In an article that appeared yesterday in Corriere della Sera, Federico Rampini, one of the real members of the Italian journalism aristocracy, summarizes the lessons that the West has drawn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine one year after its inception. The illustrious Corriere journalist, who has lived in the United States for years, as he never tires of mentioning, begins by speaking of many Western leaders who a year ago were “kneeling” in front of Putin, while the American secret services for at least a couple for months had been warning the world of a possible invasion of Ukraine.
Western leaders were therefore wrong in trying to reach an agreement with the Russian tsar, according to the Genoese luminary, who in addition to Italian also speaks English and French and is also a member of an illustrious American think tank such as the Council of Foreign Relations. In short, with such an authority it is useless to try to argue. Rampini observes with deep regret, that, when asked by the NBC News reporter Lester Holt, if the United States would send soldiers to Ukraine to free American citizens in the event of a Russian invasion, the American president Biden replied with a clear no.
According to the Italian-American journalist (the Genoese has been an American citizen for years) the West has shown itself too compliant towards Russian expansionism, indeed the war would have broken out precisely because Europe was more than ready to make too many concessions to the Russian tyrant and his attempts to subjugate neighbouring countries (in the plural) and turn them into “vassal states”.
In theory, one could even admire the ability of an expert lyricist like Rampini to fabricate a coherent and almost convincing narration for someone reading these events for the first time. In practice, however, reading Mr. Rampini’s warps and wefts (which in the end, however, have absolutely nothing original and are simply the Italian version of the narratives that can be read daily in the New York Times or the Washington Post and which the Rampini, knowing English, can skilfully translate for the vulgus italicus) one thinks of a phrase by the former American political adviser Karl Rove, an important figure in the administration of George Bush junior: “We (the United States) create our own reality”.
By now even the most foolish have understood that the war in Ukraine is a direct consequence of a possible accession of Ukraine to NATO. For the United States (and consequently for schoolgirl Europe) Ukraine had to join NATO sooner or later, because it had the right and because it wanted to, or at least so said the illustrious experts in Washington, the only authority on any international political event that can be taken seriously. For Russia, on the other hand, NATO in Ukraine was a threat and it had been saying so for 15 years, to no avail, one would say, given that NATO by definition, according to some, cannot be a threat, since it is our military alliance, the alliance of virtuous democracies.
It matters little that NATO was born precisely as an anti-Russian alliance and that its conduct in recent decades has not been exactly peaceful: we really need to recall once again Yugoslavia in 1999, Iraq, Libya, Syria? Better not to mention this… In short, Russia had to be forced to accept Ukraine into NATO and thus ended the long talks between the United States and Russia before the invasion, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken firmly reiterating a year ago: “There is no change, the doors of NATO are open for Ukraine”.
Even Rampini cannot pretend not to see the bone of contention: yet the great intellectual manages to say that neutrality for Ukraine would have meant transforming it into a pro-Russian vassal, something, needless to say, absolutely unacceptable. No way, according to him, should Russian expansionism be allowed to stop the natural expansion of NATO. The question arises here: but if the United States and Europe cared so much about the small and defenseless Ukraine and knew that the Russian invasion was imminent, wasn’t it enough to guarantee neutrality? But obviously not, that would have been appeasement, and obviously there is nothing in the world, absolutely nothing, more shameful, more infamous, even at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead and tens of millions of refugees, and why not, perhaps even a good nuclear war in the end to demonstrate to the world that democracies, as Rampini claims, always win. What a beautiful and moving happy ending. But are we sure that Hitler was defeated the democracies? What about the Red Army in Berlin? Okay, let’s not be pedantic. It must be said that the exquisite intellectual Rampini, for a man in his sixties doing yoga, looks downright belligerent. But won’t it be one of those cases where one feels so good to agitate for war, as long as you conduct it with other people’s ass?