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La Stampa Articles
The new nightmare in France
La Stampa - April 12, 2017
With less than two weeks to go before the
first round of France’s presidential election, financial markets are waking up
to a new potential nightmare. Having for months expected the centrist Emmanuel
Macron to face,...
The Implications of President Trump for US-Russia Relations
La Stampa - November 9, 2016
President Vladimir Putin must be a happy man: in January he
will have America’s version of Silvio
Berlusconi as his counterpart in the White House. He had better keep one thing
in mind, however: Donald Trump is...
Obama´s legacy in Asia-Pacific
La Stampa - October 20, 2016
Most of President Barack Obama´s foreign policy has had to
be reactive to inherited wars, to new civil wars, to new sources of pressure
and instability. But in the case of Asia and the Pacific, he has tried to be
Brazil: Giant on a precipice´
La Stampa - May 18, 2016
vote to impeach a president is, in any country, a kind of political nuclear
weapon: it should be a very last resort, for such an extreme act can have
extreme consequences. The consequences in Brazil, where the Senate...
Preparing for President Trump
Project Syndicate - May 13, 2016
LONDON – As America’s friends and allies look on in astonishment at the all-but-certain prospect of a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in November’s US presidential election, they need to do more than just wring their hands. They must...
Europe needs to attack the Caliphate´s credibility
La Stampa - March 24, 2016
After terrorist atrocities such as those in Brussels
yesterday or in Paris in January and November last year, the political pressure
to react, to act, to fight back is always intense. We will never give in to
Why the EU-Turkey deal makes sense
La Stampa - March 10, 2016
There is something very disturbing about doing a deal,
involving billions of euros and a lot of concessions, with a country whose
government has become so authoritarian and has just seized the biggest
newspaper group to...
Suspend Schengen to save it
La Stampa - January 19, 2016
The collapse of the “Schengen”
passport-free travel zone would destroy the single market and the euro,
according to Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. Since
Austria has now become the latest EU...
Britain´s year of decision
La Stampa - December 30, 2015
will be a decision that shapes Britain, and its place in the world, for decades
to come, perhaps for the whole of the 21st century. It will be a
decision that also shapes the European Union, at least if the decision...
The Front National
La Stampa - December 8, 2015
only thing that is “shocking” about the vote in Sunday’s French regional
elections for the far-right Front National is that anyone in politics or the
media can claim to be “shocked” by it. The rise of Marine Le Pen’s
Angela Merkel in danger
La Stampa - November 20, 2015
Obituaries of the great
pro-EU chancellor of Germany, Helmut Schmidt, recently reminded us of how
quickly political fortunes can change in the German system: one moment he was a
man in command, the next he had been...
China and its "two-child" policy
La Stampa - October 30, 2015
is an act typical of an old Communist regime where officials think that if they
send out a decree, things will actually happen: 35 years after China introduced
its “one-child” policy of population control, it has now announced...
The leader who triumphs with humility
La Stampa - September 26, 2015
makes for successful leadership, in these troubled times? America has for the
past few days been witnessing two very different foreign leaders: one from
Europe (though of Latin American origin) and one from China. One...
With Corbyn, the UK moves away from Europe
La Stampa - September 13, 2015
When the Partito Democratico suffered its surprise general election
defeat in 2013, the party eventually indicated its desire for change by
choosing a 38-year-old centrist newcomer to national politics, Matteo Renzi, as
the new leader. Britain’s equivalent...
David Cameron´s hot autumn
La Stampa - September 2, 2015
it is to have ministers who speak freely to the media using words you cannot
control. That is the eternal truth for prime ministers everywhere, but
certainly it is the way life feels right now to David Cameron, Britain’s
Nuclear Japan, 70 years after Hiroshima
La Stampa - July 26, 2015
Ever since their first contact with Europeans
in the 16th century, the Japanese have always seemed hard to
understand. The 70th anniversary of one of the worst moments in
Japan’s history, the dropping by US forces of the atom bombs on Hiroshima on
Europe needs to change too, after Greece
La Stampa - July 2 2015
Where does Europe go from here, after the
Greek referendum on July 5th and its failure to repay the IMF? The
answer is that it can go nowhere that is good, since whatever happens this has
been a huge failure for the European Union as well as a huge...
The Greek endgame
La Stampa - June 20 2015
Well, the Greeks have always been famous
for their tragedies as well as their theatrical prowess, so we should not be
surprised that the long-running play about Greece’s membership of the euro is
heading towards a tragic end. Does this mean that Greece...
