Home » 2-3/2021

2-3/2021

ATLANTIS MAGAZINE is available for iPad!

ATLANTIS MAGAZINE is available for iPad! - ATLANTIS

If you wish fully enjoy your international Magazine of geopolitics and economic competition, subscribe or download the free iPad version directly from Newsstand in AppStore!

In this issue

In this issue - ATLANTIS

 

 


Mario Boffo, Ambassador.

Gianluca Buccilli, Admiral.

Fabio Caffio, Expert in Maritime Law

Domenico Letizia. Journalist.

Eleonora Lorusso, Journalist.

Roberto Nigido, Ambassador.

Tobia Sgnaolin, Reasercher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover: Joe Biden

Cover: Joe Biden - ATLANTIS

Joe Biden, political and personal biography

Joe Biden, born November 20, 1942, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., is an American politician, Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017, and a candidate for President of the United States in the 2020 presidential election for Democrats.
Who is Joe Biden.
Biden was born into a family of Irish descent. His father sold cars and he, raised in a modest environment, cultivated his passion for politics from an early age. And in fact, he focuses all his efforts on achieving his dreams.
In 1965 he graduated in Political Science at the University of Newark, then specialized in Law obtaining a degree in Syracuse.
He’s made his first steps into the world of work as a lawyer, and that’s not uncommon in the world of American politics.
And speaking of politics, the first breakthrough came in 1972, when he was elected senator for the Delaware State Democratic Party.
Joe Biden’s rise into the political world begins. He attempts the first ascent to the White House in 1988, but is beaten in the primary. Back in the race for the 2008 presidential, then comes the turning point. The results for Biden are not exactly promising, but Obama chooses him as vice president.
Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States.
In January 2009, America began the revolutionary experience of the Obama-Biden presidency. In these years, the United States tried to recover after the recession and lightened its presence in war scenarios by proceeding with the withdrawal of US troops from different scenarios in the Middle East.
In 2012, Obama and Biden were confirmed in presidential elections and deserved a second term.

EEZ: THE ITALIAN PARADIGM

EEZ: THE ITALIAN PARADIGM - ATLANTIS

Fabio Caffio (R.A. (ret.), ITN, expert in maritime law) - CESMAR

Maintaining the good order at sea is the main task that in peacetime Navies perform on the high seas (also called international waters, they consist of all parts of the mass of saltwater surrounding the globe that do not belong to any State’s jurisdiction), under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
It is well known, however, that high seas are not the only existing maritime space beyond the Territorial Waters (TTW) which are a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles (NM) from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state, regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, and therefore including the airspace over and the seabed below, although foreign ships (military and civilian) are allowed to pass (innocent passage) through them.
The functional jurisdiction of the coastal States on the water column has in fact gradually expanded: in a first time to the 24 NM of the Contiguous Zone (CZ), within which a state can exert limited control for the purpose of preventing or punishing “infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea”, and later to 200 NM, in relation to the protection of both the fishing resources and the marine environment. The legal framework for such sovereign rights are provided by the aforementioned UNCLOS under the regime of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Concerning the Continental Shelf (CS), that is to say the submerged area where the State exercises sovereign rights for the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources and other non-living resources, its nature is quite different from the EEZ. Nevertheless, the limits of the water column of the EEZ could coincide with those of the underlying CS, unless otherwise stated by the concerned States. Worthy of mention, finally, is the fact that, in transiting trough the EEZ, foreign ships enjoy the right of freedom of navigation provided that they respect the functional rights of the coastal State.

On the question of the s.c. mobility of the Fleets – a problem that, as far as the Indian EEZ is concerned, is still in the attention of the U.S. – undoubtedly, no rule of the UNCLOS establishes limitations to warships activities in foreign EEZs.

An EEZ, therefore, is not a demilitarized zone, and within it foreign warships can carry out maritime law enforcement (MLE) activities against piracy and other international crimes in the interest of the international community, taking due account of the functional rights of the coastal States which in turn have the right to enforce their laws and regulations. So, we can say that – as far as the constabulary activities of foreign Countries are concerned – EEZs are assimilated to the high seas.
In this context, while Italy has expressed an official position by signing and ratifying UNCLOS, its legislation assigns to the Navy the function of High Sea Police, as a “surveillance service on maritime and economic activities, including fishing, subject to national jurisdiction in the areas located beyond the external limit of the territorial sea”.
This is a non-military task related to fighting the international maritime spaces threats, and as a long-standing rule, modeled on the experience of the French Navy, commanding officers of Italian warships are therefore also charged, when on the high seas, of judicial powers under the direction of the judiciary.
As a consequence, since the 1950s the Italian Navy has been engaged in this task, to protect the fishing activities of compatriots in the disputed waters of Italian jurisdiction, and two classes of naval units have been built for this specific mission (offshore patrol vessels “Costellazioni 1” and “Costellazioni 2” class), financed first with funds from the dissolved Ministry of Mercantile Marine and subsequently from the Ministry of Transport and Navigation.
For the next future, since the Italian Parliament approved on 9 June 2021 the law establishing Italian EEZ, Italian Navy’s commitment in this kind of non-military activities is going to increase, assuming two different interrelated aspects: on the one hand, the mission of applying the Italian jurisdiction on the EEZ, and, on the other, the task of ensuring the integrity of such jurisdiction in areas disputed by other States.

Hipothetical Italian EEZ (Source: Limes, 3, 2021)
In this regard, it should be remembered that Italy has already agreed with Greece the border of the EEZ by signing a pro futuro agreement in 2020 (which, as such, will be applied when the EEZ is established by both countries) adopting the same limit of the CS agreed in 1977. Other limits of the Italian CS defined in the past with Croatia, Albania and Spain could also become the borders of the Italian EEZ. Furthermore, an agreement signed by Italy and France in 2015, which has not yet entered into force, defines all the maritime borders between the two countries. On the contrary, the demarcation is not so easy with Algeria, Tunisia, Malta and Libya, as there is no common vision on this issue. Italy, however, could propose to them to negotiate, in the spirit of UNCLOS, provisional delimitation agreements.
In conclusion, both high seas and EEZs are the arena where Italian Navy performs its non-military functions in peacetime. However, other national maritime forces are competent at sea under Italian legislation such as Coast Guard (“Corpo delle Capitanerie di porto-Guardia costiera”) and Border Police (“Corpo della Guardia di Finanza“).
Actually being a branch of Italian Navy, Coast Guard operates under the Ministry of Transport and Navigation, carrying out many civil activities related to maritime security and safety, mainly the Search and Rescue (SAR) service; in addition to this Coast Guard also conducts activities in favour of other ministries for the environmental protection and the fishing control.
Operating under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Border Police is also employed by the Ministry of the Interior, with the task of ensuring public order in the maritime areas of Italian competence, mainly in the TTWs and CZ, carrying out customs and immigration controls over both people and goods entering Italy. This role is summarized by the definition of "Police of the Sea" that Italian legislation attributes to the Border Police.
In a nutshell, there is no doubt that every actor on the Italian maritime scene can operate in the national EEZ, following a modus operandi that, in accordance with the terminology of the “European Union 2014 Maritime Security Strategy” (EUMSS), could be defined as cross-sectorial approach.
This means that, properly considering the technical-operational differences existing among them, the Navy has general powers of surveillance and intervention thanks to its sea-based command and control capacity that allows them to adequately monitor vast areas of the sea, while the Coast Guard and the Border Police have the right to control specific matters.
Since the competences are different, there is no risk of an overlapping of functions among Italian maritime forces but it should be noted that it will be definitely useful to establish a cooperation mechanism aimed at facilitating a synergistic action of the three services that the Country can employ in its EEZ to protect its national interests.

