Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni recently celebrated a range of energy deals with Algeria. The agreements are part of Rome’s efforts to make up for energy shortfalls due to European sanctions on Russia and transform Italy into a Mediterranean energy hub.
While the deals were touted by government officials, in reality they do little for Italy’s near-term energy outlook, which is dire (more on that later). The public is growing increasingly wary of Rome’s support for Kiev, and last week former prime minister and leader of one of the parties in Meloni’s coalition government, Silvio Berlusconi, set off a firestorm with his mild suggestion that maybe, just maybe, this whole NATO proxy war against Russia is a complete catastrophe that deserves some more critical thought.
“If I were prime minister, I would never go talk to Zelenskyy,” Berlusconi said, adding, “We are assisting in the destruction of his country, the killing of his soldiers and civilians. All that was needed was for him to stop attacking the two autonomous republics in the Donbas, and this would never have happened.”
He also urged Washington to pressure Zelensky into a ceasefire by cutting off the supply of NATO weapons.
Cue the meltdown. Italian politicians and media attacked Berlusconi. Meloni quickly declared her unwavering support for Ukraine, NATO, and the US. According to Politico, conservative “politicians from nine countries criticized the comments and several said they planned to boycott an upcoming gathering of conservatives in Naples, Italy, if Berlusconi attended.”
The likely reason for the apoplectic response from officials and the media across the EU is that any signs of dissension threaten to bring down the entire house of cards. Indeed, Berlusconi was only voicing what the Italian (and much of the EU) public is thinking.
A recent Ipsos survey shows that only 30 percent of Italians are in favor of sending military supplies to Ukraine (compared to 48 percent of Germans, 63 percent of the British, 54 percent of Americans, and 52 percent of the French). Only 42 percent of Italians support sanctions, and 63 percent think that due to the crisis in their country, they cannot afford to financially support Ukraine.
One need not look further than the toll the lack of Russian energy is having on the Italian economy to understand why public support for the NATO adventure in Ukraine continues to wane.
Italian manufacturing contracted for a sixth month running in December as firms began self-rationing over the summer. It’s often forgotten that Italy is the EU’s second largest industrial base behind only Germany.
Similarly, Italy is the second largest importer of natural gas in the EU behind Germany. Italy’s industrial lobby group Confindustria sums up the situation:
The Italian economy is still slowing down: energy costs are persistent and inflation is at record levels. Furthermore, with the rise in interest rates and the lower liquidity due to energy bills, Italian companies risk getting into debt at high costs.
Italy relies on imports for three-quarters of its power consumption and Rome already has had to commit roughly 100 billion euros to soften the blow of the energy crisis, which has meant cuts to social programs.
Italy is looking south across the Mediterranean as part of the EU-wide turn to Africa in search of energy replacements for Russian oil and gas. The problem for Europe as a whole is the numbers just don’t add up. From GIS:
The entire African continent’s proven gas reserves are equivalent to 34 percent of Russian resources, and North Africa’s reserves equal only 10 percent of Russia’s. The African and North African gas production is 36 percent and 15 percent of Russia’s output, respectively. In 2020, total gas trade between Europe and Russia was nearly 185 bcm, about four and a half fold the trade with North Africa.
And for Italy more specifically, the only way it can fully replace Russian gas is through significant demand side measures, according to Marco Giuli, a researcher at the Brussels School of Governance in Belgium. From Hellenic Shipping News:
Italy consumed 29 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas last year, representing about 40% of its imports. It is gradually replacing around 10.5 bcm of that by increased imports from other countries starting from this winter, according to Eni.
Most of the extra gas will come from Algeria, which said on Sept. 21 it would increase total deliveries to Italy by nearly 20% to 25.2 bcm this year. This means it will become Italy’s top supplier, provide roughly 35% of imports; Russia’s share has meanwhile dropped to very low levels, Descalzi said this week.
