Il fascicolo contiene gli Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi del 3 maggio 2012 sul tema La NATO e il “Mediterraneo allargato”: primavera araba, intervento in Libia, Partnerships e le relazioni al Seminario di studi dell’8 marzo 2012 sul tema Padre Alberto Guglielmotti, O.P.: un profeta inascoltato.
Il quinto numero sarà pubblicato entro il 2013 e conterrà gli Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi del 6 marzo 2013 sul tema Fede e diplomazia. Le relazioni internazionali della Santa Sede nell’età contemporanea. Da questo numero viene adottata una numerazione progressiva.
La Nato e il “Mediterraneo allargato”:
primavera araba, intervento in Libia, Partnerships
Abstract – A united West never existed in the Wider Mediterranean: Europe and the United States were sharply divided for example in 1956 during the Suez crisis and in 1973 during the Yom Kippur war. NATO and EU have launched various partnership and projects in the area, but their success has been poor. he single states still play an important role, as the USA, the United Kingdom, France and Italy in Libya. he American role is still prominent, even if on a lower proile. “Arab spring” is a Western media deinition which, focusing on democratization, catches only one of the aspects of the current situation. “Islamic winter” is another possible deinition, given the rise of fundamentalism where elections were held. his particularly threatens even more the Christians in Muslim countries. However political Islam is not a monolithic bloc and we can look to the situation also through the paradigm of the confrontation between Sunnis and Shiites. Besides religious and politico-ideological factors the classical game of power politics emerges with the key role of three important states of the area: Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. Each of them represents a model of political Islam but also pursues its national interest. Also “humanitarian military intervention” is a Western concept and a quite ambiguous one. he complicated problems of the Wider Mediterranean require a multidimensional approach and a deep knowledge of historical lessons. In any case a divided and declining West has fewer opportunities than in the past to inluence developments in the area.
Abstract – The long-standing balance of power in the Mediterranean region is changing because of the recent upheavals in North Africa and Middle East. From Morocco to Syria, new dynamics are occurring at a rapid pace. At irst, Saddam’s fall revived the Shia Islam as predominant force in Iraq, but then the Arab Springs have changed the game once again, leading to a Sunni reinforcement. Syria is the last fault line where the struggle between Shia Muslims – supported by Iran – and Sunnis – underpinned by Saudi Arabia – is taking place. he fundamental issue at stake is the inluence over the Middle East. The international community, irst and foremost the West, which intervened in Libya for humanitarian reasons, seems idle. Europe and the United States have nevertheless a strong interest in supporting the on-going democratization process all over the region and they should foster it without interfering directly.
Abstract – The Arab Spring was neither an unpredictable revolution nor it was managed by new technologies. The leading forces were two: first, the instability of a corrupt system; second, the already-established forces of political Islam. Together they channelled the discontent towards illiberal outcomes not representing final expectations. So, the real winners were those Islamist parties, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which already had an important role in the society. his means also the reinforcement of the Sunni alignment and the simultaneous weakening of the Shia inluence over the Middle East’s affairs. his result is welcomed by the West, which considers Iran as the main concern for its interests. Finally, the struggle between Tehran and Riyadh will define the regional positioning of those countries where the upheavals are still occurring, like Syria, and as a consequence the overall balance of power.
Abstract – As heir of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey is very proud of its history. During the first decade of the XXI century, it is deeply changed and today its power is growing more and more. From a geopolitical perspective, Ankara emerged as a bridge between the West and the East, between Europe and Islam, and between the Sunni and Shia forces. For sure, the progressive loss of influence by the West increases Turkish importance in the Middle East. It seems that Europe and the United States have no alternatives but to support Ankara. All the more so, as their long-term goals generally it in with. The more Turkey’s influence will spread over the Middle East, the more it will be useful to the West. he Arab Spring disclosed many opportunities to Ankara; the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, seem willing to exploit them by exerting Turkish economic and cultural soft power.
