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Refusing to accept Italy’s decline

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Italy is now a clear victim of globalization, which is governed only by those who have a very precise vision of their own country and have access to very confidential information, as well as by those who are able to quickly and wisely exploit its continued asymmetries and finally by those countries that impose their game with a wide range of “indirect strategies”.

These are the dimensions of the battlefield of this new, endless, “limitless war” which is fought without even firing a shot.

Non-sovereignty over its own national space, now ratified by unconscionable agreements on territorial waters with France in February 2016,  or with the new borders between Italy and Slovenia on the Torrente Barbucina, as well as the utter foolishness – despite Interior Minister Minniti’s professionalism – in the late response to the epochal crisis of migration from sub-Saharan Africa, all are signs that – after losing the  globalization game – Italy is also losing sight of the Hobbesian goals for which all Sovereigns are born, namely protecting the life, property and freedom of their citizens.

Today the losers do not go to Versailles hat in hand, but are simply wiped out.

Hence those who lose the globalization game are pulverized and turned into an undisputed mass of losers, whereas the winners become a new nation-State absorbing and hegemonizing its neighbours.

Not to mention the tensions on the external value of the euro and the complex manoeuvres on government debt securities.

The real rulers govern also financial markets; they do not expect to be contacted, they talk to those markets every day and can impose their will on them.

Hence, for Italy the Second Republic – as it is called with some exaggeration – has been only a crown of thorns.

Born as a swindle, the one of “honest” politicians against the “thieves”, it will end – unlike what T.S. Eliot said – “not with a bang but a whimper”.

And it will continue to be a silly crown of thorns, while the future  governments will believe in an inevitable fate or in what Saragat – a great albeit now forgotten political leader – called the “cynical and cheating destiny”.

The rampant corruption which, in the transition phase from the First to the Second Republic, simply shifted from the ruling class to the administrative-bureaucratic class; the environmental crisis and the recent fires; the economic growth affecting only exports and only to the tune of  18%; mass poverty and the tension that will never slacken with these low economic growth rates, are all signs that we are passive subject and not the active subject of global strategies decided by others and about which our rulers know nothing.

As long as these are the elites representing us, the disgusted people will vote elsewhere, while the superficially globalized ruling classes will unite, but will gradually lose any power.

Hence the Catholic Church responds to the new global scenario with Pope Francis, a Bishop of Rome coming from Argentina, another country of failed globalization and economic disasters caused by the combination of hetero-directed policies and parasitic ruling classes.

As demonstrated by the latest article by Father Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica”, that rightly aroused great interest in the current cultural and political world, the Catholic Church knows very well what is really at stake.

In this perspective, Pope Francis’ Church is changing its evangelization model completely.

In other words, Catholicism is currently playing its new global role as winner of globalization in everybody’s favour – and particularly in favour of the countries and peoples that are losing this game.

Following his Jesuit background, Pope Francis wants to transform – on the basis of equality – Peter’s Church into a universal Church, even at physical and material levels.

Never be identified as “part of the West”, but as the suffering Heart of Christ in all mankind.

This reminds us of the Jesuits who learnedly equated the Sioux and Cheyenne mythologies to the Trinitarians’ ones, or of the Fathers who introduced – in Portuguese India – Hindu or Buddhist words in the Holy Mass.

The Holy Pope’s words seem to echo the cries of the Jesuits who organized estancias in Paraguay or who always defended Latin American peoples during the 20th century dictatorships. such as Father Jalics, or the cry of the six Jesuits killed in El Salvador’s universities only twenty-five years ago, possibly while some high prelates played tennis with the “Generals”.

Hence we can understand the Vatican’s rational negotiations with China, disliked by the Conservatives, or the political and religious connection with the Russian Federation, while Cardinal Parolin is preparing for a visit to Moscow that will certainly lead to significant results.

As Cardinal Parolin stated, the visit to Russia, at the time when the relations between Russia and the West are at the lowest ebb, shall build  new “bridges” and pave the way for a dialogue with the Kremlin’s leadership “in which we put ourselves in the shoes of others” – so as to  talk about Middle East, Islam and Ukraine also with Putin and his aides and associates, but certainly with Patriarch Kirill.

In the past it was the Russian President who donated to Pope Francis a copy of St. Vladimir’s icon of the Mother of God, the highly-venerated icon that was flown over Moscow’s skies by the atheist Stalin at the toughest time of the Nazi siege.