From the spring of 2023, an increasing flow of LNG will start to arrive from countries including Egypt, Qatar, Congo, Nigeria and Angola, allowing Italy to replace another 4 bcm of Russian gas, Eni said.
I’m not great at math, but if you lose 29 bcm and replace it with 14.5 bcm, that’s suboptimal. And even that is a best-case scenario. More from Natural Gas Intelligence:
To reduce dependency on Russian gas supplies following the invasion of Ukraine as others across Europe are doing, Algeria’s Sonatrach and Eni agreed to a supply deal in April. Algeria would deliver an additional 9 Bcm of gas in 2023 and 2024 via the Transmed Pipeline.
But the Transmed system connecting Algeria and Italy is not operating at full capacity. Algeria has had production issues. The country has not invested in new infrastructure to increase production in the past three decades, and it needs to divert gas to meet increasing domestic demand for electricity.
“The additional 9 Bcm from Algeria by 2023 is unrealistic, especially considering that Algerian supplies to Italy increased by 80% between 2020 and 2021, Giuli said.
Giuli said a large increase by 2023 can only occur if there is a diversion of flows from Spain to Italy. Algeria’s relations with Spain have been strained because Spain has sided with Morocco over a land conflict in the Western Sahara.
During a Meloni trip to Algiers in January, Italy and Algeria signed agreements, including for the study and construction of an additional pipeline, as well as an underseas power cable, but those are years away.
In return, Italy’s industrial lobby group Confindustria pledged more activity in Algeria, and the Italian Space Agency agreed to share knowledge and develop joint projects. The Confindustria agreement could mean more Italian industrial production taking place across the Mediterranean. The Fiat brand of Italian automaker Stellantis is already getting auto and motorcycle production up and running in Algeria.
Meloni has little choice but to follow such policies despite the journey being all but doomed from the start. Italy’s economy and foreign policy are controlled by the EU and NATO, respectively, and as EU Commission President Ursula “the Great” said ahead of Meloni’s election victory, the EU has the tools to punish Italy should it get out of line.
This was the energy path laid out by her predecessor Mario Draghi. The former European Central Bank president and Goldman Sachs vulture, Draghi was one of the biggest proponents of the EU’s doomed Russia policy. He helped lead the charge for energy sanctions and wanted to steer Italy towards north Africa in its search for replacements.
Maybe it’s his final nail in the coffin of his native country. Draghi has been one of the primary authors of the neoliberal playbook guiding Italy for the past quarter century, and everything he’s touched has turned to sand. Thomas Fazi writes at Unherd:
It’s no coincidence that the era of the technical governments begins in the early 1990s, following Italy’s signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which was negotiated by none other than — you guessed it — Mario Draghi, at the time director general of the Italian Treasury. The first technocrat-led government, led by former governor of Italy’s central bank, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, was formed in 1993 and inaugurated the first round of mass privatisation of state assets. Just a few years later, it was the turn of Lamberto Dini, prime minister between 1995 and 1996.
Throughout this entire period, Draghi, in his capacity as director general of the Treasury, was one of the main proponents of the privatisation of Italy’s state-owned companies, and of the vincolo esterno in general. The fall of Berlusconi’s last cabinet, in 2011, saw the ushering in of another technocrat, Mario Monti, former European commissioner and an international advisor to Goldman, who proceeded to administer a devastating austerity “cure” recommended by Brussels. This was largely a consequence of the decision by the newly-appointed president of the ECB – yes, Mario Draghi again – to stop the purchases of Italian government bonds, which caused Italian interest rates to skyrocket.
Draghi laid out his vision for Italy in a 2011 screed when he was president of the ECB. It included:
- The full liberalization of local public services and professional services, through large-scale privatizations;
- Further reform the system of collective wage bargaining, allowing firm-level agreements to tailor wages and working conditions to the specific needs of firms;
- A thorough review of the rules governing the hiring and dismissal of employees
- Further intervene in the pension system, tightening eligibility criteria for old-age pensions and bringing the retirement age of women in the private sector rapidly back in line with that established for the public sector; to evaluate a significant reduction in public employment costs, by reducing wages.
