Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 23 February 2021)
While Italy is paralyzed by the "economic crisis that the pandemic has triggered" (as Draghi defines it in his programmatic speech), there is a sector that is not affected but is in full development: the military one in NATO.
The 17-18 February, at the time when the Senate and the House voted their confidence in the Draghi government, the reconfirmed Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini (Democratic Party, PD) already participated in the North Atlantic Council, the first with the presence of the new Biden administration.
The further increase in military spending is on the agenda. The 2021, emphasized NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, it will be the seventh consecutive year of increased military spending by the European Allies, that have increased it by 190 billions of dollars compared to the 2014. However, the US and NATO are asking for much more.
Minister Guerini confirmed Italy's commitment to increase military spending (in real terms) from 26 to 36 billions of euros per year, adding to the appropriations of the Defense those destined for military purposes by the Ministry of Economic Development: 30 billions more 25 provided by the Recovery Fund. The whole, obviously, with public money.
Italy is committed, in NATO, to allocate at least the 20% of military spending on the purchase of new armaments. For this, just took office, Minister Guerini signed the 19 February a new agreement of 13 NATO countries plus Finland, definito Air Battle Decisive Munition, for the joint purchase of "missiles, rockets and bombs that have a decisive effect in the air battle ". With that formula, similar to that of a solidarity buying group (not of vegetables, however, but of missiles), savings are made that NATO claims to be del 15-20% without, however, saying how much the cost is.
The new generation missiles and bombs, that Italy is buying, they will also be used to arm Lockheed Martin's F-35B fighters, board the Cavour aircraft carrier, arrived on 13 February at the US base in Norvolk (Virginia): here it will remain until April acquiring the certification to operate with these aircraft. Italy, Minister Guerini proudly announced, it will be one of the few countries in the world - along with the United States, Britain and Japan - to have an aircraft carrier with fifth generation fighters.
In this way, Italy - as Prime Minister Mario Draghi points out - will strengthen its role as "protagonist of the Atlantic Alliance, in the wake of the great Western democracies, in defense of their inalienable principles and values ", in particular by increasing “our projection towards areas of natural priority interest, like the enlarged Mediterranean, with particular attention to Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, e all’Africa».
In the "enlarged Mediterranean" - which in NATO geography extends from the Atlantic to the Black Sea and south to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean - operated by Sigonella, with US-supplied AGS RQ-4D drones, the NATO "Earth Surveillance" Force. It became operational on 15 February: US General Told Walters announced it, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (office that always belongs to a US general). The NATO drones, who from Sigonella "supervise" (that is, they spy) this area to prepare military actions, they are under the orders of another US general, Houston Cantwell.
He first Draghi, which considers the new US administration "more cooperative towards allies", declares himself "confident that our relationships and our collaboration will only intensify". There is to be sure. The 17 February, the first meeting took place via videoconference, sponsored by the Pentagon, in which 40 Italian military industries and university research centers offer their products and services to the US armed forces.
Title of the meeting "Innovate to Win" (Innovate to win). Innovation - explains the Ministry of Defense - is "the keystone not only for obtaining a competitive advantage over potential adversaries – current and future – on the military level, but for the recovery of the national industrial fabric at the end of the crisis period due to the Covid-19 pandemic ".
(the poster, 23 February 2021)