CIAO DATE: 12/01

International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXVI, No. 2 April-June 2001


Editor's Note


With the first issue of 2001, The International Spectator opened a debate on the future of European integration by hosting several articles on the European Union's post-Nice agenda, including the prospective goals and procedures of the next intergovernmental conference scheduled for 2004. This time, the journal continues the debate with two articles: one by Stefano Micossi who examines the question of further institutional reform of the Union with a focus on the problems of subsidiarity and democratic legitimacy; the other by Giacomo Vaciago who discusses the structural obstacles and policy dilemmas that the Union is currently facing in its attempt to reconcile fully embracing the new economy - on the US model - with deepening its internal integration.

The "Opinions" section features an article by Duncan Perry on the causes and implications of the recent dramatic developments in Macedonia, where the sudden outbreak of armed clashes between groups of Albanian rebels and government forces could lead to a wide-ranging civil war. In addition to investigating the key motivations and goals of the major actors in the Macedonian drama, the author provides a list of measures that the West should adopt to prevent a new highly destabilising conflict from escalating in the Balkans.

In the Italian foreign policy section, Antonio Missiroli gives a critical account of Italy's ongoing efforts to contribute to the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). In particular, he examines Italy's commitments in the framework of the Euroforce and the European military production programmes, as well as the process of adjustment of national structures to the new requirements of European and international security.

The core of the journal centres on the evolution of Europe's partnership with the United States. The subject, to which the Istituto Affari Internazionali has devoted constant attention in the last few years in the framework of its transatlantic programme funded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, is viewed from various angles. In the first article, Steven Everts starts out from an assessment of the changing US foreign policy priorities under President Bush to look into the main sources of friction - old and new - between Americans and Europeans. He emphasises, in particular, the disruptive potential of the widening normative gap concerning the promotion of and support for multilateral cooperation frameworks and global regimes that separates the two sides of the Atlantic. The conclusions offer a set of policy suggestions for greater transatlantic convergence on the major problems of global governance. The reader will also find an assessment of the state of the transatlantic alliance in the article by James Steinberg, who focuses on three crucial testing grounds: peace-building in the Balkans, policy towards Russia and the US adaptation to the emerging European identity in the security and defence fields. The other articles in this special section address more specific aspects of the transatlantic partnership: economics, the environment, Russia and "rogue states" (Iran). Brian Burgoon examines the mix of partnership and competition that characterises US-European economic relations. His central thesis is that the divergence between the US and the European models of "embedded liberalism" has widened as a result of globalisation pressures and of the rise of the new economy and that this, in turn, is sharpening transatlantic contrasts. What is required, the author argues, are new mechanisms to regulate the rivalry between "social Europe" and "neo-liberal America". Robert Lempert analyses the dispute between the US and Europe on the strategies to address the problems of climate change, offering his views on the pros and cons of the Kyoto Protocol. In the final part of the article, he proposes a number of steps to be taken to construct a "robust long-term climate policy" which could enjoy transatlantic consensus. After providing an overview of the current foreign policy discourse in Russia, John Lloyd examines some major trends in its relations with the US and Europe as well as the influence that the initiatives undertaken by President Putin may have on the transatlantic link. His conclusion is that Russia should definitively renounce both its anachronistic aspiration to regain superpower status and its futile attempts to stir up divisions between the US and European governments and should instead choose the EU as its main partner and, more generally, embrace policies that can bring it into the "European home". Finally, substantial and long-standing divergences exist between the US and European countries over relations with a number of "troubled countries". In her article, Maria do Céu Pinto deals with the difficulties the US and Europe have encountered in forging a common policy towards Iran. On the basis of a critical review of some key episodes that have marked relations between Western countries and Iran, she emphasises the need for the US to move rapidly away from its punitive approach and to join EU efforts to build a new partnership with Teheran.

In the last article of the issue, Barbara Nicoletti reviews the conflict prevention efforts undertaken in the Baltic region in the last decade. She underlines that major external actors have been able to use a variety of instruments in quite an effective way, which could provide a model for conflict prevention activities in other areas. However, she also points out that one key element of the strategic determinants of the Baltic states' situation appears to be missing: the stable and active involvement of Russia in regional cooperation efforts. The subject of conflict prevention is also addressed by Daniela Pioppi in the review section, in which she examines the latest yearbook of the Conflict Prevention Network, a major policy-oriented center established by the European Commission and the European Parliament in support of the EU's conflict prevention actions.