He was able to accomplish some of that during his time as unelected prime minister from February 2021 to October 2022. Draghi laid the groundwork for privatizing local public services by changing the role of Italian municipalities and transferring power from elected officials to bureaucrats at the Italian Competition Authority (ICA).
The ICA will also be granted oversight of privatization efforts. Municipalities will be required to submit reports to the ICA justifying why certain services are better served by remaining run by the state, and there will be periodic reviews of these reasons, as well as increased cost-monitoring.
The stated goal is to eliminate red tape “affecting the freedom of economic initiative.” Critics believe that cash-strapped municipalities will continue to have a hard time providing adequate services, which will then be privatized.The Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility will also begin to exercise powers over regions if they have not “removed obstacles to the entry of new operators.”
He managed to ensure that Italian real wages are falling at the fastest pace in the EU, and it remains the only country in the bloc where wages have fallen since 1990. Temporary, low-paid contracts now account for the majority of new jobs and 5.6 million Italians — including 1.4 million minors — currently live in poverty, an all-time high.
He was a leading proponent of cutting off Europe from Russian gas, helping make sure that inflation is driving down households’ real purchasing power, business and consumer sentiment is plummeting, and the ECB is now trying to kill that inflation by hiking interest rates, increasing Italy’s funding costs and the likelihood that Rome will need assistance.
And then the Eurocrats can get to work fulfilling Draghi’s vision for Italy.
100 billion euros. Exactly the amount that according to Bhadrakumar, Norway has made on supplying gas to Germany since they helped US destroy the North Stream pipelines.
Maybe Italians should ask Norway to give them some as well.
Thanks, Conor Gallagher, an excellent summary. I will point out that Marco Travaglio and many writers at Fatto Quotidiano were pointing out before the September 2022 elections that Meloni would simply be Draghi ancora una volta. And so she is.
Current “triumphs”: The reddito di cittadinanza (guaranteed income) is going to be phased out this year, with no alternatives. A minimum of a half-million people are headed into dire poverty. This, of course, is in line with the Italian right wing’s subservience to U.S. political thought, too. Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni have attended the U.S. CPAC (the rightwingy Mecca).
The other mind-boggling triumph is a sudden destruction of “Superbonus,” which came from Giuseppe Conte’s government. The program allows Italians to get subsidies and deductions for renovating their buildings and buying “green” appliances. It has been an enormous success, getting thousands back to work, sprucing up cities, and stimulating the economy. Here, in Chocolate City, there has been scaffolding everywhere.
It is rather odd for me to be in agreement with the egregious Silvio Berlusconi, who has also expressed misgivings about killing off the Superbonus. And, of course, he is right about Ukraine, too.
Meanwhile, the Partito Democratico is engaged in some kind of slo-mo suicide. “Reformist” Elly Schlein just came out (wobbly but rather firmly) in favor of sending arms to Ukraine. Political irrelevance looms.
Finally: To gauge Italian culture and public opinion, revisit Sanremo. Zelensky was invited underhandedly to show up. This caused a big outcry from left and right. Italian commentators were writing straight out that they were tired of Zelensky begging for more, and more dangerous, armaments. (And something I didn’t know is that the Sanremo festival is immensely popular in Russia.)
So how did the Italians handle it? Come furbetti, although I have to admire the solution. Amadeus, artistic director, read a letter (no video) from Zelensky. At 1:52 a.m.
‘It is rather odd for me to be in agreement with the egregious Silvio Berlusconi’
Yeah, weird times that we live in. Berlusconi is talking truth to power in Italy, Tucker Carlson in the US and Viktor Orbán in the EU. When Meloni came in I thought that it might be a sign of some change in Italy but she was all onboard with Project Ukraine from the get-go so nothing fundamentally changed. I guess not the first time that the Italians have been completely sold out by their leadership but I do wonder how far they can be pushed.
