Recent Publications 55:3

Contributions for this issue were received from Riccardo Antonucci, Federica Dall’Arche, Flavia Fusco, Aleix Nadal Campos, Alessia Paolillo, Laura Sacher, Stefano Scolamiero, Alissa Siara.

A new foreign policy : beyond American exceptionalism / Jeffrey D. Sachs. - New York : Columbia University Press, 2018. - xii, 253 p. - ISBN 978-0-231-18848-7 ; 978-0-231-54788-8 (ebk)
In A New Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Sachs immerses himself in the timeless debate on US grand strategy. Unlike scholars who link the choice of current US foreign policy to economic or political circumstances, Sachs investigates the country’s embedded values and ideas to define the Trump administration as a pronounced episode of the centuries-long tradition based on American exceptionalism, the idea that the US is different and ultimately exceptional. In 220 pages, Sachs argues that this idea of America’s uniqueness – embodied in Ronald Reagan’s description of the US as “the shining city on the hill” (1) and Donald Trump’s rallying cry to “make America great again” – is outdated. What is more, the misguided illusion of US superiority has historically appropriated resources away from investments that fight poverty and climate change.
Currently Global Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sachs provides a blueprint for a new strategy that re-commits American foreign policy to multilateralism and refutes the idea that the US should go it alone. His book resonates with popular writings on America’s retreat, such as John Ikenberry’s “The End of Liberal International Order?” (2018) and Robert Kagan’s The Jungle Grows Back (2018). Similar to Kagan’s metaphor – if the gardener (the US) leaves, the jungle (a Hobbesian chaos without liberalism, prosperity and stability) grows back – Sachs argues that US involvement in international regimes is indispensable to carry forward the global agenda of the 21st century. Whereas Robert Keohane’s After Hegemony (1984) argues that a posthegemonic liberal order could survive in spite of the US’ relative decline, Sachs shows, at the example of the US’ diplomatic retreat, that isolationism has caused hostile relations with Eurasia, which could lead to war or even nuclear devastation.
The book is divided into four parts. Sachs devotes the first part to trace American exceptionalism from 1945 until today and goes on to examine its defining feature – the pursuit of wars of choice – in the second part. Part three examines nationalism in Trump’s economic policies. In part four, Sachs outlines ten concise policy priorities to foster a peaceful, prosperous, fair and environmentally sustainable world: 1) live by the UN Charter; 2) recommit to the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement; 3) raise the UN budget; 4) ratify pending UN treaties; 5) regain momentum on nuclear disarmament; 6) cooperate on new technologies; 7) find regional solutions to Middle East violence; 8) end CIA covert military operations; 9) overhaul the US budget; and 10) celebrate America’s true exceptionalism – its cultural and ethnic diversity.
Although Sachs diagnoses American exceptionalism as the cause for Trump’s aggressive strategy, he does not ignore other explanatory variables that could have sparked today’s policies. While Sachs argues that Trump’s rhetoric is just another case of American exceptionalism, he thoroughly explores the features which make the current administration stand out. In the realm of domestic politics, he recognises that the US’ high inequality and weak social inclusion have produced losers of globalisation. In international politics, he devotes particular attention to the US’ security dilemma in relation to Russia and China. Here, Sachs could have spent more time reflecting on how the international system could be revamped to accommodate China and Russia and to ensure their adherence to international law. While it is true that the Trump administration has pushed US provocations to the limit, Sachs’ argument that Russia and China are reacting aggressively in self-defence is too simplistic.
Along with Noam Chomsky, Jeffrey Sachs is one of the few prominent American academics who dares to make the bold case that the US has been on the wrong track for decades. Its non-academic style makes this book accessible to any reader who wants to gain a broad understanding of what is driving American grand strategy.

