Saturday, July 2, 2011

Xenophobia, Italian Style

I was pleased to see that Russian racism might be serving to cool down enthusiasm for adventures in the Caucuses, but my joy for the counter-intuitive dynamic does not blind me to the reality that intolerance can, of course, also produce inhuman policies.  I mentioned earlier that France was developing policies that were undermining the EU in repsonse to the Libyan crisis

This piece shows that Italy is acting in ways that directly challenge the raison d'intervention--responsibility to protect--by denying refuge to the folks fleeing the violence.  It is not surprising, but still appalling.  Yes, the economies of these refugee-recipients are not doing well, but refugees usually flee to countries that are much, much worse off.  Italy can afford these folks much better than Congo, Pakistan, etc. 

Italy is clearly looking to end this conflict any way it can, changing its line on supporting the bombing campaign from refusing to strike, to participating in the strikes, to now calling for a ceasefire.  Looks pretty desperate to me.  Again, since Italy is in far better shape economically than your average third world country, it must have something to do with the perceived fragility of the Italian political scene.  I am not an expert on Italy, and the refusal of the Italian diplomats in Canada to meet with me means that I have not done that much research on the politics of Italy's deployment in Afghanistan.  So, I can only speculate.

What Italy's fecklessness does verify?  That xenophobia is a weak reed upon which to hang a humanitarian intervention.

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