The sense for Italy of Pompeo’s visit

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While national politics appears fatally entangled with the traditional autumn liturgies on alleged or effective margins for fiscal manoeuvre, which in turn anticipate the habitual parliamentary battle for the adoption of each year’s budget law, the visit to Italy of the US secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives us a wonderful chance to look beyond the narrow borders of the peninsula and line up the main foreign dynamics that concern us more closely.

Pompeo stayed in Italy for four long days, a fact that was relevant in itself given the pressing rhythms of international diplomacy, and which certifies better than a thousand words the centrality of our country in the strategic confrontation between the United States and China for global hegemony. Among the several messages sent to Italian foreign policy by Pompeo, in fact, certainly the most significant was the explicit warning to the Conte government about its recent opening to the People’s Republic. Washington has no intention to allow Beijing to penetrate with ease its sphere of influence in Europe at a strategic junction of its formal global empire which is precisely the Italian peninsula. For this reason, too, Palazzo Chigi was quick to reiterate that it had taken stringent measures to have the installation and use of Chinese technologies on our soil monitored by national intelligence, beginning with the increasingly strategic and yet divisive 5G. From Pompeo’s talks with Italy’s top officials has emerged also the issue of American duties on the EU as a retaliation for Airbus case, which is accused by its US competitor Boeing of having received illegal subsides from the European Union over the years.

Although Italy is not part of the aeronautical consortium that binds together France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain, Italian food products risk being the most affected after the French ones. The US is in fact the second Italian trading partner, with a certainly appreciable business volume worth around €1 billion, but certainly not such as to precipitate Italy’s economic performance in the event of customs tightening. The menace of US duties on Italian goods is therefore yet another signal of American irritation towards Italy, which especially in recent months has hesitated too long on decisive matters for the future of our alliance with the United States such as 5G, Venezuela and even F-35. If until yesterday the warnings had come mainly through reserved channels, with Pompeo’s visit and the duties threat, Washington has sent an open request for loyalty to Italy and to its inexperienced rulers too. Who believed of being able to seal a treaty with the Chinese without any consequences, welcoming the president-emperor of China with great pomp less than a year ago.

Pompeo also took the opportunity to criticize covertly the inclusion of our productive apparatus into the industrial chain of Germany. In this way, secretary Pompeo has exposed the American intent to curb the recent rapprochement occurred between Berlin, Rome and Paris that is aimed at restoring solidarity within the Wester partners of the European Union, and whose recent preliminary agreements in the fiscal, financial, migratory and environmental fields are a direct consequence.