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Italy’s Rapid Shift Against ‘Forever War’ Prompts Draghi’s Usefully Awkward Meeting with Biden

May 10, 2022 (EIRNS)—Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi might find no government when he returns home from his visit to Joe Biden today. In fact, as Biden might ask for more weapons for Ukraine, Draghi’s majority in Parliament has flipped, now being against more weapons to Kyiv.

Whereas Draghi’s earlier decision to send weapons was approved by Parliament, the originally tiny opposition has now become the majority. At first, only the radical left and small groups within the M5S, the Lega, and the Democratic Party (PD) itself opposed the decision. However, since the Pope’s statements against NATO, there has been radical change. The M5S, led by former Premier Giuseppe Conte, and the Lega, led by Matteo Salvini, are now publicly against new weapon shipments and for a peace negotiation. The opposition within the PD, led by former Minister Graziano Delrio, has grown such that the pro-NATO PD leadership has now shifted, simply to not lose control.  Remarkably, the shift is dramatized by a character that EIR veteran readers know well—financier Carlo De Benedetti, believed to be the oligarch who created Italy’s PD. In an interview with Corriere della Sera, De Benedetti urged for decoupling Italian (that is, EU) foreign policy from the Washington-London axis; and he even warned of the consequences of the looming food crisis. Millions of refugees will invade Italy from Africa, he said, preferring the risk of drowning in the Mediterranean against the certainty of starving to death.

As if on cue, PD Secretary General Enrico Letta also gave an interview to Corriere, crying out: “Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Poland must move now, united, for peace. Go to Kyiv first and meet Putin afterwards. We must not let the U.S. lead us. Europe has grown up. This war is in Europe and Europe must stop it.” Overall, it’s quite a remarkable shift.

Parliament demanded that Draghi brief the Deputies before going to Washington, which he did not do. If he does so on his return, he will face a majority on paper which will reject anything Biden might have asked him. It does not necessarily mean that the government will fall, but it might survive as a zombie. Political creativity is limitless in Italy.

In Draghi’s first public comments today at the White House with Biden, he usefully reflected his awkward situation with the combination of a plea and an outburst: “We stand together in condemning the invasion of Ukraine, on sanctioning Russia, and on helping Ukraine, as President Zelenskyy is asking us to do. But I have to tell you that in Italy and in Europe now, people want to put an end to this massacres—to these massacres, to this violence, this butchery that’s happening. And people think about what can we do to bring peace. We certainly have to use any direct, indirect—indirect channel of communication. But is that enough? What can we do? People think that—at least they want to think about the possibility of bringing a ceasefire and starting again some credible negotiations. That’s the situation right now. I think that we have to think deeply on how to address this.”

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