Center for Strategic Decision Research


The New Challenges in a World of Transformation

Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola
Chief of Defense of Italy

I think that the European-NATO relationship is actually a broader issue of Europe and the United States. Therefore I will speak from this wider perspective and take a look at what I believe to be the main characteristics of the landscape of our 21st millennium. 


As Thomas Friedman wrote in the April 3, 2005 New York Times Magazine, I believe that the world has become flattened because of globalization. It has become flattened because globalization is making it possible for everybody to be connected to anybody else in any part of the world. This does not necessarily mean that everyone understands what is going on around the world, but there is the opportunity, and that is the point. This opportunity is probably the underlying cause of our current transition from a stable situation, the stability of the Cold War, to a new situation, although I do not know which form it will take. So we are in an unstable transition phase that is characterized by the globalization issue. 

If we look at the reality of this, we are in a situation in which there is a disconnected gap between one part of the world—which someone other than I defined as the globalized core, i.e., North America, Europe, the wider Europe including Russia and even China, Africa, and a large part of East Asia—and the rest of the world, including the Balkans, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, some parts of Southeast Asia, and some parts of Central America and South America. This globalized core is the part of the world in which economics and politics are interconnected. 

If you look at the globalized core on a water map, and then look at the large disconnected area, you will see that all the areas of crisis are at the border of these two large areas, like two tectonic plates. If this is a reasonable reading of the situation, then we need to think about how to correct it. 


One way is to try to enlarge the context by expanding the globalized core toward the disconnected gap, thereby reducing the area of disconnectedness. This is probably the long-term strategy for preventing or trying to prevent crises from coming to the forefront. It is like when you have a patient with a high fever—the fever is a symptom, so you give an aspirin for the fever, then eventually you give antibiotics to try to keep control of the cause of the fever. The long-term strategy of expanding the core is like giving the patient antibiotics. The short-term necessity is giving an aspirin, dealing with the crises that pop up at the borders. It is in the crisis-response and crisis-management situations where military tools come in handy. 


It is important to recognize that the United States and the European Union are at the core of globalization. So it is fundamental that these two parts of the core really work together. To do so they must, just as Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said earlier, not just look at the European/NATO relationship but at the broader agenda. If we are able to have a broader consensus on this larger agenda, on the large political issue, then it becomes easier to manage the relationship between NATO and the European Union as far as defense issues go. 

Two of the tools of this relationship management are the European Security and Defense Policy and NATO. So it is very important that the United States and Europe share the view of how to move forward. If they do, it will be much easier for the European Union Security Policy and for NATO to work together, because there is no doubt that the United States has unique military and political power, although power without legitimacy is fundamentally chaotic. Now, I do not think that Europe needs to provide legitimacy to the United States, but I do think that the additional legitimacy Europe can provide to the United States is very important. Looking at the larger framework, I think that there is strong hope for Europe and the United States to set a broader agenda and then work on the issue of capability. 


I also believe that the transformation issue that is being discussed in both the NATO and European environments is really moving in the right direction. That means that our forces need to include expeditionary forces. The United States has had expeditionary forces from the time it was born. The Europeans, on the other hand, have not had expeditionary forces except for a brief period in modern history; instead they have been tied to Europe because that is where the confrontation lines were. 

But the fault line is no longer in Central Germany and it is no longer well defined. If you look at a map, you will see that the confrontation line is very complicated—it goes everywhere within the two regions. That means we have to transform ourselves into expeditionary forces, and the way the European Security and Defense Policy wishes to go operational is not much different at all from what NATO is asking the Europeans to do. So it is not a matter of differing military ideas. It is a matter of setting a more shared agenda on the political front because if that can be set it should not be hard to acquire capability. Europeans have a problem because of budgets and other considerations, but conceptually I think we are all on the same wavelength. So the main issue is to set a broader agenda in which the United States, our Canadian friends, and Europe can share their view and simplify the operational issue. 













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