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Italian Interests and NATO: From Missions to Trenches?


This paper aims to contribute to the debate on the relationship between the national interests of Italy and NATO with regards to two crucial aspects of Italian foreign and defence policy. On the one hand NATO's function as an "insurance policy" for European and national security; a function that the current crisis with Russia could bring to a role of the politico-military "trenches" between the West and the Russian Federation. On the other hand, the NATO-led crisis management missions in which Italy participates. In particular, the first chapter frames the two themes taking into account the current international and domestic context. The second chapter focuses on NATO as an "insurance policy" for European and national security and thus on the recent evolution of the relationships with Russia. The third chapter deals with NATO's missions, in particular in Kosovo and in Afghanistan, as an instrument of the Italian foreign and defence policy. In the end, the conclusions highlight some elements of continuity and discontinuity of the Italian participation in international missions, and elaborate on the Italian position if NATO was to turn from an "insurance policy" to the "trenches" in its relationships with Russia. Both within NATO and globally, these are two closely related issues that should be considered pivotal when reflecting on an effective Italian defence policy, if this aims to safeguard national interests effectively.

Study produced within the framework of the research project Defence Matters 2014, with the support of NATO Public Diplomacy Division.

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