Convegno Sisp 2017

Paper Room

Section 8. Relazioni internazionali (International Relations)

Coordinators: Fulvio Attinà (, Vittorio Emanuele Parsi (

Panel 8.1 Russia vs United States? Disentangling International and Domestic Dimensions of a Renewed Competition (I)

Chairs: Marco Cilento, Mara Morini, Gabriele Natalizia

Russkiy mir’ towards an apolar International Security Complex
Renata Gravina (
Abstract Over-fifteen-year of Putinism sketches the re-affirmation of the ‘Great Russia’s idea’. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the collapse of the USSR as a ‘catastrophe’, responding to the national request of bridging a vacuum of identity pained by Russians through a reformulation of Russia's presence in the global context. The case studies of conflicts in Syria and Ukraine mark a different competition within International Relations between Us and Russia and their regional security complex’s attitude. Putin denounced the US continuance of the rule of the gun strategy on Syria, whereas in Ukraine condemned the prosecution of the 2004-2014 decade, begun from the Orange Revolution and ended up with the EuroMaidan advent. The centenary of the Russian revolutions is stressed by an interpretation of the concept of ‘subverting’, connected both to the role of the United States in the colored revolutions and in the Arab Springs. Sergei Lavrov declared that a process of a sort of Global Revolutionary International is underway, aiming to overthrow Russian ‘sovereign democracy', the new Vladimir Putin's philosophy. Post-Soviet Russia wants to become the "center of gravity" of the entire Eurasia from the Baltic to the Pacific, in line with Putin pragmatism and mercantilism; nevertheless it is not prone to renounce to an offensive zero-sum hard power towards US, according to the former Foreign Minister Igov Ivanov’s lines ‘mimesis, rollback and invention’. The 21st century, considered the Century of ideology, is thus interpreted in its 'apolar' sense as a game of prestige within which economic, cultural and social factors come into play. To this, Russia responds with a renewed tenacity. A methodology that could get such a prestige conflict -beyond the ‘Wesfalian aporia’, in accordance with Carl Schmitt lines which establish a normality deriving from a differentiation act- seems to be the regional iconography category of Jean Gottmann, which analyzes the alternation between breaking factors and dynamic factors, to finally explain ‘The Gordian Knot’ or “changes in the geographical and political landscape of the world”.

Tentativi rivoluzionari nell’area post-sovietica: l’importanza delle variabili strategiche e del fattore internazionale
Claudio Foliti (
Abstract Dell’importanza delle variabili strategiche nei processi di democratizzazione, uno dei primi studiosi ad occuparsene fu, nel 2002, Michael McFaul, nel celebre articolo “The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship”. Attraverso la sua disamina dei processi di transizione del mondo post-comunista e post-sovietico, dimostrò che era possibile conciliare la ricerca di taglio comparativo con gli studi areali e, soprattutto, senza sconfessare gli assunti di quelli che lui chiamava gli “analisti della terza ondata”, seppe proporre un modello di democratizzazione che non fosse alternativo rispetto a quello elaborato tra gli anni Settanta ed Ottanta, ma specifico del mondo post-sovietico. McFaul di fatto superava la dicotomia tra attore e struttura nel dibattito sulla democratizzazione, rileggendo l’impatto di entrambi sotto una nuova lente di ingrandimento, quella delle variabili strategiche. Negli anni a seguire, questa nuova modalità di studio ha trovato spazi di applicazione sempre più fertili e ampi, soprattutto in relazione a quei Paesi interessati da movimenti di tipo rivoluzionario, come nei casi delle Rivoluzioni colorate (Way, 2008) e delle Primavere Arabe (Brownlee, Masoud, Reynolds, 2013). Proprio a partire dai Paesi post-sovietici, l’analisi si focalizzerà sui seguenti elementi: 1. sull’influenza delle variabili di tipo strategico (in particolare, il peso delle élites e delle contro-élites e l’influenza degli attori internazionali) sull’esito delle sollevazioni popolari nei Paesi post-sovietici (Ucraina, Georgia, Kirghizistan, Azerbaigian, Armenia, Bielorussia); 2. sul mancato accrescimento delle performance di procedura o di risultato (Huntington, 1991), anche laddove si sia verificato un cambiamento dell’élite di governo; 3. sull’importanza del fattore internazionale nell’influenzare, direttamente o indirettamente, le dinamiche della politica interna, fino a produrre nuovi clevage nel sistema politico e di partito di alcuni dei Paesi presi in esame, fratture che sono state strumentalmente amplificate, indistintamente da élite e contro-élite, nella partita per la conquista del potere.