Because they are taking a domestic economy first view, something that is anathema in the globalist economic view of the world who thanks to Ricardo will see such talk as protectionist heresy.
And it will resonate with many of the working class that in ages past voted for labor parties. The same kind of people that voted for Trump, hoping he would deliver on his MAGA slogan.
Problem is that while these people talk big, they could not give a rats ass about the working class beyond their serf like toil for the wealthy. So devil is once more in the details.
Yes! Great review of the dire energy situation in Italy. Silvio Berlusconi, for all his many faults, knows which way the wind blows, politically. I could not believe the number of pundits I saw mouthing ad homs saying Berlusconi is “quel amico di Putin”, without actually saying anything to contradict Berlusco’s comments. The usually sanctimonious Fabio Fazio was all the more sanctimonious when he interviewed the chiefs of La Repubblica, etc. where all repeated this mantra of Berlusconi being a Putin pawn. The usual media employees on TV and in many newspapers continued with this ad nauseum. It changed a little bit this week, as a result of the Munich conference. Ukraine has been in the news again – we must continue setting weapons in defence of (some kind of unknown) liberty. The Ukies have to win!! Meanwhile, keep your thermostat set to 19 deg. C and remember to turn out the lights when you leave the room! Pathetic and comical.
@Rev Kev,7:48am and Bill, 8:19am
“weird”, “Pathetic and comical”: you aren’t kidding.
Take a look at the last half or third of Alexander Mercouris’ program of yesterday. He was commenting on the Munich conference now underway. Normally pretty sober, he couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at the truly strange comments by the leaders of the Western countries.
At the end of his program he quoted a paragraph from the Financial Times in which US authorities are now admitting that the “spy” balloon floated over the US by the nefarious Chinese had in reality just blown off course. Just as the Chinese government had said.
My conclusion: the US government and its agencies are a clownshow and now they have balloons! Worryingly, they also have nuclear weapons…
Saying pathetic and comical when describing Italian politics is redundant. (I’m Italian BTW)
@tet vet, 11:14am
True enough re Italy, sadly, and Berlusconi excelled at both, although I must say he was very entertaining (bunga bunga parties, strippers in his cabinet (or were they only in the caucus?). However it’s a whole different thing when the (former?) world hegemon armed with nuclear weapons sinks into that state.
Yes, Putin pawn and conspiracy theory are almost sure indicators these days of being close to the truth. Brave New World, indeed.
The sad political reality of Italy and the rest of Europe is that all candidates have to pledge to the established order when they arrive to power and the mechanisms that ensure that outcome are well greased. TINA democracy it is. If any political party has roots in the populace it is easily unrooted and turns to be another variant of the globalist-US-subservient policy in place. Of course you have to vote because some variants are worse than others. Some more radically neoliberal while others still wanting to keep a few remnants of social democracy. For now. We will see in a decade or so if we are still alive. Not granted.
The power of EU-NATO compels them…
Even the Algerian deal, limited as it is, is problematic. Algeria is a major Russian ally and NATO will not be happy with the Italian move; France claims Algeria as its own backyard; both Spain and Morocco are hostile to Algeria and excellent friends with the US.
If I were the Italian government, I would keep my hopes down. Lest someone else dies in a plane “accident”.
That is a simplification (US-led simplification of course). There are confrontations between Algeria and Morocco, a rivalry would be more precise and this takes the form on confrontation regarding West Sahara and the exploitation of its natural resources which include NG and oil. IMO, Algeria fears that Morocco could turn an important competitor in NG markets and as a NG hub for resources that could be exploited in the Sahel. Algeria, from the 70s has supported the Polisario (West Sahara popular independentist movement). The US always sided with Morocco. Spain has for long supported the Polisario but got tired with time and the reality of improving relations with the close neighbour with many economic ties are winning the day. Spain is by no means hostile to Algeria but the latter resents the step taken by Spain. Algerian gas is in decline and they have hopes acting as a hub for NG coming from Southern regions. For Spain this is a situation in which it is nearly impossible to take correct decisions but, possibly with the help of Mauritania as a mediator relations with Algeria can be managed in a more constructive way.
