Less than a year ago we analyzed the evolution of Italian-Chinese relations under the Conte II government, telling about the slow decline from a multipolar position to an Euro-Atlantic one. It was predictable that we were heading for the worst but the confirmation came only with the arrival of the new PM of Italy Mario Draghi. SuperMario – as he is called – has been President of the European Central Bank, Governor of the Bank of Italy, collaborator of Goldman Sachs and strong supporter of the privatization policies of the 90s, with which centre-left and centre-right governments sold off State assets – the showpiece of Italian State capitalist economy from the end of WW2. He was the man who pronounced the famous phrase “Whatever it takes” that served as a pass for the implementation of anti-popular policies to save the euro in 2012.
With the support of all parties in the Italian Parliament, with the exception of Fratelli d’Italia and a few others such as the social democrat Nicola Fratoianni (who had in any case said they were willing to collaborate with Draghi), SuperMario was chosen for the role of Prime Minister of the old and vexed Italian Republic. In his inaugural speech, the line that the new government of national unity (or bourgeois unity) would have taken was already clear: “In the wake of our country’s belonging, as a founding member, to the European Union, and as a protagonist of the Atlantic Alliance, in the wake of the great Western democracies, in defense of their inalienable principles and values.”
Obviously it doesn’t take a genius to understand that these words as clear as the crystal water of a river are a direct consequence of the interests of the Italian and European capitalist classes as well as of the new state apparatus of Biden’s USA. President Draghi immediately put his cards on the table, giving a direct blow to the hearts of those parliamentarians who would have preferred a multipolar Italy, but especially to former President Giuseppe Conte who, despite being loyal to Washington and Brussels, had favored dialogue with Russia, China, Vietnam and other non-Western realities.
Let’s examine in detail how our country’s line towards the People’s Republic of China has changed. Last month, in June 2021, the G7 meeting (first for Draghi as Prime Minister) was held in London, where one of the most discussed topics was that concerning China.
One of the first topics to be discussed was the Belt and Road Initiative or New Silk Road, for which the Conte I government had signed – with no small reluctance of the opposition and a certain area of the majority – a memorandum of understanding containing commercial, economic, cultural, and other agreements. The signing of the memorandum, however, did not place Italy in the position of being obliged to maintain any obligations since it was only a symbolic gesture for a potential future agreement of collaboration between the two countries. Whether it was a gesture or not, this triggered panic in Europe and in the United States, which had begun to consider our country as the weak ring of the traditional capitalist West in the clash with China. With the change of direction of the Italian government, however, things have changed dramatically and Draghi has expressed his opinion by essentially declaring the death of the Italian-Chinese agreements by fully adhering to the anti-BRI US project called “Build back better for the World”.
In the open clash of the new imminent Cold War, to which Italy adhered, Western governments do not avoid hypocritical criticism of countries not aligned with Washington. In interviews following the end of the G7, Mario Draghi expressed the opposition of Euro-Atlantic governments (including Italy) “to the authoritarianism and autocracy” of China – unjustly accused of serious crimes against “democratic” demonstrators in Hong Kong or the Uyghur minorities (criticisms that have obviously already been debunked by China itself as well as by many politicians and independent journalists around the world). The comments of Draghi and his colleagues are hypocritical considering two things: first, the total and uncritical acceptance of Erdogan’s Turkey – defined by Draghi as a “reliable ally” – in the NATO club despite the heinous crimes committed in the Syrian Civil War against Syrians and Kurds; second, the severe repressions that these governments have implemented and are implementing against workers, students, trade unionists and communists fighting or striking to obtain more rights and respect (see the cases of FedEx, Texprint, Amazon, of migrants in the fields in Foggia, and so on). Therefore, hypocrites, because they accuse China unfairly, as in the worst anti-communist tradition of the last century, while covering their own bloodstained hands.
Obviously, the accusations were not limited only to that and SuperMario also spoke about the Chinese economy, stating that yes, China must and can develop its own economy but with international respect, accepting criticism from the “democratic” capitalist West – a sort of subordination that no country, especially China, could accept. Obviously, the EU positions itself on a more clash/confrontation view compared to the U.S. view of hegemonic domination – but this is only because China is the EU’s second largest trading partner and a definitive break would mean the collapse of the European economy. A better position but not a good one, of course – and Draghi has already demonstrated this by blocking Chinese cooperation with Italian public and private companies in various sectors, especially technology, in which China excels.
A question arises: would the West be what it is if it didn’t bring up from time to time strange plots worthy of flat earthers and novax? Obviously not. In fact, if until a few months ago it was only the reactionary extreme right to consider the option of lab-made virus, immediately discarded by WHO and doctors around the world, today even “democratic” and liberal governments tend to consider this argument, with the support of the U.S. propaganda apparatus, accusing China of being the primary and voluntary cause of the spread of Covid. This of course, given the already delicate climate in which Asian communities experience daily attacks, only provokes an even more devastating effect that will further damage, with the weapon of racism and hatred, people of Asian origin – whether Chinese or not.
On the wave of this fake news, Draghi also came to affirm, to safeguard the West in the “vaccine imperialist fight”, that Chinese vaccines are weak and not very useful in combating the Covid crisis, despite scientific evidence provided by WHO shows the contrary.
He also referred to the environmental issue and, despite the fact that it can be easily demonstrated that the biggest polluters of the planet are the multinationals based in the USA and Europe, as well as the U.S. military, Mario Draghi had the audacity to say that China should engage in the fight against climate change, accusing it of being responsible for 30% of global CO² emissions.
A few days ago, on July 1st, the Centenary of the Communist Party of China was celebrated in China and greetings have come from all over the world – even from Italy – and voices in the Italian Parliament have again risen against the Euro-Atlantic firmness of our government. Among the critics were Vito Petrocelli (M5S) and the former PM Massimo D’Alema (Articolo 1) who wished the CPC well, elevating the special and constructive spirit of the People’s Republic of China and asking the Italian government to cooperate with its Asian counterpart. The government, however, did not say a word and the majority of the parliamentarians expressed their opposition to cooperate with China – having already in the past months accused the Asian country of alleged abuses. Indeed, exactly in the Euro-Atlantic imperialist perspective so much defended and appreciated by Mario Draghi, Italy is widely supporting the U.S. military presence in the areas surrounding China (Pivot to Asia) and participating in NATO military exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, provoking Russia which has already responded to attempts of coercion. Obviously these actions are harmful to the peoples of the world because, with the Euro-American arrogance, there is the risk of a dangerous and useless direct confrontation and a possible New World War.
For this reason and for others mentioned above, communist parties all over the world – including the main Italian ones (Communist Front, Power to the People, Italian Communist Party, Communist Party and Communist Refoundation) – have taken sides and declared themselves against the aggressions of the United States and the European Union, which want to bring back the practical concept of Cold War, instead of safeguarding the suffering peoples from the economic and social crises caused not only by the pandemic but also by the inefficiency of the Western governments.
In conclusion, we have noticed how European capitalist governments – including Italy’s – fail to establish a multipolar model by detaching themselves from the traditional Atlantist sphere and collaborating more openly and progressively with the countries of the Global South – including China – who are fighting for a better world. We need, therefore, socialism to free ourselves from these worn-out imperialist and anti-people governments, loyal to NATO and the EU, and to finally establish a different, humanistic and peaceful society embedded in a cooperative and better world. With Draghi, Conte and others, it is obvious that it will never happen.
An article by Matt C.
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