Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Berlusconi Making Friends in All the Wrong Places

Well Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's whack-job dictator is back in Rome and Silvio is all smiles (again). For those unaware, Gaddafi has a history for outlandish actions and statements, like last year when he paid hundreds of young Italian women to come for a night out in Rome, only to sit them down and preach the Koran. In fact, in 2007 he said he wants to ''save European women.'' Then there was when he called for the dismantling of Switzerland, issuing a jihad against the country because his son was arrested there.

Well, he's not done, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi doesn't seem to mind. Just the other day he went for round two with the young Italian women in another paid preach-fest, as well as called for Europe to convert to Islam. Then, he asked for five billion euros a year to keep Europe from ''turning black'' as a result of African immigration. You can't make this stuff up (hence all the links).

What's fishy though is that this all seems to be a side-show, during which serious ties are being strengthened between Italy and Libya. Italian firms are taking an increasing role in building up Libyan infrastructure, while Libya is investing heavily in Unicredit, one of Italy's biggest banks.

Given Italy's economic (La Repubblica reports that one in four young Italians is unemployed) and political instability, I'm not so sure that buddying up with guys like Gaddafi is sound politics.

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