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On public shaming

Here we go again, Frau Merkel scolding France and Italy. A new iron lady to replace Margareth Thatcher with a touch of Teutonic spirit. Too slow, too sluggish, too little scharfe. No, it’s not nice to be publicly subjected to a reprimand. And indeed is quite interesting to see France, Germany’s co-pilot for so long (remember when the marvellous George W. Bush organised his little adventure in Mesopotamia and the two dared telling him he was a fool?), relegated to the role of subaltern. Ha! What a dire humiliation for our proud cousin beyond the Alps!

Well, I’d say it’s a matter of tastefulness and politically debatable if not dubious when a foreign head of state feels entitled to reprimand other countries – I should also say that’s typically an American bad habit, I lost count of the times an American ambassador has intruded in host countries’ business, what do you think Aussie friends? Also, Germany should know that when she flexes her muscles shivers run along the spine of fellow Europeans. No, no, I’m not saying the Germans are about to start a third world frenzy. That’s so last century! I’m saying that in a community of equals, exactly what the EU should be, there’s no room for a self-appointed class president.

The contending views are well known: on the one side Germany and her obsession with balance sheets (an obsession that does not stem out of nowhere, let me remind you, it’s not a know-all OCD momentum, it’s the legacy of Germany’s past), on the other, Italy and France (along with others) that insist – at times beg – for public investment to boost recovery.

Truth is, in my view, that Germany is scared by the weakness of her neighbours and the only way out she knows is the one that allowed her to raise again after two world conflicts she lost, to deal with the reunification and to become the strongest economy of the old continent with a manufacture sector worth all the commonplaces on German industry.
What if the prescription is unsuitable for other patients, though? And what about Germany’s economy steady pace? Isn’t it slowing down? Aren’t the Germans so used to save that they don’t spend anymore, not even in essentials?

It’s legitimate to raise the question of how counterproductive Germany’s intransigence might be in the long run, and to what extent her muscular performance might be hindering recovery in the rest of the continent. We should all be aware of the fact that interdependence ties the destinies of everyone in our crowded neighbourhood – remember when there were rumours about Merkel letting Greece sink to prevent her disease spreading?

But that’s not it. I’d like to touch on the Rome scandal. I’ve heard a lot of dramatically ill-grounded misconceptions about Italian Mafia while abroad. One thing that’s not clear at all to most people is that the Godfather and Hollywood representation of Mafia has little to do with what is it really, today. It’s no gangsters. It’s politics. It’s a cancer spreading faster than any chemo could ever keep pace with. It’s a cancer that has reached lungs, heart and brain. And what is unfolding these days in Rome is another crack in the beautiful marbled face of the Enternal. The citizens of Rome know very well she’s beautiful as much as rusty between her stuck gearwheels. No lubricant can unstuck them. But those people knew very well how to grease the mechanics of bureaucracy and politics and it’s just painful to see an almost 3,000 (2,767) year-old lady covered in mud. Not to mention how disgraceful this kind of news are for the credibility of our country. Who would ever and sensibly invest in a country so rotten as to let her most precious jewel wreck in a sea full of sharks?

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