Rebuttal

The Truth About Italy

One of Europe's most dynamic countries deserves praise, not petty insults.

To put it simply, the recent article by James Walston, whose title I will avoid mentioning so as not to spread its vulgarity, is a clear example of faziosita’ (factiousness). And Waltson’s choice of Dante’s quote may well be a Freudian slip, since Dante himself experienced the tragic and painful effects of the fight between fazioni in XIII Century Florence, being eventually banned from his native city and exiled.

Anyone has the right to express his own opinions, even when they are blatantly biased as in Walston’s case. But I am very surprised that an important publication which is dedicated to foreign policy and bears on its front page the name of its illustrious founder, Samuel P. Huntington, chooses to host such an acrimonious and false story based on domestic gossip, with a lack of balance and seriousness one could expect at the lowest levels of tabloid sensationalism.

I am even more surprised since it’s on foreign policy that, over the years and in particular under the current government led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has given more and more evidence of its worldwide credibility, strong commitment, and resolve, as is proper for a founding member of the European Union and a leading country within the G8.

For coming issues of Foreign Policy, I dare suggest a few stories about Italy that may be of some interest to your readers all over the world. For an Afghan audience you might run a story about the 4,000 Italian troops helping secure the country against the Taliban threat and strengthen local communities together with the United States and other Nato allies. Your readers in Lebanon, the Balkans and in Africa will most probably be happy to see some pictures of those 7,500 Italian peacekeepers they meet every day in their towns and villages and that make Italy top contributor to U.N. missions among G8 countries. As for those in the United States who are particularly worried about the well-known effects of unregulated financial markets, it could be useful to learn more about "Lecce Framework", a set of  common principles and standards for propriety, integrity and transparency proposed during the Italian G8 presidency last year, or the proposals Italy has put forward on commodity speculation for the upcoming G20 Summit in Seoul (Speaking of the economy, Waltson might want to reconsider his figures about Italy’s growth and take a look at more recent public data showing an annualized rate of 1.3 percent).

James Walston replies.

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