Never was a gift more politically symbolic.

At that time, somehow rightly, there was talk about an alliance between Russia and the Vatican in a pro-Shiite perspective and, in any case, excluding the United States.

In our opinion, the fundamental fact is that currently the Church of Christ makes global politics just because it is abandoning its typically Western image and approach and hence does no longer want to be regarded and interpreted according to the positive or negative categories developed in the wake of this universe of political and cultural identities.

This is universalism, also and above by putting itself in the shoes of others and of their very ancient traditions.

In fact, Xi Jinping reminded Pope Francis of the Jesuit artist, Father  Castiglione, and the Holy Father, who loves the Chinese people, said to the Chinese President that “the world is awaiting the wisdom and civilization of the Chinese people”.

As St. Ignatius of Loyola said, while obviously referring to Satan, the enemy is like a military leader who must besiege a city and get round its walls to find a weak point.

For the Pope who comes from the Society of Jesus, the enemy getting round the world that must be saved by the Word is the old dual thinking  that caused the peripheral wars during the USA-USSR confrontation, characterized by a closed-mind cultural approach, by the fear of the others and by the hegemony of the old powers.

If the old “Cold War” balance of power remains after this phase of globalization, only old living corpses will remain.

While the globalization-Americanization still seeks to divide the world between the rich and the poor, between the winners and the losers, by crazily widening gaps, Pope Francis wants to build “bridges” with everyone so as to prevent the globalization of the economy – or indeed its Americanization – from still breaking mankind into two.

It is worth recalling that there is the severe danger that the universalisation of the economy – or even the absolute adoration of the golden calf – binds itself to an economic system based on a politically overvalued currency, with a huge debt – namely the US dollar – and to a project of “democratic wars,” such as the absurd Arab Springs, which are bound to create very poor small client States and often odd ethnicity pockets.

And the future wars will certainly be “never-ending” conflicts which are intended to stabilize at a high level of contrast.

Hence the Church’s bridges are designed to avoid or overcome a new Yalta, or to marginalize some peoples and favour others.

And this is a fundamental theme, namely the polemic on the Protestant political theology, which can be found in Father Spadaro’s article.

The Puritanism that was sent, as punishment, to the thirteen colonies was a kind of proto-jihadism within the Church of England that the sect sent there by the London Inquisition (also the Church of England had its own Inquisition) accused of being too pro-Catholic.

It is worth recalling that the word “fundamentalism” was coined in the modern era within the many factions of American Puritanism, and was later applied by similarity to the neo-extremist factions of the Wahhabi jihad and to the theology of the “Solid Base” (al-Qaeda al-Sulbah) – halfway between the Karigites and the Muslim Brotherhood – that went to Afghanistan with Saudi, Pakistani and US funds to fight against the Red Army.

It was a US friend, a cruel butcher of the Balkan wars, Alja Izetbegovic, who in the 1940s, in Tito’s prisons, wrote the book entitled “Islamic Fundamentalism”.

Hence, in the North-American Protestant theology, Father Spadaro sees an empirical connection between religion and politics, between the brains and the brawn, without any assessment of circumstances – a Machiavellian and Jesuit theme.

We may say that currently in the Unites States the reformed radical religiosity is present almost exclusively within the social classes marginalized by globalization, that have no voice in today’s US society.

Not even with a President prisoner of the “Deep State” between the State Department and CIA, that – for once – agreed to have a Clinton Presidency to “end the job” in Syria and create a casus belli with the Russian Federation.

A sort of Dr. Strangelove, who deals with psychological and IT wars, is currently operating in some US halls of power.

However, both the US ruling class and the US working class – that is more linked to the images spread by media – are prey to a real negatio Dei.

By using the title of a famous Rolling Stones’ song, this negatio Dei often turns into a practical and operational sympathy for the devil.

The refusal of any vestiges of Western civilization in fashionable university campuses; the servile implementation of  “political correctness”, which even comically erase the great classics – as not even done by the Red Guards, who at least had the courage to destroy them; the systematic   destruction of personal identities and “intermediate bodies”, that have always been the basis of every democracy from Pericles to the present time, are all signs that not only – and not so much – the old fundamentalist and  Protestant theology, but today’s atheism-Satanism, are the real enemies to be fought.

