August 31, 2006

Yeah, well, good luck on that.

Italy coming out of Washington's shadow

Lots of blather in this one about how Italy is walking with a swagger nowadays, based on--well, based on something about having someone other than Berlusconi in charge and having troops in Lebanon.

To which I say, 'big whoop'--we are talking about Italy, after all, where governments wear out revolving doors faster than they can be made. I did happen to find this a bit on the funnyish side--

[...] The Lebanon crisis provided Prodi — whose government was given little chance of making a big impact after winning a razor-thin margin in April elections — an ideal platform for showing the world the new Italy.

Italy has no colonial history in the region and enjoys close relations with both Israel and the Arab world, making it a natural leader in peace discussions. [...]

Well, I suppose it's a bit of a stretch to recall Roman occupation of the region that lasted up until around 476, but Italy does have a relatively recent colonial history in nearby North Africa with Libya and Ethiopia, and its treatment of Muslim inhabitants during that time was about like any of the other colonial powers in the Middle East and Africa. That is, nothing to be proud of. Likewise their treatment of their Jewish population within Italy itself during the Fascist period. Again, geographically a bit remote from South Lebanon itself, but when you're dealing with populations who are still fighting over Ishmael's and Isaac's birthright, well, you know.

Obviously, things change, and Italy's past is past, but it does seem slightly unfair that certain countries are allowed to paper over their historic injustices when there's a political expedient for it, while other countries tend to remain popular targets of ill-considered hatred and derision, no matter how immaterial such criticism might be to the matter at hand.

But you know what? Big talk never did anything.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at August 31, 2006 12:58 PM

So, if Italy appears out of Washington's shadow and sees its own shadow, will we automatically have six more years of defeatism, accomodationists, and surrender? Or will they assume they're under attack by superior forces and surrender immediately?

(I assume if they don't see their shadow, will get 12 more years of it.)

Posted by: skinnydan at August 31, 2006 01:28 PM

I don't know any of that, but I CAN tell you they got some mighty fine looking hats.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 31, 2006 02:06 PM

Any three-star wearing a chapeau with a feather (or is that a stick-shift) should be ashamd of themselves.

(And I just thought you were going to link to Sophia Loren again.)

Posted by: skinnydan at August 31, 2006 11:23 PM

If I could find her in a uniform, I would have.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 1, 2006 08:15 AM