References
Ikenberry, G. J. 2018. The End of Liberal International Order? International Affairs 94 (1): 7-23.
Kagan, R. 2018. The Jungle Grows Back. America and Our Imperiled World. New York: Knopf.
Keohane, R. O. 1984. After Hegemony. Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Alissa Siara
Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Rome
alissa.siara@gmail.com

 

The rise and fall of cooperative arms control in Europe / Ulrich Kühn. - Baden-Baden : Nomos, 2020. - 414 p. - (Demokratie, Sicherheit, Frieden ; 224). - ISBN 978-3-8487-6207-1 ; 978-3-7489-0323-9 (pdf)
Ulrich Kühn is a political scientist working at the intersection of security studies and conflict research. According to his personal website (http://ulrichkuehn.com), his research interests include nuclear weapons policies, emerging technologies, Euro-Atlantic security, NATO-Russia relations and international security institutions. Kühn is currently the Head of the Arms Control and Emerging Technologies Programme at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH), a Nonresident Scholar with the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the founder of the US-Russian-German Deep Cuts Commission.
In his book, The Rise and Fall of Cooperative Arms Control in Europe, the result of a 10-year research effort, Kühn provides a useful overview of the main arms control agreements between the West (mainly the United States and Europe) and the East (Russia and formerly the Soviet Union) from 1973, when Moscow “accepted the long-standing US demand to enter into talks about conventional forces in Europe” (63), to the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In his attempt to highlight the ‘volatility’ of the institutionalised cooperation between – what was once referred to as – the two blocs, the author integrates the theoretical analysis with empirical evidence to conclude that cooperative institutions are eroding (or “in decay”, as the author puts it (344)) and advances possible reasons for such erosion. The central and final verdict is that such institutionalised cooperation was “amongst [non-equal partners] with almost always divergent interests” (364), and this has inevitably affected the durability of the outcome.
The book positions itself within the long-standing debate on the future of the non-proliferation and arms control regimes, filling an unusual and often overlooked gap, that is, the European element. While existing research in the field tends to be rather US-centric or Russia-centric, in fact, this study attempts to shed light on the interplay between cooperative security and arms control in a specific European historical-political setting without the risk, however, of being embroiled in a debate on regionalism.
Through a particularly dense use of different theoretical International Relations (IR) approaches, including realism and constructivism, the book convincingly highlights the necessity of correct “regime terminology” (356), as well as a careful and unbiased analysis of the failures of the past in order to re-engage in much needed cooperative arms control efforts in the future.
While an easy and interesting read for those familiar with IR, arms control and non-proliferation debates, this book is also suited for readers without previous background knowledge and who are interested in learning more about the field. It offers basic and historical information, graphs and tables that accompany the reader throughout the study, providing a good overview of the main cooperative arms control instruments created from the mid-1970s to recent years.

Federica Dall’Arche
Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Rome
f.dallarche@iai.it
@FedeDallArche

 

Guerra digitale : il 5G e lo scontro tra Stati Uniti e Cina per il dominio tecnologico [Digital war : 5G and the clash between the US and China for technological dominance] / Francesca Balestrieri, Luca Balestrieri. - Roma : Luiss University Press, 2019. - 116 p. - (I capitelli). - ISBN 978-88-6105-413-4
5G is emerging as the quintessential strategic good of the digital world. The ‘fifth generation’ of telecommunications infrastructures could empower an imminent digital revolution enabling concrete applications for artificial intelligence, super computers, Internet of Things (a network of connected physical devices sharing data) and cognitive automation. Indeed, the authors of Guerra digitale rightly refer to it as the ‘open Sesame’ of the new digital world, which allows for the integration of artificial intelligence with the Internet of Things and robotics, creating smart cities, automatic factories and driverless cars, as well as providing applications in the military field.
The geopolitical context in which this revolution is happening shapes into a conflict. In the last decade, the United States discovered that its hegemonic role as the leading economy and technology provider is contested by another player: China. ‘Made in China’ has evolved from a synonym of low-cost manufactured goods to valid (and cheap) technological products and, now that China is becoming the main global provider of 5G, it is threatening the digital leadership of the US. The recent US reaction – banning the Chinese champion of 5G (Huawei) from acquiring American goods and pushing US European allies to limit its access to the single market – is evidence that the ‘undisputed’ world leader is aware of what is at stake. A solid argument of this book is that leadership in this strategic sector will determine outcomes of future geopolitical competition.
Guerra digitale is a combination of the scientific expertise of Francesca Balestrieri, researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, and Luca Balestrieri, executive in the telecommunications industry. This book contributes to the growing literature speculating on the effects of digital innovations on the geopolitical world order. It is organised in an introduction and four chapters, divided into short thematic paragraphs. The analysis follows a multidimensional approach, providing both an essential understanding of the technological innovations that constitute the ‘technological cluster’ of the second digital revolution (Chapter 1), and a detailed geopolitical explanation of the Chinese challenge to US leadership (Chapter 2) and the latter’s counter-strategy (Chapter 3).
In the final chapter (Chapter 4), the authors sketch a discussion of the changing relations between state and market, re-evaluating the role of the former, once described as the sacrificial victim of globalisation. The competition for digital supremacy requires states to direct their industrial strategies, apparently flattening the differences between the two countries’ opposite models: both the Chinese and US national strategies aim to protect the supply chains of their strategic digital technologies (5G, artificial intelligence). To be sure, liberal and authoritative states starkly differ in the ways they allow big tech companies to collect data for machine learning; the authors, however, repeatedly warn that information is the raw material of the ‘Yottabite era’, creating a fusion of interests between the public and the private sector.
When it manifests itself abroad, this public-private overlap recalls the colonial scramble to exploit mineral resources. Indeed, while the book presents the successful European and Indian implementation of strict privacy laws, it also shows that, once again, developing economies (foremost in Africa) are targeted by the digital oligopoly (supported by the respective national states) for their increasing access to digital services and thus capacity to generate data. A renewed conflict between centre and periphery is proposed, where the sovereignty of states, measured by the size of their market, determines the ability to protect their resources (data).
To conclude, this book speaks to a vast audience, from experts in new technologies to scholars of Political Science. It is a valid instrument for anyone interested in understanding the current US-China geopolitical competition, particularly recommended for researchers in strategic studies, public policy and big tech.

