Tuesday, July 08, 2008

With friends like these

I'm not sure that this one has reached the British press yet: a diplomatic incident has occurred concerning President Bush and his proclaimed 'good friend' Silvio Berlusconi, the 'colourful' PM of Italy.

Showing their typical sensitivity to those curious species, foreigners, the White House helpfully explained to journos traipsing around after Bush at the G8 who Mr Berlusconi actually is. Translating back from the Italian version, he is, apparently, 'one of the most controversial leaders in a country known for government corruption', 'a dilettante in politics' etc etc.

They could have mentioned his greater strengths: how he's very adept at dodging prison terms by changing the law, how he's a great friend (making his dentist a minister) and how, even in his advanced years, his virility is unabashed -- at least on the phone to his more attractive female ministers. That the White House does not do so is surely a mark of previously hidden leftist sympathies...

The real insult is, of course, not on Berlusconi, but on the Italian nation. Now, some may say they deserve it, as they voted for him, just as Londoners have woken up with a sore head and Boris Johnson right there in their bed. But the implication of the White House's press-pack is that Berlusconi epitomises a country given to corruption, something, of course, which would never happen in the land of Halliburton. It reminds me of the scene in Godfather II when the WASP politician, Senator Geary, rails against Corleone and his whole nation:
I don't like your kind of people. I don't like to see you come out to this clean country in oily hair and dressed up in those silk suits, and try to pass yourselves off as decent Americans. I'll do business with you but the fact is that I despise your masquerade, the dishonest way you pose yourself. Yourself and your whole fucking family.
..
And look what happened to him.

1 comment:

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