Italy plays a strategic role due to its location in the Mediterranean Sea, which has always been recognized by the United States. However, having the skills is not enough, you need the political will to use them. Interview with General Vincenzo Camborini, former Chief of Defense Staff
The relationship between Italy and the United States runs through defense, as evidenced by the minister’s phone conversation in recent days Lorenzo Guerrini And the secretary Lloyd AustinNew Chief of the Pentagon. What are the prospects for the relationship between Rome and Washington in the sector? Formiche.net The general asked Vincenzo Camborini, Former Chief of Defense Staff.
How do you read the phone call between Guerini and Austin?
The speed with which Secretary Austin, who just confirmed, recalled Secretary Guerini, is a sign of special interest on the part of the United States towards Italy.
there are many reasons. Italy plays a strategic role due to its location in the Mediterranean Sea, which has always been recognized by the United States. But there is also a long tradition: let’s think about NATO bases in our country given to the United States for use – they are not American bases, they seem to distinguish between goat wool but are not.
What is Washington looking for in Rome?
It is in Washington’s interest to have a very ready and transparent approach with Italy, especially in the Mediterranean where we have a big problem called Turkey.
What role could Italy play?
We can play a role thanks to our skills: our fleet is the most modern and efficient fleet in the Mediterranean. However, having the skills is not enough, you need the political will to use them. I think the phone call was also intended to investigate the Italian will, and how we intend to act.
How do we deal with Turkey?
Italy can play the role of counterbalance and moral persuasion towards the Turks. Italian interests in Turkey are very powerful and this means that Ankara has to look carefully at Rome. Certain foreign policy activities on our part would be welcome. But in the past, and even more recently, we were absent.
When it comes to Turkey in the Mediterranean, one can’t help but talk about Libya.
In Libya, we have a vested interest in the United States playing its role. And they have already done so with a formal request to Russia and Turkey to withdraw their forces. It’s a related political action that we must somehow use to get back into play in an area where our interests are high, just think of energy and migrants.
With a firmer policy towards the Tripoli government that we support, but often more formally than substantially. Moreover, a more determined political line is needed: after Marco Minetti I don’t remember anyone who worked hard to count in Libya.
What do you do with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar?
Even with the rapist, we need to talk but it is clear that without the clamor we brought to him in Benghazi with the visit of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.
Let’s talk about NATO. With Joe Biden, are the relations (including NATO) between the United States and Germany destined to be strengthened after the difficulties that Donald Trump faced in the four years?
The German attitude toward the United States is problematic in public relations with Russia (think Nord Stream 2) and with China. On these fronts we need dialogue. On the part of the United States there is a will, but let’s not forget that the United States works in the interest of the United States and negotiates in this sense. For the time being, their main concern is re-establishing the link with NATO without making concessions towards those who, for example, are fueling the civil war in Ukraine. Therefore, there are certainly files on which the dialogue between Berlin and Washington should continue, but let us not deceive ourselves that they are roses and flowers.
And what of France, which Emmanuel Macron was determined in the search for European strategic autonomy?
The French position is always assertive, with an excessive awareness of the capabilities of the individual. In this historical period, European capabilities are largely considered French, because in Paris there is a willingness to use them.
What does the strategic autonomy sought by Paris mean for the United States?
I tell you what I would have done if I were an American. I would like to deal with the main problem: China. And I don’t want to have a problem on other fronts, like the Mediterranean and Russia. That is why I would really like the European Union to achieve that strategic autonomy, not in terms of opposition but as one of the European pillars of shared security. If the Europeans are unable to manage the European files, they are forcing me, the United States, to deal with them by transferring capabilities from other fronts.
That is, from China, from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Do you think it is possible to establish NATO in the Pacific?
Japan, for example, is rearming itself, and it is doing so to appreciate capabilities in future relations with China. But I am quite skeptical about a corporate architecture like NATO Pacifica. With NATO, Cento and Seato were created, but they keep going One morning space Because they lack those shared values that naturally make NATO members unite. However, this does not prevent bilateral and multilateral relations in the fields of trade and defense.