Italy and the United States, a long relationship.  The tortuous paths of foreign policy –

Italy and the United States, a long relationship. The tortuous paths of foreign policy –

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Italy and the United States, a long relationship.  The tortuous paths of foreign policy –


The book “America for us” (Luiss University Press) by the journalist Mario De Pizzo reveals some interesting background of the relationship between our country and the powerful ally

“I couldn’t do it, but it’s right for you to do it. The important thing is that you don’t do it against us, ”Bill Clinton told Massimo D’Alema. The interview took place behind closed doors. The two talked about the invitation to come to Rome in 1999 that had been sent by Italy to Mohammed Khatami. That official visit would have been the first made by a president of the Islamic Republic of Iran to a country of the European Union since the revolution of the ayatollahs twenty years earlier. Clinton was president of the United States, his Italian interlocutor Prime Minister. For a long time, ranks of Iranian notables had been accustomed by Ruhollah Khomeini, the inspirer of the 1979 riots, to call the United States “the Great Satan.” Clinton, whom those demonized US represented, addressed to D’Alema: «I also like Khatami, because he is a reformist and we hope he can change things. Tell him, but tell him in private: that his companions do not hear you. Tell him: “Clinton likes you and shows it to you in the best way, not declaring it.”

In this way, D’Alema reconstructed the indirect sending of a relaxing signal from Washington to Tehran. The former Prime Minister did so in an interview with Mario De Pizzo, journalist of Tg1, who reported his words in America for us. Relations between Italy and the United States from Sigonella to today. Published by Luiss University Press with a preface by Paolo Messa, the book offers a reconstruction of events based above all on the testimonies of former heads of government, former foreign ministers, witnesses of facts and open sources, from newspapers to parliamentary proceedings. In reviewing the events it can be said that the book also collects a sample of what Arthur Koestler, a Hungarian writer with acute observation skills, in the novelAnd gladiatorshe made the rebel Spartacus define “the tortuous paths of politics”. The non-straight paths, in essence, that those who make politics must often follow in order to achieve their goals, apparently moving in contradiction with the declared intentions.

An emblematic example of the good disposition that one can have in confidence towards some enemies, because they are less enemies than others, Clinton’s step towards Khatami through D’Alema can be included among the models of “tortuous ways”. If the president of the United States had made public his sympathy for his Iranian colleague, the latter would have drawn more attacks from his country’s conservatives than it benefits.

Thus De Pizzo’s book helps to delve into the nuances which in various phases have marked the alliance between the main world power and Italy. The range of possible fluctuations that our country can afford has its own breadth, however not unlimited, considering that the United States provides essential contributions to Italy’s military security and political importance.

Sad, bitter is the report that Rosa Calipari gives to De Pizzo on her search for the detailed truth about the death of her husband, director of the SISMI secret service. Nicola Calipari was killed in 2005 at a US checkpoint in Iraq while he was rescuing Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist who had just been released by the kidnappers. “When I solicited stronger actions to be able to establish what had actually happened in Baghdad, I felt that the fact that I had become a parliamentarian for someone should be enough for me”, says the widow, an employee of the Italian services elected deputy for the Democratic Party following the death of Nicola Calipari.

That in politics the actual roles covered can count more than the offices – another phenomenon that can be counted among the “winding streets” – is derived from what Mario Monti, in the book, reports on a scheduled interview with Barack Obama during his mandate at Palazzo Chigi: “Ambassador Thorne (David Thorne, ed) informed me that the first 20 minutes of the conversation with Obama would be devoted to this question: “What advice can you give me on how to deal with Merkel on economic policy issues?” ». It would have been the head of the superpower to ask the representative of the smaller country for guidance. Because in certain cases the knowledge of a situation is worth more than the formal rank of the person who explains it.

The result of a work without prejudice, America for usit has pages attentive to chiaroscuro. According to former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini it would have been a conversation between men from the circle of Muammar el Gaddafi, an interception made to listen to Silvio Berlusconi by our secret services, to convince the founder of Forza Italia not to hinder the air offensive of the 2011 against the Libyan colonel.

Giuliano Amato, former prime minister certainly not anti-American, notes how the United States moves in international military missions: “They arrive earlier and are more numerous, and therefore they decide if and how to make room for you.”

Although all this may belong to historyis not a thing of the past. Transatlantic relations still require us to take into account the depths of the sea in which Italy can, and must, navigate.

July 24, 2021 (change July 24, 2021 | 21:06)

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