BEHIND THE HILL / Draghi or Mattarella, this time Italy risks everything

BEHIND THE HILL / Draghi or Mattarella, this time Italy risks everything
BEHIND THE HILL / Draghi or Mattarella, this time Italy risks everything

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbor, the Italians and Germans declared a war to the US that they would lose. Eighty years earlier, on March 17, 1861, the kingdom of Italy had been proclaimed under the House of Savoy. For the first time in history, Italy was a state, the one that would have been defeated precisely by the conflict of 1941.

How much were the Italians who entered the war in 1940 conditioned by the events of 1860, when Garibaldi began his expedition of the thousand? How much are Italians today, eighty years after the end of the Second World War, or should they be conditioned by the struggles with external and internal enemies of 1940?

In this, the election of the next President of the Republic can be a crucial step.

These are very distant eras, practically invisible from each other, if only because there are very few ninety-year-olds and centenarians who remember those times, consigned to the history books. So today the Italian inability to break away from the legacy of the war seems to be one psychoanalytic substitution the inability to think about the future of the country. In fact, it is not at all clear what Italy will be in the next eighty years or whether it will still exist as a unitary state.

In 1860 and 1940 the direction of the future was clear and shared.

In 1860 it was a question of completing the process of national unification, playing on the side of European politics, and giving a structure for the first time centralized to what was a patchwork of small states that had always been divided.

Eighty years later, starting from the defeat of the war, Italy had a destiny marked in the shadow of the victors who had already started the Cold War, the Anglo-Americans or the Soviets.

Today, however, nothing is clear. This lack of clarity it is not a secondary problem, puts the very existence of the country at risk. That is, in a few years Italy could cease to exist or become a failed state.

The unification of Italy was not an immanent destiny in 1860. The expedition of the thousand had been a political gamble; the conquest of the Papal State initially seemed a mirage; Austria still had Trent and Trieste; the control of the South, the scene of a bitter guerrilla warfare, was uncertain.

Eight decades later, the Italian state was so fragile and dangerous to itself and to others that the British thought it best to unpack it and re-divide it into areas of influence under them, the Americans, or the Soviets. It was almost an accident of history that this did not happen, and who knows if it was a mistake not to follow London.

Similar and greater risks hang over Rome today.

The parties occupy the parliament like an encampment of handfuls. They hijacked the national debate by focusing on the length of their salary.

The works financed by the PNRR fail to be put in place because companies or bureaucracy are clumsy, incapable or frightened by their shadow. So the projects that should revive everything may never start, or give birth to a mouse, while the state debt has exploded and will soon have to be repaid.

Meanwhile, the world has moved to another part. From 1860 to 1940 Europe was the center of the world and giving a political arrangement to the Italian peninsula was important in the great game of the powers that competed for continental primacy.

In this the Savoys inserted themselves cunningly. They did not win any war alone, quite the contrary. But by changing alliances, moving in zigzags, they managed to advance national interests until Mussolini chose the wrong ally, the loser of the day, Germany. If he had chosen neutrality or Great Britain, his destiny and that of Italy would have been different.

From after the Second World War until the day before yesterday, Europe continued to be important as the main battlefield between the two blocs, the US and the USSR. Italy was then a borderland, within NATO but with the largest Western Communist Party. It was therefore necessary for America to support Italy in order not to sell it to the USSR.

Today everything is different. The main focus of attention is Asia and China, area and country on which Italy made mistakes after mistakes. Russia is still problematic, but far from the Italian borders, kept at bay by Eastern European states and Turkey.

The EU, since losing the United Kingdom to Brexit, has been lame, has difficulty moving forward or backward. With the launch of its ambitious environmental program it has assumed a spiritual centrality, but in reality it does not know what to do in politics.

Poland defends itself only with American help, sometimes challenging the supremacy of European laws. Spain cultivates its own historical space with Latin America and the USA. France, almost heir to the policy of the Savoy in 800, falters between grandeur national, pacts for two, as with Italy now and before with Germany, and pro-European claims. Berlin, orphan of the great kings Kohl and Merkel, still does not seem to have emerged from its fairy sleep, while the other seven European dwarfs are watching over it.

In this context, Italy is not really that important. It is useful for historical value, but how can Greece also have it.

It is at the same time increasingly incomprehensible and politically irrelevant. So if the cost of holding her hand moribonda it exceeds a certain limit, at which point it becomes easier to abandon it to its destiny as the northern border of Saharan Africa. After all, Argentina in the 1950s was as rich as the United States, and today due to a series of its mistakes it is once again a developing country.

It is impossible to say with certainty what that limit and that point are; but it could be around what will happen with the election of the President of the Republic. Mario Draghi was the Republic’s spare wheel, but he has no magical powers.

Nor is it clear what will happen to the country if he goes to the Quirinale, as some hope, or if he will remain in government with another president or even with the same president. Sergio Mattarella, as others want. It is not clear what will happen to parliament after the vote because there is a conflict between deputies and senators who want to keep their seats and party leaders who want elections to secure parliamentary groups in their image and likeness.

This confusion, less than two months after the choice of the head of state, should have caused the spread to increase beyond the presence of Draghi in the government or for this very reason. The markets should have said: even if Draghi does not bring order, the country will not be saved. That this has not happened proves Italy’s current lack of influence and the global distraction on its destinies.

Much more crucial for everyone is China with its real estate debts, its energy crisis. Much more crucial is small Taiwan, a possible theater of war. Vietnam, India, South Korea, Japan caught between the desire to avoid Chinese excessive power but also to escape a conflict.

But the spell of distraction will end. If the parties do not wake up, the chaos over the choice of president and its consequences in the following months will bring the country to its knees as in a war defeat.

Calogero Mannino a few days ago he asked for a great discussion and consultation of political lines and intentions on the choice of the president. Beyond any name to be made, it is the political discussion of what to do that is important. Without it, the risk is that any candidate will open the end of the Italian state.

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