For more than two decades after the end of the Cold War, the core of European security has been unchallenged. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO looked for a new rationale inside a new strategic global framework. For the Atlantic Alliance, the end of the Cold War implied less deterrence and territorial defense and an increase in strategic volatility beyond its borders.
The multiple crises that have hit the European Union (EU) have damaged political cohesion within and between member states. Notably after the Brexit vote, there is growing awareness in many capitals that without a renewed investment in the European project, the latter may unravel. With key countries such as France and Germany facing elections in 2017, the prospects for injecting new momentum into European integration are sobering.
The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama is America’s first ‘Pacific president’. Obama grew up in Hawaii and Jakarta. The ‘pivot to Asia’ is Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement. And the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the cornerstone of Obama’s trade policy. By contrast, Europe is – or at least appears to be – less important to the U.S. President. Obama has few if any obvious European roots. His attention to European security has been sporadic rather than strategic. And his determination to conclude the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) before the end of his administration is more rhetorical than real.
This conventional wisdom is pervasive. It is also misleading. The transatlantic relationship is bigger than any sitting president. Moreover, Obama’s policies toward Europe show more continuity with his predecessors than change. Relations have changed across the Atlantic despite this continuity.
Due to the Ukrainian crisis, relations between the EU and Russia hit rock bottom, the lowest point from the end of the Cold War. Indeed, it is crystal clear that today’s dispute is nothing but the latest chapter of a long story of misunderstandings and conflicting strategies on the post -Soviet states of Eastern Europe and South Caucasus. The further deepening of this cleavage would inflict serious damage on all interested parties: the EU, Russia and several post-Soviet states. Why is Ukraine so important both for EU and Russia? What are the real origins of the current crisis that brought to an open confrontation between Russia and the EU? What is the rationale behind Russia’s firm opposition to a further NATO enlargement? What are the viable options to escape the fate of a new ‘Cold War’?
In recent months relations between Russia and the European Union reached their lowest point since the end of the USSR. This fact, as clear as it is problematic, formed the departure point for the workshop titled “European-Russian Dialogue. From Damage Limitation to Renewed Engagement” held on October 13 in Rome in the context of events being held during the Italian semester of presidency of the European Union.
The news of the Ukrainian crisis have ebbed and flowed with other issues high on the agenda of the Western leaders, such as the stagflation nightmare hanging over the Union and the primitive violence of the decapitations operated by the ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Clearly, this is not one of the best moments in history we have been through. All three emergencies point right to the core of the Western liberal system in an unprecedented way, challenging its very fundamentals.
Afghanistan faces a major milestone in 2014: the withdrawal of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops by the end of the year.
ISAF’s combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghan soil, ending a 13-year war against an unbeatable insurgency.
Recent events in Ukraine have been depicted in many ways depending on who is narrating the story of the Euromaidan and what is his perception of the symbolic meaning of the actions under scrutiny: as a revolution against a corrupt political system, as a civil war, as a genuine proof of the Euro-dream for change of Ukrainian people who are ready to die defending their ideals, as a coup d’état and so on.