 

China’s dangerous double agent in North Korea

China’s dangerous double agent in North Korea - ATLANTIS


What will the Biden administration do in the face of the dangers of a nuclear state

BIANCA LAURA STAN

A new administration in Washington faces a familiar problem: North Korea is once again testing missiles, including ballistic missiles, in violation of a UN Security Council resolution. Rather than rebuilding dead ends, the USA President Joe Biden's administration has pledged to rethink North Korea, and has already distinguished itself from its predecessor by signaling that it will consult with US allies and partners to formulate a strong response in Pyongyang which does not rule out diplomacy.

This re-orientation is welcomed. However, if the new administration really wants to focus on North Korea, it should also think about the hypothesis that has inherited about the Chinese role there. So far, Biden’s team is faithful to the long-term idea that the USA and China share a common interest for the Nuclear Disarmament of North Korea, and that the American politics should use the important Beijing’s influence on Pyongyang’s government. The US Secretary of State, during his state visit in Seoul, affirmed that "Beijing has an interest, a clear personal interest, in helping to pursue [North Korea's] denuclearization because it is a source of instability." Blinken also paid tribute to China's "critical role" and "unique relationship" with North Korea.

However, Beijing has shown for nearly three decades where its personal interest lies, and that is to maintain the status quo. China certainly does not want to see North Korea weakened and the United States strengthened on the Korean Peninsula. But he also does not want the balance to tilt so strongly towards North Korea that the United States feels compelled to strengthen its military position. China is taking a careful line to keep alive the prospect of peaceful denuclearization without provoking Pyongyang or exacerbating tensions with the United States.

If Beijing does nothing to encourage denuclearization, the United States could lose faith in diplomacy and decide instead to increase its military presence in the peninsula or even take military action. But if Beijing does too much to help the United States, North Korea could collapse and the entire peninsula could fall into the orbit of the United States. North Korea’s Chinese politics is therefore an elaborate balancing act. Trough it, Beijing tries to maintain the influence over the Kim Jong Ju’s regime, without encouraging him; participating in multilateral efforts in order to put pressure on North Korea, such as the UN sanctions program, without exposing Pyongyang to pressure which could precipitate the regime.

The Chinese balance
For better or for worse, 2020 was a year full of important changes in the Chinese strategy and politics, especially towards their neighboring countries. China did a great number of raids in the Taiwanese airspace, which has imposed trade sanctions against Australia, after that Australia supported some investigation into the origin of COVID-19, moreover, China had a fight againts India, because of a border dispute, which hadn’t seen armed conflict in decades. On the other hand, China keeps its balance role with the North Korea.

Theoretically, the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty makes the two countries allies. But in practice, the Chinese government has distanced itself from the alliance, saying that if North Korea provoked a conflict, Beijing would not have had an obligation to defend it. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry noted in 2006 that China was not an ally of North Korea and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the relationship "normal state-to-state relations".

A flurry of diplomatic activity in 2018 and 2019 gave to many the impression that the two countries intended to repair and normalize their relations. Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un first met in March 2018, marking Kim's first meeting with a world leader. Four more meetings between the two leaders followed, in May and June 2018 and January and June 2019, and official Chinese media noted that the relationship "radiated new vitality." But despite numerous exchanges of clichés (Xi sent a message to Kim stating that the traditional friendship of countries is a "precious resource"), Xi kept his distance from Kim and his regime.

The 70th anniversary of China's entry into the Korean War passed without summits on the closeness of nations. The demands of social distancing undoubtedly had something to do with the lack of a high-level meeting, but they could not explain the absence of the usual propaganda about how the two countries get along with each other. Furthermore, Xi continues to avoid referring to North Korea as an ally. After his state visit to Pyongyang in June 2019, Xi described the relationship as a "friendly cooperative relationship" and in January 2021, in a phone call with Kim, he called the bilateral relationship one of "connected friendly socialist neighbors from mountains and rivers "- in the language of the Chinese government, it is certainly not an expression of closeness and solidarity.

Then, there is the Chinese approach to manage the International efforts to curb North Korea. Here, China has continued with its strategy, trying to stop the International community from acting too harshly against the Kim’s regime. China voted in favour of all the three resolutions of the UN Security Council Resolutions on North Korea in 2017. In 2019, Beijing received praise from Donald Trump, who affirmed also that China had been helpful in the relationship with the North Korea. On May 25, 2021, Pyongyang conducted two missile tests, violating the resolutions of UN Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Beijing did not condemn them, but predictably “It calls all the interested parties to cooperate in order to keep dètent and to promote the political solution of the peninsular question through dialogue and consultation”.

Beijing has always been skeptical about the use of sanctions in oder to force North Korean compliance on the nuclear issue, expressing concern that too much pressure could lead Kim to unleash or undermine the International efforts. When the UN imposed the sanctions in 2017, China seemed ready to enforce them at the beginning. But then, Beijing behaved as she used to, collaborating with Moscow in order to loosen the sanctions. Moreover, China has violated the regulations, because it had provided to North Korea 22.730 tonnes and had helped Pyongyang export coal, worth approx 370 millions of dollars. Three months ago, the USA accused publically China of evading sanctions to help North Korea, but China denied it.

Beijing’s North Korean politics is mainly motivated by the desire to counter the American power in the Asian-Pacific region and to increase the Chinese influence in the Korean peninsula. The nuclear question provide Beijing with a pretext to ask the USA to reduce its presence and military activities in the peninsula, providing the motivation that North Korea would stop the military development if it felt less threatened.

Definitely, Beijing does not want a war in the peninsula. Such a conflict could destabilize the region and end with the creation of a unified Korea , under the American influence.
Trump’s approach and his availability to meet directly Kim have threatened Cina’s ability to triangolate between Washington and Pyongyang to ensure its own manoeuvrability. The real possibility that the USA replaced by force the North Korean regime convinced Beijing to reinforce its links with Kim, but also to exercise a real pressure on his government. But the last Trump-Xi summit, which happened in February 2019, was a failure; apparently, Trump’s approach abandoned its attention to denuclarisation of the Korean peninsula and Beijing went back to business as usual.

The choice of Biden
To set a new route on North Korea, Biden’s administration has to unbalance Beijing another time. The status quo – in which Beijing strengthens its influence on the future of the peninsula and conquers points of international image and at the same time weakens the North Korean policy of the United States – is not acceptable anymore. The USA should find their balance: a balance in which Washington makes progress in the reduction of the Korean threat, gaining in the competition with Beijing.