it matters not to free trade creatures like Mario Draghi what happens in italy, or to it, all they know is that they are so close this time to full global dominance, and they are not going to let it slip from their fingers this time.
because if it slips, the jig is up and the house of cards implodes.
i fully expect russia will have to go into full warfare mode, as its physically attacked in all directions from the outside of their country, let alone the inside.
you can see this by the activity and statements from the free trade creatures all over the west. they are totally ignoring everything in their countries, as their countries melt down.
if the world survives this, history hopefully will show the folly of losing sovereignty. and above all, the elites must be made to pay for their follies.
Ironically, with this final drive to close their grip on the world, the big global homogenization dream is slipping through their fingers and the final decisions won’t be made by Draghi and his ilk, but those who still have a grasp on reality and don’t want to see the world turned to cinder. I take heart in the fact that we have people in power, hidden from direct sight though they may be, that gave Sy Hersh the story that blames the younger neocon cabal of Blinken, Sullivan and Nuland for the Nord Stream sabotage. I think we’re on the verge of the end of the neocons and it couldn’t come soon enough. And with them gone and their project in tatters, the globalists will be weakened, perhaps fatally. The multipolar world the neocon project has attempted to stop is one where globalists have to tame their ambitions. And with the failure cascading through western economies the globalists might be next.
Bjarne: Ironically, with this final drive to close their grip on the world, the big global homogenization dream is slipping through their fingers
No. In 1997-98, the G8 economies constituted 70 percent of global GDP. Now they’re 42-43 percent — and current policies are accelerating this contraction.
So ‘the dream’ had already slipped through their fingers.
Like failing aristocratic classes througout history, they cannot recognize this. If one glances at the FT comments sections, they’re particularly rabid and delusional about suppressing ‘Putler’ and how the West is bound to win, with one commentator expressing the belief that victory was inevitable on the basis of the G7 powers having 70 percent of global GDP (and Russia being a gas station with nukes, etc.)
No, chum, that was a quarter-century ago and it’s much closer to half that. Pitiful ignorance and arrogance going hand in hand as usual in human affairs.
@Michaelmas, 10:34am, re GDP.
Olivier Todd pointed out in an interview in Le Figaro recently that the Western countries believed that sanctions and war would destroy Russia because its GDP was about 3% of that of the West. Todd points out that GDP does not reflect war-making capacity and includes a lot of “hot air” (“vapeur d’eau”) like US health expenditure of nearly 20% of GDP versus 10% in other western countries and the work of many thousands of well-paid economists that spin nonsense.
The US elites believed their own propaganda and didn’t bother to make sure it was right. Oops.
The fallen aristocrats of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s “Gattopardo” come to mind.
Italy is in a position of strategic strength if it plays its cards right, unlike Germany, because of geography. It is the obvious landing point for Algerian and Tunisian and Libyan gas and its onward transmission to northern Europe (in the same way that Turkey is offering Erdogan the chance to make Turkey a hub for ex-Soviet gas).
– France has too much history with Algeria and is too far away.
– Italy has its own history with Libya but, given the range of governments there (thanks, Free Enterprise!), it is a buyer’s market in politicians.
– All of these countries are probably capable of increased gas production because they have under-invested in previous cycles.
– Plus each of these countries is also a potential solar power exporter. There is a cockamamie plan to export power from Morocco to SW England so a short cable from North Africa to to Italy should be no problem.
Italy may have some difficulties with the security situation in these countries affecting investment and exports but she could turn a blind eye to Russia in Algeria and make friends with Turkey in Libya. This would put her on the opposite site of the Greece-Cyprus-Israel gas scheming.
