Concerns about the political history of Georgia Meloni did not affect the relations between Italy and the United States, which, on the contrary, appear more robust than the bilateral relationship between the two leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali. From containing Russia and China to the energy crisis, Nicholas Locker of the Center for a New American Security says
binary between Georgia Meloni And the Joe Biden It attracted great interest on both sides of the Atlantic. Two leaders from very different political backgrounds were able to have a positive dialogue and continue to relaunch relations between Italy and the United States on issues of mutual interest, starting with Ukraine. Suspension Nicholas LockerFrom the Transatlantic Security Program of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
What is the conclusion of Meloni and Biden’s bilateral meeting?
The signs are positive. At least so far, working relations between the Joe Biden administration, Georgia Meloni, the US government, and Italy have been good. Of course, Meloni has come under fire in the US for her political stances in the run-up to the election, and if I had to explain the Biden administration’s position on the matter, I would say that Biden is particularly concerned about their relations with the extreme. truly.
While campaigning in the US, Biden used the rise of the far right in Italy as an example of the threats to democracy. However, it was precisely an election campaign for internal use. If we look at the official channels of communication, I think the state of relations is more positive. And I think there is a need for a pragmatic vision of things, in the need to cooperate better with the new government. So I think there is some difference between what Biden thinks in particular and how he intends to approach relations between the two countries.
From climate to energy, to the joint approach of Russia and China, the issues touched upon are multifaceted
I think dealing with Russia and China is probably the most pressing issue. I think the United States would like to use Italy as a key partner in confronting these authoritarian adversaries around the world. And I think that, especially with regard to Russia at the moment, it is very important that there be a collective and unified response from the West to aggression against Ukraine, which Italy obviously joins. This answer, in my opinion, should have subtle ingredients.
The first is to maintain and possibly increase sanctions against Russia. The second is to continue providing military and financial aid to Ukraine. And the third is to maintain a strong commitment to NATO, which is an indirect party to the conflict, but which will now be our reference above all else. The incident of the missile attacks in Poland on Tuesday highlights the fact that there is ultimately a risk of a broader escalation of this conflict, which I sincerely hope does not happen. However, it is extremely important, in light of this danger, that all NATO members remain united. On this front, there are no immediate indications that Italy no longer wants to fulfill its obligations in this regard.
This also appears in the minutes of the meeting, where Biden and Meloni reportedly discussed a commitment to continuing support for Ukraine and holding Russia accountable. Even the Italian report on the meeting confirms the strength of the transatlantic alliance. Moreover, the United States sees with great pleasure that Meloni maintained the Atlantic line both before and after his election.
Are there concerns in Washington about Italy?
Not right away. There are certainly long-term concerns. I think the main reason lies in the Italian ruling coalition, which includes La Liga and Forza Italia. I’m not sure how much the US understands how much influence junior coalition partners have on overall government policy, but I think it’s recognized as a potential source of concern. I think of when, a few weeks ago, Silvio Berlusconi Repeat his sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was clearly picked up by the American press.
Secondly, the cause for concern is how Italy will respond to the energy crisis. A few months ago I saw a poll saying that about half of the Italian public believed that sanctions against Russia contributed to or caused the energy crisis. This makes me think that Italy will not support increasing sanctions against Russia in the future, if that is the goal of the broader Western alliance. So I think those are two areas that the United States will continue to move forward in. In the near future, the cooperation is solid and indisputable.
Some observers believe there is a renewed American interest in Italy, which goes beyond the classic security sphere.
In my view, and I think other American observers may share this view, I think Italian policy may seem difficult to follow, because there is so much change in leadership. That said, under the rule Mario Draghi There has been renewed interest in the sense that Italy is aiming to be champions at European level and taking more initiatives. For example, the close understanding between France and Italy under the previous government, which seemed like a kind of great engine for new initiatives at the European level.
The other reason there might be renewed interest is in the democracy protection aspect. In addition to Biden’s rhetoric about “what’s happening in other parts of the West,” the far right is on the rise in Europe, as well as in the United States, and is therefore a topic of common interest, also from the perspective of competition with authoritarian regimes.
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