The multilateral diplomacy which takes a more incremental approach to denuclarization, such as stopping the current North Korean programm, will not achieve this purpose. Beijing would welcome positively such a move, becuase many Chinese thought that the Trump’s request for the complete denuclarization would have been counterproductive and that the Washington’s alienation of its allies risked spurring South Korea or Japan to develop nuclear capabilities. China sees a multilateral approach as an approach which gives it greater influence on relevant actors and can help ensure a positive outcome for Beijing.

Instead, the White House should consider pursuing a multilateral diplomacy that excludes Beijing or at least does not give China a place of honor. Such an approach would be consistent with the predilections of many of Biden's advisers, who seek a pragmatic approach that does not rely on Beijing's goodwill. China would likely react by rushing to redefine its role in managing peninsular affairs to ensure it is not left out of any deal. China could strengthen its relations with North Korea and Russia to influence politics through them as delegates. Then, the United States could join forces with European allies in response, either to counter Beijing's excessive claims in the South China Sea or to support democracies against Chinese political interference.

Greater closeness bewteen China and Nort Korea might be useful to the USA. North Korea has imposed on itself hard sanctions, which led it to close completely its boundaries in January 2020 in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Consequently, the trade of this country with China has decreased of 81%. The Chinese economical influence on North Korea has dissipated and, with this, the sanctions’ effectiveness as a coercitive tool. China could now operate to create a new leverage against North Korea, maybe through positive incentives, that could allow another tool for Biden’s administration to use. And if Beijing can not forge closer relations with Pyongyan, it could even try to ingratiate Seoul, which would be a favorable development also for Washington, because such relations could allow the USA to pursue a strong military cooperation with South Korea’s regional allies, without the fear to provoke a Chinese response.
Some Biden’s advisers, including Kurt Campbell, asked for a bolder approach.
One possibility is that Washington focuses its attention on the denuclarization of the arms control. In this scenario, the USA would accept North Korea as a de facto nuclear country and would take measures in order to increase deterrance against it, such as the strenghtening of the American military presence and the strengtening of the military cooperation with regional allies. China would have difficulties to delegitimize the American military presence in the region and it might be forced to do what it is necessary to induce denuclearization in North Korea, even at the cost of destabilizing the regime.
The new Biden’s approach to North Korea must coerce China to shift its balance carefully built towards full cooperation or an obvious obstacle. Depending how China goes, the USA can, therefore, decide if to include Beijing or exclude it from their political efforts for North Korea. But one thing is clear: conducting business as usual with Beijing damages US goals in both denuclearization and competition with China.

The greater Mediterranean changes borders: commitments and challenges

The greater Mediterranean changes borders: commitments and challenges - ATLANTIS



Italy and Europe grappling with new commitments and new challenges

Eleonora Lorusso

The crisis between Israel and Hamas, with the armed conflict which involved the Gaza Strip and much of the Israeli territory, reminded us the importance of a geopolitical balance regarding not only this geographical area, because the consequences of the facts happened in those lands have also an impact on International relations broader, concerning the USA, Europe and Russian.
By the mid-1980s, it was used the concept of Greater Middle East, referring to a definition which was born together with the one of Greater Mediterranean. But only in recent years this concept has started to have another relevance. The paternity is attribuited to the War Institute of the Italian Navy (The Strategic Concept of the Chief of Defence Staff, year 2002) and today the Naval Armed Forces clarifies the meaning: “With the expression Greater Mediterranean, we refer to a geopolitical, geostrategic and geoeconomical concept in which lies the primary National interest, which regards also the geografical stretching of the Mediterranean Sea” affirms the Vice Admiral Vincenzo Montanaro, Chief of the 3° Department of the General Staff of the Navy – maritime planning and policy. Basically, in addition to Italy, North Africa and the Balkan and Caucasian area, it also includes the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and the Central African area enclosed by the two ocean sides, until it reaches the Indo-Pakistani coasts, «adding also the Arctic, where the melting of the glaciers has opened up new scenarios - explains Montanaro - Over time, this concept has shown a tendency towards a progressive enlargement of the" geo "part, i.e. territorial, therefore we cannot exclude that its perimeter may further expand, if we think, for example, of the recent international attention towards the Indo-Pacific».

What changes if the Mediterranean widens?
This new opening of horizons necessarily leads to consequences not only at a “political” level, but also at an operational level and in terms of active involvement: «For the Navy, the greater Mediterranean is equivalent, in practice, to a priority, but not exclusive, presence of ships, embarked aircraft and submarines to protect national maritime interests. The extension of the geographical border of the Mediterranean derives from our national needs. In fact, Italy is a country with a predominantly transformation economy, therefore based on the transfer of products (the great majority of which takes place by sea) - explains the Commander of the 3rd Department of the Navy Staff - This means that Italian economic interests combined with the search for resources, lead all national stakeholders to be present - for various reasons - in this area ». Hence the need, on the part of the Italian Defense and the Navy in particular, to ensure a constant presence, to guarantee the safety of merchant traffic, international cooperation and support for the national industry.

The Italian and European fluid boundaries
It is no coincidence that one of the topics of the International Festiavl of European Geopolitics, which took place in Jesolo from the 6th to the 8th May 2021, was the fluid boundaries. As explained by the Admiral Montanaro, «We must keep in mind that the Mediterranean Sea is the Southern fluid boundaries of Europe, which is crossed by 20% of the global maritime traffic as well as 65% energy flow, to say nothing of the submarine cables which transfer communication and data flows». 95% of the internet traffic runs right on the seabed, which travels along over 1 million km of submarine cables. It is in this context of defence and National interests – even economic – in which frames the need for a new commitment and in which the Army is require to intervene. The commitment of the Navy also concernes the anti-piracy, collaborating with the EU and the Maritime Security.

How piracy is changing
As the experts know and as shown by the news, the maritime piracy is not only the subject of history books. The “modern” pirates have only changed the mode and the places of action: «in the Horn of Africa the threat of piracy has been reduced (but still needs a constant presence and control action) , on the other hand this phenomenon is encreasing in the Gulf of Guinea – as explained by the Admirer Montanaro – where the degradation of the levels of security is such that this area was classified as “the main global hotspot of piracy” by the International Maritime Bureau because of its significant expansion, that in 2020 recorded 166 maritime kidnappings, of which 104 released, that is a consequnce of the increase of over 40% of piracy attacks and incidents compared to the previous year».
«As it is possible to immagine, this situation has alarmed our shipyard and our maritime operators, leading the Government to authorize Operation Gabinia, named after the law that allowed Pompeo Magno, in the first century BC, to have the resources to counteract the pirates who infested the Mediterranean ». The Navy, precisely with Gabinia, which has seen the use of a frigate and two helicopters since March last year, has so far foiled four pirate attacks against as many merchant ships and has participated in an anti-drug operation in support of a French military unit, with the seizure of 6 tons of cocaine.

