Contributors to this section include Federica Alberti, Gianni Bonvicini, Mirca Brancaleone, Michele Comelli, Marta Ducci and Valerie Miranda.
Africa and the war on terrorism / edited by John Davis. - Aldershot ; Burlington : Ashgate, c2007. - viii, 192 p. - ISBN 978-0-7546-7083-4
Despite Africa's strategic relevance in the war on terror, international attention has always focused on the Middle East, overlooking the continent's potential as a breeding ground for terrorism. This is why Africa and the war on terrorism, a collection of essays edited by John Davis, is of particular relevance. It provides an extensive analysis of the multiple dynamics that set the ground for Africa's participation in the war on terror.
The book is divided into four parts. The first provides a useful introduction explaining Africa's new strategic role. Africa had become centre stage in the battle against terrorism well before 9/11 and, in particular, when the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked by al Qaeda in August 1998. These events showed that the continent is a good place to hit Western interests. Moreover, certain African countries, notably those in the eastern and northern areas, have become fertile recruiting grounds as well as safe havens for terrorists. The critical combination of weak and failing states, porous borders, widespread poverty, political frustration, religious radicalism and repression, typical of the African context, has allowed al Qaeda and its affiliated terror groups to recruit new forces, set up new operational bases and find new sources of funding in Africa.
In line with the American perspective that prevails throughout the book, the second part focuses on the counter-terrorist initiatives the US has carried out in the Horn of Africa. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, recognising the strategic importance of East Africa in the war on terror, the Bush administration decided to launch the Common Joint Task Force (CJTF) in October 2002, which turned out to be the most productive post-9/11 alliance. Headquarters (1200 units) was placed in the tiny but strategically located Djibouti, and was to serve as a staging area for conducting raids on al Qaeda targets in the region, particularly in Somalia. Even Kenya played a key role in the US strategy. After the 1998 bombings, it became ''a frontline state'', thus undergoing dramatic changes both internally, with its government adopting a number of counter-terrorist bills, and externally, with the strengthening of its military relationship with the US.
Part three deals with regional dynamics, analysing first the efforts made by the US and its African partners to face the transnational threat posed by terror groups and then focusing on the countries of the Sahel where Islam's strong presence and weak states make the threat more substantial. However, compared to US strategy in the Horn of Africa, the strategy in North Africa has not been very successful so far, mainly because relations with local governments have had their ups and downs. The last chapter of this section examines the role of the African Union in combating terrorism, highlighting the progress already made together with future challenges (enforcement capabilities, technical and financial resources).
In the fourth part, Davis compares the terrorism policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations. Clinton's approach focused on Sudan, which was accused of giving shelter to terrorists, and was very comprehensive, ranging from sanctions to the use of frontline states to arm anti-government forces inside the country. Davis is very critical of Clinton's model and praises Bush's policies, in particular the CJTF and the 2005 Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative. Nevertheless, he suggests that US actions have not focused enough on the region's problems as such, and should, to that end, emphasise state building and poverty reduction rather than military matters.
Although somewhat patchy and centred mainly on US policies and particularly those of the Bush administration, the volume provides useful reading for anyone interested in security issues and wanting to have a complete overview of terrorism's international implications. (Valerie Miranda)
Nigeria, risorse di chi? : petrolio e gas nel Delta del Niger / Agata Gugliotta. - Bologna : Odoya, c2008. - 223 p. - (Odoya Storia ; 2). - ISBN 978-88-628-8001-5
This book analyses the history of Nigeria's economic and political framework from the point of view of the overexploitation of the country's natural resources. The Niger delta region is known worldwide for its continuous tensions between multinational corporations and local guerrilla movements over the exploitation of raw materials, especially oil. The enormous availability of oil resources which attracts large Western companies ranks the country among the world's eight leading suppliers, first among African states. Nevertheless, more than half the total population of Nigeria lives in extremely poor conditions. Gugliotta provides an accurate overview of the situation of a country largely involved both in the oil market and, more recently, in the development of the emerging gas sector.
