What Italy's History Suggests for US Policy in Middle East

By Rosapepe, Jim | The Christian Science Monitor, March 17, 2011 | Go to article overview

What Italy's History Suggests for US Policy in Middle East


Rosapepe, Jim, The Christian Science Monitor


March 17 isn't just St. Patrick's Day. This year, it's the 150th anniversary of Italy as a modern state. Those who don't believe that Egypt or others in the region can become prosperous democracies should consider the Italy's history - and what it suggests for US policy in the Middle East now.

March 17 isn't just St. Patrick's Day. This year, it's the 150th anniversary of Italy as a modern state. Not many Americans will be paying attention. But we should.

Those who don't believe that Egypt, or other countries in the Middle East, can become a prosperous democracy need to take a deep breath - and consider the history of Italy.

Until the mid-19th century, Italy was not a nation-state. Italians were split between Austria, the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples, the Vatican, and city-states. While Egypt didn't emerge as an independent nation until 1954, Italy was more fortunate: It unified 150 years ago this week.

People-powered democratic revolts - do they last?

But Italian democracy of the late 19th century wasn't pretty. There were no Thomas Jeffersons or George Washingtons, America's romanticized founding fathers, in Rome or Naples then, as they are not in Cairo or Alexandria today. But political pluralism was. Religious zealots, socialists, big business, monarchists, militarists, farmers, and intellectuals were all there, just as they are in Egypt today.

Zigzags of building a stable democracy

For a time in the first years of the Italian republic, the militarists were ascendant, adding colonies such as Libya and expanding borders. And then for two decades in the early 20th Century, the fascists - the black shirts of Benito Mussolini - were in charge.

The fascist era between the World Wars was a classic chapter in the zigzag story of building stable democracies. Mussolini rose from the failures of a weak democracy and ended his reign dead, at the hands of his own people.

Then, after World War II, with the active support of the United States, Italy got its democracy back on track. Again it was not pretty.

US anti-communist intervention

The 1946 elections produced a coalition government between the Vatican-allied Christian Democrats, the Soviet-backed Communists, and the Socialists. Under pressure from the US, the Communists and their allies were pushed out of the government in mid-1947, and the April 1948 elections became the showdown. Would Italy remain allied with the West? Or would the Communists win an election and then seize dictatorial power?

America's fear of "one man, one vote, one time" in Italy was as deep in the winter of 1948 as it has been regarding Egypt this winter.

In 1948, the US responded by unleashing the CIA to fund the Christian Democrats and other anti-communist parties. Ten million letters are said to have been generated from Italian Americans urging their relatives in Italy to vote for the anti-communists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

What Italy's History Suggests for US Policy in Middle East
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.