The cultural framework of Eurasia and his effects in the Russian foreign policy
Andrea Carteny (
Abstract The concept of Eurasia rised up in the Russian history during the 20th century, firstly with the original Eurasianism of Prague school in the intebellic period, with many cultural and geographic element concerning the Eurasia identity. This cultural and ideological context, after the historiographical paradigm rediscovered by Lev Gumiliev in the last decade of Soviet Union, lives a revival with Aleksandr Dugin and the New Eurasianism, as the main paradigm for Russia in the new world order, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. The paper aims to articulate in a wider approach many differents elements related to the concept of Eurasia, not only in the view of Neo-Eurasianists but even with recalls to the original Eurasian theories, and his reception in the international debate about the role of Post-Socialist Russia and his foreign policy..

Panel 8.1 Russia vs United States? Disentangling International and Domestic Dimensions of a Renewed Competition (II)

Chairs: Marco Cilento, Mara Morini, Gabriele Natalizia

Discussants: Marco Cilento

Piero De Luca (
Abstract One of the core reasons that have made NATO the most successful security alliance in recent history is its ability to adapt to a changed political environment, updating the Atlantic Alliance’s strategic foundations in doing so. Contrary to commercial enterprises, which are constantly reassessing their market strategies, new NATO strategies are drafted only at long intervals. In the Alliance’s 70-year history only seven such documents, traditionally entitled “Strategic Concepts” have been issued: in 1950, 1952, 1957, 1967, 1991, 1999 and, most recently, in 2010. The first four Concepts had a strong military focus, were classified secret and formulated by NATO’s military arm, the Military Committee (MC). The three strategies that have been drafted since the end of the Cold War are openly accessibile and were formulated by the Alliance’s political arm, although each of them also incorporates secret additional military documents. The 2010 Strategic Concept defines cooperative security through partnerships as one of the Alliance’s core tasks, even though numerous partnerships within Europe, with Mediterranean countries or the Gulf states had existed long before. NATO strategies thus always also serve to assess the Alliance’s current status and to document existing procedures. It was naturally marked by the events that had occurred before and during the drafting process. Russia was still considered a partner of NATO, even though the relationship with Moscow was clearly strained after the Russo-Georgian War in 2008. This was reflected in the positions within the Alliance: while members from Eastern Europe took a critical stance on Russia, the majority stuck to the idea of a common European security order that included Russia. Since 2014, the security situation in Europe has changed substantially. The European peace order that was established together with Russia after the end of the East-West conflict has ceased to exist: it has fallen prey to Russia’s aggression in Eastern Europe, which culminated in the Russian annexation of Crimea. The paper will aim to examine the current Strategic Concept (adopted at the 2010 Lisbon Summit) considering the changes in the security environment and analyzing the NATO-Russia relations.

Nadir of a Relationship--From the \"New Cold War\" Global Threat to a New Russia Policy for America
Marco Provvidera (
Abstract The 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union coincides with such a downspin of U.S.-Russia relations that we should look back to the early 1980s for a comparable crisis, and associate dangers. From Gen. Gelasimov famed “hybrid war” theory to the suspected sponsoring of a global cyber-warfare and to overt violations of international law (Crimea annexation), there is little doubt, among geopolitics experts and observers, that President Putin’s worldview, and policy posture, is charting a collision course with the institutions, organizations, pillars and values that have been forging the “international liberal order” in the past seventy years. It is also doubtless that the traditional U.S. approach of “containment and détente” should be upgraded to devising new balanced policies combining deterrence with identifying avenues of engagement, in order to prevent an escalation which may prove to be all-unsustainable for international peace and security. Of all the U.S. new administration’s numerous challenges, this appears to be the most daunting one. This paper, based on the best contributions currently available from specialized think-tanks and both analysts and policy-makers, will attempt to circumscribe the main areas of bi-lateral crisis—Russian comeback to the Near East, influence operations in the wide open digital information space, Russia-NATO tensions, and, most notably, the enormous risks connected with a possibly renewed nuclear proliferation—while analyzing the development of Russian motivations, and their historical foundations, as to identifying avenues to possible “elevation” of the bi-lateral relation even in the currently fragmented geopolitical context.

