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Italian Geopolitics. An Assessment of Silvio Berlusconi’s action

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The late Italian PM anticipated the switch towards the multipolar system. Berlusconitried to accompany politically the transition from the two blocks confrontation to a globalised – more complex – world. Starting from a solid Atlantic adherence, he attempted to bring Russia and the Free World closer: this attempt took place at the Pratica di Mare summit (2002), where Berlusconi coordinated a historic talk between Bush and Putin. Hence, the ‘Pratica di Mare spirit’ could have opened a period of freedom and peace; perhaps, there would have been fewer deaths, even on European soil.

Berlusconi has inherited distinctive features of post-World War II Italian foreign policy,albeit with less freedom of action, and has sought to build a Euro-Asian common space open to the Arab world and centred on the Mediterranean.

Nevertheless, the Founder and Leader of Forza Italia collided with internal and external resistance and opposition, especially from other European countries and partners. The Arab Springs (2011) deliver the final blow to this vision. Only his communication and political skills allowed him to survive and still have a considerable impact on Italian society.

So, Berlusconi was a protagonist of the ‘End of History’ climate. He had sensed the need for an evolution of paradigms and a redefinition of NATO’s role, that it should no longer be just a defensive alliance. The contradictions have reopened today in Europe and the Mediterranean scenarios.

However, Silvio Berlusconi’s impact on the Italian political and communicative system, with the “non-party party” and the emergence of civil society, and with the supremacy of the audience over the content, is unmeasurable. In this connection, Berlusconi paved the way for populism and the communication of the new digital media.

Now, his demise opens a phase of new anguish for the Italian political system; Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will have to be very good at managing it. Sure, Berlusconi failed to concretise his geopolitical vision, but he led the “Made in USA” model of life and consumption to the definitive victory. Undoubtedly, Berlusconi was a figure who marked an era: he deserves a profound assessment.