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It’s time to leave America behind

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Italy

Barbara Spinelli
La Stampa

Italy needs a new direction, said Barbara Spinelli in Milan’s La Stampa. After five years under outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the country has lost prestige. In Europe, Berlusconi followed Britain’s Tony Blair in opposing close political cooperation among E.U. states. Abroad, he followed the George W. Bush line, presenting the war in Iraq as part of the struggle against terrorism. “Both strategies failed.” Under incoming Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Italy could chart a different course—but which? “The alternative to the Anglo-American course doesn’t lie with France, and still less with Putin’s Russia.” In the run-up to the Iraq war, Paris and Moscow could have used their significant influence with Saddam Hussein to pressure him to come clean about his weapons programs. Instead, they assured him—mistakenly—that the U.S. would not act without U.N. permission. Such coddling of a dictator was “un-European.” The best option for Italy would be to find common ground with Germany, and the two large economies together could propel the E.U. to global prominence. “For Italy, the polar star will have to be Europe.”

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