Revolution in Military Affairs and Information Technology in the US and in the Russian Federation: the difficult relationship between the hardware and software elements of military power
Federica Argurio (
Abstract The renewed competition between Russia and the United States entails a dimension linked to the theoretical hypothesis of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), claiming the relevance of IT for new military doctrines, strategies, tactics and technologies for warfare. The revolution in military affairs traditionally began in Russia in the early 1980s, then migrated to the United States with the Bush administration applying for "defence transformation". The Iraqi wars, in 1991 and 2003, displayed particular features of RMA and U.S. weapons development and served as a demonstration of the "state of the art" of military weaponry, command and control, and strategy. The Obama administration solemnly renounces to the unilateralist approach that characterized the Bush years and today, the Trump administration criticizes the outgoing effort, strengthening strategic policymaking at the highest level. On the other hand, Putin revisionism policy benefited from the resources of the RMA over the years often reccurring to a free rider effect of the RMA in the International Community. The pursued objective of the paper is to consider the incidence of cyber security in RMA for the US and the Russian Federation, in particular the role played in the new competition of XXI century. The innovative impact of IT on RMA is determined by the nature and the structural features of IT. Both the hardware component and the software elements will be considered, investigating the kind of match between them. While discussing the relationship between hardware and software elements of military power, the difficulty in this relationship lies in understanding the methodological approach that provides a higher payoff. In other words, when building a payoff matrix with the variables “RMA” and “IT” and as actions “Hardware” and “Software” on the RMA side, and IT “offensive” and “defensive”, one can reason on the possible outcomes. All the combinations will be analysed and studied focusing on the United States and the Russian Federation policy-making in the twenty-first century. Before deriving the payoff matrix of this game, it is important to understand the meanings assigned to the actions.

United States Antipiracy Policies: Between Military Missions and Private Sector Responsabilization
Stefano Ruzza (, Eugenio Cusumano (
Abstract This paper analyses the antipiracy policies introduced by the United States (US) in the face of the substantial resurgence of piracy occurring in the first decade of the 21st century, with a specific focus on the wide Gulf of Aden region. The analysis assesses how much the US is able and willing to defend the freedom of the seas. The main conclusion is that, thanks to burden sharing, regime institutionalization (including China and Russia) and private sector engagement, the US has been capable of providing such a protection at limited cost. In the frame of the theory of hegemonic stability, this means that the US has been able to contain overstretching, while still delivering a global common good benefitting also other global actors like Russia.

Panel 8.2 “Political parties and Foreign Policy. Theories, approaches, and empirical research in the field of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA)”

