CIAO DATE: 02/01

International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXV, No. 4 October-December 2000


Editor’s Note


Ever since it was founded thirty-four years ago, The International Spectator has paid special attention to the European integration process with extensive coverage of such fundamental issues as the changing constitutional foundations and institutional architecture of the European Community (subsequently European Union), its successive enlargements and the development of a European security and defence identity, as well as to the implications of those processes for Europe’s relations with the United States and transatlantic cooperation. While maintaining its traditional focus on the political aspects of European integration, the journal has recently hosted several opinions and essays concerning the future of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), its sustainability and its impact on the international system. A constant effort of the journal’s managing board has been to seek contributions that address those issues with a forward-looking approach aimed at exploring the concrete possibilities for the Union to move closer to a truly federal structure through the transfer of increasingly larger portions of national sovereignty.

In order to consolidate and enrich this tradition, the journal inaugurates with this issue a new regular column entitled Europe Forum in which specialists of European studies analyse the overall direction, the shortcomings and the potential for development of the European integration process. The column is a joint endeavour of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Trans-European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), the organisation linking Europe’s most important research institutes specialised in European affairs. As its name suggests, Europe Forum is designed to provide a space for thought-provoking contributions reflecting the interests of TEPSA that can help re-examine and even challenge conventional assumptions on the goals, institutional structure and international role of the European Union. All articles appearing in the column have been selected by TEPSA. In this issue, Steven Everts underlines that, contrary to many expectations, European Economic and Monetary Union has been a remarkable success so far, and argues that this is likely to result in a progressive reduction of the dollar’s hegemonic role. Based on this positive assessment of EMU’s performance, he provides a critical assessment of US perceptions of it and concludes by proposing the nomination of a single authoritative spokesperson for Euroland who can ensure consistent representation of European monetary policy and interact effectively with US authorities.

The Opinions section of the journal features two contributions that suggest the need for a fundamental shift in US policy in two key foreign policy sectors: nuclear strategy and relations with the UN. Thomas Graham and Jack Mendelsohn argue that, following the changes in the strategic landscape and taking into account recent experiences of intervention, the time has come for NATO to adopt a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons as an essential means for reinforcing the nuclear taboo and consolidating the non-proliferation regime. In the following article, Jeffrey Laurenti analyses the current US debate on the role of the United Nations, lingering on the crucial ongoing struggle between the Clinton administration and the Republican-dominated Congress over the payment of the huge US debt to the UN. Stressing that such recent events as the UN missions in Kosovo and Indonesia have demonstrated the continuing importance of the world organisation, he maintains that, contrary to the neo-isolationist view, the support for international organisations as well as for compliance with the obligations taken in their frameworks is a key to preserving America’s global leadership.

This issue also hosts two articles on Balkan regional issues resulting from a conference on "Regional Cooperation and Reconstruction in South-east Europe", held at the IAI on 29/30 November 1999. Loukas Tsoukalis examines the link between the process of European integration and the initiatives aimed at fostering regional cooperation in the Balkans, indicating the policy priorities the EU should pursue to ensure such link. Alessandro Politi examines the major external and indigenous factors that fuel organised crime and the many sorts of illegal trafficking in the Balkans, suggesting a series of cooperation initiatives that, based on past experience, can contribute to countering them.

Another core is devoted to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP), a subject that have been addressed in other recent issues of the journal (see no. 2, 1999). After analysing the evolution of the strategic picture in the region, Claire Spencer sketches out a step-by-step process of confidence-building based on the principles to be set down in the Euro-Mediterranean Charter. Fred Tanner also looks at the potential for development of the EMP but with a focus on peace-support and peace-building. He discusses realistic options for more ambitious EU action in this field, concluding with a set of policy suggestions.

Finally, continuing the series devoted to the evolving situation in Kosovo (see no. 4, 1998; no. 3, 1999), the journal hosts an article by Remzi Lani concerning the dynamics among the political groupings of Kosovar Albanians. He concentrates on the relations between pacifist leader Ibrahim Rugova and the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), examining how they have been influenced by the changing attitudes of the Kosovar diaspora, the Tirana government and the Albanian parties in Macedonia.