Certainly, the former created the latter and every Gnostic reference to God’s will according to our desires – from the Cathars to the Hussites until present time – with the theologies of confusion and wellbeing, is a Gnosticism calling the Enemy to operate directly.

It is worth remembering, however, that in the United States the fundamentalist Protestant theology is typical of those who are losing the game of globalization, while the establishment – that is the offspring of the LSD “dilated experiences” and of the American nonconformist 1968 protest movement (experiences that it later implemented in creative accounting and finance) – hates God, even Comenius’ God, with a fiery passion. Hence it has full sympathy for the devil and fights explicitly against any religion and forms of transcendence, with the pretext of a cheap form of  “enlightenment”.

A fight even against the transcendence now lost in all Western ruling  classes, focused on a unitary but not ecclesial, as well as a ritual but universalistic theology, which has always characterized the oldest traditions of Freemasonry, such as that of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Today, especially in Italy, the narrative of the Association that has materially built Italy’s unit is linked to “Mafia”, “corruption” and to other scarcely esoteric issues.

Hence the real glue holding the ruling class is lost, while in the past the old Liberals and many Socialists, as well as many Republicans and some liberal Catholics, sat amicably in the Freemasons’ Lodge, thus being trained to dialogue and to political and human maturation.

In political terms, the loss of prestige of the Masonic Brotherhood is the seal of the structural fragmentation of Western ruling classes, which will bring them to death.

Without a unitary and identity narrative of elites, they will be progressively dissected and later destroyed.

Certainly the purpose of the current establishment is to reach a re-edition of Orwell’s 1984, but with a difference: what was previously explicit conditioning – engrammed, through consumers’ and Web algorithms, in everybody’s apparently free behaviour.

The new totalitarianism will lead us to do the same things, to buy the same items, to become poor and powerless, albeit with a feeling of  instinctive omnipotence and uniqueness of the ego that certainly Orwell’s regime could not afford. Indeed, a Metaphor of Sovietism as it was.

Hence Italy will be a completely non-existent power.

We will only be a buffer country between Africa and North Europe, without even being allowed to say anything, by crawling like cats on the windows.

We will become a North-European colony with regard to the still productive structures. All the Northern productive chains are integrated into the German value chain. Hence it is worth recalling that the Neue Zuercher Zeitung has recently predicted a slow annexation of Lombardy to the Canton of Ticino by 2050 – and there are already many signs in this regard.

Nevertheless we will have a huge amount of people in the South – similar to what Baron Compagna defined as “rabbit runs” – who will live on charity at the expense of public debt or organized crime, which will make its globalization, between Africa and the South and between Southern Italy and the Balkan and Asian drugs routes.

As a great Italian banker predicted “we will be a country for tourism and art”.

When we created our great art masterpieces, however, Vespucci colonized North America, the Genoese bankers borrowed money to the King of Spain and Switzerland only provided us with the mercenaries that Machiavelli disliked.

Certainly, with a view to solving the Italian crisis at institutional level, the notes that President Cossiga sent to Parliament on June 26, 1991 would be enough.

Something very different from the Senate working half-time, as envisaged by the recent reform rejected by voters.

It was simple: end of the Constitution written by enemies who were glowering at one another, but were only busy blocking one another – and in fact a US analyst has defined our Constitution “the most dysfunctional in the world”; revision of local authorities and of the specific autonomy of the Higher Judiciary Council (CSM); a different and stricter  organization of public finances.

We will talk about this issue, by also recalling a beautiful project developed by Gianfranco Miglio and some of his colleagues, gathered in the “Club of Milan”.

This ruling class, however, will do nothing but die in this institutional bed, now unable to dictate even one twitter to its press officer.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Vaccine diplomacy in South Eastern Europe: How’s the race going on?

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The media dedicate increasing attention to the issue of vaccine distribution and how it affects the post-pandemic recovery. Some commentators and outlets have been focusing especially on the inequalities in the allocations of doses amongst different countries. As a matter of fact, a small number of highly developed countries have already booked an excessive number of doses. The UK, Israel and the US are likely to get enough shots to immunise their entire populaces more than once.

Meanwhile, most of the developing world is lagging behind. Lacking the financial resources and the political might to extoll bounding commitments from vaccine producers, they are losing the race. This is especially the case in Africa and Latin America, but Europe’s periphery is not in a much better position. However, few countries some South-Eastern Europe have managed to hit the headlines all around the globe for their amazing performances. One of them is Hungary, probably the most riotous EU member State. The other is Serbia, whose relations with the EU, Russia and China are equivocal at best.