Chairs: Giampiero Cama, Fabrizio Coticchia

Discussants: Fabrizio Coticchia

Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy: the case of Islamic Republic of Iran
Giampiero Cama (, Pejman Abdolmohammadi (
Abstract L’Iran rappresenta un buon esempio di come una prospettiva di analisi che parte dalla politica interna di un paese per comprenderne, almeno in parte, la sua politica estera possa essere utile per comprendere l’evoluzione politica del sistema internazionale. Altri casi in Medio Oriente si prestano a questo approccio teorico e metodologico, si pensi ai casi della Turchia, della Siria e dell’Egitto. Nel caso dell’Iran l’importanza dei fattori interni si è già mostrata in modo clamoroso ed evidente con la rivoluzione Khomeinista del 1979. Con l’avvento del nuovo regime, e in un contesto di pressioni sistemiche invariato, il paese cambiò radicalmente sistema di alleanze e obiettivi strategici, voltando le spalle al campo occidentale e stringendo legami con le potenze sino ad allora rivali e ostili. Ma l’importanza delle dinamiche interne non si limita ad avvenimenti di portata storica, quali una rivoluzione e un cambio di regime. Dopo la sua stabilizzazione, la Repubblica Islamica, anche se a uno sguardo superficiale appare monolitica, è attraversata da lotte di potere tra gruppi sociali e politici di diverso orientamento sia sui temi di politica interna, sia sulle questioni internazionali. Lobby, pezzi di apparato statale e fazioni del clero di dividono e coalizzano in modo mutevole per dare vita a schieramenti politici che si contrappongono, dando vita a un quadro politico vivace e in continuo fermento. Uno dei temi su cui i vari schieramenti si confrontano talvolta aspramente, è quello delle alleanze internazionali e del rapporto con l’Occidente, in particolare gli USA. Le elezioni presidenziali costituiscono uno dei momenti cruciali di questo confronto e rappresentano un passaggio che può definire gli equilibri di potere in una determinata fase politica. Ci sembra quindi interessante, come intendiamo fare, sviluppare un’analisi delle posizioni delle principali fazioni politiche che stanno animando attualmente il processo politico del paese sui principali temi di politica estera (a cominciare dalla questione nucleare), mettendole in rapporto alle scelte più recenti e agli scenari ipotizzabili per il futuro.

Parties Nowhere, Parties Everywhere: The Missing Link in Foreign Policy Analysis
Valerio Vignoli (
Abstract Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) was established in the United States between the 50s and the 60s as a sub-discipline of International Relations (IR). Nevertheless, it substantially distinguishes itself from IR due to its attempt to unpack the “blackbox” of the state, focusing on decision-making to explain behaviour (Hudson 2005). Originally FPA scholars have mainly devoted their attention on cognitive and psychological elements affecting national leaders as well as on the role of the bureaucracies and organizations around them (Jervis 1976; Allison and Zelikow 1971). However, in the recent years, also thanks to a limited but theoretically influential expansion in Europe, this discipline has started to broaden its perspective to the study of institutional and non-institutional domestic factors such as coalition politics, parliaments and public opinion (Kaarbo and Beasley 2008; Raunio and Wagner 2017; Chan and Safran 2006). Within this comprehensive picture, the absence of an adequate space for a conceptualization of the role of political parties is regrettably surprising. In fact, as Amon and Aran (2016) argue, parties “can be seen as the key site for a number of activities attributed in FPA to domestic sources of foreign policy”. For instance, they can form a coalition and have the power to make it collapse; in opposition they might enable or nullify parliamentary veto on government’s policies; they are supposed to reflect public opinion’s instances and advance them in the institutions. But how should we theoretically conceptualize and empirically demonstrate parties’ direct and indirect influence on foreign policy? The aim of this paper, that is supposed to be the starting point of a PhD dissertation on the issue, consists exactly in outlining possible strategies to provide an answer to this fundamental question. In order to achieve it, I will initially outline a suitable theoretical framework, relying on the latest developments in Role Theory (Cantir & Kaarbo 2012) and trying to bridge the overestimated gap between Constructivism and Neo-classical realism. Subsequently, I will describe which kind of data could be relevant for such a research and delineate a couple of promising qualitative methodologies to employ them, namely process tracing and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). Finally, I will mention a few recent interesting case-studies in the Western European context that, in my opinion, deserve a deeper investigation.

