Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is grabbing all the attention. But we need to look South, too. Neither the European Union nor NATO will be the strategic leaders in the Greater Mediterranean. Washington and Rome will have to play that role.
A stable, prosperous, peaceful Europe would be a boon to the entire transatlantic community. A free and open Greater Mediterranean is key to that goal.
One reason is energy security. The Greater Mediterranean includes North Africa, Southern Europe, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the entrance into the Middle Corridor through the Caucasus to Central Asia. As Europe diversifies energy sources, countries will draw increasingly from North Africa, the Caucuses, and Central Asia, as well as the Middle East and the United States. A lot of those resources will flow to energy hubs in Southern Europe, and those nodes need to be protected.
Another reason is supply chains. Redundant, resilient supply chains that reduce dependencies on Russia and China and open new sources of natural resources will, in the long run, reduce risks and costs to the West. They will also spur additional commercial activity. These new supply chains, too, will pass through Southern Europe.