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CIAO DATE: 5/00
Volume XXXIIV No. 2 (April-June 1999)
The reform of the Security Council of the United Nations is widely perceived as a true constitutional reform of the UN, with direct, profound implications also on international geopolitical balances. Italy supports a reform based upon the principles of democracy, transparency, participation and efficiency. It has consistently opposed the creation of new permanent members. The establishment of permanent members in 1945 was simply the consequence of the victory of some countries in World War II. Italy is firmly committed to the idea of a common European Union presence in the Council. While Italy stands by its original proposal to establish new more frequently rotating seats for countries shouldering a heavier burden in the maintenance of international peace and security -, it is ready to agree to an increase, for the time being, by 5 or 6 non-permanent, elective seats.
Although some countries would like the WTO to take on many new issues of political and social importance, a number of developing countries are already feeling overwhelmed by the current agenda. The WTOs Seattle Ministerial Conference in fall will address at least three main subjects: liberalising trade in agriculture and services; assistance to least developed countries in coordination with other major international institutions; reducing tariffs on industrial goods and creating global rules for electronic commerce. But international organisations are wholly dependent on the leadership of the member states and politicians will have to work harder to persuade their electorates of the value of these organisations.
After the Franco-German disputes in 1995-96 generated by divergences in the security field and disagreements on economic and financial policy and the reform of European institutions, the need to give new impulse to bilateral relations has been felt on both sides of the Rhine. A consensus has been established on the vision of the construction of Europe in the middle term, but tensions persist on the Agenda 2000 and the German contribution to the European budget.
Special Core Issue
The Future of NATO
Although it has already undergone many changes, NATO is still in the throes of a complicated process of adaptation. The same is true of the European Union. The Italian government sees a European security and defence identity within NATO as a positive and constructive contribution to transatlantic security, overcoming an obsolete division of labour among the allies, allowing for more effective management of current crises and contributing to laying the basis for a more stable international system. Finally, the process of enlargement of the two main Euro-Western institutions should make it possible to project development and stability as widely as possible in Central and Southeastern Europe. In the nineties, Italy has been doing the groundwork for a mature role in both of these institutions.
The Kosovo crisis is not only an immediate crisis, it is an illustration of the complexity of todays security challenges. NATO, in an attempt to meet these complexities, has already undertaken changes, but more are to come. In addition to welcoming a new transatlantic bargain including the development of a European security and defence identity within the Alliance, NATO will continue, after its first enlargement, to seek ways to enhance its relationship and cooperation with non-NATO countries. Featuring prominently in the years ahead will be crisis management and non-proliferation, as well as new mechanisms of partnership and cooperation.
Efforts to foster a more stable and secure European landscape should aim at promoting democracy and ensuring sound development through carefully structured initiatives of political and economic assistance. Preventive action is the key. When it fails, however, military forces must be capable of contributing to the management and peaceful solution of crises. Five observations concerning NATOs role in crisis management (CM) which can also be applied to the Kosovo crisis are: 1) military forces can serve for CM purposes only within the framework of a clear political strategy to solve the crisis; 2) military forces should not be deployed or employed simply because something has to be done; 3) it is important not to try to act as a peacekeeper where there is no peace; 4) committing allied forces to CM operations demands strong political will and consensus among allies regarding long-term political goals; 5) a peace force must be or be perceived as being capable of staying on top of the potential escalatory ladder of the crisis.
In NATOs Southern region, the practical arrangements for a European security and defence identity (ESDI) are already being developed. But whatever form an ESDI force takes, it must, first and foremost, be capable; second, it must be fully interoperable across the spectrum of operations and, third, it must originate within the Alliance, even as it works with other organisations and eventually incorporates non-Alliance members.
This critical examination of NATOs new role in crisis management looks at the problems arising in the various dimensions of crisis management, from the political-diplomatic (the political direction of crisis management operations; the negotiations with parties directly involved locally in the crisis; and the international legitimation of the action at the UN or OSCE level), to the military (differences in military capability and operational culture). It concludes that NATO has considerable professional and technical advantages that enable it to make a major contribution to the military component of crisis management, but whether or not it will be active in this field in the future depends on the willingness of its members or perhaps coalitions of the willing drawn from its membership, to make use of their primary instrument for military cooperation.
Despite NATOs sterling success after the end of the Cold War, NATOs division of labour between the United States, on the one hand, and the European partners, on the other, is neither satisfactory nor durable. A stronger European defence identity entailing a significant improvement in Europes power projection capabilities is a necessity for the Alliance’s long-term viability. The United States should encourage European attempts at defence policy convergence, building on the Saint Malo declaration. The European Union should be the primary political and institutional vehicle for such European efforts, with implementation of the military aspects being entrusted to NATO on one hand, the nation states on the other.
How should the issue of further enlargement be handled? If NATO does not issue invitations to any new members, how can the credibility of the open door policy be maintained? Who should be invited to join in the second round and when should it take place? What will be the impact of any further enlargement on relations with Russia and Ukraine? What effect will further enlargement have on NATOs cohesion and military effectiveness? These and other questions are explored in this article which ends with a analysis of the options open to NATO.
A survey of the strategies of conflict prevention applied to the Middle East in the last 35 years including a table classifying them shows that the most effective conflict prevention methods in the Mideast have involved establishing security measures that function both as a deterrent for potential aggressors, on the one hand, and as a guarantee for security for the different parties, on the other. In addition, the role of third parties has been essential, even in intra-state conflict. Under the current conditions, the region does not seem ready for conflict prevention measures of the kind applied in Europe. It might be more effective to focus on soft preventive measures, including long-term policies that aim at addressing the structural causes of conflict.
The potential for setting up traditional and new instruments, arrangements and institutions for conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy exists in the Mediterranean. However, the author emphasises that it would be unrealistic to try to simply duplicate the East-West model. If the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is to overcome the major dilemmas facing conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy in the Mediterranean region arising mainly from misperceptions, it must contribute to promoting a comprehensive security concept, explicitly linking military security, political stability and economic development to the observance of human rights and democratic rules. It may also be necessary to combine shorter-, middle- and long-term actions.