The first part of the book briefly surveys of the fast growth of the Nigerian oil market from the beginning of the 20th century up to the ''new course'', started with the election of Olesung Obasanjo in 1999. President Obasanjo launched a new contingency plan to set the country back on course: no more overspending, development of sectors not linked to the oil industry (agriculture, manufacturing, tourism), fighting povery and corruption. However, the country has still not recovered: oil and gas exploitation strongly influence the country's social and economic situation. The Nigerian population has been repeatedly dispossessed of its main resources and subjected to environmental pollution, leading to a permanent state of frustration, hostility and violence, ignored by the institutions and exacerbated by pervasive corruption.
The second and third chapters analyse the main actors and the causes of the turmoil and the reactions of transnational corporations, the government and the international community to the protests. Local militias are fighting for the emancipation of the country and aim at achieving direct control of resources. The fact that women are taking on a growing role in the conflict is a clear sign of the acuteness of the situation. Nonetheless, the author highlights the indifference of Western political figures and the media, as well as of political institutions towards the Nigerian population's demands for protection of the country. Only recently has the media decided to encourage awareness of a situation that could worsen, forcing transnational corporations to leave the country or adopt a ''kill and go'' strategy, leading the economy to collapse.
Gugliotta finally examines the recent positive results in the natural gas sector. Given the great availability of gas and the growing role of alternative sources, gas could represent the key for a new development path. But is this new field really an opportunity for the country to move away from its troubles? The danger of repeating what happened with oil is strong since gas is emerging as a primary alternative to oil and could become the new domain in the energy market.
The final chapter describes recent political developments and the direct influence of the energy issue in the democratisation process, thus completing the overall picture of a form of ''energetic colonialism'' which barters ''oil for nothing''.
In the end, the author sees Nigeria as a country rich in energy resources but lacking political stability. This has resulted in exploitation and poverty, a steep decline in economic conditions and an equally steep increase in its level of environmental pollution. Nigeria has never managed to pursue a coherent development policy and is still paying for its almost exclusive dependency on oil and its servility to multinational corporations. (Federica Alberti)
European security and defence policy : an implementation perspective / edited by Michael Merlingen and Rasa Ostaruskaite. - London and New York : Routledge, 2008. - xviii, 226 p. - (Routledge advances in European politics). - ISBN 978-0-415-43173-6
Bringing together the contributions of different experts, this book provides a well constructed framework for study of the development and implementation of European Security and Defence Policy missions, both military and civilian.
The first two chapters deal with the modus operandi and the changed contexts in which ESDP operates. Starting from historic developments, the authors analyse the decision-making process and how ESDP operations translate into practice, especially the tensions and rivalry with the European Commission as an influential foreign and security actor.
The second part examines some of the missions deployed under the ESDP umbrella: the EU police mission (EUPM) and military operation (EUFOR Althea) in Bosnia, the peacekeeping mission in Macedonia (EUPOL Proxima), the first rule-of-law mission in Georgia (EUJUST Themis), the mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Aceh monitoring mission (AMM) in Indonesia. It describes the various interventions from a political and organisational point of view and looks at the activities on the ground, the obstacles encountered and, most of all, the impact they have had. Each contribution describes the missions' main achievements and, in an effort to tease out lessons for more effective future interventions, provides a series of recommendations based on the challenges faced and the mistakes made in the different scenarios.
In the third part, two essays focus on key elements of the institutional context within which the ESDP is embedded. The first deals with cooperation with NATO (how it started and developed) and the difficulties that this relationship now encounters in the institutional and operational fields. The second examines ESDP in the broader context of EU-US relations, focusing on their different security philosophies but stressing the good coordination developed on the ground when geopolitical interests are shared.
Referring to the ESDP as a foreign policy instrument which can be used to create the maximum impact, this book shows how the EU has gained considerable and growing experience in international crisis management in a rather short period of time. The contributors provide an in-depth analysis of the limitations on ESDP, such as the principle of unanimity required for the implementation of a mission, the obstacles created by the differences in political will of the member states, the tensions with NATO (as a military actor) on the common ground of action or the US' ambivalent view of the EU's autonomous evolution in military capabilities.
