Italy is typically defined as a middle power, a follower of more powerful countries, namely the United States, rather than a leader or unilateral actor in foreign policy. This staunch Atlanticism as well as active support for the European Union and United Nations prompted Italian participation in numerous international military and peacekeeping missions abroad under the aegis of the UN, NATO, EU or ad hoc “coalitions of the willing”. Since the Cold War, Italian military engagements have expanded in scope and geographic location. Together with allies, Italian troops have participated or are presently on the ground in a variety of contexts, from Lebanon in the early 1980s to the First Gulf War, Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Niger and Libya, amongst others.
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