Abstract – Traditionally, the political balances of the Persian Gulf are based on the “competitive coexistence” of the ambitions of regional leadership of Saudi Arabia and Iran, a Shi’a, Persian-speaking “anomaly”, laying along the northern shores of a basin too often hastily characterized as culturally and socially “Arab” and Sunni. Frozen during the 1990s, this state of things revived after the “great realignment” that has followed the 9/11, the military interventions in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), and due to the increased “Western” involvement in the events and the dynamics of the region. This complex scenario charges with a special value every question around the role that the Atlantic Alliance and NATO could play in the Gulf region. A long list of factors, combined with the increasingly close ties exist between the different areas of the “wider Mediterranean”, makes urgent the need to find new room for dialogue and collaboration. Especially in the light of the results actually achieved by the partnership projects launched by the Atlantic Alliance, a key factor of success will be, however, the will to meet the specific interests of the different parties involved, i.e. the possibility that they could get – at least – one part of the objectives that they pursue.
Abstract – From a legal perspective, humanitarian interventions embody a great problem for world politics: either as sheer humanitarian assistance or coercive interventions, they violate the principle of State sovereignty. So, the academic debate focuses on the contrast between the “Westphalian” principle of sovereignty and the universality of human rights. A solution is still needed. During the Cold War, many alleged humanitarian interventions took place, even though often unilaterally; however, since the 1990s, these actions dramatically have been increasing under the authorization of the UN Security Council. It seems that the protection of human rights is no longer only an issue to be solved domestically by a sovereign State, but marks an interest for the international community as a whole. However, this is not the entire truth. Indeed many humanitarian interventions specifically appear as instruments for the great powers to pursue their own national interests. Also in this case, therefore, there is evidence that the “old” Clausewitzian link between military and politics is still alive.
Abstract – In the aftermath of the Second World War, economic geography and trade interests forced Italy to redefine the concept of Mediterranean region, enlarging it to the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf. his was the “Wider Mediterranean”, a place where different political, religious, and social identities converged, geographically, coming from Europe, Africa and Asia. Anyway, NATO never changed its geopolitical perspective; according to it, what happens beyond the Suez Channel does not concern the Mediterranean theatre of operations. And when the Allied military command structure will be reformed, it will even go under the control of the British command at Northwood. Also the United States adopted the same perspective, as the historical positioning of the 6th Fleet between Europe, Africa and the Middle East still shows today. However, a common strategic vision of the Mediterranean could be more useful for the Atlantic Alliance; perhaps, it could also lead its member States to a common policy towards the Muslim world.
Abstract – The Arab Springs spread widely thanks to popular liberal spirits and new communication technologies. When this “communicational storm” was amplified by traditional media, it forced the international community and NATO too, to intervene militarily in Libya in order to protect civilians and, more generally, human rights. For sure, Qaddai’s regime had many followers, who were able to wage a civil war. Without NATO and its advanced technology, the “revolution” would have been short-lived. However, if the Alliance brought successfully to an end the destruens phase, the costruens one left many doubts. Traditionally, NATO has always been very careful in weighting the impact of its intervention. In Lybia, however, this seems not really true. NATO’s action has fostered violence and destabilization. Perhaps, in its overall assessment of the problem, the Alliance should have had better considered the history and the nature of the Libyans, and after having saved Benghazi’s people, put a stop to the operations.
Abstract – In Modern history, the seeking of stability after major wars has been the primary goal of international congresses. “Stability”, a word at the core of strategic debates, is also a main task identified by NATO and its Strategic Concepts. The Arab Spring showed that the Atlantic Alliance should focus on stabilizing the Greater Middle East by considering main actors’ legitimate interests. This should lead to a stable balance accepted by everyone in the region. Moreover, the recent upheavals raised some questions and, as a consequence, the need for the West to answer them. First and foremost, doubts concern the principle of the “responsibility to protect”, already sanctioned by the United Nations but questioned by new rising powers. A further question is about the real reasons of these “protections” and their nature. More troubles concern the idea and effectiveness of democracy, a political system with many gaps even in the West.
