Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Friday, November 12, 2004

Ma Questo E' Molto Interessante

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could be in deep doo-doo.

I like Berlusconi. I say that exclusively because he has stood firm with the U.S. in Iraq, in spite of very predictable opposition from Italians. That right there puts him in the same league - in terms of foreign policy - as Tony Blair, Jose Maria Aznar, and John Howard.

(Note: it doesn't put him in the same league as Hamid Karzai and Iyad Allwai, who face frequent assassination attempts).

That said, I can't dismiss the allegations in that story out of hand, based on what I know of Italian politics. When I lived in Naples, there were posters for a politician there (don't remember his name) who was running for re-election. I asked some Italians I knew what they thought of him, and they pretty much all said, "I'm voting for him, because I think he's less corrupt than the other guy. He'll steal less of my money."

I like to think I have a healthy skepticism toward promises made by politicians, and their motives for certain of their decisions. But generally that skepticism doesn't go so far as to include bribery allegations or ties to the mob, two very serious problems with Italian politicians. So based on the very little information I have before me, I will temporarily conclude that Berlusconi is probably guilty, that they couldn't replace him with anyone much better, and therefore he should not get the boot (although he can sit in jail for eight years when he's no longer PM).

Thoughts? I know, it's an obscure topic.