Mirko Molteni October 03, 2022
The journalist expert on geopolitics Federico rampini is back in bookstores with two new works. In Western Suicide (Mondadori, 252 pages, 19 euros) he invites us to reject the absurd demolition of our historical memory based on a “politically correct” attitude that leads to the destruction of monuments and the censorship of cultural works by post- modern categories into the past. With America. Journey to the rediscovery of a country (Solferino, 288 pages, 18 euros), goes beyond the clichés widespread in Europe and tells the thousand faces and the thousand contradictions of today’s America, touched by the author, who has lived in the States for years . The lengthy interview that Rampini has given us begins with the hegemonic role of the United States, starting with Washington’s comments on the recent electoral victory of the Italian centre-right, and then broadens the view to the global chessboard.
US Secretary of State Blinken says Italy is a strong democracy but President Biden fears a centre-right victory. Does America Trust Us?
Biden was speaking at a gathering of his party as part of the Nov. 8 general election campaign. He only used Italy to warn his people that a right-wing victory is also possible in America. His state secretary, on the other hand, spoke of relations between states and between governments. America will continue to trust us if we stick to the commitments made in NATO and don’t side with Putin.”
How do the United States see Meloni, who went to the Republican Congress two years ago and has supported Ukraine from the start?
“The Biden administration has excellent relations with two right-wing governments in Europe, the conservative in London and the ultra-conservative in Warsaw. Among the members of the European Union, Poland is considered the country that best understood the threat of Russian expansionism and is taking the consequences in the form of aid to Ukraine and increased defense spending. If Meloni follows the Polish example, the image Americans have of her can only improve.”
Poland has worse legal laws than Hungary. Why does the United States get along well with Warsaw and not Budapest?
“Because Warsaw supports Ukraine more generously than any other European country and because it already spends more than 2% of its GDP defending against the Russian threat. Orban’s case is completely different because he has consistently backed down to Putin, including on sanctions. As for abortion laws, in Texas and Florida we have situations more similar to Poland than in California ».
Why did Europe agree on the war and not on its economic consequences?
“It was only thanks to the American leadership that he was able to agree on the war. If Europeans had been left to their instincts, Putin’s troops would already be in Berlin. With regard to the economic consequences, everyone is trying to protect themselves as best they can. Also because the Italian solidarity appeals are badly received. Rome accuses the Dutch and Norwegians of cashing in on expensive gas, but what is it waiting for to pump its own gas from the Adriatic? Why has Estonia already launched its own regasification vessel in record time and Germany bought five regasification vessels while we are still based in Piombino? ».
But will the United States be able to maintain world domination?
“In the long run, I think the focus of the story will inevitably return to Asia. That is where it was half a millennium ago, when China and India were the wealthiest and most advanced nations. But long-term is one thing, it’s another to think about this decade and the next. China has a political system that is incapable of exercising soft power, hegemony over ideas and values. The Chinese model is making great strides in less developed countries but is facing increasing resistance in the West ».
To what extent are we taking the risk of nuclear war and a new world conflict?
«Putin shakes it every day to scare us and bring us to our knees. The trickiest exercise right now – involving governments, military leaders and intelligence agencies – is understanding the extent to which this is a bluff and what are the best methods of countering it. However, one important detail strikes me: where are the self-proclaimed Italian pacifists in the face of an autocrat threatening to use a nuclear weapon? Can they only demonstrate against NATO? ».
The US is concerned about the settlement of relations between Russia and China. Now they want to weaken Moscow, but will they then take action against Beijing?
«The analysis must be reversed. The alliance between Russia and China has been solidifying since at least 2007, as these two colonial empires share the certainty of the West’s demise and share the same desire to hasten our eventual demise. We ignored this reality at our peril, even though Putin and Xi Jinping declared these things in their official speeches ».
Is it plausible that the Russo-Ukrainian war would not have broken out with Trump in the White House?
“That cannot be ruled out. On the one hand, Trump was willing to give Putin more leeway. On the other hand, he could have threatened him with using the atomic bomb first. In that case, our self-proclaimed pacifists would have invaded all the squares of Italy ».
We saw a very weak Biden. Was it chosen precisely because it was weak and therefore guaranteed certain power stats?
“He was elected in 2020 because he has always been moderate and there was no other candidate able to hold together the many souls of the Democratic Party. He brought home some not inconsiderable results. His Green New Deal, renamed to make it look like an anti-inflationary maneuver, is shutting up and not only funding renewable sources but also restarting fossil fuel extraction. He’s an old man, he doesn’t have a great figure, but he’s retained his pragmatic instinct. Still, I predict his party will lose seats in November and that he will be president for one term.
What will happen in China at the upcoming CCP Congress in October?
“I don’t foresee any surprises. Third term for Xi Jinping. Emperor for life. But then he’ll have to contend with an economy that’s slowing terribly. The IMF forecasts that China’s GDP will grow by just 2.8% after decades of double-digit growth, versus the regime’s target of 5.5%. After the triumph, there comes a time for Xi when he will face strong headwinds.”