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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Italy was one of the founding members of NATO in 1949. Yet its participation in the alliance has been marked by ambiguities and contradictions. This chapter assesses Italy’s role in NATO, and the impact of the alliance on Italy’s foreign and domestic politics. On one hand, Italy has been a dedicated member of NATO, with commitment to Atlanticism a key element in establishing political legitimacy, especially for the forces of the left. At the same time, like other European countries, Italy tried to exploit its membership in NATO to increase its international influence and gain concessions from the US. Moreover, Italy sought to maintain an independent foreign policy, attempting to mediate in the Vietnam conflict and launching a set of initiatives aimed fostering good relations with the Arab world. At times, these initiatives caused friction with the US, in particular in the 1980s with Prime Minister Craxi’s pro-Palestinian stance.

Keywords: NATO, foreign policy, Atlanticism, political parties, Vietnam, Palestine, Craxi, United States

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