The French Socialist Party (PS) and the French-Algerian relation (1971-1991): a case study of party diplomacy
Louis-Simon Boileau (
Abstract Main empirical studies on political parties in foreign policy focus on parliamentary regimes and coalition cabinets, analyzing political parties as domestic sources of foreign policy (Rathbun 2004; Kaarbo 2016; Joly et Dandoy 2016). Another corpus of literature treats the transnationalization of political parties through International Organization like the Socialist International, and at the EU level through transnational political parties (Devin 1993; Delwitt 1995; De Waele 2002 ; Hanley 2007). In this presentation, I consider a political party as a non-state actor in a "semi-presidential regime" (Duverger, 1970), in which foreign policy tends to be centralized in the President’s office. The Legislative branch and political parties have been mainly considered as marginal in the French foreign policy making process. I emphasise the key role played by the French Socialist Party (PS) in the definition of French foreign policy toward Algeria in the 1970’s and the 1980’s. France-Algeria relation has evolved from a conflictual relationship in a postcolonial context, to a phase of diplomatic warming and cooperation until the beginning of the Algerian civil war (1991). I demonstrate how the PS has adapted its strategy, from an autonomous parallel diplomacy when the PS was the main opposition party in the 1970’s, to a quasi-parastatal agency after the 1981 election of François Mitterrand, serving the interests of the French diplomacy and trying to influence the agenda. Three ideal types of party diplomacy can be constructed: the « competitor » function, the « relay » function and the « spur » function. The timeframe of twenty years allows us to understand the evolution of a new political structure created in 1971, its internal organization and its reconfiguration from opposition to leading party ten years after. The determinants of party autonomy and how party links domestic and foreign politics are the resultant of a multiple factors’ combination: convergence of ideology and “worldview” shared by French socialists and Algerian political leaders at that time, the sociology of a new emerging generation of political élites, the specific role of Mitterrand’s leadership and the French domestic context of competition between socialist, communist and gaullist political forces. This study is based on Socialist Party’s archives located in the Jean Jaurès Foundation, and interviews of former party leaders. Keywords: party diplomacy, French Socialist party, Algeria,

Panel 8.3 UN Peacekeeping and New Challenges: Internal and External Challenges

Chairs: Vincenzo Bove, Andrea Ruggeri

Discussants: Andrea Ruggeri, Jessica Di Salvatore

Peace at home? UN Peacekeeping Operations, Refugees and Returned Refugees
Stefano Costalli (, Andrea Ruggeri (
Abstract The role of peacekeeping as conflict resolution tool has been tested and evaluated by several scholars. Peacekeeping operations increase the likelihood of conflict ending and limit the killings. However, this research agenda has focused mainly on “negative peace”, absence of violence, without studying peacekeeping implications on several aspects of “positive peace”. This paper aims to study one important aspect of “positive peace”: when citizens stop fleeing a country and return back home. Does UN peacekeeping affect refugees’ flows? And does the presence and size of peace operation increase the number of returnees? This paper empirically studies whether the deployment of UN peacekeeping operation affect refuges numbers, out-flows, from countries that experience conflicts, and the returns, in-flows. Using UNHR data from 1990 to 2014 we find that UN mission size and not just mere deployment diminishes refugees and increases returned refugees.

Barefoot soldiers and skiing nations? Incoherence and coping strategies in the UN mission in Mali
Chiara Ruffa (
Abstract Pursuing coherence is a core objective in most military interventions and the lack thereof is often mentioned when criticizing them. To further the debate on peace operations, this project explores incoherence and its effects at the individual level among peacekeepers deployed within the ongoing UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA. We draw upon a large empirical dataset containing more than 120 semi-structured interviews, observations on the ground and participation in pre-deployment exercises as well as evaluation sessions. Building on De Coning and Friis, we distinguish among four levels of coherence: intra-agency (i.e. coherence within an individual organization), inter-agency (coherence between different organizations), whole-of-government (coherence between different government agencies of a country) and internal-external (coherence between the host nation and international actors). The analysis reveals a striking level of incoherence at each of the levels. Our empirical analysis allows to inductively trace the consequences of incoherence by studying what we call 'the coping strategies' put in place by members involved in the operation. We distinguish between two kinds of coping strategies. First, we focus on ‘stove-piping’, which entailed a strengthened narrow focus. Second, we focus on meaning-making mechanisms, understood as the daily practice of making sense of such incoherence. With this project, we hope to advance ongoing debates on the conduct of peace operations, by connecting the debate on the composition of peace operations with existing scholarship on coping strategies in military sociology.