The numbers of the commitment of Italy and Europe
Currently , there are 374 women and men of the navy on the frigates Carabiniere and Rizzo, engaged in anti-piracy activities, the fromer in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean while the latter in the Gulf of Guinea and in the Atlantic Ocean. As clarified by the Chief of the 3° Department of the General Staff of the Navy «In the same area, the EU has started the Coordinated Maritime Presence iniziative in order to coordinate the assets of the member states, that today are France, Italy, Spain and Portugal and that in April conducted the quadrilateral exercise European Maritime Security 21».
The collaboration at an European level is also confirmed by the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and the European Union Maritime Security Strategy: «This is a strategic thought from which, as recently reiterated by Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, clearly shows the great importance of the maritime dimension in the global scenario». Another example is the EUNAVFOR MED Irini operation in the central Mediterranean, to verify compliance with the UN resolutions affecting Libya, together with the Atalanta Mission in the Indian Ocean, for the fight against piracy but also to provide the naval escort of the World Food Program. « In both of these, Italy is among the most proactive, holding key command posts (The Commander of Irini is Admiral Fabio Agostini, Ed) and providing air and naval assets on a regular basis». Overall today over 2,500 women and men of the Navy are in service on over 24 naval units, precisely to ensure, or compete with other countries, maritime safety as a whole. For example, Montanari said that the operations Safe Sea and Fishing Watch operations are active, «And by which we also guarantee the support to Ministry of the Interior in order to contrast the illegal immigration». In in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Navy has the aim to protect the National Energy interests, where the contention has grown at the geostrategic level, and it is important to not forget the activities of the NATO in the Black Sea, to which the Army provides its assets on a regular basis.


What if the Mediterranean extends to the Artic
As already explained, the Greater Mediterranean not only includes the basin of the “old” Mare Nostrum. For 40 years, Italy has been in Sinai, with the important contribution to the Multinational Force and Observer (MFO) with another naval group for the patrol of the Strait of Tiran and to ensure respect for peace between Egypt and Israel. From the second half of this year, military troops and vehicles could be devoted in the Straits of Hormuz, as part of a new European activity, initiated by a French initiative for the security of this obliged and crucial passage. Going out from the “Straits”, the Artic has also been an area of interest and presence for some time, with some scientific campaigns involving the sceince vessel Alliance, which the Navy shares with the Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation of NATO, the Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) based in La Spezia.

The EEZ and the dispute of the Mediterranean
Unlike the past, the National maritime interests are accessible in free spaces increasingly reduced. Taking as example the Mediterranean, today only 21% of its surface is not disputed by the 21 coastal states bordering it. This brought to what we have observed to be actual policies of territorialisation and appropriation of maritime areas. These are attitudes that can imply decisive responses through the diplomatic and political action, without however excluding the military involvement guaranteed, in the first place, by the Navy. This increased competition for the access of marine resources threatens strategic sectors for us, such as offshore energy crops and fishing. And it is within this framework that the parliamentary process of the bill to introduce an EEZ into our system fits in explains Admiral Montanaro.

It is the Military Order Code (Legislative Decree 66/2010, art. 111 and 115) to attribute to the Chief of Staff of the Navy and, in general, to the Armed Force, the supervision beyond the limit of the territorial sea, the control over the legitimate use of maritime spaces by national merchant ships, including fishing boats, support in the prevention and contrast of the traffic by sea of both migrants and illegal activities, as well as the prevention of pollution of marine waters.

Uzbekistan and the new scenarios of central Asia

Uzbekistan and the new scenarios of central Asia - ATLANTIS


Italy, one of the countries which wants to cooperate with Uzbekistan

Domenica Letizia

The recent event “Italy-Uzbekistan Business Forum”, a completely digital event, which aimed to strengthen knowledge between the two countries in order to promote the cooperation and the bilateral partnership, has allowed several industries, to civil society to the world of culture, to know in detail the reality of Uzbekistan and the current new scenarios in the Central Asia. Uzbekistan is Central Asias’s most populous country. During his power, the former President Karimov was able to keep a substantial balance in the relationship with the main protagonists of the International scene. His successor, the President Mirziyoyev has taken over the traditional principles of Uzbek foreign policy and he was able to relaunch protagonist of the country in the entire Central Asian region. The pillars of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy are the pursuit of peace and the dispute settlement through dialogue, the respect for International law, the non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, inviolability of borders, equidistance from any political and military alliance, no foreign military base on Uzbek territory. The president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev recently launched an important geo-strategic analysis initiative for the future of Central Asia and for the social and economic prospects of Tashkent. A high-level international conference dedicated to the future prospects of "Central and South Asia: regional connectivity between challenges and opportunities" was held in the Uzbek capital on 15 and 16 July 2021.
The country aims to strengthen dialogue, economic and political cooperation with neighboring countries, especially Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but the President's visits to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan also deserve extreme attention. Russia and China remain Uzbekistan's main economic partners, both in terms of trade and direct investment, but national institutions are looking with increasing interest in strengthening relations with Europe. A cooperation that extends to numerous economic, infrastructural, climatic issues and which sees a particular activism of Uzbekistan in wanting to undertake commercial synergies. The recent opening of a textile plant in Kazakhstan with the joint production of household appliances in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and joint projects to deepen cooperation on the protection, exploitation and use of water resources has generated a joint working group between the water authorities and some infrastructural realities between Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
An economic cooperation that is generating prospects for Uzbekistan which in 2019 recorded a volume of foreign direct investments of 4.2 billion dollars with an increase of 3.7 times compared to 2018. The share of investment in GDP reached 37%. The economic growth was 5,6%, the industrial production grew by 6,6% and the export 28%, gold riserve and foreign Exchange riserve increased by 2.2 billion dollars and reached 28.6 billion dollars. Italy has managed to establish great relations with the five Republics of the former Soviet Union, by promoting initiatives in sectors other than the traditional oil&gas sector and was able to give emphasis to the economic diversification, which affects the entire economy of Central Asia. Some of the topics through which Italy tries to project its influence in the region are for instance new investments in renewables in Kazakhstan, prospects for mechanization, innovation and sustainable production in agriculture and agricultural machinery in Uzbekistan, hydroelectricity in Tajikistan and new commercial dynamics in the region. In Tajikistan, in particular, the giant Webuild, formerly Salini Impregilo, is building what will be the largest dam in Central Asia: the Rogun dam. The programming and implementation of a concrete plan for economic diversification is particularly operational in Uzbekistan where the institutions aim to develop a modern food processing industry. For many decades, the "monoculture" of cotton dominated the agricultural and production system of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world and also in this sector it is intended to encourage the on-site transformation of the raw material to aggregate value and export semi-finished goods and finished products. The export of natural gas remains important, even for Italy, which together with the extraction of gold and the processing of cotton provides a significant share of foreign currency revenues.

