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  • Writer's pictureThe Red Line

Episode 118. San Marino vs. Italy

Listen to this episode on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Youtube


Tensions are on the rise between San Marino and Italy, revealing a potential crisis on the Italian Peninsula that many analysts are missing. This situation, seemingly minor, hints at deep-seated unrest that could destabilize the region. We delve into the nuances of this brewing conflict, urging a reevaluation of its possible impact on European stability. Through expert insights, we aim to uncover the undercurrents of this overlooked crisis, highlighting the urgency of recognizing and preparing for the ramifications of this unfolding discord.




PART I: Booting the Boot - (01:30)

with James Ker-Lindsay

- Snr Researcher Assc at the London School of Economics

- Visiting Professor at the Uni. of Kent

  1. San Marino's EU Membership via Italy: James Ker-Lindsay describes San Marino's unique approach to EU membership by considering unification with Italy as a "backdoor route." This historical anomaly, where San Marino remained independent from Italy, presents a novel case of potential EU expansion through internal consolidation, reminiscent of discussions around Moldova and Romania.

  2. Constitutional and NATO Complications: A peculiar aspect of San Marino's constitution requires Italy to defend San Marino, but not vice versa. This arrangement could lead to paradoxical scenarios in conflicts involving NATO's collective defense mechanisms, particularly Article 5, highlighting the intricacies of defense agreements.

  3. Military Capacities and Technologies: The discussion contrasts San Marino's crossbow corps with Italy's modern military, suggesting potential vulnerabilities in Italy's defenses against traditional weaponry. This underscores the often-overlooked military capabilities and historical valor of smaller states.

  4. Operational and Technological Advantages: San Marino's Subaru Foresters could outmaneuver Italian tanks due to their superior speed and operational range playfully highlights the importance of mobility and technological adaptability in modern warfare.

  5. Nuclear Inspections and Potential Threats: The speculative discussion about San Marino's uninspected status by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the hypothetical possession of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) raises critical questions about oversight, intelligence, and the potential for unexpected military capabilities in seemingly minor states.

Wargaming: San Marino vs. Italy

(Released April 1st 2024)


Disclaimer: If you hadn't figured out that this was our April Fools' episode, I want to say "thankyou" for having so much trust in us here at the show. However, I would also suggest that on this occasion, you don't take our analysis too seriously, as this episode is our April Fools' episode. :-)


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