NATO's Mediterranean initiative : challenges and opportunities

by Jerrold D. Green

The increasing prominence of NATO's Mediterranean initiative suggests a greater degree of unity and coherence than actually exists. It is not at all certain that the goal of the dialogue should be the promotion of regional security premised primarily on broad-based military and strategic cooperation--in fact, security has a different meaning for each state. Improved ties between northern and southern Europe are undermined by uncertainty, mutual animosity, and suspicion. Southern European NATO states are afraid and uncertain about their neighbors to the south--concerned over the influx of immigrants from North Africa, the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, and an increase in drug trafficking. For the initiative to succeed, the definition of security must be acceptable to all actors; Arab-Israeli relations must improve; Turkey's uncertain path must be taken into account; Europe must develop a consistent position; and the United States must be involved in some fashion.

Originally published in: Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI), Memoranda 8, The Fourth Castelgandolfo Colloquium on Atlantic Affairs, Castelgandolfo (Rome), June 7-8, 1996, pp. 49-54.

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