3. No time for Uncertainty. The European Defense and Security in the Time of Terror: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities

Chair: Giampiero Cama (University of Genova)
Discussants: Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna) & Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genova) 

Date: Thursday 29th, 2017
Room: Sala Piccola

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According to the European Union Global Strategy “terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility, climate change and energy insecurity” are significantly endangering Europe (EUGS, 2016). The EUGS emphasizes the need for an “appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy”, enhancing common efforts especially on cyber, counterterrorism, energy and strategic communications. In other words, Member States should “move towards defence cooperation as the norm”, providing a greater contribution to collective security, working closely with its allies and partners, such as NATO. The panel aims at collecting empirical papers that, through different methodological perspectives, try and understand how current transformations (political, such as Brexit and Trump election but also technological, such as the “rise” of drones) are impacting traditional European and national security practices.

The panel explores how Member States, as well as the EU, have faced so far the above- mentioned challenges, examining in details the following key-areas: (a) shared assessments of internal and external threats (e.g., Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, including the role of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and satellite communications); (b) the evolution of digital capabilities to secure data, networks and critical infrastructure; (c) the transformation of (national and European) counter-terrorism; civil-military relations in operations; (d) the development of European procurement (especially regarding full- spectrum land, air, space and maritime capabilities); (e) the military doctrines at the national and regional level.

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Confirmed Papers: 

  1. Edoardo Baldaro (Scuola Normale Superiore - Pisa), The EU in the Sahel: Assessing Strengths and Limits of the European Integrated Approach to Conflict
    Nowadays the EU is facing renewed security threats coming from its instable Eastern and Southern borders. State fragility and civil conflicts in the peripheries are considered as factors that can endanger European internal security and cohesion, asking for concrete initiatives and responses by European institutions. The European Union Global Strategy (EUGS)introduces a new ‘integrated approach to conflict and crisis’, in order to propose innovative and shared solutions concerning conflict-management and crisis-relief. 

    Adopting an ideational and social constructivist approach to the study of European foreign policy, this article aims to explore the “fragile state” and “resilience” concurring policy paradigms informing this new European strategic concept. Analysing the EU’s initiatives in the Sahel, one of the regions where the EU elaborated and tested its renewed approach, the paper underlines ideational and practical weaknesses of the European action, focusing the attention on three dimensions: 1) inter-agency efficiency and cooperation; 2) EU - member states coordination; 3) effects on local governance and environment. We finally argue that even if the EUGS is going in the right direction, the EU still suffers from cognitive problems and lacks internal cooperation.

    In the conclusion I argue that even if the EUGS is going in the right direction, the EU still suffers of cognitive and normative problems and pays a lack of internal cooperation, all factors that can still put into question the EU’s approach to fragility and conflict in the South.

  2. Eugenio Cusumano (Leiden University), Migrant Rescuing as Organised Hypocrisy: EU Maritime Missions Offshore Libya Beyond Humanitarianism and Border Control
    In October 2014, the Italian Navy maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) operation offshore Libya Mare Nostrum was replaced by the EU border agency Frontex operation Triton, followed in 2015 by the Common Security and Defence Policy mission EUNAVFOR Med ‘Sophia’. Both Triton and EUNAVFOR have increasingly advertised their  involvement in SAR operations. As the two missions focused on reducing illegal entries to Europe rather than SAR, their commitment to migrant rescuing was not matched by consistent action. This paper conceptualizes the mismatch between humanitarian rhetoric and activities primarily meant to reduce migrant flows as a form of organised hypocrisy. Based on a decoupling between talk and action, organised hypocrisy allowed EU maritime missions to reconcile contradictory pressures from their external environment, such as EU willingness to reduce maritime migrations and the normative imperative to act against the loss of life at sea

  3. Artem Patalakh (University of Milan Statale), Soft Power Revisited: How Attraction Works in International Relations
    The paper puts forward a constructivist interpretation of how Joseph Nye's soft power works in International Relations (IR). In particular, it focuses on the functioning of attraction, soft power's main pronounced mechanism. On the basis of a theoretical literature review, the author identifies three primary issues that require further specification in Nye's account, namely a clear disentanglement between hard and soft power, a psychological mechanism behind attraction and the relationship between agentic and structural forces in the soft power relationship. To address these issues, the author locates soft power in the constructivist IR paradigm, viewing power in its broadest terms (as including all the four “faces” of power). Then, the author applies French and Raven's typology of power bases to build a framework that classifies attraction into three types, each with a particular psychological mechanism: "rational" attraction (which means that actor A is positively evaluated by actor B of the basis of its actions that do not aim at other IR actors), "social" attraction (which implies that A is positively evaluated based on how it treats other IR actors) and "emotional" attraction (which happens if B is positively evaluated by A, because B is useful for A to fulfill its identity, its perceived position among other IR actors). Having said this, the author uses insight from social psychology to provide theoretical explanations for each type of attraction, illustrating them with relevant examples from contemporary international politics.

  4. Mirco Elena (USPID), Nuclear Weapons in European and especially Italian Politics
    Nuclear weapons still play a significant role in international relations. In Europe only two countries possess them, while some other nations, that in the past had plans to build them, renounced and signed the Non Proliferartion Treaty as non nuclear countries. Italy is one of these. None of these countries seem to regret their decision to forgo development and possession of these weapons of mass destruction.

    Notwithstanding adherence to the NPT, for many decades Italy and some other European countries have hosted American nuclear weapons on their territory, under a “dual-key” agreement. Even if this goes at least against the spirit of the NPT, this fact has been accepted, at least in Italy by almost every political party and every government for the past several decades. No public debate ever dealt with it, and the general population is generally totally unaware of this situation.

    Rather strangely, strong public and political debate repeatedly arose in Italy, similarly to other European nations, concerning the role of civilian nuclear power, with referenda playing a major role in closing down the four operating national nuclear power plants and blocking any further industrial activity in this field.

    The absence of any debate on the nuclear weapons present in Italy is remarkable, since leftist movements and environmental groups have been vociferous with regard to civilian nuclear energy and could have been expected to denounce the real or perceived threats stemming from these bombs. The fact that they are owned by the US could have been further motive for some of these groups to oppose the status quo and pretend removal of these weapons from the national territory.

    In this paper we analyze some of the reasons for this behaviour, and concentrate on the need to discuss at the European level the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Brexit era, when the “Trump-factor” requires a rethinking of traditional positions