Security implications of Italian nationalism
Lindsay, Timothy B.
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Italy boasts the fourth-largest military establishment within the European Union and the sixth-largest in NATO, so Italian national security efforts and collective contributions have trans-European and even global significance. Italy has historically been an avid supporter of European integration, but nationalist movements promoting euroscepticism or isolationism threaten to alter both the Italian and the European security landscape. Three major political parties in Italy—the Northern League, the Five Star Movement, and Forza Italia—present nationalist positions of differing magnitude that could threaten Italy’s pro-European Union position. It is consistent with U.S. and Alliance interests, therefore, to examine the most important factors fueling nationalist movements and to assess the security implications of these movements’ policies. This thesis surveys the main nationalist movements in contemporary Italy and identifies seven factors that promote Italian nationalism or euroscepticism: a tumultuous history and political environment, the north–south divide, the Italian national character, a struggling national economy, Italian-Russian relations, EU and NATO enlargement, and the ongoing immigration crisis. This thesis also examines Italy’s role in the major Euro-Atlantic security institutions and assesses how nationalist movements may affect the country’s international security role.
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