Thus, it is worth having a look at the how vaccination programmes are progressing in the region. After all, the key to Budapest’s and Belgrade’s successes is no mystery: diplomacy.

A peak at the wider region: The EU’s vaccine diplomacy has failed

South Eastern Europe is a rather variegated area. It comprises 14 countries (Figure 1), half of which are members of the EU: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia. Other two, Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia, are on the cusp of entering the Union. Whereas the remaining five have little to no concrete membership prospect: Bosnia, the territory of Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia. In an effort to prove itself indispensable, the EU has committed to send out vaccine to some non-members. Through Sofia, it promised Skopje to deliver thousands of AstraZeneca shots, and Bucharest shipped several Pfizer batches to Chisinau. Whereas the Commission itself pledged even more doses of vaccines for both Sarajevo and Pristina.According to these plans, the EU should be ahead of its neighbours in rolling out the vaccine across the board. At the same time, friendly relations should allow a few non-members to reap the benefits and boost their performances. However, reality tells a rather different story.

Looking at the data on total vaccinations in the 14 South-Eastern European countries one can identify four groups. Having vaccinated more than 30% of their populations, Hungary and Serbia are the undisputed leaders. Following, a quite compact group comprising the other six EU member States posits between 15% and 25%. Despite their different sizes and approaches, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Romania, and Slovenia have reaped sensible benefits from EU membership. Still, they are far behind the two leaders. Third, between 5% and 10% there are only Albania(10.57%) and Montenegro (7.85%). Two quite diverse countries, both seem to have enjoyed some help from the EU — but not nearly enough. Finally, way below the 5%-threshold stand Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and MoldovaThese countries were relying almost entirely on the EU’s help to acquire enough shots, but Brussels let them down.

These data make up for a rather self-evident indictment of the EU’s vaccine diplomacy. The EU missed on the occasion to project influence in its neighbourhood while reinforcing its image as a “civilian power”.But, often diplomacy in this part of Europe is a zero-sum game where political sway is the ultimate prize. For every metaphorical centimetre an external actor loses, another foreign power seems to take hold. The EU’s missed chance has become Russia’s great opportunity to score a few points it what once was an area of strategic importance. Yet, taking a better look, one realises that this time around the focus should not be on third parties. In an increasingly multipolar, and even multiplex world, middle-sized states are experimenting with new ways to matter.

Hungary’s deals with two devils

Hungary has recently registered a substantial surge in the number of contagions and in a hospital for treatments. The government has also taken extremely strict measures to curb the spread of the various in early March. But the strongest endeavour to stop the various came on the vaccination side of the equation.

As a matter of fact, Hungary has approved more vaccines and administered more shots than any other European country. Having jabbed already over 2,000,000 doses, Hungary is driving the European vaccine race — by far. The latest data from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), Pfizer produced about half of these vaccines. Of the remaining million, about 430,000 vials brought AstraZeneca’s or Moderna’s labels. This means that other sources accounted for about 570,000 doses, or over 25% of the total.

Hungary has taken a few risky bets in its paths toward group immunity. First, it ordered and injected about a quarter of a million of Russia’s Sputnik V in early February 2021. At the time, there were still many doubts on Sputnik V’s viability, efficacy and security. This came already in defiance of EU’s pressures for a centralised approval of new products. More recently, Hungary went on with the purchaseand speedy approvalof several Chinese vaccines. Apparently, Budapest has been paying $36 per shot to the Beijing — double the price of a Sputnik V dose.

Yet, for high the price may have been the bet seems to be paying back. So much, that Hungary has actually acquired newfound output-legitimacy for its unpredictable foreign policies.

Serbia’s show off — Playing both sides against the middle

At the beginning of the pandemic, Serbia was already better-positioned to benefit from Russia’s and China’s proactive vaccine diplomacies. Belgrade carries no legal responsibility vis-à-vis Brussels since it is not an EU member State. Moreover, it is less dependent on Germany and other EU countries when it comes to debt financing and trade (Figure 3). True, backtracking on the promise of future membership would have been a strong weapon in the EU’s arsenal. But this is not the case anymore. Serbia has no concrete path towards entering the EU and a long history of flirtations with Russia and China. Some have argued thatSerbia outpaced the EU thanks to China’s and Russia’s vaccines. Yet, the data are not clear and the process not transparent enough. If anything, it seems that the proportions of ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ vaccines should not be too different from Hungary’s.