FROM 2011 TO 2021: THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICE IN VENICE

FROM 2011 TO 2021: THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICE IN VENICE - ATLANTIS


10 years of activities for the human rights

On Tuesday 1st June, the Italian Headquarters of the Council of Europe, which is a pan-European organization started in 1949 and works in defense of the human rights, democracy and the rule of law, celebrated 10 years of activity.
In fact, on that date is the anniversary of the agreement signed by Venice and the Council of Europe with regard to culture, cultural and natural heritage, cinema and education, which opened the gates of the lagoon city to the organization. The areas of activity have been extended over time and the range of action covers the entire National territory since 2017, thanks to the conclusion of a headquarters agreement with the Italian Ministry of foreign Affairs.
In honour of that occasion, the City Council President Ermelinda Damiano made an institutional visit to the Venice office, located in the Palazzo delle Procuratie Vecchie in St. Mark’s Square, where she was greeted by Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, Ambassador of the European Union to the Council of Europe and the Director of the Office since 2015.
The choice to open an office in Venice was not random. In fact, Venice has always been crossroads of people and different cultures, the lagoon city has a long tradition of opennes and respect and it is actively involved in several activities of the Council of Europe. Venice is the Natioanal reference for the European Day of Languages, member of the Italian Network of Intercultural Cities of the Council of Europe and the city-laboratory of the Framework Convention on the Value of the Cultural Heritage (Faro Convention). It takes part to the European Route of Jewish Heritage and the European Commission for Democracy through law (Venice Commission) meets in plenary assembly four times a year, which is a prestigious International body with regard to constitutional law and celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.
The Council of Europe Office in Venice carries out numerous activities ranging from culture and cultural heritage to training on human rights and democracy. It sensitizes and informs the citizens about various questions, such as the integration of minorities, the gender equality, the active citizenship and the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Since 2013, Venice has supported Italy’s ratification process of the Faro Convention, entry into force in April 2021. The city works with several cultural associations and institutions, coordinating patrimonial walks and other events in significant places for our cultural heritage (more than 100 activities in 17 Italian regions in 2020). Since 2019, Venice coordinates the Italian Network of Faro Convention, the platform composed by Italian heritage communities, which collaborate in line with principles and criteria of the Faro Convention for the sharing of good practice.
Since 2017, the Office provides assistance to the Municipality of Venice for the realization of a new cultural journey, the European Silk Route with the aim to obtain the certification of the route from the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

