Canary in the Cave: Italy’s Lost Lessons on Geopolitics and Economy

As Corona virus cases begin to creep upward in Italy, the country which was once the epicenter of the Eurozone’s Covid-19 cases has begun closing social centers and implementing mask mandates. The nation has been the proverbial canary in the cave for the West for years now, even in the pandemic. The nation is fighting back, not just from Covid-19, but also crushing austerity measures brought on by the 2018 Economic Crises and ceaseless migrant flows from North Africa and the Middle East.

But even as Italy has been vocal in its push back against the EU–(most notably France’s Africa involvement) in recent years, its complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Now that Germany has been appointed to lead the EU Council, it may be that Italy’s complaint may be further overlooked. The Mediterranean nation of 60 million, may be forced to once again acquiesce to EU politics, that it well knows may be ineffective and detrimental.

The nation is fighting back, not just from Covid-19, but also crushing austerity measures brought on by the 2018 Economic Crises and ceaseless migrant flows from North Africa and the Middle East.

With a GDP to debt ratio of 134.8 percent, it may be difficult for Italy to leverage much in EU internal discussions. Besides its proximity to Greece, North Africa and the Middle East, it may be forced to play a key front line position in Europe’s recent geopolitical engagements from Beirut to Tripoli. Unlike France, Belgium and other more northern EU states, Italy often must face the brunt of “anti-insurgent and chaos operations” fallout in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel.

Italy’s highest migrant flows come from insurgents, refugees and migrants storming its coasts and waterways daily. Even with Corona Virus, migrant flows have increased. Data from UNHCR indicates that after two years of decided decline in 2018 and 2019, migrant flows are up this year from 11471 to 15, 298 persons to date. Italy therefore consumes the failure endemic in French and EU operations in Africa and the Middle East. It seems the lessons that Italy could supply are being overlooked by most of its counterparts in the West.

With a GDP to debt ratio of 134.8 percent, it may be difficult for Italy to leverage much in EU internal discussions.

Historians suggest the fall of the Roman Empire came at the hands of Germanic Barbarian invasions, most notably the conquests of Odoacer. As Germany now sits at the helm of the EU during a pivotal time in Western civilization, Italy has approved a 25 billion Euro spending package on the heels of the EU 2 trillion deal in July 2020. Re balancing the West may be something Italy’s history could better teach than Germany’s aspirant Möbius symbol.

When the Roman Empire fell, it was beset with wealth inequality and an over reliance on slave labor (cheap labor) that contributed to a bottle neck that culminated into a veritable societal and economic strangle-hold. The woes of ancient Rome are playing out in Western enclaves around the world as the pandemic rages on. While the US and the UK have taken some steps to pull back and conserve military strength and foreign financial entanglements and a continuous stream of migration flows, other Western states have forged ahead–The Roman Empire was also plagued with military and territorial over-expansion. Essentially, it tried to be everything to everyone–everywhere! The splintering seams of the empire did not adequately catch the notice of its leaders nor its elites in time for a major reversal.

Rebalancing the West may be something Italy’s history could better teach than Germany’s aspirant Möbius symbol.

As one of the most extensive Western civilizations that existed, the lessons of the Roman empire and by extension, Italy are being ignored. Could it be that from its past, Italy knows something more about the intrinsic mechanization of Western Civilization that others do not? Many Western nations continue to forge ahead, ignoring Italy and the lessons of the past. The question remains whether Italy and nations like it will remain acquiescent even as its societies and financial viability erodes.

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