The End of Bipartisan Consensus? Italian Foreign Policy and the War in Iraq

in Italian Politics
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The military intervention in Iraq by the United States (US), supported

militarily by Great Britain and politically by a “coalition of the willing,”

which included a large number of current and future European

Union (EU) members but not Germany and France, was undoubtedly

the major foreign policy event of the year. It generated much debate

on concepts such as immediate threat, pre-emptive war, unilateralism,

and multilateralism, as well as on the question of whether the

US, as the sole superpower, has the responsibility to act as a security

provider of last resort when multilateral organizations devoted to this

task become paralyzed. The intervention divided not only the permanent

members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after

a decade of co-operation but also caused a split in the Atlantic alliance

and among EU members, probably one of the worst to have occurred

on a foreign policy issue in the history of both organizations. Finally,

it put an end—at least temporarily—to that bipartisan consensus in

Italian foreign policy, which had emerged at the end of the 1970s and

consolidated in the 1990s.