Expanding the Peacekeeping Agenda: The Blue Helmets for Culture’s Initiative
Paolo Foradori (
Abstract World cultural heritage is under systemic attack on several crisis fronts, most notably in Mesopotamia, where Daesh is practicing a deliberate and highly sophisticated strategy of ‘cultural cleansing’. Responding to Daesh’s iconoclastic fury, in November 2015 the UNESCO 38th General Conference passed a resolution to establish – adopting an effective slogan often used by both media and diplomats – the ‘Blue Helmets for Culture’. As a direct contribution to the actualization of the resolution, UNESCO and the Italian Government signed an agreement on 16 February 2016 in Rome for the creation of the first task force, named ‘United4Heritage’. While the process of implementing and defining the operational aspects of the Blue Helmets for Culture’s initiative is underway, this paper provides an initial assessment of the politico-military significance of ‘cultural peacekeeping’ (CPK) as a new task for international peace operations, considering both its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. On the basis of the Italian case study, and grounded in the literature on heritage studies, peacekeeping, terrorism and armed violence, the analysis supports the inclusion of a cultural component in the mandates of peacekeeping interventions, even if we must be wary of the inherent difficulties and risk of unintended consequences. These are not to be underestimated, at the risk not only of failing to achieve the mission’s objectives but also of further deteriorating security on the ground and beyond. It follows that CPK should not be mistaken, nor presented to the public, as a minor, light, and inexpensive operation. Quite to the contrary, it is an extremely complex and politically very sensitive politico-military major exercise that needs careful planning and adequate capabilities. Misunderstanding or mismanaging CPK can severely backfire. It is a ‘double-edged weapon’ that must be handled cautiously to avoid the risk of the enemy manipulating it to its own advantage.

Radio for peace: UN broadcasting and violence against civilians
Jessica Di Salvatore (
Abstract Research suggests that mass media play an important role in encouraging collective action. The impact of media has also potential to shape conflict dynamics. In particular, there is some evidence that radio was used in the Rwandan conflict to mobilize Hutu violence against Tutsi. However, radio broadcasting has also been argued to reinforce reconciliation, even in post-conflict settings among communities that fought each other during the war. It is unclear whether radio can be an effective tool to prevent violent mobilization and reduce violence against civilians. The UN has acknowledged this potential pacifying effect and indeed several peacekeeping missions set up radio stations to promote peace. Notable examples include Radio Okapi in DRC and UNAMSIL Radio in Sierra Leone. In this paper, I use the case of Sierra Leone and radio UNAMSIL to assess the extent to which UN radio broadcasting has contributed to prevent and decrease violence against civilians. I expect that locations where a larger share of the population has access to radio signal from the UN station should experience less violence against civilians. These hypotheses will be tested by using georeferenced survey data and GIS tools to estimate access to radio and UCDP data on one-sided violence.

Panel 8.5 From protest to power? Civic mobilization, international politics, and institutional transformation.

Chairs: Silvia Menegazzi, Kateryna Pishchikova

Panel 8.6 Deconstructing China's Belt and Road Initiative: ideational, institutional and societal dimensions

Chairs: Giovanni Andornino, Marco Clementi

Discussants: Giovanni Andornino

Crossing the River by Feeling the Gold”: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Financial Support to the Belt and Road Initiative
Giuseppe Gabusi (
Abstract China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is above all a connectivity project. As connectivity requires financial support, in the last few years the People’s Republic of China has undertaken several institution-building activities at the national and international level, mainly in the financial and economic sector, showing a new propensity to influence global economic governance. In particular, the foundation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has drawn peculiar attention worldwide. How does this institution-building process connect with BRI? Are these institutions just a vehicle for exporting China’s capital and overcapacity? Or do they signal a potential wider challenge to the post-WWII liberal international order? By analyzing the first loans approved by the bank, the paper would argue that far from representing a China-led challenge to the Western-led liberal order, the AIIB – while promoting Chinese commercial and geopolitical interests – shows the resilience of the global financial regime created by the West. Key words: China, BRI, AIIB, International Economic Order

