CIAO DATE: 04/02

International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXVI, No. 3 July-September 2001


Editor's Note


The terrorist attack on New York and Washington has dramatically changed security perceptions not only in the United States but all over the world, challenging the basic tenets of the conventional wisdom on defence matters that had consolidated in the post-Cold War international setting. In fact, the tragic events of 11 September are doomed to result in a major and complex review of defence doctrines and postures. Under discussion is the suitability of the current configurations of national military structures as well as of existing international security arrangements and organisations. In the first article of this issue of The International Spectator, printed a week after the 11 September atrocities, Stefano Silvestri offers some preliminary considerations on the impact that the new terrorist threat is likely to have on the foreign and security policies of the US, on its relations with European allies and other major powers and, more generally, on the evolution of security concepts and principles. The other two articles of the Opinions section look into some key political issues associated with the National Missile Defence (NMD), the controversial initiative pursued by the US administration, which is being re-examined by both advocates and adversaries in light of recent events. Craig Nation provides a critical assessment of the NMD's rationale and the current US debate over it. He also analyses the implications of US defence plans for its security relations with Europe, Russia and key Asian states against the background of the newly emerging global terror threat. In the article that follows, Thomas Graham and Blake Mobley, after reviewing past successful instances of deliberate ambiguity in arms control, illustrate how resorting to constructive ambiguity could be of help in ending the current diplomatic deadlock between the US and Russia on the future of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty which the development of NMD directly challenges. The Europe Forum section opens with an article by Paolo Cecchini contributing to the ongoing debate in The International Spectator about the prospects for the EU's Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in 2004. The author discusses the Union's major pending institutional problems and gives his assessment of the divergences that have prevented the member states from coping effectively with the Union's persistent institutional uncertainty so far. He concludes with a set of suggestions on the procedures and political goals to be adopted for the next stage of institutional reform. The other two articles of the section address more specific aspects of the European integration process. Jörg Monar analyses the policy implications for the next stage of the Union's enlargement of the rapid growth of the EU's justice and home affair (JHA) dimension. Alessandro Minuto Rizzo gives his views on the state of the development of European defence and on the major obstacles that need to be overcome to provide the Union with credible crisis management capabilities. The section devoted to Italy's foreign policy features an article by Tito Boeri and Maurizio Ferrera examining the initiatives undertaken within the EU to ensure greater coordination among the member states' social policies and the structural deficiencies that have until now prevented Italy from making an effective and coherent contribution to them. The journal also includes two articles on the Genoa G-8 Summit, which took place in July under the Italian presidency.

Marco Zupi provides a critical overview of the summit's decisions, emphasising the gap between the widespread expectations that the G-8 could provide a crucial boost to the fight against poverty and underdevelopment in the world and the meagre concrete results achieved in this sphere. By contrast, Nicholas Bayne underlines the importance of the new steps taken at the summit to foster international cooperation in a number of fields. Bayne's analysis focuses, in particular, on the decision-making procedures that facilitated the agreements reached in Genoa. They can provide a solid basis, according to Bayne, for further enhancing the role of the G-8 in the coming years.

The issue ends with two articles on China's external relations. Lanxin Xiang develops a set of arguments in favour of the adoption by the EU of a common strategy towards China. He suggests that this recognition of Sino-European relations would provide them with a more solid foundation. Mutsumi Hirano examines the recent evolution of the most controversial issues affecting relations between China and Japan and the potential contribution that regional arrangements can make to their settlement by increasing the opportunities for dialogue and cooperation.