Stefano Scolamiero
LUISS Guido Carli, Rome
stefano.scolamiero@studenti.luiss.it

 

The rise and fall of OPEC in the twentieth century / Giuliano Garavini. - Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2019. - xi, 420 p. : ill. - ISBN 978-0-19-883283-6
The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the Twentieth Century is a meticulous historical reconstruction of the 20th century, viewed from the unprecedented perspective of the petrostates. It is the result of seven years of research conducted by Giuliano Garavini, Assistant Professor of History of International Relations at Roma Tre University and Senior Research Fellow in Humanities at New York University Abu Dhabi.
Having access to unpublished OPEC sources, Garavini focused on international cooperation among oil producers and how they have struggled to negotiate their role in a world ever more dependent on hydrocarbons as a key energy source.
The analysis is structured in seven dense chapters plus an introduction, a prologue and an epilogue. It sheds light on the historical process that led to the expansion of petrocapital in oil-producing countries – Venezuela and Middle Eastern countries – and their transformation into petrostates, with a keen eye on the particular features of each different context. Consequently, the author touches on the salient historical moments that have transformed the relationship between producer countries and oil companies from the fixed royalty system to the fifty-fifty model up to service contracts with the birth of OPEC.
Garavini’s painstaking, multi-level analysis focuses on the historical trajectory of the interactions between the principal actors of petrocapital history, namely the oil companies (global capitalists), the petrostates (sovereign landlords) and the governments of key oil-consuming countries (sovereign consumers).
The book stresses the importance of cooperation between geographically, politically and culturally different states in the oil sector. Specifically, it highlights the establishment of OPEC in 1960 as a specific tool to acquire greater negotiating weight and preserve the interests of raw materials exporters with one voice (even in spite of different positions within it) after the example of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Thanks to OPEC, the first successful institutionalised cooperation in the South of the world, oil-producing countries have managed to overturn their power relationships with consumer countries and oil companies, acquiring full control over oil production.
Unlike the existing literature – in which the historical analysis usually ends with the 1990s – Garavini’s study deserves credit for reconstructing the history of OPEC to the present day. In addition, Garavini launches a debate on the role that the organisation may play in the future, when the world will turn away from hydrocarbons as a key energy source, and decarbonisation and the expansion of renewable energy will take over.
Moreover, the emphasis on environmental aspects is a further innovative element of this book, which is too often overlooked in OPEC’s historiography. Garavini’s text highlights how concerns about overconsumption in industrialised countries and the exhaustion of natural resources became crucial already after the turning point of 1973 – and are still essential today.
Furthermore, Garavini links the historical stages of OPEC to its members’ broader economic development, looking at the organisation as a success story of cooperation in the Global South, that has proven capable of asserting its dominance over natural resources and using them as a propellant for developmental strategies.
Also noteworthy is the author’s ability to narrate the history of petrocapital and petrostates against the backdrop of the major events of the 20th century, lucidly analysing the effects of the latter on petrocapital and petrostates, painting a broad picture without losing sight of details and national specificities.
A strong feature of the book is the sources used by Garavini, including the archives of several governments, international organisations and oil companies as well as the (previously unavailable) minutes of OPEC conferences for the period 1960–86.
All these elements make Garavini’s study an essential source for those who have an interest in the history of OPEC and oil-producing countries, providing unprecedented details in a book that is incredibly well researched and updated.

