July 2, 2022

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Cyber, dummy and gas. Notes for the Agenda between Italy and the United States

Fake news, Russian hacker attacks, energy and supplies in Kyiv. Italy is at a central moment in the transatlantic agenda, and Draghi’s trip to Washington was a roadmap that illustrates this. Analysis by Brian Katulis, Vice President of the Middle East Institute

It may have seemed like a small sign on the crowded American radar last week, but Visit From the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi by the president Joe Biden It represents a fixed and non-trivial point in the close relations between the two countries.

Draghi’s trip marked a pivotal juncture in the international response to Russia’s war against Ukraine — and at a time when the Biden administration is making important decisions to stay engaged in other parts of the world. as in asia, even if the war in Eastern Europe is draining resources and interest in America. Italy and the United States meet regularly at various international forums, including the Group of Seven industrialized nations and NATO – but seeing the two leaders side by side at this moment sent a fundamental signal about the value both countries place on bilateral relations.

As is known, the focus of the dialogue was the preparation for the next stage of the response to Russian aggression, a stage that will not be limited to Ukraine. While much of the international community wants to bill Russia higher for its actions, Moscow is working hard for it Division of the Transatlantic Alliance And creating cracks in the domestic politics of major countries such as Italy and the United States.

They came back to mind Draghi’s words At the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. When he noted the real risks: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused what we usually call a geopolitical paradigm shift. It strengthened the Euro-Atlantic entente, isolated Moscow, and raised troubling questions for China. Changes are still underway, but one thing is certain: they will last for a very long time. “.

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Dual power thread

The long battle with Russia is closely linked to energy security in Europe and the United States. Under Draghi’s leadership, Italy took a stronger position in the pressure campaign against Moscow than many believed. Support for a European embargo on Russian oil and support for arms shipments to Ukraine.

In recent years, as is well known, Russia has consolidated its position as the first energy supplier to Italy, and for this reason, diversification of sources is a vital task today. the Dragon I alluded to the idea To create a cartel of oil consuming countries even if there were doubts among analysts about its practical application. The closest solution would be a joint effort between Italy and the United States to lead the energy diversification mission of the transatlantic alliance with a broader group of countries without abruptly turning away from a long-term green shift and the search for sources. More environmentally friendly.

south wing

It is understood that the Euro-Atlantic community will shine a spotlight on Eastern Europe this year because of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. On the other hand, it appears that this war may continue for a long time, and this will have broader implications for energy and food security in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. The potential for new instability arising from new security challenges in these areas is real and risks giving rise to a domino effect, starting with migration flows. Countries like Italy and the United States must intervene to stop the downward spiral of the Ukrainian war in this quarter of the world. Southern Mediterranean It is a strategic geopolitical crossroads and the impact of the conflict will require closer coordination across the Atlantic with North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Today, more than ever, Rome and Washington need to put pen to paper a common approach to this region.

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Disinformation Hackers: The Digital Threat

The third interface of bilateral cooperation concerns cybersecurity and disinformation. Russian hacker attacks against Italian institutions The past week and the past few days are only the latest in a series highlighting the need to raise the level of preparedness and strengthen cooperation among NATO countries in the cyber field.

Electronic warfare is increasingly becoming an integral part of the Russian strategic arsenal as well as of other countries active on this front such as China, Iran, and North Korea. The effect of this war The international system is forcing the transatlantic alliance to constantly update its defenses and cybersecurity strategy.

An essential part of this digital challenge is devoted to political disinformation affecting Italian and American domestic politics. And it does so in a year of crucial electoral appointments: in America, the midterm elections in November and the presidential election of 2024 are in perspective, and in Italy the politics of 2023. And these are the test beds that will decide the future of both democracies: the future that appears to be Russia Determined to shape it to her advantage.

The stakes are very high in the current international situation. At this moment, the governments of both countries are led by men who firmly believe in the democratic game and in common interests and values.

Here comes another sentence that Draghi said before the Atlantic Council: “The choices facing Europeans are very simple. We can be masters of our own destiny or slaves to other people’s decisions. What makes me optimistic is knowing that we are not alone. In a moment of profound change some things remain the same: such as the relationship The strong bond between the European Union and the United States is an eternal bond that strengthens each other.” A three-year period begins with many non-trivial tests in store for these two Western Front democracies.

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