Commentary. Over more than two decades, Italy has been one of the most notorious minions of the United States on the world stage, complicit in the most outlandish and bloody military adventures the Americans have come up with.

One international summit after another, and the lies come in clusters

From both Moscow and Washington, with a stopover in Rome, we are on the receiving end of veritable cluster bombs of lies.

The story begins in Rome, with the American chargé d’affaires Crowley (for unclear reasons, there has been no appointed U.S. ambassador to Italy for three years) who said on state TV that Italy had “everything to lose” from the agreement signed with China. However, this agreement on the New Silk Road (only three threadbare pages) hasn’t actually been implemented, and the United States and the European Union each have at least 10 times more trade with China than Italy has.

Looking through the figures, in 2022 Russia ranked just tenth in terms of trade with China ($190 billion), topped by the Asean countries ($975 billion), the E.U. ($847 billion), the U.S. ($759 billion), South Korea ($362 billion), Japan ($357 billion), Taiwan ($329 billion) and Hong Kong ($305 billion); Italy was far below, with $57 billion. Despite the war, China also remains Ukraine’s largest trading partner, with a monthly trade volume of $2.3 billion.

But Prime Minister Meloni needed to bring an offer to her meeting with Biden to tear up a deal with the Chinese, even if that deal corresponded to negligible trade numbers (if it did affect any at all) compared to those of our allies.

But that seems to be enough for our government: to kowtow at the White House in exchange for the usual American promises to give Italy a leading role in the Mediterranean. This is all about the famous “control room” that the U.S., via Obama and Trump, had dangled before Renzi, then Conte, then Draghi, and now Meloni. Obviously, this has never amounted to anything concrete, and it’s the same now. The worthless exchanged for the meaningless.

Let’s take a step back, though: over more than two decades, Italy has been one of the most notorious minions of the United States on the world stage, complicit in the most outlandish and bloody military adventures the Americans have come up with. We took part in the raids on Belgrade in ’99, in the war in Afghanistan in 2001, in Iraq in 2003, and we even bombed Qaddafi in 2011, whom only six months earlier (on August 30, 2010) we had received in Rome with a red carpet, a Bedouin tent and a large retinue, with all the major figures of state and government and five thousand businessmen with their hats in their hands in front of the Libyan rais.

It’s clear that our foreign policy is nonexistent. Perhaps someone should remind Prime Minister Meloni that after WWII, Mattei was given orders by the U.S. to liquidate Agip, but he refused to do so; even more, he went on to found ENI. And he ended up ‘liquidated’ himself, with his plane shot down in the skies over Bascapè. One could also remind her that whenever Italy tried to pursue its own energy policy (from the Blue Stream pipeline to South Stream), Washington always intervened to block it. But we have a short memory about these things, a very short one indeed.

Italy, with its dozens of NATO bases, is the most docile ally the U.S. could find in the world: ready to swallow any nonsense put forward by Washington, with the willing support of our media, including those wars mentioned above that have been real disasters. Of course, we also put our own spin on it and try to pass it off as “foreign policy”: from the arms supply deals to Al-Sisi that helped free Patrick Zaki, to the arrangement with Tunisia on migrants (reminiscent of the one with Libya) and leaving people to die in the desert at the Libyan-Tunisian borders, where there’s a $500-million-a-year business in men, goods and oil in Ras Jedir. But these, as we all know, are details.

On that note: on Thursday, in St. Petersburg, the Russia-Africa summit took place, where Putin announced free grain delivery within 3-4 months to African countries, and was the occasion for a warm handshake between Putin and Al-Sisi (the two have met each other every year since 2014). That is, between the biggest enemy of Ukraine and NATO and one of the most important allies of the United States, who is making peace with Erdogan, another autocrat, the ‘sultan’ of the Atlantic Alliance and likewise a friend of the Russian leader (in the name of geopolitical opportunism).

Russia is one of Cairo’s major partners; Turkey is the only NATO country that hasn’t enacted sanctions on Moscow. As Peter Barker pointed out in The New York Times on July 25, Biden sold his foreign policy as a “battle between democracy and autocracy,” but in reality it amounts to coddling dictators and doing nothing to defend freedom and human rights, from Egypt to Turkey, Israel or India.

Giorgia Meloni has no understanding of this reality. She just toes the line, so she has no issue coming to terms with the Egyptian general, the Turkish ‘reiss’ and the unbearable Tunisian President Saied. All this in the childish hope that Biden’s U.S. will finally let Italy into the much-touted “control room” in the Mediterranean and welcome her Mattei Plan, which no one has seen yet. Good luck with that, she’s going to need it – and us too.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!