Still, one thing is certain. Serbia has turned its extraordinary capability to buy vaccines from both the ‘West’ and the ‘East’ into a diplomatic stunt. In fact, the EU has miserably failed to provide Belgrade’s neighbours with shots. Meanwhile, Serbia has opened its borders to foreigners willing to get a jab. Moreover, Belgrade has made up for Sofia’s failure to send more vaccinesto Skopje — putting the EU in a hard spot.

Conclusion: Hands free

South-Eastern Europe’s vaccine diplomacy, the EU’ failure and regional powers’ successes speak volume about how the world is changing. As the US seem to inexorably withdraw from its past commitments, the EU is failing to come of age. Meanwhile, Russia is reasserting itself and has been punching above its weight in Europe and beyondfor a while now. Finally, its recovery from the pandemic-induced crisis signals that China has no intention to stop short of overtaking the US.

Against this fluid background, South-Eastern Europe is gaining renewed centrality. Hungary and Serbia are just two examples of what this implies — albeit the most successful ones. Nevertheless, their prowess it becoming an example for other small countriesto follow. Thus, it is opportune to keep following the events closely as new geopolitical alignments seem to emerge.

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Ммm is a new trend in the interaction between the EU and Turkey:”Silence is golden” or Musical chair?

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sofa gate erdogan

On April 6, a protocol collapse occurred during a meeting between President of Turkey R. Erdogan, President of the European Council S. Michel and head of the European Commission, Ur. von der Leyen. Let us remind you that during their meeting in the conference room she did not have enough chair, and she was forced to sit on the sofa opposite the Turkish Foreign Minister M. Çavuşoğlu, who, according to the diplomatic protocol, occupies a lower rank. This incident (a video showing the confusion of Ur. von der Leyen and her mmm sound, which was cleverly picked up by the media) quickly spread across the media and social networks. This incident provoked not only a number of high-profile comments, but also political and economic consequences for a number of countries.

This story is a double bottom box. On the one hand, there is a protocol error in the organization of the meeting between the EU and Turkey. On the other hand, there is a sharp statement by the Italian head of state about the Turkish president.

We propose to consider this case from two points of view: violation of the protocol and bilateral interaction between Italy and Turkey.

Let’s start with the protocol. Based on the general rules of the protocol, let’s honestly answer the following questions.

1) is it right for the head of state to give up a seat opposite the national flag (respect for the symbols of the state);

2) what is more important – position, diplomatic rank or gender;

3) Who should take the “EU chair” based on the political hierarchy of the Union – the head of the European Council or the European Commission?

Note that both sides – the EU and Turkey – blame each other’s protocol service. EU protocol chief Dominique Marro responded in a statement on Thursday that diplomats were not given access to the conference room in advance because, as they were told, “it was too close to Erdogan’s office.” Turkish officials have agreed to a separate request to add seating for von der Leyen during the reception, he said.

Turkey was accused of “protocol machism.” However, the officials of the protocol services of Turkey and the EU “met before the official visit of the heads, and their wishes were taken into account,” says Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu.

But the shifting of responsibility continues. Brussels insisted that staff were denied a final check of the press conference room. It was soon revealed that another sensational accident was threatened during the official dinner: the table was laid for 5 people on each side, and in front there were two honorary chairs, one for Michel and the other for Erdogan, while a smaller one was reserved for von der Leyen, to the right of Michel. Two diplomatic advisers accompanied Michel to the table, and von der Leyen was left alone.

Michel  was also criticized for not standing up for her. He first wrote an explanation on his Facebook page, in which he did not apologize, but presented his vision of the situation. But as things continued to escalate on Thursday, he went on to say on Belgian TV LN24: “I deeply regret the image created and the impression of a kind of disdain for the President of the European Commission and women in general.” “At that moment I was convinced that any reaction could seem paternalistic. Perhaps it was my mistake, ”he said. “In addition, there was substantial work to be done at the meeting, and I was convinced that the response would lead to a much more serious incident that would affect relations with Turkey.” An interesting commentary by J.K. Juncker, who wrote that he also often found himself on the couch (thereby making it clear that the situation was not critical). This situation could be resolved through diplomatic channels. But, unfortunately, it has received an unusual development.

