The International Spectator, Vol. 44, No. 1, March 2009

Sezioni speciali su The Nuclear Challenge: Non-proliferation, Terrorism, Energy e Civil Society in International Politics

Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime: Proposals and Problems Free
Recent Publications Free

Data pubblicazione: 
The "Sovereign Neighbourhood": Weak Statehood Strategies in Eastern Europe
Nicu Popescu and Andrew Wilson
The launch of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) marks the most significant change to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) since it was launched in 2004. In the wake of the Georgia war in August 2008 and yet another gas crisis in January 2009, the EU clearly needs a more constructive policy towards Eastern Europe. But both the ENP and EaP are based on a contradiction. They offer only the remotest possibility of eventual accession to the EU, but are still based on "accession-light" assumptions, applying the conditionality model of the 1990s to weak states that are a long way from meeting the Copenhagen criteria. The priority in the eastern neighbourhood is not building potential members states but strengthening sovereignty, in the face of an increasingly assertive Russian neighbourhood policy. The game is playing the west off against Russia for geopolitical reward.
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American Primacy by Default: Down but Not Out
Jason W. Davidson and Roberto Menotti
American primacy continues to characterise the international system, despite trends toward a diffusion of power. The discussion is too often biased in favour of multipolarity due to imprecise or misleading definitions of US primacy. On the basis of a simple definition of what a "pole" is, combining GDP and defence expenditure, only the US can be considered a global pole. The current economic crisis is not changing this reality. Even considering perceptions, soft power, and the ability to translate power into influence, rising powers like China or an aggregate power like the EU have a long way to go before they can get on an equal footing with the United States.
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The Lessons of Ancient History and the Future of Transatlantic Relations
Cesare Merlini
While a global recession of uncertain duration plagues the planet, the Atlantic countries are faced with an agenda of complicated, almost intractable international challenges. The surge of new protagonists on the world scene has been largely the result of a long period of relative stability and extraordinary economic growth thanks to the prevalence of Western paradigms. And yet they mark another step in the shrinking of the West's geostrategic relevance. Obama's America and half-integrated Europe should deal with this new multipolar world with a consistent and synergic approach, made up of a mix of traditional balance-of-power skills and systemic innovations. Over the past two decades, the US' solitary position at the apex of global power has made the analogy with imperial Rome common currency. While this is the wrong lesson to learn from classical history, the achievements and mistakes of ancient Greece and republican as well as imperial Rome may still help us, third millennium Europeans and Americans, sail through the stormy waters of today's planetary Mediterranean.
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New Patterns of Transatlantic Security: The Challenge of Multipolarity
Asle Toje
Transatlantic relations are in flux: NATO's struggle for self preservation; the diminished importance of Europe in American geopolitics; the semi-failure of European foreign policy integration; and the absence of a grand bargain among Europe's leading powers. These four trends are making the current transatlantic order unsustainable. But if the international system becomes multipolar, will the "West" be one of the poles? These developments can be assessed by applying the "transatlantic bargain" as a conceptual lens through which to select and assess information. The result is that the dynamics of multipolarity could spell the end for the "transatlantic West".
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The Domestic Conditions for a Paradigmatic Change in US Foreign Policy
Sergio Fabbrini and Daniela Sicurelli
Although foreign policy changes reflect transformations in the international system, they are also strongly conditioned by domestic factors. This is particularly true in the United States. Domestic factors have affected US decision-makers' interpretation of the international system and the role their country should play in it. That interpretation has gone through various phases, each characterised by a predominant paradigm or a struggle between competing paradigms. If the period between 11 September 2001 and the 2006 mid-term elections witnessed the uncontested success of unilateralism, after those mid-terms and the elections of 4 November 2008, the necessary domestic conditions for a new multilateral paradigm may have been created.
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The Nuclear Challenge: Non-proliferation, Terrorism, Energy
Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime: Proposals and Problems
Masahiko Asada
Since around the turn of the century, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has suffered fundamental challenges from several quarters, which has led to a number of proposals to reinforce the non-proliferation regime. Among the most effective are a ban on sensitive nuclear transfers and the universalisation of the Additional Protocol. The former proposal, although not agreed upon in the NSG, has been virtually realised as a moratorium within the G-8 framework. It would be advisable for the G-8 to do the same with regard to the latter proposal.
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Combating WMD Terrorism: The Short-Sighted US-led Multilateral Response
Eric Rosand
The Bush administration's strong preference for seemingly more flexible initiatives, involving a select group of countries, and limiting the size of international bureaucracies, which has resulted in three US-driven multilateral initiatives to address the threat of WMD-terrorism - the Proliferation Security Initiative, the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and the committee and group of experts it established - has produced mixed results so far. Although it helped to ensure a more rapid initial response to WMD terrorism, such an approach has also impeded efforts to build and sustain global support to respond to that threat.
