The new silk road and Italian politics. Editorial

by Marco Pondrelli

The ‘Chinese Modernization and High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation’ Forum was held in Shenzhen, China from 30 November to 1 December. Marx21 was also invited to contribute to forum. After the opening ceremony, the first discussion was moderated by Guo Yezhou, vice minister of foreign affairs. The Deputy Minister underlined the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative, underlining how China continues to look to the future thinking of a human community with shared destinies. There were many delegations arriving from many countries around the world and in all the interventions the importance of building a multipolar world was underlined.

The Forum venue was also symbolically important, 40 years ago Shenzhen was a fishing village of about 10,000 inhabitants, today it is a metropolis of 20 million. However, the development of this city has not been uncontrolled, Shenzhen’s example is interesting because it has been able to combine development with respect for environment, alongside large skyscrapers are large green spaces and many places that keep local traditions alive. At the same time, the city is still growing, new businesses and jobs are springing up, and the quality of life remains high, thanks to the many activities, sports and cultural, that can be exercised in leisure time. This development has not been accidental but carefully planned by the state and the Party, a symbol of the strength of socialism with chinese characteristics.

Innovation and cultural policies are the tools that enable development whose fruits can be redistributed to the entire population. This reality erases the idea widespread in the West of China as the world’s factory, committed to producing t-shirts but incapable of producing with high added value. The presence of giants like Huawei (just one example) demonstrates that China is at the forefront in the development of new technologies, proof of which is that in 2019 Beijing became the first country in the world for robotics, filing 43% of patents.

While in Italy we got lost in ideological (and pro-Atlantic) discussions on the opportunity of using Chinese 5G, in Shenzhen and in the rest of the country this is already a reality that finds applications not only in the field of communications but, just to do some examples, including in transport, healthcare and environmental protection.

Faced with these opportunities that China offers to the rest of humanity, we must take note of the Meloni Government’s choice to withdraw its signature from the memorandum of understanding with which our country joined the Silk Road. This choice is the result of a short-sighted political class, which confuses support from USA with the interests of countries, the Foreign Minister justified the withdrawal of the Italian signature with an involuntary irony, Tajani has in fact stated that Italy abandons the Silk Road but wants to relaunch the partnership with China.

The thesis of the Government (which has not found many critics in the opposition) is that the results for Italy in recent years have been disappointing. However, those who govern us should ask themselves who is to blame for these poor results? Of China? The answer is that the fault lies with the governments that took turns after the signing of the memorandum. Our ruling class, which has idolized Marchionne, should take a tour of the Chinese streets and compare the presence of (ex) Fiat cars with that of German brands or those from other states. It is just one example of the possibilities that our country would have but is unable to exploit so as not to displease its leaders in Washington.

In addition to economic reasons, many politicians and commentators argue that collaboration with Beijing would undermine our democracy. In this case we are in the field of pure satire, not only does China not interfere, unlike other countries, in the choices of other nations but, in addition to explaining to us once and for all what Italian democracy would be, our leaders should understand that a democracy is not endangered by economic growth, if anything, it is the opposite, recession and stagnation restrict democratic spaces.

It is no coincidence that the Italian choice takes place before the summit between the Brussels and Chinese leaders, this shows how much the European Union has now become the 52nd American state (after Puerto Rico). When the Euro was born, many people, starting with Romano Prodi, thought that the EU could become an autonomous pole between the USA and China (or rather Asia) and that the new currency could favor the end of the dollar as a currency world reserve. Unfortunately today we see that all this is no longer possible, if the Ukrainian conflict is used to separate Europe from Russia (and to undermine our economy), on the other hand we are forced to cool relations with China. While some states, such as Germany, have the strength to maintain an open dialogue with Beijing, Italy is becoming consumed with loyalty towards Washington. Like the last Japanese in the jungle, we continue to fight in defense of the American-led unipolar world which no longer seems to even convince the United States itself, a sign of the limits of Italian politics which from Togliatti, Nenni and Mattei has reached today’s painful spectacle.

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