Now let’s move on to a political analysis.

According to the head of the group of socialists in the European Parliament Garcia Perez Irace, the incident is related to discrimination against women in Turkey. A few weeks ago, on March 20, the president passed a decree authorizing Turkey’s withdrawal from the 2011 Istanbul Convention against Violence against Women, which obliges the governments that have joined it to pass legislation aimed at combating domestic violence. That is, the protocol error received a political color and took on a new light from the perspective of gender politics. However, one should not forget about the cultural and religious differences between the parties to the conflict. It is curious that if Michel gave up the chair to Ursula, he could be criticized from the point of view of gender equality and even, if hypertrophied, accused of sexism. It is also worth paying attention to the absence of harsh statements from the EU, which is interested in Turkey, which restrains the flow of migrants. . Yet the crisis in terms of maritime borders with Greece and Cyprus and the agreement between Israel, Greece, Egypt and Cyprus for the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline have become such important concerns for Turkish interests that in February 2020 Ankara has re-proposed the usual blackmail and once again opening the borders with Greece for Syrian migrants, provoking an immediate European reaction. Since last December, the European Commission has tried relentlessly to mend the tear, unlocking the last tranche of aid to Ankara, equal to 780 million euros of the 6 billion promised, and opening the dialogue for future billion-dollar agreements with Erdoğan in migration theme.

The behavior of M. Draghi seems even more inexplicable. The statement by the head of the Italian government M. Draghi, where he allowed himself to call Erdogan a dictator, cost the country 70 million euros of suspended contracts (the purchase of 10 helicopters from an Italian company Leonardo). In turn, Erdogan is waiting for an official apology from M. Draghi. Whatever the situation, from the point of view of etiquette and protocol, such statements by officials are perceived as inappropriate. There are now 48 large Italian private equity companies in Turkey, such as Unicredit, Generali, Mps, Fiat, Ansaldo Energia and others.On the other hand, according to representatives of Mediobanca Securities, it is unlikely that this diplomatic incident will lead to the cancellation of the contract with Turkey. Moreover, the investment bank added: “This is a relatively small contract for Leonardo: it represents 0.5% of the group’s planned ordering for 2021”, which amounts to approximately 14 billion euros.

This is not the first crisis in Italian-Turkish relations. In ’98 the Ocalan crisis, during the D’Alema government produced violent reactions and a boycott of Italian products in Turkey, however quickly overcome by the subsequent Amato government and even more so by the Berlusconi government starting from 2001. Those were the years of the great contracts for Salini Impregilo’s new bridges over the Bosphorus, for supplies by the Finmeccanica group and the purchase of local banks by Unicredit. But, between ups and downs, the history of economic relations between Rome and Ankara came from afar, from the 1960s when large Italian groups such as Fiat, Pirelli, Cementir had focused heavily on Turkey as the ideal platform to conquer new markets in the eastern Mediterranean.

In fact, the dispute between Turkey and Italy stems from tensions in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean over gas fields. And the European Union could play a key role in supporting Rome, but at the moment none of the EU representatives supported M. Draghi’s words, only Italian populist parties supported the head of state (which had also previously expressed the idea of leaving the EU).

Against the background of all the facts sounded, the behavior of the head of Italy remains the most interesting case. Non-fatal, in its essence, the protocol incident provoked a verbal dive by Draghi and Erdogan, which could cost Rome tens of millions of euros in direct economic losses. But it is not this separate fact that is interesting, but the fact that Italian politicians have recently taken a number of drastic steps and statements that have no reliable explanation. It is appropriate here to recall the spy scandal with Russian diplomats, which could be interpreted as a decrease in the level of interaction between Italy and its longtime trusted partner. Then many assumed that this was a manifestation of the “Atlanticist course” and the rapprochement with the United States of the new cabinet of ministers. But in the situation with the chair, we are talking about a conflict with one of the active members of NATO and a key ally of Washington in the region. And here Draghi’s position evokes the very remark of W. von der Leyen – “ummm” – bewilderment that runs like a red thread through the entire incident and its consequences. What is it? An attempt to show Draghi’s political subjectivity and consistency? A demonstrative rupture of the achievements and economic ties of predecessors in order to prove their independence? Agreements with Washington pending new contracts and cooperation programs and acting in line with these hopes? Or maybe just a misunderstanding of what the Italian people expect from the next prime minister and this is an attempt to find something that will cause an increase in the level of confidence on the part of the Italian political forces? In any case, there is concern that if Draghi continues in this vein, his reign may prove even more inglorious than that of many of his predecessors.