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The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Big Potential, Limited Impact?
Riccardo Alcaro
The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an innovative, multi-pronged action aimed at enhancing the domestic capacities of a state, as well as its ability to interconnect internationally and to deal with the risk of a terrorist attack involving nuclear or radioactive materials. The GICNT, a joint US-Russian initiative, has now evolved into an informal network of over 70 countries. It pursues it objective of boosting the protection, detection, prosecution and response capabilities of a state by fostering cooperation on three levels: between a government and its agencies; between government and the private sector; and between like-minded states. Given its comprehensive approach to the nuclear terrorism threat, the initiative has great potential. Nevertheless, structural flaws such as the absence of any evaluation mechanism and the exclusion of military-related nuclear materials and sites are likely to make its impact far less global than expected.
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Nuclear Energy Developments in the Mediterranean and the Gulf
Giacomo Luciani
Several Arab countries have recently manifested an interest in civilian nuclear energy. For some, like Egypt, this is the revival of an old interest, for others, notably the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it represents a clear reversal of previously held positions. This interest has been interpreted as an implicit threat to move in the direction of acquiring a military nuclear capability, in case Iran develops a bomb. Instead, the article argues that interest in nuclear energy has strong economic motivations for all Arab countries, although the position of the GCC is quite different from that of North Africa and Levant countries, from the point of view of both the cogency of motivation and the ability to concretely and rapidly launch a civilian nuclear program.
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Civil Society in International Politics
Civil Society and Peacebuilding: Mapping Functions in Working for Peace
Catherine Barnes
Civil society play roles at every point in the development of conflict and its resolution: from surfacing situations of injustice to preventing violence, from creating conditions conducive to peace talks to mediating a settlement and then promoting it, from setting a policy agenda to healing war-scarred psyches. After situating civil society peacebuilding roles in the policy context and highlighting several critiques, this article concentrates on charting the specific functions civil society can play, focusing on initiatives by actors from a conflict zone and their external supporters. It concludes identifying several recommendations and areas in need of further research.
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The Romanticisation of the Local: Welfare, Culture and Peacebuilding
Oliver P. Richmond
The key feature of the dominant liberal approach to peacebuilding is the neoliberal marketisation of peace, rather than engagement with civil society and the agents and subjects of this peace. This is a particularly Western, liberal, and Enlightenment-derived discourse of peace, which is far from culturally and socially appropriate or sensitive, and has little chance of establishing a locally self-sustaining peace. This represents a "romanticisation of the local", of civil society, and of the liberal culture of peacebuilding. Its cultural engagement, including its support for civil society development, is therefore little more than instrumental and is used to defer responsibility for the welfare of the local.
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Environmental and Ecological Citizenship in Civil Society
David Humphreys
Drawing from the work of Andrew Dobson, two notions of citizenship in civil society can be distinguished: environmental citizenship, which focuses on environmental rights and seeks to redefine the relationship between the state and the citizen; and ecological citizenship, which goes beyond a rights-based notion of citizenship to advocate the fair usage of ecological space across international borders. Using civil society initiatives to conserve forests, this article argues that these two notions of citizenship should be seen as overlapping in that civil society groups seek to work through national and international law to reduce the ecological footprint of some countries on others. The article concludes by drawing a distinction between the environmental state and the ecological state.
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Italy in World Affairs
New Actors on the Horizon: the International Outreach of Italian CSOs
Donatella Cugliandro
Italian civil society organisations are holding more and more sway in the foreign policy arena, strengthening links with their counterparts both in the European Union and further abroad. Some well-organised groups are increasingly capable of wielding influence in the international scenario, mainly thanks to their initiatives directed at fuelling citizens' interests in sensitive issues and fostering transnational cooperation. In parallel with these global trends, Italian civil society is going through a period of change and reassessment, shaken by the need to protect some core values to which it is undeniably attached.
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Book Reviews
What Will America be Like in the New post-American World?
Alberto Biginelli
Review of: The post-American world, Fareed Zakaria, W.W. Norton, 2008
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Exploring the Theory and Practice of the Security Dilemma
Andrew Liaropoulos
Review of: The security dilemma : fear, cooperation and trust in world politics, Ken Booth and Nicholas J. Wheeler, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008r
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