Lauren Speranza

  • #ElectionWatch: How Russia-Italy Relations are Impacting the Italian Elections

    Covert influence operations are not as necessary when overt influence already exists

    Russian interference in Western democratic elections remains a top concern for the transatlantic community following a series of recent consequential votes on both sides of the Atlantic. Over the past several months, campaigns in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, and elsewhere have been subject to Russian meddling, garnering increasing attention on the international stage. With Italy’s national elections next on the docket, anticipation over Russian motives and capabilities inside the Italian electoral space continues to mount.

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  • #ElectionWatch: A Guide to Italian Elections

    Here’s what you need to know ahead of nationwide elections on March 4

    Italians will go to the polls on March 4 in one of the most significant elections in Europe this year. Reflecting the tense political climate across the continent, hot-button issues such as immigration and border security have dominated the debate in one of the most divisive general election campaigns Italy has seen in recent years.

    Italy’s notoriously complicated electoral system has long made the country’s elections interesting to watch, but several factors add chaos to intrigue this year. The 2018 elections have given rise to both new and old Italian political personalities—from the emergence of the insurgent, anti-establishment Five Star Movement or the comeback of four-time prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi. Regardless of who emerges from the political fray in control of the country, any outcome will have wide-ranging consequences for Italy’s future.

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  • Raising the Curtain on MSC: 5 Things to Watch

    February 16 marks the start of the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC)—the “Davos of international security”—in Germany. A Rolodex of top defense and foreign affairs leaders from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and elsewhere will convene to take on a wide array of pressing global security issues.

    While the issues on the 2018 agenda are varied, a few prominent themes stand out: the rise of great-power competition between the United States, China, and Russia; the looming geopolitical and societal impacts of new technologies and emerging threats; and the future of the liberal international order.

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  • Speranza Joins Defense One to Discuss Russia Wargame

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  • Meeting the Russian Hybrid Challenge

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    Since its takeover of Crimea in 2014, Russia has become increasingly emboldened, undertaking actions that, rather than propping up a failing regime, strike directly against the functioning of Western democracy. Employing a combination of "hybrid" actions–political, diplomatic, informational, cyber-, economic, covert and low-level force–the Kremlin has targeted countries not only on the fringes of its sphere of influence, but in the heart of Europe and even the United States. 


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  • Speranza in U.S. News & World Report: Responding to Russia's 'Hybrid' Threat 6 ways the EU and NATO Can Head Off Russia's Many-Pronged Attack on Western Democracy

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  • NATO Must Stick to its Guns on its Eastern Flank

    As its summit in Warsaw approaches, NATO is bolstering defenses on its eastern flank, increasing military presence, improving infrastructure, and conducting military exercises. While praised in some circles, NATO’s actions have also drawn criticism. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has accused the Alliance of “warmongering” and ratcheting up tensions with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has characterized NATO’s actions as aggressive, hostile, and “Cold War-style.”

    Nevertheless, the Alliance’s concerns are rooted in fact. As Russia stokes tensions near NATO’s eastern border, the Alliance must respond in a measured way to project strength, stability, and solidarity—especially if the...

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  • Speranza in Newsweek: The Political Fallout in Europe of the Brussels Blasts

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  • Now is the Time to Put EU-NATO Cooperation Back on the Agenda

    For many years, the European Union and NATO have straddled the bounds between cooperation and competition. Even with the formal establishment of the EU after the Cold War, NATO continued to serve as a defense guarantor for Europe. Yet, as the EU expanded its capabilities as a security actor, adding the military element of its Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), policymakers have raised significant questions about the role of each organization. Attempting to evolve with the changing global security environment, the EU and NATO have inherited an ambiguous set of overlapping and competing tasks. Beyond this, neither organization has a clear vision or plan to coordinate their actions in today’s context. Despite repeated calls for cooperation, the Turkey-Cyprus issue has continued to prevent a genuine EU-NATO partnership.

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