Flavia Fusco
University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’
ff.flaviafusco@gmail.com
@ff_flaviafusco

 

The far right today / Cas Mudde. - Cambridge ; Medford : Polity Press, 2019. - ix, 200 p. : ill. - ISBN 978-1-5095-3683-2 ; 978-1-5095-3684-9 (pbk)
Cas Mudde is a Dutch political scientist and expert in extremism and populism in Europe and the United States. This book confirms his professional orientation as it examines the fourth wave of postwar far-right politics with an in-depth analysis of some of the most crucial aspects of the topic. Mudde starts out by stating his definition of the far right as “hostile to liberal democracy” (7), and distinguishing the extreme right (that rejects the notion of democracy as such) from the radical right (that accepts the notion of democracy, but rejects some tenets of liberal democracy, for example, minority rights). From this premise, the author creates a link between populism and the radical right.
The special feature of this book is its analytical nature. Beginning with a historical study, the author examines the rise and development of the far right in different contexts, providing a complete overview of European as well as some of the most representative non-European countries. Mudde does not explicitly assess the far right in a positive or negative way, nor does he make personal considerations or comments. Yet, he gives emphasis to the essential factors of populism so that the reader feels empowered to defend liberal democracy against the several challenges of politics, including those of populism. The flowing, non-scientific language allows all readers, including non-academic audiences, to understand one of the most important current issues, often not explained clearly enough.
The book follows a clear structure, from the historical evolution of the different waves of far-right politics to the description of the underlying ideology. In particular, the chronological overview (Chapter 1) is used as the basic evidence to prove the unexpected spread of today’s far-right political parties. The core elements of these parties (Chapter 2) and how they can be organised (Chapter 3) are two other important introductory issues for understanding the book’s concept. Indeed, the central chapters (Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7) focus on the key actors (leaders, membership and voters) and how they promote their political beliefs. Finally, the author discusses the responses of Western democracies to the rise of populisms (Chapter 8), with special attention given to the role of gender within the far right (Chapter 9). In the conclusion, Mudde proposes twelve theses on the fourth wave, highlighting the fundamental role of the political context.
One of his conclusions is that far-right politics has been spreading widely, as evidenced by the rise of new political parties. The notion of “mainstream party” embodies this evolution: the radical-right parties of the third wave are no longer excluded or marginal; they now resonate with people because of all the challenges Western societies have faced since the 2007 crisis, or even before, Mudde explains. Even some longstanding democracies such as the United States have been traumatised by a wave of political extremism and populism. The only missing element in this book is an analysis of the 2019 European elections, in which populist parties rose but failed to win a majority.

Laura Sacher
Institut des ètudes européennes, Université libre de Bruxelles (IEE-ULB)
lsacher@outlook.it

 

