Italys Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century: The New Assertiveness of an Aspiring Middle Power, edited by Giampiero Giacomello and Bertjan Verbeek, shows how changes in Italys international and domestic environment since the early 1990s have affected Italys foreign policy and raised its aspiration to become, and be treated as, a middle power. The contributors theoretically engage with both rationalist and constructivist accounts of middle power behavior. They reveal that the end of the Cold War, the advent of globalization, and the increase in institutionalized regional cooperation have increased Italys freedom to maneuver (by reducing its dependence on the United States) while simultaneously causing Italys policy freedom to decrease as a result of delegation of policy competencies to the EU and the need for cooperation in a globalized world.
Domestic changes, notably the transition from the First to the Second Republic and the transformation of political leadership in Italy under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have altered the specific way domestic politics is played out in foreign policy. Rather than adopting the more common focus on Italys bilateral relations with other counties or regions,Italys Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century centers on actors, issues, and policy instruments in vital areas of Italys foreign. In addition, it discusses the search for Italys position in global affairs and emphasizes the importance of leadership styles, domestic political agendas, and party rhetoric in determining Italys foreign policy. As Giacomello and Verbeeks volume demonstrates, being consistent with such strategic prescription has always been a problematic undertaking for various Italian governments.show more