“Perhaps it will be the case that, after the Kabul rout, Italy devotes more vigilant attention, less ritual, perhaps even more imaginative, to its foreign policy. Taking into account that it can now reserve us more surprises than confirmations. the American lowering of the flag in Afghanistan almost seems to tell us that NATO no longer exists. Or at least, it will never be the same again. Twenty years after 11 September 2001, when we proclaimed with some emotion that we had become “all Americans “, It can be said that perhaps it is America that is no longer itself. In spite of Atlantic rhetoric, the withdrawal from Afghanistan took place under the sign of unilateralism in the stars and stripes. Not exactly a bolt from the blue, if we take into account the vicissitudes of all these years: first Bush (son) and the second war in Iraq, then Obama, more towards “his” West than “ours”. Then Trump with his all too essential cult of “America first”. One slip after another that was thought to be corrected, but which the Afghan mess renders at this point highly dramatic. In fact, the illusion that Biden could revive the glories of the Euro-Atlantic politics of the 1940s lasted just a few weeks. After which it was necessary to acknowledge that it is the United States, all the United States, that have changed strategy. Whatever the current president, it will be said that it is certainly not the first time that the irons have crossed in the context of the Atlantic alliance. It is true. But it is also true that all the conflicts, divergences, disputes of the past took place within a strategic enclosure that no one ever seriously questioned. Almost as if NATO were in a certain sense our blanket of Linus: a community of destiny from which neither party would ever escape. At the time there was a quarrel about Suez, vigorously. Then on Vietnam, dramatically. And then with some more harshness on the second war in Iraq, with half Europe in favor and half against. From there began the rhetoric about America that came from Mars and Europe that instead was inspired by Venus – some more warlike and others more inclined to pacifism. Now apparently the scenario seems to have turned upside down, with the United States leaving the battlefield while some Europeans (including Italy) advised against packing in a hurry. wont to appeal don’t help that much. In recent days, the precedent of Vietnam has been very much remembered, when the last helicopter took off from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon, bringing the ambassador and his loved ones to safety and ending a conflict that had torn the consciences of the epoch. That too was a retreat that heralded a defeat and a dramatic handover. But that time it had all happened, so to speak, well within the Atlantic frame. The Western community, let’s call it that, had expressed itself, divided and opposed, but without anyone ever seriously questioning its fate. It was an “American” war in which the Allies had not taken part. But it was clear to everyone that its outcome would cover the entire span of that alliance: for and against, fighters and dissidents, all sharing the same bond, but now it is precisely that bond that is jeopardized. Not so much because you may have cultivated different opinions and interests, as it is natural that it is. But because perhaps for the first time it was realized that the weight of those differences has perhaps become even greater than the many similarities that still remain. The rhetoric of “America first” and the accounting of the most immediate and controversial interests puts in fact on the agenda a divergence that mutual diplomacy is no longer able to mask. And all this in the shadow of a defeat that seems to have something apocalyptic about it. If only for the sense of shame it leaves a little on everyone. Thus, those who complained until a few years ago about the “imperialist” excesses of a certain American unilateralism are now facing its overthrow. And that is with the selfishness of an almost isolationist America. If before we felt crushed (but also strategically protected) by its cumbersome presence, today we find ourselves at the mercy of its absence. At least in the strategic theaters that concern us most closely. For better or for worse, and much more for evil than for good, we are now more alone. It will be the case to come to terms with it and understand what remedies Italy and Europe can put in place. Unfortunately, the time for ritual formulas is over. It will be said that we are and remain an Atlantic country, of course. But the shell of the old Atlanticism that enveloped and protected us is broken. It will therefore be necessary to find other ways of being “Atlantic”, now that what we knew and practiced seems to have waned between the hills of Afghanistan and the bends of the Potomac. And it will be good to try to do it as soon as possible “. (By Marco Follini)
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