A personal statement on major crisis between Italy and the United States
This post is meant to be released in order to show the american and british readers how deep is the wound in the relations between Italy and the United States since the government led by Romano Prodi took the oath roughly ten months ago. The italian center-left government is based upon a variety of several political parties which obviously have very different views, but the most important issue is the strong power of the far left including former and neo communist parties.
During this period the government has been pushed by the far left in order to stress the difference between Italy and the Bush administration, trying to get a massive withdrawal of our troops involved in the international and american-led efforts against the islamist terrorism, and many times the small majority at the italian Senate has crashed on important issues such as important choices regarding foreign and security policies and the refunding bills of the military mission to Afghanistan.
Less than a month ago, Prime Minister Prodi had to resign after a failed confidence vote at the Upper House of the Parliament, after a strained session on italian international strategies, alliances and objectives.
Now, the domestic controversy which followed the liberation of an italian journalist kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban, has quickly become an international crisis among the NATO allies.
During a meeting of the italian Foreign Minister, Massimo D'Alema, with the american Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, it became clear that the italian government put pressure on the Karzai democratic and legitimate afghan government to obtain the release of about 5 taliban exponents kept in jail by the afghans (one of those seems to be responsible of the murder of a british soldier) in order to set the italian hostage free.
Right after the story was known, sources very close to the Bush administration, the british Foreign Office and also to the German Cancellor and the Dutch Prime Minister, stressed their strong disappointment regarding the way the italian government is dealing with its efforts in Afghanistan, labeling the deal as a dangerous precendent which could eventually undermine years of resolve and commitment in fighting against terrorists all over the world, this precedent is stressed by leading intelligence analysts as the first fracture along the front of the western allies.
These statements put Italy in a serious and unusual international isolation, and put the italian goverment lead by Prodi in the corner of all the main western and european allies; our foreign policy has been severely hit and our diplomacy will now face obstacles with all the foreign offices, but what is worst is the terrible lose of relative power that Italy has suffered with this crisis.
The risks of the conduct of the italians is the main concern of the coalition deployed in the afghan territory, and several major NATO allies showed their fears that such a murky conduct could afflict to the safety of western citizens, the safety of the ISAF troops and, over all, the reliability of the democratic Karzai governmant.
The principal western foreign offices are upset about the current behaviour of the italian ally, whose outragious latest actions are feared to jeopardy the NATO efforts in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are told to be ready to strike again this spring.
The italian government is accused to dealing with the terrorists, giving the Taliban an international reliability they had not got before, and also is not doing any efforts to fight the terrorists due to the several "caveat" put to the italian military troops standing in Kabul, and doing so is accused to discuss its NATO allies' decisions putting in jeopardy the force and the unity of the Organization itself.
The latest statements by the White House show how the crisis has become evident and by far the most serious ever since the major crisis which occured in the mid-eighties between the Reagan administration and the Craxi socialist-led government concerning the treatment of terrorists inside the U.S. Naval Base in Sigonella, Sicily.
Now that the Italian credibility has suddenly fallen and the major crisis between Rome and Washington has formally opened we do not know how Prime Minister Prodi is going to deal either with the White House and his domestic communist allies in order to improve the cold relations with the historic american ally and serving the best interests of the country.
Our troops morale and prestige abroad has been severely hit, and what is more, the credibility of the italian international efforts and treaties has been seriously damaged.
We only hope this irresponsible government will soon fade away and, for what is worth, we apologize to our fellow american and british friends for the disgraceful behaviour of our current government: keep in mind that a lot of italian citizens feel ashamed of their own country and support the resolve and commitment which America and Great Britain show all over the world in fighting the terrorists and our enemies.
We all look forward to better times and, again, we apologize for the disgraceful conduct of our government.