I predict Turkey and Italy for the long-term win, in gas pipeline terms. Spain will content itself with Morocco and with its raft of LNG delivery terminals for US gas.
Spain can’t be a gas hub. France in the way.
I’m wondering how many NATO member states have begun quiet communications with Russia. Surely some of these leaders read the writing on the wall (Get 50% off your reparations bill and save your industry!). Maybe one day soon we will wake to the news that NATO has been reduced in size to the five eyes and some Scandinavian countries.
btw, I seem to remember Putin do an interview on Italian tv last spring during which he spoke fondly of Italians and their culture.
Yes, very good article, I appreciate the summary of recent Italian political economic history. Question: this stuck out to me:
Is there a source? Even compared with say Greece? I could only find data easily that showed a nominal rise in wages through 2019 and little and falling inflation over that period. Honest question.
In Italian. Based on figures from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Widely publicized in Italy about a year ago. Cause of continuing scandal.
It is absolutely amazing how the Italian “elites” are deliberately running their country into the ground. And if only those difficulties about gas were the only ones: because of the sanctions, Italy is having massive problems with oil as well. Case in point: the ISAB refinery in Priolo (Sicily).
1) The refinery belongs to Lukoil, and was so far supplied with oil from Russia. It represents at least 20% (16 M tonnes/year) of the entire refining capacity of Italy, employs about 1000 people, and gives work directly or indirectly to another 2000-10000 (depending on estimates).
2) In 2022, the Italian government placed the strategically important refinery under amministrazione fiduciaria. Lukoil, who interestingly enough has not yet been subject to direct EU sanctions, faced unsurmountable difficulties to operate its refinery:
2.a) Because of the EU sanctions in the finance sector, Lukoil could not obtain commercial credit and guarantees to import non-Russian crude.
2.b) With Russian oil coming under embargo, Lukoil would no longer be able to supply the refinery with crude from its own fields in Russia.
Ultimately, Lukoil would have to cease operations in Priolo.
In December 2022, the Meloni government sent an ultimatum to Lukoil: figure out how to solve the problem forthwith, or just sell the refinery to somebody who will — otherwise the refinery will be expropriated.
3) On the 9th January 2023, Lukoil announced that it had agreed to sell the refinery.
3.a) The new owner and operator is G.O.I. Energy, a subsidiary of the Cypriot fund Argus.
3.b) The Swiss trading firm Trafigura committed to supply non-embargoed oil in the sufficient quantities.
The ownership is to be effectively transferred at the end of March.
4) Just a few days ago, the Italian government informed that it was considering an application of its “golden power” — i.e. its privilege to stop deals that imperil the national interest or security. Speculation about this sudden stop to the sale of the refinery revolves around the following points:
4.a) Rumours have it that the USA intimated to the Italian government that the new operators of the refinery were not acceptable as being suspect of intending to bypass sanctions against Russia.
4.b) Trafigura has long been very actively trading Russian raw materials. It divested its share (€ 6B) in the Vostok Oil enterprise (to exploit arctic oil) early during the war in Ukraine, but doubts remain about its long-standing links with companies like Rosneft.
4.c) The Cypriot company Argus is funded and managed by Israelis, but appears to employ personnel with slavic names for the important refinery business. The CEO of G.O.I. Energy, to be in charge of the ISAB refinery in Priolo, is a certain Mikhail Bobrov.
So the fate of the largest Italian refinery is still uncertain.
By the way: the Bulgarians are wrangling with another Lukoil refinery, Neftochim in Burgas, the largest one in Bulgaria (7 Mt/y, and up to 9.8 Mt/y). The Bulgarians thought they had managed to postpone the problem by getting an exemption that allows them to import Russian crude till the end of 2024. And thus Neftochim boosted its activity in 2022 to 7.1 Mt crude refined vs. 4.2 Mt in 2021, exporting 50% of its products.