International festival of European geopolitics 2021

International festival of European geopolitics 2021 - ATLANTIS


Legacy and prospects
It has been three days of intense debate over the government of the world and the challenges of the future. Three of the main topic under study was defense, health care and diplomacy. The International Festival of European Geopolitics 2021 ended on May 8, 2021 at the Vivaldi theater in Jesolo.
During this series of conference, so far unique in the Veneto region, an attempt was made to photograph the world as it was in that time, but we can say that the framework has already changed: the pandemic, which seemed to have given us a temporary respite, has returned to worry us with a new variant of the much more transmissible virus, Iran elected a new president, which perhaps could turn the table with regard to nuclear agreement with the USA, the American troops began to retire from Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has undergone a hard escalation, the G7 has struck its relationship of Atlantic Alliances and defined China as the enemy number one. On the side of geopolitical relations, as Molinari affirmed in the opening of the festival, the pandemic has been the equivalent of a conflict and “the history teaches us that when a group of nations is hit by a conflict, at the end of this conflict there is always a balance different from the original one”.
But we must not forget either that, beyond this epochal and unexpected event, there are important historical process which acts in silence and that determines the conditions of the world today. Thus, all the several studies analyzed during the festival are all extremely current, for instance the analysis of the Professor Mario Caliguri of the Intelligence in the fight between countries, but also the analysis of the General Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Elisabetta Belloni, recently promoted to head of the Italian secret services, on the inevitability of the European integrity and the Italians efforts in view of expansion, the analysis of the representatives of the armed forces on the identification of the Italian strategic interests and the analysis of the economist Michele Boldrin on the way to counter the climate change. The pandemic may have given a temporary competitive advantage to some countries, such as China, but all that matters is what it is planned in a far-sighted way behind the scene: having invested in scientific research in time, in the efficiency of the health system, in a sustainable public debt and in the modernization of their own defensive apparatus, especially regarding the space frontier.
The International Festival of European Geopolitics is already projected towards the second edition, which will be held in attendance in 2022, but it has shown its popular spirit and its stature thanks to the participation of high caliber speakers.
We wanted, as it were, to break a taboo, which has been holding our country, which is a medium-size power in a strategic geographical position and with a certain influence within the European Union, from questioning the balance of power that exists internationally and how to play with them. A lack of self-awareness which results in a limited capacity for action and vision.
In the first panel of the festival, concerning the National Diplomacy and Interest, the Ambassadors Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata and Stefano Beltrame reminded together that the multilateralism has found new life, with the change of the American administration: Biden closed the Trump’s era and is working to strengthen the traditional relationship with the European allies. Multilateralism not only deals with military alliances, but also with the cooperation of all countries on the front of health care, and the USA has returned to work with WHO, but also on the front of tackling climate change, through the COP26, which will be held this year. At the same time with the handover from Trump to Biden, we witnessed here in Italy at birth of Draghi government, sided with an Atlanticist position, which sets definitely aside the inconclusive openings of our country to economical collaborations with China.
Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, Italian office manager of Council of Europe, also confirmed what the Ambassadors said and drew an overview of the importance of several international organization to which Italy belongs, each one with their own specific mandate, but overall create a safety network which operate in order to ensure a pacific operation of the global community. In the case of the European Council - which is not a body of te European Union, in spite of the name - has attributed to itself the role of defense of human rights, so much that in 70 years has produced 220 international treaty.
This first panel found its own ideal continuation in the final panel of the Festival, which comes full circle , returning to the world of diplomacy, but focuses on the Italian role in Europe . Taking as a pretext the recent publication of the Scritti di Pietro Calamia, Elisabetta Belloni wanted to remind which is the role that Italy could occupy in Europe, not being our country a passive subject of Bruxelles’ diktat, but an active protagonist, able to speak like German and France: for instance, it can be seen in the patronage we exercise towards the Balkan States in view of their accession to the Union and in our insistence to create an embryonic form of common European debt in order to face the pandemic crisis.
The debate within the diplomatic world regarding the European integration concerns how to measure wisely small steps forward and big accelerations in order to face the achievement of Federation: nobody wants that the process stops, but neither that it bites off more than one can chew. Maurizio Melani and Roberto Nigido, Ambassadors and co-presidents of the Circle of Diplomatic Studies of Rome, agreed with Pietro Calamia's intuition in reconciling these two aspects and wanted to underline that certainly moments of crisis, like the current pandemic, are suitable to be exploited as turning points.
But it is not only on the continent that Italy must find its own space. We must not forget that we are bathed on three sides by the sea: the Mediterranean, not only as a geographical area but also as a strategic concept, must be seen in all its complexity and on this the opinion of the military institutions has highlighted contingent interests and dynamics. The challenges that arise require an extension of the perspective, for this reason the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, uses the now consolidated concept of an enlarged Mediterranean, namely a navigable body of water between the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa. Our sea is a liquid, porous, difficult to control frontier and it must faces threats, like piracy, the illegal exploitation of resources, the territorialisation of waters by the coastal states. Of course, the military aspect should not be detached from the negotiation one, as the Ambassador Casardi wanted to underline, if we want to counter the reborn conflict in the southern Mediterranean by the local and regional powers, all the more so now that it seems that the United Nations has decreased their ability to mediate. As the General Gianluca Carai explained, the Italian army is engaged in the field in those areas of Africa and the Balkans that need stabilization, for example in Niger, a commitment that translates into support and training for local security forces. The absolutely exceptional contribution of the Admiral Fabio Agostini, on the stage of the Vivaldi theater, concerned the effort for the stabilization of Libya through the IRINI mission, which started in 2020 and coordinated at European level. This European mission, in a country devastated for 10 years by a civil war that has compromised its oil production capacity, has as its main task the implementation of the arms embargo through the inspection of ships.
In addition to land and sea borders, however, in this Festival we wanted to remind that space must be considered. As Luca Capasso, who is the Chief of the Space General Office of the Defense Staff, explained us that the space was defined as a conquering domain by NATO in every respect. Services which are from space, such as satellites, are essential both for defense, which needs for command and control, and for civilian infrastructure. In the future, it will be increasingly necessary to establish international norms concerning the use of this common resource peacefully. Diplomacy must play its own role. But also: cultivating international collaboration is important both to share partial information, which are from the spacial area that each one controls, and also because the projects to be implemented, such as international spatial stations, are complex and expensive.
Space has therefore also become a business. As Mario Cospito, who is the Vice President for Institutional Relations of Avio Spa, reporte, it is estimated that the space economy has a value of 350 billion dollars: it is urgent that Europeans allocate more institutional funds to this sector, in order to not being behind others. Italy gives important contributions to the spatial industries, also through international partnership, such as with France and the USA: Avio Spa is an example of excellence and Giorgio Saccoccia, President of Italian Space Agency, reminded us that our country has a lot to offer in this sector in terms of know how.
After space, which is still a physical reality, even if we may have the idea that it is an empty desolation, it is time for the virtual world. Even the Internet and, more generally, in the dimension of the collection-production of information, the interests of the countries are at stake. The International Festival of European Geopolitics dedicated a whole panel to intelligence and cybersecurity. In fact, security, disinformation and psychological war and social control are current topics. The Professor Mario Caligiuri, of the University of Calabria, mentioned that we are in an unlimited war situation, which is also fought in the fifth dimension, the cyber one. The balance of powers between the nations are changing on the base of respective capabilities to conduct hacker attacks against the critical infrastructures of the opposites. Among other things, a geopolitical conflict between China and the USA is increasingly looming, each with its own host of giants of the network, the so called Big Tech. Francesco d’Arrigo, Director of the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies, said that there has been an exponential growth in the volume of data to be analyzed. This led to further challenges: the data present themselves unstructured and not always they are from reliable sources; despite the technological evolution , there is therefore still a need for human intelligence in order to make sense, starting from the material available and to make a correct discernment.
The Ambassador Valensise reiterated the importance of this new battleground, illustrating how intelligence and diplomacy, far from working on different plans, communicate with each other and act in synergy, given that effective synthesis is needed between informations from different sources for political decisions. The Professor Giuseppe Dentice, of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, brought as case study the Middle East, a fluid and fragmented context, in which all the States have invested a lot in the cybernetic sector, with the result that the related safety equipment are used both for internal repression and to pursue foreign policy objectives.
Even if our world is becoming more and more computerized, we still live in a natural habitat, subjected to those climate changes which are the challenges of our century. The first speaker to deal with this issue was the Professor and Economist Michele Boldrin, for whom the best recipe for an energy transition lies in a carbon tax that uniformly affects all polluting companies, in proportion to the amount of CO2 that they emit in the atmosphere. Only in this way, with an intervention in the homogenous, univocal and substantial economy, a situation, in which lobbies and government make arbitrary and impromptu decisions and the companies are forced to act in suspense, can be avoided. The important thing is to agree on a world-wide level on how expensive this carbon tax should be. The President of Confindustria Veneto preferred to talk about subsidies to companies which innovate instead of taxation, reminding that the italian companies of North-west are characterized by a high environmentally awareness
The climate changes are not only an economical question, but also a geopolitical one, as it was explained by the Ambassadors Maurizio Melani and Arduino Paniccia, President of the School of economic warfare and international competition of Venice. There are at least three angles from which the problem could be analyzed: the EU and the USA and China all three aspire to become the leader in this global process of energy transition; the Third-World countries are those countries which are mostly affected by the climate change, in terms of desertification and rising sea level; Russian, which today is one of the most important exporter of oil and gas, will suffer because of the rise of the renewable energies and this could lead this country to collapse. The sum of all these problems will turn the tables. It is not only a case that all the wars of the last 30 years took place in the Middle East, rich in oil. Moreover, we must not forget that the global warming is one of the factors which determines the migratory flows and the loss of biodiversity, which may lead us to the emergence of new pandemics.
The pandemic is another crucial area which was discussed during the Festival. Limiting ourselves to the geopolitical earthquake caused by COVID-19, we would like to report the sharable exhortation by the infectious disease specialist Matteo Bassetti: It has been an international collaboration in these cases because the virus knows no bounds. This collaboration must be materialized by the transparent sharing of pandemic data, the help of supplying the less developed health system in terms of necessary equipment and to distribute vaccines world-wide as quickly as possible. In this regard, it is important Biden’s proposal to stop temporarily the patents. In addition, Europe will have to invest more in the pharmaceutical field in the future, given the fact that a European vaccine does not exist yet. The virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco affirmed that the EU barely handled the response to the pandemic, given the fact that every country jealously kept its sovereignty in healthcare; we can maybe notice some openings in the distribution of vaccines and in the establishment of the Green Pass. However, the collaboration has to some extent been also on a global level: as illustrated by the Professor Alessandro Miani, internationals protocols have been drawn up to determine the risk of contagion, basing on the CO2 concentrations in an enclosed space. Moreover, as the ex Environment Minister Sergio Costa reminded us, we know that the disruption of an ecosystem and the loss of biodiversity can translate into new pandemics. And therefore, the environmental issue and the health one are intertwined again: not surprisingly, environmental conservation is central to the management of EU Next Generation funds.
In 2022 the second edition of the International Festival of the European Geopolitic will be held. As this year, it will be held in Jesolo and will take part speakers from the world of Diplomacy, Security and Institutions. This first attempt to keep alive the interest of geopolitics does not want to stop, but rather keeps up with the world and continues to explore it while the world itself is changing. And we know very well how much the world can change in only one year.