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The Man Who Warned Us First About Climate Change

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A billboard at Piccadilly Circus pays tribute to the late Prince Philip. Garry Knight/Flickr

Among the first to warn us of global warming, he used the term greenhouse gas to describe the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  That was in the 1960s and it was dismissed as a cranky notion.  Where he lived, he had a large study lined with books which he actually read; perhaps one reason for the mushrooming of ideas.  

The story begins in Corfu, Greece where he was born.  His very prominent family was turfed out of the country and settled in France.  After early schooling, he was sent to a private boarding school in the UK.  

Founded by German-Jewish educator Kurt Hahn in 1934, Gordonstoun School was new  with new ideas when he attended.  An equal emphasis on mind and body, it challenged students mentally and physically, the latter far more than at other such private schools.  A strapping boy who was also extremely intelligent, he loved the place — later his son was to hate it.  Hahn wrote of him that he would do very well any task assigned to him.

He went on to the naval academy and finished at the top of his class, doing the same at later naval exams and becoming the youngest Lieutenant in the navy.  Given command of a ship, he ran it like clockwork but a certain lack of sensitivity to others also came through:  the crew were driven ragged and hated serving under him.  He loved the navy and always loved the sea; indeed it was a sacrifice to give up his naval career when he married but it was incompatible in his new role for his wife was a very important personage.          

Studying in England, I could not fail to notice his frequent presence on newspaper front pages, even though my own interests then did not focus on the news of the day.  He seemed to set up awards for all kinds of excellence. He wanted British industry to shine, young people to deliver their best and so on.  And of course, he was invariably presenting awards to the winners.

A sportsman, he was also out there playing polo with his team, or at equestrian meets or playing cricket at charity events, or sailing which he clearly loved.  His uncle saw India through a hurried independence and a bloody partition.  Uncle Dickie, as he was called by the royal children, was a valued presence until killed by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in a senseless bomb attack that lost them public sympathy.  

The country’s leaders kept him busy and he was sent to numerous countries representing the queen, most often to former colonies in an era with a rash of newly independent countries.  Yes, his name was Philip, titled Prince of Greece and Denmark, and his wife was Queen Elizabeth II.  

Prince Philip’s royal bloodline (like the Queen’s) was German — Battenberg the family last name having been changed to Mountbatten during the First World War.  His sisters married Germans and remained in Germany during the Second World War.  They were not invited to his wedding to a very much in love Princess Elizabeth.  He had been the longest serving consort of any British monarch when he died a few days ago.   

Prince Philip’s travels were also notorious for gaffes and his eye for attractive females — middle class morality be damned.  A definite lacuna in sensitivity was more than evident.  Meeting a group of Nigerians resplendent in their long colorful national dress, he remarked, “Ready for bed, are we?”  to their embarrassment.

Yet, all in all, a very full life.

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Environment3 hours ago

Green transformation will rival industrial revolution

The transition to a global economic model which will slow down climate change and create jobs will be the “biggest...

Americas5 hours ago

Playing Politics in Times of Covid: AMLO’s Whimsical Inoculation Programme

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has capriciously modified Mexico’s inoculation programme as he sees fit. He has followed an improvised...

Human Rights7 hours ago

Human rights experts demand UAE provide ‘meaningful information’ on Sheikha Latifa

United Nations independent human rights experts on Tuesday demanded that the United Arab Emirates provide “meaningful information” on the fate...

Intelligence9 hours ago

Under False Pretenses: Who Directed the Assassin to Kill the Russian Ambassador in Turkey in 2016?

Motivation for the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, remains shrouded in mystery five years after off-duty...

Americas11 hours ago

United States must rebalance its relationship with Russia

Hours after signing an executive order, on April 15, 2021, which imposed sanctions on Russia, US President Joe Biden stated...

Eastern Europe13 hours ago

Does Biden want to keep Ukraine as a personal fiefdom?

The strange policy, pursued by the present occupant of the White House during the past few weeks is fairly surprising....

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