CIAO DATE: 01/03

International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXVII, No. 1 January–March 2002


Editor’s Note


This issue of The International Spectator features a new cover and a new layout design which we hope will appeal to our readers and make the journal more reader–friendly. In recent years, the journal has undergone a number of substantial changes, including the involvement of a wider number of contributors, the introduction of specialised sections and more regular coverage of the new trends in international politics. The editorial board felt that these changes had to be accompanied by a graphic facelift that would contribute to making it more visible and readable. The review’s main fields of interest, however, remain unchanged. Therefore, the reader will find two articles in this issue that address the security problems of the Mediterranean and the Middle East areas. May Chartouni–Dubarry explores the most plausible medium–term scenarios of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Moving from the observation that we have already entered a post–Arafat era, she argues that, with the failure of the Oslo accord, the escalation of the armed confrontation and the abyss that has opened between the two parties, there is a growing risk of Lebanonisation not only of Palestine, but of the entire conflict area which could have wider regional implications. In the article that follows, Alain Roussillon discusses the impact of 11 September on radical Islamic groups and notably their relations with the regimes in power in the Islamic countries. The author emphasises the variety of reactions of the Arab world to the events of 11 September and to the ensuing US–led anti–terror campaign and the mixed attitude towards the role of Osama Bin Laden. According to Roussillon, the divisions in the Islamic world are likely to widen, especially as concerns the relationship with the Western countries, also because the regimes in power maintain a considerable capacity to manipulate religious discourse and to stir up divisions between opposition groups.

Continuing the debate on the main chapters of reform of the European Union, the TEPSA Europe forum features an article by Andrea Manzella which examines the political significance and potential long–term impact of the introduction of the recent "Convention method" in the process of revision of the treaties. He notes that, as happened with the Herzog Convention which drafted the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, the ongoing Convention on the Future of Europe, thanks to its highly representative composition and its commitment to interact with the various components of civil society, could become a true catalyst for innovative reform proposals, becoming the most effective driving force of the Union’s constitutional renewal. Also dealing with the European integration process is an interview with Gian Carlo Caselli who gives his views on the prospects of establishing a full–fledged European judicial space. Caselli focuses, in particular, on the political and technical obstacles to the completion of the common normative framework now taking shape, including such key problems as common definition of the offence of terrorism and the internal adjustments required for implementation of the European arrest warrant. He further examines possible new forms of judicial cooperation with the US and other non–EU member states.

The Opinions section also hosts two articles addressing the problem of globalisation from different perspectives. Paolo Guerrieri concentrates on the challenges that the new globalisation trends pose – in the post–11 September environment – to trade cooperation and integration. After examining the new opportunities for cooperation opened up by the WTO conference in Doha, he sketches out a few essential elements for a policy agenda aimed at reinforcing the role of multilateral governance. The focus of the article that follows, by Rainer Masera, is on the growing inequalities and disequilibria caused by economic globalisation and the connected risks for international stability. To defuse such risks, Masera proposes a long–term strategy based on reinforced international cooperation to discipline the market and a comprehensive aid development plan. Two articles deal with the security problems of the area east of the European Union. Mària Vass examines the determinants of Hungary’s security policy as it has developed since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. She focuses, in particular, on the significance and implications of Hungary’s accession to NATO and the evolution of its security relationship with its southern and eastern neighbours. Alice Ackermann analyses the main factors influencing the political and security environment in Macedonia after the August 2001 peace agreement. She warns that peace has not been consolidated and that much still needs to be done to reduce the lack of trust between the two ethnic groups exacerbated by the recent hostilities. She offers a set of suggestions for a comprehensive strategy of conflict prevention and reconciliation.

The issue closes with an article by Lucia Serena Rossi critically assessing the recent developments in Italy’s European policies. She notes that the new centre–right government has put into question Italy’s traditionally staunch pro–European approach as shown, in particular, by its decision not to take part in the construction of the European Airbus transport plane and its strong reservations on taking measures to implement a common European judicial space. However, she argues that the government’s declared intention to promote national interests more assertively has not been coupled with a consistent view on the future of the European Union. In general, Italy’s European policy seems to have become, according to the author, more volatile and unpredictable, and this could undermine the country’s ambition to be part of the Union’s leading group.