Coping with a foreign policy dilemma. China and Myanmar’s political transition, 2011-2016
Simone Dossi (
Abstract Over the past twenty years, Myanmar has been a major target of Chinese investments in energy and transport infrastructure. More recently reframed within the Belt & Road Initiative, Beijing’s policy toward the country has long been part of a wider strategy for the development of China’s South-Western regions. The political transition in Myanmar, however, has significantly complicated China’s foreign policy calculus. On the one hand, as a nominally civilian government replaced the military junta in 2011, Beijing faced far less sympathetic interlocutors in Naypyidaw. Backed by Myanmar’s public opinion, the new government reconsidered some of the most significant Chinese projects approved just a few years before. On the other hand, China’s economic interests in the country were negatively impacted by resumed fighting between the Myanmar Army and ethnic armed organizations in the border regions, in Kachin and Shan States. The aim of this paper is to investigate how China reacted to the new situation in Myanmar during the five years of the Thein Sein administration (2011-2016). Drawing on Chinese sources, the paper will identify (1) the actors involved in the process of China’s foreign policy toward Myanmar, (2) their perceptions of how the evolving situation in Myanmar would impact on China’s interests, and (3) their beliefs on how to better deal with the new challenges.

The Sino-Indian Confrontation under the One Belt One Road Infrastructural Project
Sergio Miracola (
Abstract The paper that I would like to present sheds light on the other side of the OBOR infrastructural project; that is, the security and strategic designs that characterize it. Specifically, the objective would be to demonstrate two fundamental aspects: first of all, how China will be using this project to create a counter-encirclement against India by connecting with Pakistan and by extending its reach deeper into Central Asia; and secondly how the OBOR project serves Chinese scope to contain terrorist activities that could damage its internal stability and, therefore, its soft power expansion throughout the Eurasian continent. For what concerns the first aspect - the counter-encirclement - this paper would illustrate how the strategic objectives of the new Chinese military reforms and the associated military drills in the Kunlun mountains increased Chinese strength in the area and how they have been used to exert a specific influence on the Sino-Indian relations, especially when it comes to confrontation over the disputed territories. In other to better illustrate this aspect, the next step would be to analyze the OBOR infrastructure, especially in its two clearest strategic manifestations. On one hand, I will be focusing on the Sino-Pakistan infrastructural connection, that is, the CPEC, and how this project responds to specific security issues, that is, the containment of Indian expansion in Central Asia. While on the other, I will be looking at the so-called “string of pearls” throughout the Indian Ocean, through which China is trying to create a security check against India. For what concerns the latter aspect, the other important element that this paper will be discussing refers to China's doctrine of counter-terrorism and how Beijing, besides the cases of Xinjiang and Tibet, is deeply committed to strengthen its ties with Pakistan in order to exert a deeper control of the area against terrorist activities. This would serve the double scope of preserving internal security while also expanding Chinese soft power in the region. Keywords: China, India, Pakistan, CPEC, OBOR, Xinjiang, Tibet, Terrorism, string of pearls, counter-encirclement.

The Belt and Road Initiative in China’s Emerging Grand Strategy of Connective Leadership
Giovanni Andornino (
Abstract As Chinese leaders endeavor to maintain the international environment aligned with their strategic aim of realizing the “dream of national rejuvenation,” the remarkable increase in China’s capabilities, coupled with uncertainty in the global economy and the ambivalent attitude of the USA toward the international order, poses fresh challenges to Beijing’s foreign policy. The present paper argues that a lexicographic preference for the mitigation of the risk of pushback against China’s core interests underpins the Belt and Road Initiative. Pursuing a strategy of credible reassurance commensurate to the shift in the distribution of power in China’s neighborhood and globally, President Xi Jinping’s administration has been cultivating a form of connective leadership that commits China to the encapsulation of the BRI policies for transregional connectivity into its own national development strategy, generating an octroyé, non-hegemonic, type of international social capital, and integrating the existing order without corroborating the position of its founder.