Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2010

The Italian Government and NATO's New Strategic Concept

Riccardo Alcaro

July 2010

Istituto Affari Internazionali


The conservative report on NATO's new Strategic Concept, written by a group of experts chaired by Madeleine Albright, suits Italy's status-quo oriented agenda. As long as NATO does not shift its focus away from Europe, the renewed emphasis on expeditionary capabilities is acceptable to the Italian government. The Italians could also find comfort in the report's insistence on calibrating NATO ambitions to its actual resources and capacities. Italy could insist on making the advantages of NATO-EU cooperation more explicit, as this would favour EU defence integration, which in turn may help save money and maintain acceptable military standards. The section on NATO's relationship with Russia is the part of the Albright report with which Italy is perhaps most uncomfortable, as it seems to perpetuate NATO's ambiguity towards Russia. In the final analysis, assuming that the Albright report is a credible preview of the next Strategic Concept, the Italian government seems to have little reason to loose sleep over it.