The covid19 pandemic will revolutionise hospitals and nursing homes

The covid19 pandemic will revolutionise hospitals and nursing homes - ATLANTIS


Changing organisation and architecture

Last year we became dramatically aware that our health has a very close relationship with architecture and the science of construction. Buildings devoted to the care of the sick as well as buildings housing people unable to provide for themselves must be designed to best manage emergency situations. Nursing homes were particularly affected by Covid19: we all remember the great number of victims that were recorded there. However, age was not the only factor involved. The living conditions of the elderly also played a role. Unlike nursing homes in other countries such as France, in Italy they do not allow for effective social distancing.
Twin rooms had a negative impact on the health of guests when the pandemic broke out. Bertrand Barut, director of a nursing home in Veneto, explains that once the first critical phase of the pandemic was over, when finding masks, Covid tests and PPE was not the main need anymore, the problem became management. There was not enough space to isolate the infected people and to separate the guests from the working staff. A prompt solution was to resort to confinement by units.
This architectural problem is not easy to solve. It was necessary to develop compartments between one floor and another, in order to organize all internal movements in such a way that they would not overlap (between people entering and people leaving, but also between the clean material going in and the dirty material going out). One of the solutions introduced in Barut’s nursing home was, for example, to create a space between one department and another, by installing curtains, to be used by the staff for dressing and decontaminating. Carving out these spaces was not easy, since walls cannot be knocked down either in a short time nor without the opinion of an expert. Another problem was that of special waste, which must be collected by certified and specialized firms and brought to incinerators within certain deadlines. But the amount was so large that the waste was accumulated beyond the limit set by the law. We should be thinking in the long term about how to increase the number of stairs, lifts, and hoists.
To renovate a building, it is required on the one hand a substantial investment and on the other the contribution of professional experts. This kind of upgrading may not be enough or feasible. Only new structures, built from scratch, can take advantage of the opportunities, and thus fully adopt the necessary criteria for the management of infectious diseases. We should bear in mind that, aside from the Covid19 pandemic, we are increasingly confronted by a growing number of hospital-acquired infections, whose patients must be placed in isolation. Because of this, the need for more space is urgent. All accommodation facilities, including mental health facilities and prisons, where gatherings are more likely, must undergo readjustments. Just as we have regulations to prevent the damages caused by earthquakes and fires, efforts are also required to regulate buildings on an epidemiological level.

On the other hand, hospitals have proved to be much better equipped than nursing homes to cope with the epidemic, although there is room for improvement. There are whole areas of research to draw inspiration from, such as urban health, which studies how to reconcile the development of cities with the health of its inhabitants, and hospitality design, which deals directly with the design of places devoted to healthcare. Stefano Capolongo, Director of the ABC Department of the Politecnico di Milano explains that the hospital is a sort of city within the city, a reflection of how the urban environment is able to respond to different requests. In other words, architecture is like the swan song, which puts together a whole mass of economic, environmental, social, and epidemiological issues into a physical space.
In the past year, hospitals, albeit in an improvised and precarious way, managed to accommodate the large number of sick people. What did not hold up was the management system. We will not have to build new hospitals, but quickly apply innovations already studied by researchers. The planning must always be done with a consideration of the future, foreseeing the epidemiological situation that will exist in 40-50 years, which is the average life span of a hospital.
On a practical level, we should look at these guiding principles.
First of all, location, which is the precondition for the functioning of a hospital. Here we are talking about both physical and digital accessibility within the infrastructural network. In large, more densely populated centres, the spread of a virus is easier. We need a sort of health belt that performs a double function: protecting cities and being easily accessible for those who live outside of it.
Second, flexibility, that is the ability of a building to structurally adapt to cope with emergencies, not only epidemics, but also earthquakes. It is better to locate such buildings in areas that allow expansion.
Third, resilience, that means hospitals must be able to function normally and continue to treat ordinary pathologies (for example chronic-degenerative diseases) even in the event of an emergency, without becoming, as did happen in some cases, Covid-only hospitals.
From an architectural point of view, different routes must be set for dirt and clean materials, for loading and unloading of goods, for staff and patients from outside. It is not certain that we will return to the old pavilion hospitals, but they will be designed in units, more easily isolated in any eventuality, to which buildings will be added, like a comb.
It will be necessary to design the units also from the plant engineering point of view (mechanical ventilation and sectorized air handling units, to avoid the transmission of viruses, use of innovative materials with special antibacterial and antiviral properties). Monitoring the quality of the air is always very important, even in the case of hospital infections, which are increasingly on the rise. It is useful to think of operating blocks that have their functional autonomy, and this is also useful for routine maintenance. In addition, it will be important to bring the plant component to most sections of the hospital, to be able to convert spaces to places to host ICU beds if necessary.
On this last critical point, namely the renewal of plant engineering, Fabio Marabese, President of SEINGIM Engineering Group, shares the same opinion. During the pandemic, it was necessary to increase the renewal of air in the rooms and this involves rethinking the arrangement of the air inlets and intakes. “Also concerning the medical gas, different needs emerged, in particular with regard to the supply of oxygen; various healthcare realities have requested an increase in flow rates per outlet much higher than the usual standard (even of the order of 400% more), having to completely reconsider the technical plants and all the main distribution structure.” The maintenance needs of infected areas have also changed, which must be matched by a re-evaluation of the location of the devices and a search for safer technologies.
The future could hold new pandemics and at that point it will be necessary to have learnt the right lessons we have taken in facing the present one, which has yet to die out. Health and disease involve architecture and our relationship with buildings.

