I do not think nuclear weapons
are the main devil
Our Institute has been engaged in the non-proliferation debate since the signing of the NPT by the Italian government, and has published a number of researches on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and on various aspects of the nuclear strategy and deterrence, with particular emphasis on Europe (for instance, on the nuclear debate inside the Atlantic Alliance, on the American “tactical” nuclear weapons in Europe, etc.). Nuclear proliferation has been studied as one of the aspects of the evolving global governance, when we have analyzed the performances of G-7/8 and from a juridical perspective, considering the evolutions of International Humanitarian Law.As a specialist of European strategic issues, what positions should Europe defend at the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference?
I favor the perspective of a progressive elimination of all national nuclear arsenals, but I do not think that nuclear weapons are the only, nor the main, devil. I am increasingly worried by the evolution of war as a kind of permanent low/medium level warfare, mixing together a large number of ingredients, domestic as well as international, military, para-military and civilian, using conventional and unconventional technologies. This kind of warfare could reach the nuclear threshold, requiring new deterrence approaches and possibly new operational strategies. I doubt that the Review Conference will be able to confront these issues. Probably the best approach should be one of relatively low expectations, concentrating on a couple of issues like the promotion (in a very distant future?) of a Regional Middle East Nuclear Free Area, and on the internationalization of the production and storage of enriched Uranium.The geographical positioning of Italy makes of ballistic missiles a key issue. What is the Italian approach to this matter?
The missile threat from others than Russia is very low and does not justify great anti-missile expenditures. There is of course an industrial and technological interest to pursue these programs, as well as the intention of maintaining the unity of purpose among the Atlantic Allies. Italy is officially in favor of developing anti-missile defenses, possibly using European technologies and products. However I am at loss to understand how do we think to pay for them, unless is a very limited program (just good to intercept ballistic Iranian missiles): this we may possibly afford, but the question will remain, if there are other better ways to spend that money.
Interview conducted by Laetitia Sanchez Incera
Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), Paris