Unfortunately, the EU ban on products refined from Russian crude, in force since 5th January 2023, means that this loophole is basically closed. Neftochim can import Russian oil, but cannot operate at a capacity that excludes all its exports of refined products (except, another EU derogation, to Ukraine). With closure looming, on the 13th January the Bulgarian parliament enabled the government to take over the control of Netfochim for up to one year. How does one say “fiduciary administration” in Bulgarian?
Unfortunately true for most of the West and their respective elites, not just Italy.
funny how they’re not running goldman into the ground…so one can’t claim it’s incompetence…
The full liberalization of local public services and professional services, through large-scale privatizations;
Further reform the system of collective wage bargaining, allowing firm-level agreements to tailor wages and working conditions to the specific needs of firms;
A thorough review of the rules governing the hiring and dismissal of employees
Further intervene in the pension system, tightening eligibility criteria for old-age pensions and bringing the retirement age of women in the private sector rapidly back in line with that established for the public sector; to evaluate a significant reduction in public employment costs, by reducing wages.
I’m waiting for the UK to:
1. Replace the GDPR (which doesn’t apply since Brexit) with a FB-friendly privacy-unfriendly policy to attract HQs (from ROI, for example)
2. Exit ECHR
3. Convert the gov pension from a guaranteed benefit to a means tested welfare scheme
“Putin…spoke fondly of Italians and their culture”!!
Oh no!! I too am very fond of Italy. I went to la Scuola per stranieri in Siena to learn the language in the early 1980s and have greatly enjoyed visiting the country from time to time since then.
Now I learn that The Dark Lord Putin, enemy of the Free World and All That Is Good, also likes Italy. I guess that makes me a godless Putin sympathizer. Yikes!
I’ve been called that. It’s a poor attempt at a non-sequitur. It’s like being called a Trump apologist when you’re trying to debate policy. Or eating a Snickers bar for lunch because you’ve run out of food.
Snickers bar for lunch: hilarious!!!
Re Putin apologism: Mercouris in yesterday’s program I referred to above also noted the surprising return of the term “free world”. Amazing. Seems the time has come to roll out all the 1950s Joe McCarthy-style anti-communist slogans again. Just replace “communism” with “Putin” or at a pinch “Russian”. To wit “The international Putin conspiracy to… (something nefarious)… and undermine the free world. In the 1950s “god-fearing free world” was usually added but currently that is not in vogue. We do have to keep up with the times.
Italy, the silent giant.
I keep forgetting about them, as France, Germany and UK steal the show again and again. But at the same time the cornerstone shipyard near me is owned by an Italian company once one unravel the layers of subsidiaries.
Who are the American citizens who support all this FRWing war MICC crap? I sure don’t. I don’t support NATO; I don’t support stupid totalitarian greedcrazed oligarchies including China and Russia. I am a retired middle class American who has worked as a non-paid volunteer in 4 political campaigns. Some of the comments on here insult me and many others like me. You know?
No, gentleperson, I don’t know. I assume the comments you have found insulting relate somehow to your volunteer experience in political campaigns. Beyond that, I can draw no information, and thus cannot come to any conclusions about the comments at issue. What, in specific, have you found insulting? Inquiring minds want to know.
Every EU and NATO country is petrified with fear of reprisals from the United States should they even speak of breaking ranks with the war in Ukraine or the sanctions regime—let alone act on it. Cowardice becomes prudence. It is possible that they will see the error of this way of thinking when they are finally in the poorhouse of nations.
It does seem that those threats were spelled out somewhere. I would be very interested to know their substance…
It might have to do with the fact that the US defends the oligarchical power and the Old Europe is rearing its head again (maybe except populist right of centre Hungary) and would not want to loose to an actual left leaning system…
Funny, i see more right wing power rising than anything “left” wing.
this is now why Europe is all in on the war against Russia. The simply must get this energy back and to do that they need a Russian loss followed by regime change. Any way you look at it, Russia, the EU, the US are now committed . This is already a world war which will only continue to escalate as the off ramps are just not there. Only revolutions inside the belligerent parties can change the course.