Focusing on the organisational process of ESDP missions and examining their interaction with local authorities and international actors, the last part of the book is devoted to the impact the missions have on host societies, suggesting that this is one of the most important criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of ESDP. (Mirca Brancaleone)
The European Union and border conflicts : the power of integration and association / edited by Thomas Diez, Mathias Albert and Stephan Stetter. - Cambridge [etc.] : Cambridge University Press, 2008. - xiv, 265 p. - ISBN 978-0-521-88296-5 ; 978-0-521-70949-1 (pbk)
In recent years, the conflicts bordering on the European Union have become the subject of increasing academic interest. The international debate is on how the European Union can act to transform these conflicts in order to build a safe and secure area along its borders. The Union can, through a process of integration and association, transform conflicts, thereby overcoming its geographical borders, changing the traditional nature of a border from an area of conflict and division into one of cooperation and shared values. This reflects the classical approach of liberalism in international politics which, by placing individual nation states in an integrated political and economic framework, improves economic dependence and steps up cooperation and social exchange, to make war increasingly inconceivable.
This book is the output of an international research project funded by the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme. It is a systematic study of the impact of the European integration and association process on the transformation of border conflicts. The purpose of the research was to understand the different degrees of involvement of the European Union in border conflicts, not as a third party to the conflict. The authors provide a theoretical framework centred upon four ''pathways'' of the Union and apply them to five case studies which have different relationships with the Union: Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Greece/Turkey, three sub-cases of Russia/Northern Europe and Israel/ Palestine. There are two main profiles through which the authors develop these ''pathways'': the concrete and direct intervention of EU actors in border conflict, and how the Integration or Association Process, as such, interferes with the conflict.
The Union acts in a direct way in the ''compulsory'' pathway through the ''carrots and stick'' method and uses membership as the main incentive to resolve border disputes; in the ''connective'' pathway, the Union focuses on EU actors but aims at society at large, conceding grants, for example, through the Peace programme in Northern Ireland. The last two ways the EU can impact are through the normative and legal framework of integration process which can transform conflicts through the ''enabling'' pathway aimed at changing internal policies and the ''constructive'' approach which induces a change in the actors' position in the conflict.
The book is well written and each chapter analyses a single case study following a clear and logical structure. It starts with an overview of the border conflict, its development and EU involvement, underlining the relevance and effectiveness of each of the four pathways. The concluding chapter compiles, in a comparative way, the potential of and obstacles to Union action in each case.
The authors suggests that the integration and association process does not automatically have a positive impact on transforming border conflicts. They consider the Union a ''perturbator'' of conflicts which can either move the conflict towards a less intense phase or, at best, succeed in conflict resolution. On the other hand, it can destabilise the internal situation, provoking new conflict. It is evident therefore that there is no linear ''integration-peace nexus'', and much depends on a mixture of elements that are often outside the EU's control, such as the intervention of other international actors (NATO, the US) or local domestic situations. (Marta Ducci)
European Union foreign policy in a changing world / Karen E. Smith. - 2. ed. - Cambridge ; Malden : Polity Press, c2008. - xiii, 331 p. - ISBN 978-0-7456-4017-4 ; 978-0-7456-4018-1 (pbk)
Many books and articles have come out in the last few years debating the EU's role in international politics, with the risk of squeezing it at all costs into concepts such as ''normative'' or ''civilian power'' without adding much to the understanding of European foreign policy. This is not the case with European Union foreign policy in a changing world by Karen Smith, reader in international relations at the London School of Economics. Rather than concentrating on the nature of the Union, the book, a fully revised and updated version of an earlier edition, concentrates on what the EU does in the international arena. In particular, the book examines why and how the EU pursues the following foreign policy objectives: the promotion of regional cooperation; the promotion of human rights; the promotion of democracy and good governance; the prevention of violent conflicts; the fight against international crime. In investigating the EU's attitude and practice in pursuing these objectives, the author poses two important questions: are these policies the result of the way the EU is internally or do they rather reflect the global Zeitgeist? In other words, is European foreign policy a product of the specific nature of the EU or of external processes? The second and related question is whether the methods and instruments adopted by the EU in pursuing these objectives are unique.