The future of British foreign policy : security and diplomacy in a world after Brexit / Christopher Hill. - Cambridge ; Medford : Polity Press, 2019. - xiii, 223 p. – ISBN 978-1-5095-2461-7
The political debate around Brexit has been largely dominated by issues related to economics, migration and sovereignty, overshadowing the long-term repercussions that Brexit can have on the United Kingdom’s foreign policy. Christopher Hill, Emeritus Professor at the University of Cambridge and an authoritative voice on British politics, seeks to remedy this shortcoming. In his book, Hill offers a brief yet comprehensive analysis of British foreign policy at this critical juncture, both identifying past trends and outlining the various scenarios that can play out once the transition period with the EU is over.
The book is neatly divided into two parts. The first four chapters cover the twists and turns of British politics vis-à-vis the European project, from the latter’s inception until the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. In this vein, Hill provides a more nuanced characterisation of the UK, rather than that inherent in the ‘awkward partner’ label often attached to the country. Despite the British long-standing preference for an à la carte policy menu and its concomitant red lines against supranationalisation, the British foreign policy establishment has often adopted a constructive and leading role within the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, Hill argues.
In the final three chapters, Hill endeavours to predict the UK’s geopolitical position after Brexit and the multilateral and bilateral alternatives at hand. According to Hill, the Brexiteers rhetoric about reinvigorating the Commonwealth, or the Anglosphere, as substitutes for the EU is not realistic, thereby debunking ‘Global Britain’ as a vision of little substance. Indeed, the author argues that the UK will remain entangled with continental affairs, for it is its historical, geographical and cultural destiny. As a corollary, Hill envisages some sort of British association with the EU that could be both formal and informal insofar as the UK could influence EU policy areas by lobbying its closest European allies. Hill seems to favour the Franco-British alliance over the special relationship with the US, as the UK could exploit the former to remain at the core of European politics. Furthermore, the author notes that the US-UK alliance would be highly asymmetrical, even more so considering that the UK would not have the EU shelter anymore.
This easy-reading book can appeal to both laypeople and experts of British foreign policy. For the former, whilst Hill assumes a certain degree of familiarity with the official narratives that have underpinned British foreign policy, it represents a useful starting point to further explore the field, assisted by a comprehensive ‘Further reading’ section at the end of the book. For the latter, the first chapters may not be very innovative in their presentation of the historical relationship between the European project and the UK, but the gist of the book provides plenty of food for thought.
As the author himself recognises, any attempt at futurology is likely to disappoint. Indeed, this book does not seek to provide all the answers on the future geopolitical status of the UK, nor could it do so, for the eventual outcome will be contingent on a wide range of factors, including the conclusion of the negotiations with the EU before the end of the transition period. Thus, Hill seems undecided about how Brexit can transform the UK’s self-understanding of its role in the world, and how such identity can in turn influence its long-term foreign policy. Nevertheless, Hill skilfully provides all the necessary instruments to understand the likeliest (and wisest) options that the UK can choose from in terms of multilateral and bilateral alliances. Hill is certain about one point: after their divorce, both the British and European foreign policy will be weakened.

Aleix Nadal Campos
Maastricht University
aleixnadalc@gmail.com
@AleixNadal

 

La politica estera italiana nel nuovo millennio [Italian foreign policy in the new millennium] / a cura di Pierangelo Isernia, Francesca Longo. - Bologna : Il mulino, c2019. - 306 p. - (Studi e ricerche Mulino ; 745). - ISBN 978-88-15-28093-0
As the Cold War came to an end and the international order transitioned from a bipolar to a multipolar system, countries redesigned their approach to foreign relations in order to face newly emerging challenges. During the Cold War, Italian policies varied greatly according to the preferences of the different government leaders. This trend continued even after 1989-91. The book La politica estera italiana nel nuovo millennio charts the evolution of Italian foreign policy and its transition from the 1990s to today. Many states have, indeed, changed their foreign policy in light of the new power relationships that have emerged in the making of the globalised world. This collected volume edited by Pierangelo Isernia, Professor of Political Science at the University of Siena, and Francesca Longo, Professor of Political Science at the University of Catania, is the result of a collective effort under the coordination of Isernia himself, featuring the studies and analyses by a group of scholars of International Relations and Comparative Politics.
The book is divided into seven chapters. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific turning point in the history of Italian foreign policy and analyses the different directions that the latter took during that period of time. Therefore, the methodology is that of path analysis based on two parallel approaches: the “decision-making” and the “comparative institutional”. The introduction by Isernia outlines the theoretical structure and reviews the academic debate on the topic, providing a compass to navigate the intricacies of Italian foreign policy.
One of the first topics discussed is the role of idiosyncratic variables in the Italian decision-making process. Two case studies – the participation of Italy in the NATO military intervention in Kosovo in 1999 (Chapter 1) and the country’s contribution to UNIFIL and to a resolution of the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 (Chapter 2) – highlight how the personal preferences of the Italian political leaders of the time had a significant weight in the final decisions.
In parallel, the book explores the migratory issue, a process which has shaped Italian foreign policy in new and sometimes unexpected ways. The topic is investigated through the analysis of the role of the media in influencing the public opinion and Italian foreign policy choices (Chapters 3, 4 and 6). The pressure that Italy is experiencing on this front is leading to the emergence of new popular movements which are inevitably putting into question the traditional approach.
More broadly, the most relevant evidence highlighted by the authors is that Italian foreign policy changed over time along with its governments. At the time of writing, Italy’s foreign policy outlook is characterised by uncertainty, both because of an internal tendency towards populist and sovereignist policies and because of the US – Italy’s traditional ally – moving away from the liberal order that it had been promoting since the end of the Cold War.
In a nutshell, the book offers a theoretical and scientific examination of Italian foreign policy. Along with the qualitative inquiry, the quantitative analyses, provided in the form of charts and diagrams, are of great help in developing a more comprehensive view of the topics. The language used is highly technical, making the text ideal for scholars or experts of Political Science and International Relations, but rather challenging for those lacking this background. Nevertheless, it is a useful tool to approach the analysis of the variables central to the study of Italian foreign policy, and to understand the directions in which it will likely be oriented in the short-medium term.

