Feature

Don’t confuse America with its president.

The week's news at a glance.

Italy

Perluigi BattistaCorriere della Sera

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi claims he’s not anti-American, said Perluigi Battista in the Milan Corriere della Sera. He says he opposed the expansion of the U.S. military base at Vicenza because of his “disagreement with President Bush’s policies.” That rationale makes no sense. As a NATO ally, we have certain obligations to the U.S., and we don’t get to drop them whenever a Republican occupies the White House. The base would “still be flying the Stars and Stripes”—and would still need expansion—even “if Hillary Clinton or Al Gore were president.” Why is it that Italians insist on conflating the U.S. president with the U.S. as a nation? If someone abroad criticized something the Prodi government did by “making a blanket condemnation of the Italian state,” we would certainly smell bias. Yet in the case of the U.S., “and, we should note, Israel,” we feel perfectly free to wallow in “a radical, hostile prejudice that rejects the country as a whole.” It is neither rational nor fair to reduce America to the policies of its president. It is, in a word, anti-American.

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