With regard to the first question, Karen Smith contends that pursuit of these foreign policy objectives is not specific to the EU: except for the promotion of regional cooperation, the other four objectives are common to national member states as well as to other actors. She argues that they are not so much the result of the EU's unique and specific nature and its internal dynamics as a reflection of the global Zeitgeist. At the same time, the author acknowledges that these objectives are indeed considered important elements of the collective identity the member states want to project through the EU. The EU turns out to be unique in the way it attains these objectives. Therefore, the distinctiveness of the EU's international identity depends more on how the EU achieves its foreign policy objectives rather than with the nature of these objectives. Indeed, the instruments and the methods used by the EU to conduct its foreign policy, such as dialogue and institutional cooperation based on law, are very much the result of the way the EU itself has developed.
The book is very clearly written and its arguments are always logical and straightforward. While being theoretically informed, it is also very rich in empirical data regarding different aspects of European foreign policy. (Michele Comelli)
L'Italia vista dall'Europa : testimonianza da Bruxelles / Giancarlo Chevallard. - Soveria Mannelli : Rubbettino, 2008. - 214 p. - (Collana di studi diplomatici ; 19). - ISBN 978-88-498-2037-9
Analysis of relations between Italy and the European Union has, from the beginning, been the object of numerous studies, reports and public opinion polls. Also because Italy's rather sincere Europeanism has hardly ever been followed up by a serious political capacity to play the European game. As a result, Europeans have often criticised Italy, while Rome has felt frustrated with its own incapacity or offended by Brussels' arrogance.
Rare are the books written by Italians that work or have worked in community institutions and that have experienced the contradictions of a country that is often close to Europe but also often too distant from it. An excellent example of this literature is this recent book by Giancarlo Chevallard.
Chevallard, who held numerous top ranking positions in the Commission, has retired to his hometown of Turin and decided to use his recollections to reconstruct the assessments and judgements that others have of Italians. He takes a critical look at Italian actions in the capital of community institutions. The book does not pretend to be an exhaustive historical reconstruction or to respond to scientific criteria, but is meant as a series of rapid - and often piquant - flashes of the Italian presence in Brussels and an overview of others' opinions of Italians - episodes and opinions that try to explain the concrete limits of the Italian presence in European institutions, which take decisions and make laws that affect our social, economic and political life.
With direct simplicity, Chevallard confirms, without being able to hide his disappointment, what we all know about Italy: the anomalous structure of a country which, despite its indubitable contribution to Europe, does not know how to become genuinely European. A clear and recent example pointed out by Chevallard is the difficulty of Italian political parties to find their place in the larger family of European political parties: the Democratic Party is undecided between European socialists and liberals; Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance) and the Partito del Popolo della Liberta` (Party of the People of Freedom) are split between the Christian democrat European Peoples Party and the European right.
More generally, the verdict on Italy is that it has been living on its laurels since the early nineties, recalling that it is a founding states, that it was an example of great democratic and economic development. But the truth is that since the fall of the Berlin wall, it has slipped progressively into marginalisation. In this sense, the book's thesis coincides with the thoughts of an acute observer and former political actor, Beniamino Andreatta, who considered ''the ability to participate'' the new criterion behind international relations after the end of the East-West confrontation. This includes the ability to participate in the European Union - something which Italy is not able to do as effectively as it should.
Thus, the book is not complacent and is veined with pessimism. Although it opens with a memory of Jacques Delors, then president of the European Commission, reproaching the inappropriate behaviour of Italian political representatives at the funeral of Lorenzo Natali, it concludes on a more hopeful note depicting the meeting of Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President Emeritus of the Italian Republic, with a group of students and researchers from all over Europe, fascinated by his arguments in favour of greater integration and for the political passion of this Italian and European - an authentic example of what Italy should have been but has not always managed to be for Europe. (Gianni Bonvicini, also in Italian)