Alessia Paolillo
LUISS Guido Carli, Rome
alessiapaolillo1@gmail.com
@a_paolillo

 

Italian foreign policy during Matteo Renzi’s government : a domestically focused outsider and the world / Fabrizio Coticchia and Jason W. Davidson. - Lanham [etc.] : Lexington Books, c2019. - vii, 169 p. - (Foreign policies of the middle powers). - ISBN 978-1-4985-5154-0 ; 978-1-4985-5155-7 (ebk)
Matteo Renzi’s influence is still evident in today’s Italy. His communication style, based on personalisation and the ability to use modern tools such as social media to garner consensus, and his self-representation as the outsider who is bringing novelty into the Italian political system, attracted both positive and negative reactions. However, following the defeat in the 2016 constitutional referendum, it is often assumed that Renzi’s influence over Italian politics became less and less powerful, until his decision to support the birth of the Five Star Movement–Democratic Party’s cabinet in August-September 2019.
In this book, Fabrizio Coticchia, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Genoa, and Jason W. Davidson, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, show that there is still a need to investigate Matteo Renzi’s experience as Prime Minister, especially in foreign policy, since his overall approach has also been shared by his successors. Even in this field, Renzi has been an innovator, someone who paved the way for future leaders.
The authors’ framework – a domestically focused approach – is grounded in liberal International Relations theory and attempts to assess the influence of domestic political factors such as Renzi’s proposed reforms over Italy’s foreign policy. It turns out that the defining characteristics of the Conte I and II cabinets – an excessive focus on domestic issues and the tendency to see foreign policy as a source of domestic consensus – were already at the core of Matteo Renzi’s experience as Prime Minister. According to Coticchia and Davidson, in the field of foreign policy, Renzi’s search for domestic consensus resulted in a change of posture: from the pro-European, Italian centre-left tradition to a more critical attitude towards the EU and the Atlantic Alliance.
The perspective of the “domestically focused outsider” is applied by the authors to five case studies: the migrant crisis; the EU austerity measures and issues related to the banking sector; the Ukraine crisis and the subsequent sanctions; Italy’s role in the fight against ISIL; and the Libyan crisis.
The authors point to Renzi’s fierce polemic with the EU on such issues as the migrant crisis – with Renzi claiming that the EU left Italy alone to handle this dramatic phenomenon – his attack on the ‘bureaucrats’ in Brussels and his criticism of the economic policy of Angela Merkel’s Germany as areas where Renzi showed a different attitude compared with that of his predecessors. Most importantly, in these and other contexts examined in the book, Renzi proved his identity as an ‘outsider’, a term that became part of his image and played a determinant role in his political behaviour. The main consequence of Renzi’s outsider mentality is that he has often been impatient with the rules and long bureaucratic procedures of EU politics in Brussels and other international contexts.
Coticchia and Davidson try to fill a gap in the study of contemporary Italian foreign policy through a comprehensive investigation of Matteo Renzi’s leadership and attitude. In addition, the authors develop a theoretical model – the abovementioned domestically focused outsider – which proves effective in examining the reasons and consequences of Renzi’s foreign policy and how his approach has influenced the current political scenario, a valuable lesson for today’s political pundits. The greatest contribution of their volume is the ability to develop a coherent narrative of a past government’s policy that still has a significant influence on how Italian political leaders define their country’s position on the international scene.

Riccardo Antonucci
Masaryk University, Brno
r.antonucci96@hotmail.it
@RicAntonucci

Details: 
The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 3, September 2020, p. 154-163
Issue: 
55/3
ISBN/ISSN/DOI: 
10.1080/03932729.2020.1782070
Publication date: 
25/08/2020

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