pozzuolo del Friuli”, Generale di Brigata Ugo Cillo

09.50 – 10.00              Introduzione al Convegno da parte della Delegata del M.o Rettore dell’Università degli Studi di Udine, prof.ssa Nicoletta Vasta

                                    Moderatore: dott. Pierluigi Franco

10.00 – 10.30               La comunicazione strategica in tema di sicurezza internazionale

                                    dott. Andrea Grazioso

10.30 – 11.00               La comunicazione istituzionale nel rapporto fra Governo e Parlamento

                                    dott. Germano Dottori

11.00 – 11.30               La “narrazione strategica”: fra teoria e prassi

                                    dott. Fabrizio Coticchia

11.30 – 12.30               Discussione 

12.30 – 14.00               Pausa pranzo

14.00 – 15.30               Tavola rotonda: Difesa e opinione pubblica

                                    Moderatore: Umberto Sarcinelli

                                    dott. Gianandrea Gaiani; dott. Pietro Batacchi; dott.ssa Lucia Goracci

15.30 – 16.00               Discussione e conclusione dei lavori                         

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 92

Why was Giulio Regeni killed? As reported by The Guardian in this article, a month after he was last seen alive, speculation as to why he was targeted remains just that.

Are we preparing the war in Libya? Looking at the decision-making process of some European countries, the answer seems positive…

During electoral debate everyone complaints about “polarization“. However, as stressed by Torben Iversen and David Soskice (here), polarization could be interpreted also as the sign of a healthy democracy.

From politics to “realpolitik“. The War on the Rocks provides a “complex history” of realpolitik, offering a comprehensive literature review of the concept.

Finally, the NYT reveals (here) the U.S. Plans to put advisers on front lines of Nigeria’s War on Boko Haram

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 90

This week, our Top5 starts from the open letter of protests (here and here) signed by several academic associations over the death of Giulio Regeni.

On the same dramatic issue, here you’ll find another analysis by other important members of the academic community on Egypt and human rights. Here some interesting perspectives on field research and political instability in Norther Africa (and beyond).

A quite relevant meeting occurred in Rome on Tuesday. The foreign ministers of the six countries — Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (the 6 founding members of the EU) — held a dinner to discuss setting up a very informal group of “core” states prepared to push the EU forward. Here the report by Politico.

What is the appropriate response to terrorist attacks? A very problematic and broad question. Here an excellent symposium that aims at addressing such complicate issue.

Finally, moving through the ISA Annual Convention in Atlanta, a reminder of all the recent updates on the conference.

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Learning From Others? Emulation and Change in the Italian Armed Forces Since 2001

As illustrated in previous posts, military transformation represents our main current research issue. We’ve just published a book on this topic and we are still working on Italian (and European) military transformation.

Here you’ll find our latest paper, which has been published (in early view ) on “Armed Forces&Society“. The title is: “Learning From Others? Emulation and Change in the Italian Armed Forces Since 2001” (F. Coticchia and F.N. Moro, 2016).

Here below the abstract:

How does military change take place in states that are not able to develop autonomous solutions? How does transformation occur when limited resources are available? What are the “sources of military change” for armed forces that do not possess the (cognitive and material) resources that are essential for autonomous development? In articulating an answer to these questions, this article draws from the theoretical debate on interorganizational learning and looks at the mechanisms that drive “learning from others.” We argue that adaptation and organizational learning often had to look for, and then try and adapt, off-the-shelf solutions that required relatively more limited resources. Empirically, the article focuses on the Italian Armed Forces, which have rarely attracted scholarly attention, although it emerged from almost total lack of activity in the Cold War to extended deployments in the 2000s.

Stay tuned for additional results of our analysis (we are now working also with surveys..)

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 89

It’s the time of primaries in the US. It’s an exciting race, at the current stage, but Stephen Walt argues that the state of the foreign policy debate is rather sad.

In Europe, the prospects for an “ever closer union” are pretty dim these days. The debate on Brexit keeps going, and recent EU “concessions” (contained in a letter written byDonald Task, the EU Council President) do not seem to convince euroskeptics in Britain. Here, a guide to the debate and the next steps.

But tensions between the EU and Member States are not confined to Britain. Even the EU-Italy relations are going through a critical phase. These days, Italian PM Matteo Renzi is strongly criticizing the EU on key issues such as banking regulations and austerity (with the migrants crisis always in the background). This is FT’s Wolfgang Münchau’s take on Italy as a critical node in Europe.

Speaking of Italy, leaders of the anti-ISIS coalition met in Rome on Feb. 2nd to discuss the next moves against the movement. Debate also dealt with Libya, and Italy is a candidate for leading a military coalition there. To do exactly what is still matter of discussion.

Finally, more on the academic side, here is a summary of Thomas Mahnken’s paper on what can small states do in international politics. They might have more cards to play than the poor Melians in the famous episode narrated by Thucydides.

 

 

 

 

 

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Call for panels: The annual Conference of the Italian Standing Group on International Relations (SGRI)

We are pleased to announce the call for panel for the next annual Conference of the Italian Standing Group on International Relations – SGRI.

The SGRI annual Conference 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).

On the SGRI website you will find all of the relevant information for the 2016 Conference, including panel descriptions, social and scientific programs (coming soon), and information about accommodations.

Those interested in organizing a panel should send a short abstract to sgri@fbk.eu by March 4th, 2016.

Registration will open on April 4, 2016.

See you in Trento!

 

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Renew or Reload? Continuity and Change in Italian Defence Policy

We have already examined the 2015 Italian White Paper in a previous post. Now, together with Andrea Locatelli, we have published a more detailed analysis of the latest Italian strategic documents (White Paper 2002 and White Paper 2015).

Here you’ll find the paper, which is a EUI – RCSAS (The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies) Working Paper. Here below the abstract:

How do countries adapt their overall defence policy to deal with mutating scenarios? In this paper, as part of a broader research agenda, we try to address these questions focusing specifically on the evolution of Italian defence policy as it evolved since 2001. The focus of the paper is on the evolution of national doctrine as it emerges from the analysis of strategic doctrine. What we look at here is the “process of translation” from the political to the military level, as embodied by key political strategic documents, and its evolution over time. To do so, the paper examines the Italian White Papers on Defence of 2002 and 2015 through qualitative and quantitative (content) analysis.

Here you’ll find additional info on the paper.

As highlighted in the conclusions of the article: “With reference to change, the recognition of terrorism, and its link with the upheavals occurred (and still occurring) in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, has assumed an even more central role. Coherently, the military instrument is conceived overall as an expeditionary, mission-oriented force: to that end, “jointness” and “interoperability” become central features in the design of force structure and posture. One can also find, in the new document, evidence of a revival of some “old” concepts, such as “national interest”. Here, it seems that such a notion entails attention on the defence industry, and the broader security-industrial apparatus, as a key element in the design, and for the effective implementation, of defense policy […]”

Finally, in the paper you’ll find also tables and charts related to our content analysis of the documents. Here below, for example, you’ll find the chart related to the perceived threats in the white papers.

Schermata 2016-01-12 alle 11.52.10

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