Carabinieri in the service of the culture

Carabinieri in the service of the culture - ATLANTIS

How a Command protects the Italian artistic and cultural heritage

The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage has the purpose to protect the cultural heritage against thefts and forgeries, through prevention and investigation activities throughout Italy. It was founded in 1969 in Rome, and it is the first in the world for the number of officers.
Italy has always been conscious of the necessity to combat the illegal trade in cultural artefacts, because of its great archaeological and historical-artistic heritage. In fact, the foudation of this Carabinieri Command had happened a year before of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It urges the Member Countries to take measures against the theft and the illicit exportation. In addition, this Carabinieri Command had anticipated also the foundation of the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Environments, in 1975. Today, it counts 300 officers and 17 territorial garrisons. The operative centre is based in Rome, where it is possible to find also the Stolen Works of Art Database, which collects photos and description of 1,3 million artwork to be found.
We want to remind that Italy is the country with more UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. They are 59: many extraordinary places to preserve, monuments, hamlets, terrestrial and marine archeological area. Heritage that must be preserved and protected in order to be enhanced, through the exhibitions in museums and the opening to tourism.
This Command in the service of the culture is a reason of pride for Italy and it can export the know how model acquired to the foreign police force. In order to understand how the Command works, we met the chief in Command, Lieutenant Colonel Valerio Marra.
“The control activity - says Marra -is to keep monitoring the product markets, both physical (shops and crafts fairs) and virtual (online trading platforms). The law enforcement analyse and compare the pictures of the objects in these markets with the pictures in the Stolen Works of Art database, in order to find a possibile correspondence. In this case, the officers work together with the recognition software. In the case of a match, a measure of seizure is required from the juridical activity”.
In addition, there is the monitoring activities. “Taking for example the important control work in the archaeological areas, of which our country is rich, mainly in the central-southern Italy. Unfortunately, these areas are victims of illegal excavations (not authorized by Ministry for Cultural Assets and Environments) led by grave robbers, who sell these artefact to the black market, also to foreign buyer”.
However, the grave robbers are just the first link in the long chain of the organized crime, with fences and couriers, coordinated by the top. The Lieutenant Colonel Valerio Marra told us about the Operazione Achei in 2019. “It ended with the arrest of 23 people for criminal conspiracy - explains Marra - aimed to the taking possession, fencing and illicti exportation of cultural goods, aggravated by the transnationality of the offence”. In this way, it was possibile to individuate and dismantle a criminal organization which stole archaeological remains from Calabrian archaeological sites, in province of Kroton, in order to export them abroad. The investigate activity was conducted by the collaboration of Carabinieri, the Public Prosecutor's office of Kroton, Europol and Eurojust and the foreign police forces (Serbian, French, German, Spanish and English). The succes is due to the fact that the riads and the arrests happened in only a day in all the countires involved, in a real action day. It was difficult to obtain because of the diversity of the current legislation, but strategically successfull. Moreover, the Italian legislation in this sector is extremely detailed to define all the circumstance of the crime, for this reason, our juridiciary is well-informed.
On the other hand, the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage works also for the localization of artwork in the foreign museums, mainly Americans, which in reality belong to the Italian heritage. The aim is, therefore, to reclaim and repatriate these goods, but before it is necessary to demonstrate the real origin and in order to do this, agreements with the museum in question and the Agency of Customs are required. In order to verify the regularity of the transaction, it is asked to the local authority how the transport and the purchase of the good happened. If the juridical activity is not enough to obtain the return, the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Environments and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs start their work through diplomatic channels.
“The technological development in recent decades - ends Commander Valerio Marra - has helped the Country, the police forces and the judiciary in order to protect the cultural heritage, but at the same time it helps also the criminals to steal the artefacts. Metal detectors, drones, digital databases, recognition software, surveillance cameras, used both to monitor the area of interest but also to collect evidence to take to court. For Carabinieri, these technologies are important resources”.
Fortunately, the risks have come down in recent times. The illegal excavations have decreased, but not zeroed, thanks to a qualified control activity. According to the data provided by the Command, in the field of antiques, the thefts are decreased from the 345 units in 2012 to the 287 units in 2020, a trend which, however, was also due to the movement restrictions imposed in lockdown. Another good new: half a million of goods were recovered. Today the places most exposed to theft are churches, because they are open to the public and with many furnishings easily to transport. For this reason the Carabinieri Command has developed a collaboration with the Italian Episcopal Conference, aimed at cataloguing and safeguarding of ecclesiastical goods, which are legally inalienable because exclusive property of the Curch.
With the hope that the negative trend of the last year could continue, it is fair to remind the importance of the work of all those which operate behind the scenes in order to protect the Italian excellence, the Cultural Heritage, which makes Italy one of the most loved countries in the world.

Show me a map and I will explain to you this country

Show me a map and I will explain to you this country - ATLANTIS

Tim Marshall has published his new essay titled “The power of geography”

Knowing how to read a geographic map is one of the essential tools to learn about the world. Every country is enormously affected by the fate that the geology decided for them. We should start from here to learn about what worries the governments and how they are preparing themselves for the new challenges ahead.
Tim Marshall, who had already published in 2015 his best seller “Prisioners of Geography”, keeps telling how, despite the transports and the forms of communication have been made easier by technologies and depite the fact that our economy is developing into a post-industrial form, it is not true that geography does not influence the political decisions of a country. Mountains, deserts, watercourses remain unwanted obstacles or sought-after strategic points. The physical reality of the territory in which we live, even if we, people of the 21st century, who live far from nature, tend to understimate it, it is studied carefully by scientists, soldiers and decision makers, as it has always been done. The aim is to obtain competitive advantages. After all, people continue to live on agricolture, water, sea access, mines, forest and natural obstacles within which to shelter from enemies. The control of a strait, the navigability of a river and the fertility of a soil greatly condition the choices of the leaders of a nation.
The British journalist accompanies us in this ideal sequel, “the power of geography” published in 2021, through the ten geographical areas, which he considers fundamental to understand how geopolitics will evolve in the near feature. It is surprising that he compares the former empires of Europe, such as the United Kingdom and Spain, which, by a profane point of view, seem to have nothing more to say, except continuing its decadence, to the most vital area of the word, namely those that promise to deliver the most interesting developments, such as Ethiopia and Turkey.
From the geographical analysis emerge that exist some constants almost universally. For instance, every country have to cope with an enequal concentration of the population inside the territory and to ensure that an effective internal communication network is built. Or, another example is verifiable that wherever there are geographical barriers, which constitute a natural defense wall, there is the risk for the barriers to bring to commercial isolation.
As Marshall himself wrote in the introduction of his essay, after the fall of the Soviet Empire, it also began to crumble the unipolar hegemony of the United States and the world is going back to being what it was for most of its history, namely a kaleidoscope of small and medium-sized regional powers that try to trip over themselves or to establish temporary alliances. Therefore, there are different areas of the world to monitor.
It is innovative the focus on Africa, a rising continent. There are two main characters: Ethiopia, grappling with potential water warfare with Egypt in the construction of a dam on the Nile; and Sahel, which is a region battered by terrorism, mining exploitation, instability of local governments, the impending desertification and human trafficking.
The final chapter, which is about the frontier of the space, is very fascinating. The nations are behaving in this field like during the great geographical explorations of the XVI century, alternating competition (a lot) and collaboration (a few). It is a race to be the first to grab the strategic points of space orbit most useful for placing satellites and being the first to colonize the lunar soil for the mining exploitation.
Maybe, the only flaw of this essay is that of it limits itself to dealing with a number of ten countries. The editorial reasons of this choice are completely comprehensible, however, they have forced the author to leave out the two question marks of the century: Russian and China, continually evoked in the books as feared adversaries. In fact, it is not clear if these two countries will be able to survive the way we know them now, or if they will be transformed by demographics, economy and tug-of-war on the verge of the war. A punctual analysis of their history and their geographical conformation would have thrown some more light.
Tim Marshall reminds us how even in today’s Europe, despite being pacified for many decades, the fear of being invaded by a foreign nation continues to be a reason not to give up land, terrestrail or sea. Just think of the way in which Spain and England oppose themselves to the attempate succession of Catalonia and Scotland, but also of the resoluteness with which Greece keeps the neo-Ottoman ambitions of the Turkey away from its territorial waters. There are still some military conflicts in the old world. On the other hand, the Middle East is characterized by a condition of Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Australia is focused on efforts to contain Chinese expansionism in the South Pacific. Finally, Africa is still dependent of dynamics of foreign powers, both European countries and other conquerors such as Russian, China and other southern powers.
“The power of geography” focuses on the crucial areas of geopolitical scenario, strarting with the morphology of the territories, without ever falling into that bad science, called geographical determinism. Using a simple and popular style, Tim Marshall affirms that how the natural elements will always be a predictor of historical trajectories, but especially the basis of reasoning of every good strategist.