The international agenda has been bombed, the global context is uncertain and fluid and the protection networks are gone. This is the rather bleak picture, outlined by President Ispi, Ambassador Giampiero Massolo , in his speech at the Menabò event, organized by Formiche .
Italy must find its place, no longer guaranteed by the bipolar scheme of the Cold War. The US, which for a long time has fulfilled its task of regulatory power, is no longer willing to do so and there are no candidates on the horizon ready to replace them. The trumpism, warns Massolo, in all its national variations, is not a fleeting “fever”, but rather the symptom of the inability of politics to provide organic responses to the anxieties and fears of citizens in the face of the ugly face of globalization. The EU, for its part, is in the throes of a very delicate process of transition, crushed by the new competition between great powers.
What is the national interest of Italy in this context? How to pursue it? According to President Ispi it is essential to take an uphill path, that of the laborious reconstruction of our international credibility that, acknowledges Massolo, in recent times we have done nothing to support.
Ambassador, in your speech you spoke about the profound crisis that is going through the liberal order. Steve Bannon, in his trip to Europe, indicated Italy as the heart of the revolution of the populist world movements.
Italy has often been an international political laboratory. I must say that this time too we have found a way to channel a certain movement of public opinion into political forces that have their own logic and find their composition within the political system and not outside it. I believe that it is very important for such a thing to happen and I believe that it is very important, from this point of view, that all these new forces find their institutional placement within the political system.
Can the rise of parties other than traditional be an opportunity?
This is a gamble, also because the idea that there has been such a broad consensus, in some ways unexpected, towards those who have been seen interpreting a new way of doing politics is not an occasional push of fever, but it is the symptom of how felt the need for security and perspective in our public opinions. We cannot afford to waste the opportunity, and I say this without partisan spirits, but in systemic terms, of the functioning of the political system.
You have insisted a lot on the subject of national interest. Does Italy in this sense pay its inability to speak with a single voice with respect to the major issues that dominate the international agenda? I am thinking, for example, of relations with Moscow and the recent Skripal case, where the unanimous condemnation of the great European capitals has been in contrast to the silence of Italian political leaders.
Italy is experiencing a post-electoral phase that is not very easy, so it is normal that the positions can sometimes be a little late or be the result of various types of mediation, it is normal and also happens in other countries. I believe that the national interest is normally the synthesis of various instances, therefore I find it healthy that there is a strong dialectic and that there is also in the field of international politics. Of course, then it takes maturity and political culture to make the synthesis. I believe this is very important to develop in our country.
But where is our national interest now?
Italy has its natural location and is still very important at the center of the Mediterranean in a geopolitical area that is an area affected by phenomena of jihadism, terrorism with even quite significant conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis, an area where instability is quite extensive and risks affecting Europe and within our national borders. So a first obvious requirement is to make security, to contribute to the international security system.
What role does Europe play in this match?
Being authoritatively in Europe is an essential condition to make our interests, beyond what we can ideologically think of the European Union and of the transfers of sovereignty. Right now being in Europe is one of the ways to ensure our citizens’ life and safety perspective, and therefore it is in our deep national interest to assert ourselves in international locations, to respond to the need that comes from public opinion.
Almost thirty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, is Italy still struggling to find its role in an international order that has become much more fluid and changeable?
It is necessary to have a clear vision of our alliances. We are in the West, we are in NATO, we are allies of the United States and other European countries that are members of the EU. However, this does not exclude the possibility of collaborations and even strong partnerships with other powers, and speak the voice of reason regarding relations with other countries, starting with Russia, but always keeping the point that the our alliances are in the west.