Abstract – At the end of the Cold War, the North-South dialogue failed to consider many asymmetries in promoting cooperation between Europeans and Mediterranean Arab countries. In 1994, NATO launched its first confidence- building initiative – the Mediterranean Dialogue – recognising that stability in Europe is closely linked to security in the Mediterranean. In 2004, NATO also launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with selected countries of the Greater Middle East. But the Arab Spring showed that these attempts to build a bridge between Europe and Mediterranean Arab countries were irrelevant for managing the revolts. This evident difficulty raised some questions, such as the meaning of mutual security for NATO countries in the Mediterranean context. In order to overcome a new-created situation of impasse, the Mediterranean Dialogue should be enhanced, and transformed into a dialogue between NATO and the Arab League with different objectives.
Abstract – Geo-economics and geopolitics have initially shown that the representation of the Mediterranean as Mare Nostrum is no longer adequate. We should adopt a different perspective: the Wider Mediterranean. In fact, this would be more suitable: a geopolitical area where rivals live together and where many political, economic and cultural rifts struggle. Today this area appears as a “limes” for the Western powers, very essential to their security and prosperity. In particular, for the Europeans, the Mediterranean Sea is a point of contact and confrontation with a different world, which requires a comprehensive engagement. So, the West and its institutions, above all NATO and the European Union, should resolutely and strategically renew their ties and alliances with buffer states in the Mediterranean. Western countries should promote here peace and stability as initial goal; after all, it is their interest.
Padre Alberto Guglielmotti, O.P:
un profeta inascoltato
Abstract – Father Alberto Guglielmotti (1812-1893) was an important personality in the Order of Preachers (commonly known as Dominicans) but above all he was the father of Italian naval historiography. His main works are the volumes on Marcantonio Colonna at the battle of Lepanto (1571), the history of the Papal Navy (ten volumes) and the Military and Naval Dictionary. In a period of struggle between the Church and State in Italy, he enjoyed the esteem and support both of Pope Leo XIII and King Umberto I. The Royal [Italian] Navy bestowed on him the honours as an Admiral.
Abstract – Father Alberto Guglielmotti has been a famous historian in the second half of the 19th century, but today his works are studied only by a small group of scholars. His original books analyze the history of the State of the Church’s Navy from the Middle Ages to the first years of the 1800s. The Popes’ grand strategy on the sea is the subject at the core of Guglielmotti’s research. In spite of economic and military restraints, that strategy played a great role in history: it was one of the main catalysts for the Christian powers to collaborate against a common enemy represented by Barbary and Turkish pirates. According to Father Guglielmotti, the only naval way to defeat this kind of enemy was to go on the offense and fight a decisive tactical battle to solve definitely the problem. At the same time, Guglielmotti, who mostly wrote after the unity of the Kingdom of Italy, believed in the maritime identity of the new country as a source of its national legitimization.
Abstract – The reform of the Navy at the end of the 16th century, caused by economic restraints and the lack of a long-term vision by the Roman Curia, strongly weakened the maritime forces of the Holy See, now able to conduct only minor operations. The naval strategy of the Papal States exclusively became defensive and, from that moment on, with the primary goal to stop Barbary pirates’ activities against its interests. When, at the end of the 1700s, Barbary pirates became more powerful, the Holy See had to strengthen its naval forces as a consequence. A few years later, Napoleon took Rome and broke up the Papal Navy. Only after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Pope ordered the re-creation of new maritime forces, which endured until 1870 when the Kingdom of Italy conquered Rome and Civitavecchia, too. This meant the end of the Papal Navy. The only unit remained at the Pope’s disposal was sold in 1878, when Pius IX died.
Abstract – Piracy is not a 21st century threat. In the 1800s, Father Alberto Guglielmotti already analyzed how to fight it. From a strategic perspective, pirates have always adopted an indirect offensive approach towards the enemy by avoiding to officially declare war on him. This approach generally consists in plundering and ruining the enemy’s trade and prosperity. Now as then, no State is able to face this threat alone, without a real cooperation with other States. So, there is an evident need of creating coalitions in order to remove definitively piracy, destroy its bases on the land and cut of sponsor funds. The strategy against piracy, therefore, must go beyond containment and find new proactive joint eforts from both politics and military. But this entails some risks for some States participating in the effort. According to Guglielmotti, in fact, in the past great powers alone gave political and military directions to reach the final goal, but this reduced the autonomy of other coalition partners. A principle that is still effective today.
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