Dr. Luca Ratti, adjunct professor in AUR’s International Relations and Global Politics program, travelled to the US and Romania over the summer to offer his expertise at conferences on global security issues.
Dr. Ratti was a speaker at the 17th Annual Transatlantic Studies Association (TSA) conference in July at the University of North Georgia, USA. At the event, he was also elected to serve for the next three years on the TSA’s management committee.
In June, he was in Bucharest, Romania, as part of a distinguished panel of speakers for a conference on “The World at the Edge. The Struggle for Re-Ordering Security in Europe” at the Center for Foreign Policy and Security Studies. The center also interviewed him, in English, about the topic for a video series, for their website.
“Both the conference and interview were about the struggle to redefine the current security order in Europe and how different nations evaluate the current, volatile, scenario,” said Dr. Ratti. The panel discussed how the Black Sea region (The World at the Edge) is trying to re-position itself on the world stage and not become the playground again for “Great Powers,” namely, Russia and China.
EU’s policy lacks teeth
At the US conference, Dr. Ratti presented his paper entitled “The EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and the Trump presidency: Much Ado about Nothing?”
The CSDP is the European Union's course of action in the fields of defense and crisis management. It involves the deployment of military or civilian missions for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security according to the principles of the United Nations. However, the policy – which was weak from the start – is now being tested by Brexit, immigration pressure, Russia revisionism, and threats from the United States to pull out of NATO. Still, despite an apparent flurry of new initiatives aimed at strengthening European defense, these common challenges have not caused the EU nations to act more quickly, or with greater cooperation.
“The ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ stems from repeated claims by EU officials that times are ripe for EU defense -- on this occasion thanks to Trump and Brexit -- but these predictions then regularly fail to materialize,” said Dr. Ratti.
As he notes in this abstract of his paper:
“Since its establishment with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, the CSDP has long been a paper tiger. A decade of statements and declarations has failed to prompt member states to establish a truly effective European defence.
Nonetheless, following the results of the British referendum in June 2016 and the election of Donald Trump to the White House in November of the same year, liberal and constructivist scholars predicted the possibility of serious progress in European defence.
For the first time since the days of the Nixon administration in the late 1960s, a U.S. president questioned America’s unconditional security guarantee to Europe. These shocks occurred at a time of increasing volatility in the European strategic scenario.
Russia’s powerful resurgence, uncontrolled migratory pressure from the South, and a latent but persistent terrorist threat give an unprecedented sense of urgency to European defence at a time of deepening transatlantic misunderstanding and recriminations.
Nonetheless, despite the strategic challenge posed by the risk of U.S. disengagement from Europe, for the time being, EU defence cooperation is likely to remain intergovernmental and limited in scope and depth. The threats of Russia’s resurgence and instability from the South have failed to paper over those differences. The quest for European security cooperation continues.”
Dr. Ratti’s participation at the conference was funded by his alma mater, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, where he is also an associate professor of History of International Relations and History of Transatlantic Relations. He has been an adjunct professor at AUR since 2005.
The TSA was created in 2001 to bring together academics with officials and specialists from other professions in which the ‘transatlantic’ is an important frame of reference. These include historians, political scientists, sociologists, cultural and literary theorists. It is a significant, multi-disciplinary venue and network, and its annual conference attracts about 100 delegates from across North America, Latin America, and Europe. It also publishes The Journal of Transatlantic Studies.
Security today rooted in WWII and the Cold War
Dr. Ratti’s new book on the Cold War "Case Studies in International Security: From the Cold War to the Crisis of the New International Order", co-edited with Paolo Wulzer, makes a comparative analysis of a number of case studies that shaped security perceptions in world politics during and after the Cold War. Contributing writers address U.S. and European views of, and approaches to, the emergence and transformation of the transatlantic system during the Cold War, security discourses and practices in the Middle East, The Far East, and Latin America, and the renewal of the transatlantic relationship in the early 1990s and in the post-Cold War period.
The underlying argument is that, while the changes brought about in the structure of the international system by the end of the Cold War led to a qualitative shift in security discourses, today’s prevailing security conceptions continue to be rooted in the bargains and arrangements the U.S. and its partners negotiated at the end of World War II and renewed throughout and after the Cold War.
About Professor Luca Ratti
His research and teaching interests lie in post-World War II international history, specifically U.S.-European relations, NATO’s evolution and European security and defense policies, and international relations theory. He is particularly interested in the post-Cold War challenges for NATO, Anglo-American relations and Germany in the Cold War and after, and in the broader question of the changing nature of regional and world security. Professor Ratti's work has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Diplomacy & Statecraft, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, The Journal of Middle Eastern Geopolitics, and Mediterranean Politics. His book, A Not-so-special Relationship: The US, the UK, and German Unification (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), explores Anglo-American policy towards Germany during and at the end of the Cold War in Europe.
Dr. Ratti is available for media interviews on the following topics: The Cold War; European Security and Defense; Transatlantic Relations and NATO and its relations with Russia; Anglo-American relations; Germany; and Italian Security and Defense Policy.
He is fluent in English, Italian, German.
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[By Carla Valentine, Communications Specialist.]