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Sep 27, 2020
Understanding Regional Dynamics to Enhance Cooperative Security
Federico Casprini Sonia Lucarelli Alessandro Marrone
“Flexible Frameworks, Beyond Borders - Understanding Regional Dynamics to Enhance Cooperative Security”
Editors: Federico Casprini, Sonia Lucarelli, Alessandro Marrone
© 2014 NATO HQ - Boulevard Léopold III, 1110 Brussels - Belgium
Opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied within are solely those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Istituto Affari Internazionali, the University of Bologna, Allied Command Transformation or any other agency of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
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Flexible Frameworks Beyond Borders
Understanding Regional Dynamics to Enhance
This publication is the result of the Conference “Flexible Frameworks, Beyond Borders -
Understanding Regional Dynamics to Enhance Cooperative Security” organized by NATO Allied
Command Transformation (ACT), the University of Bologna and Istituto Affari Internazionali
(IAI) of Rome. The Conference is the third iteration of ACT’s Academic Conference series, and
it took place at the Centro Residenziale Universitario of the University of Bologna in Bertinoro
(Italy), from the 15th to the 17th of May 2014. The success of the event was due to the joint efforts
of the three institutions, with special thanks to Dick Bedford and ACT’s Academic Outreach Team
led by LTC Alfonso Alvarez and CDR Matteo Minelli, Federico Casprini, Michela Ceccorulli,
Anna Gaone, Sonia Lucarelli and Alessandro Marrone for their dedication and expertise.
NATO Allied Command Transformation
Università di Bologna
Istituto Affari Internazionali
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Exploring regional security challenges p. 6 Federico Casprini, Sonia Lucarelli & Alessandro Marrone
Scene Setter | The West and the Rest Trends in International Politics: “the West and the Rest” p. 14 Sonia Lucarelli
Focus Area I | Asia-Pacific Asia-Pacific in the Global Economy: an Overview p.18 Andrea Goldstein
The New Center of Power: Political and Strategic Trends in Asia Pacific p.30 Antonio Fiori
Asia-Pacific Working Group Report p.41 Federico Casprini
Focus Area II | Greater Middle East and North Africa
Economic Prospects for the MENA Region: Impatient Expectations, Deferred Promises and the Missing Axes of Trust p. 48 Memduh Karakullukçu
Strategic Trends in the Middle East and North Africa p. 63 Tewfik Aclimandos
Greater Middle East and North Africa Working Group Report p. 71 Alessandro Marrone
Focus Area III | Sub-Saharan Africa Economic and Social Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa p. 78 Giovanni M. Carbone
An Overview of West Africa’s Security Situation p. 90 Lydia M. Amedzrator & Emannuel Kwesi Aning
Sub-Saharan Africa Working Group Report p. 99 Bastian Giegerich
Annex | The Black Sea Region The Black Sea Region and Euro-Atlantic Security Round Table Report p. 106 Federico Catapano
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Exploring Regional Security Challenges
Federico Casprini, Sonia Lucarelli & Alessandro Marrone
As of 2014, the post-Cold War illusion of a more secure world has long given way to a gloomy perception of both the present and the future. It has never been so clear as in the past few years that challenges to international security emerge from several different fields (environmental, political, social, economic, etc), touch simultaneously on a wide range of geographic areas and involve different types of actors – from states to transnational and national terrorism, from organized crime to other non-state actors). The transformation of security was a topic studied and understood by several authors already at the beginning of the 1990s. The specialized literature has captured such a change by reflecting both on how security has come to become a multi-faced issue, and on the extent to which (in)security is not only an objective data but the result of a process of social construction which involves the elites, the general public and the media. The literature has equally acknowledged that challenges to security have become ever more complex because of the range of issues they touch upon, the number and variety of actors involved, as well as the type of instruments they require to be handled.
In this transformed scenario, the regional dimension of security continues to be of utmost importance, even if regional and interregional dynamics have changed with respect to the past. Regions are the context in which cooperative communities can be created and stabilized over time (in the form of “Security Communities” for instance), the areas in which there is a higher interdependence in terms of security concerns (“Security Complexes”), or the areas in which local conflicts are more likely to spread. Regions are also historically-defined entities, whose borders are shaped and reshaped over time by security dynamics. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for an organization like NATO—which has security and cooperation at the core of its mandate—to understand the new and old security challenges by looking at their regional dimension, and to evaluate their interregional and global implications.
The Academic Conference 2014 “Flexible Frameworks, Beyond Borders” aimed to contribute to this effort by analyzing regional dynamics, the eventual role of NATO in their regards, and possible ways to enhance cooperative security. The Conference was the third of a series jointly organized by NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the University of Bologna, and took place in May 2014 in Bertinoro – near the town of Forlì, Italy. More than sixty scholars from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America convened and worked both in plenary sessions and in working groups focused respectively on Asia- Pacific, Greater Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Each working group was introduced by two papers, included in this publication together with the report of the respective debate as well as of the round table “The Black Sea Region and Euro-Atlantic Security.”
* Federico Casprini is a consultant with FCAC. Sonia Lucarelli is associate professor of International Relations at the University of Bologna. Alessandro Marrone is Senior Fellow in the Security & Defence Programme at Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) of Rome.
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As for the working group on the Asia-Pacific region, participants acknowledged that the spectacular economic growth of many countries in the area is one of the major factors that brought the region to international relevance. The scale and pace of Asia’s rise at the same time led many observers to question its sustainability – and to wonder whether the 21st will be in fact, the Asian Century. While the expression was first used by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to contest the thesis that the world’s center of gravity was shifting to Asia and the Pacific, the region’s robust economic performance has indeed led many observers to reverse the meaning of the expression. Andrea Goldstein, in his paper “Asia-Pacific in the global economy: an overview” presents some of the major economic trends observable in the region, and makes the case for an optimistic approach when looking at Asia-Pacific’s future. According to Goldstein, extremely high levels of private and public investments have enabled Asian countries to exploit their advantageous demographics— allowing national governments to build a favorable climate through a conscious strategy of institutions-building and marketing-enabling reforms. At the same time however, the author cautions that the Asian Century scenario assumes that Asian economies maintain the economic momentum of the past two decades for another 40 years. While the estimates of several international organizations and those of many observers do not run against this possibility, Goldstein presents a number of issues that will either enable or hamper the march towards the Asian Century. At the national level, demographics and human capital developments are presented as two of the major determinants of the sustainability of growth. At the regional level, the author argues, the 1997 Asian economic crisis showed the need for increased cooperation in institution building and market creation. Regional efforts, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, should be paired with an increase in national public spending, accompanied by strategic planning and innovative policies, in order to foster equality of opportunity and ensure the sustainability of growth. Ultimately, Goldstein concludes, the ability of all G20 countries in Asia to handle these challenges will determine the success of the necessary reforms.
With his paper “The new center of power: political and strategic trends in Asia-Pacific” Antonio Fiori provides a detailed picture of the political and security environment in Asia-Pacific, and argues that the region is today in a process of change towards a new equilibrium. Inter-s