After David Cameron´s surprising victory
La Stampa - May 9, 2015
Until about midnight on May 7th,
two things seemed certain about Britain’s general election: first, that the
long election campaign had been very boring and unfocused, and second, that the
outcome was bound to be chaotic and unstable, leaving the country...
Britain´s forthcoming election
La Stampa - May 3, 2015
When Britons wake up next Friday morning,
May 8th, they will be presented with a strange and confusing
political picture when the results of their general election held the previous
day come through. A country enjoying the fastest economic growth in...
Tragedy in the Mediterranean
La Stampa - April 21, 2015
t may seem
heartless to describe the tragedy of the migrants’ ship as symbolic, since the
bodies and the deaths are so real. Nevertheless, to this British pro-European,
it is symbolic of the way that the dreamed-of unity and collective approach of
Controversial British Debates
La Stampa - March 2,2015
It is often tempting to
describe Britain’s political and media elite in an Italian manner
as La casta. And some
of the success of the populist UK Independence Party is based on
public resentment of mainstream politicians, just as with...
Ukraine and Greece, Two Fronts of Europe
La Stampa - February 8, 2015
Europe is witnessing two
important but dangerous negotiations: one, between Russia, Germany
and France over Ukraine, the other, between Greece and Germany over
the future of the euro. Which is likelier to succeed? Well, it is
Will Britain Stay in the EU?
La Stampa - December 25, 2014
Britain has never been in
love with the European Union. A central part of our national
mythology derives from the fact that we haven’t been successfully
invaded since 1066 and can stand defiantly independent—mythology
Japan - from Hawk to Pheasant
La Stampa - December 14, 2014
If we know foreign
countries at all, we tend to know them by their capital cities, their
politics and, yes of course, by their sports stars. So this week in
Japan it has been refreshing to spend my time in a small, provincial
Time to Celebrate Cheaper Oil
La Stampa - December 1st, 2014
It is the first really
good news the European economy has had since 2008, and it has come
from an improbable pair of benefactors--American shale-oil producers
and Saudi Arabia—neither of them usually beloved to Europeans. But
Hong Kong-China: Possible Compromise
La Stampa - October 7th, 2014
It is an inspiring sight—unless you
are a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. Tens of
thousands of brave young people, marching peacefully, politely and
very tidily in the streets of Hong Kong, campaigning for the values
Today´s Era Need Not Kill the Middle Class
La Stampa - August 22, 2014
we are in trouble, we often look for a grand, systemic, ideally
epochal explanation, one that defines it as being somehow new and
unprecedented, or at least as far bigger than previous troubles. This
is comforting—it is more...
A Punch In the Establishment´s Face
La Stampa - 27 May,2014
Here in Britain, we are
searching for the right metaphor. Should the success of Nigel Farage
and his UK Independence Party (UKIP) in our local and European
Parliament elections be described as a political earthquake, the
Energy: Italy´s Chance for Leadership
La Stampa - May 4,2014
In July, Italy will have an opportunity
that is also a responsibility. It is an opportunity to show
leadership in Europe, an opportunity to launch something that could
be remembered as an important and popular phase of the European
Chinese Test: Smog and Debts
La Stampa - March 26,2014
One eternal truth about modern China is
that it is constantly changing. No sooner than you think you
understand what is going on, especially in the economy, than you find
you are out of date. That is inevitable in an economy whose size...
Japan, Three Years On
La Stampa - March 12,2014
Three years ago, when Japan suffered
the extraordinary triple shock of a massive earthquake, huge tsunami
and nuclear accident, many people expected the event to transform the
country, and not just physically. The task of rebuilding, and...
Obstacles to Economic Growth
La Stampa - February 9, 2014
If you are an
international investor, everything has changed in the world economy
since 2014 began. If you are a young unemployed person in Italy,
Britain or even America, or a family whose income has been unchanged
or declining for...
Putin: Four Moves to Remain World Tzar
La Stampa - December 24,2013
Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin will
celebrate the end of 2013 and the arrival in early 2014 of
Christmas—in Russia’s Orthodox Church Christmas will be on
January 7th 2014—in a good mood. The Russian President
will feel that he has just...
Renzi Viewed from Abroad
La Stampa - December 10, 2013
Outside Italy, the news is shocking.
But in a good way, you understand. To foreign observers, the election
of Matteo Renzi brings the shock realization that Italian politics
does not only consist of battles between the too-lively Silvio
The Vanishing Myth of American Intelligence
La Stampa - October 27, 2013
caught.” That was the answer given to me by a former senior British
intelligence official when I asked him about what principles should govern spy
agencies’ activities listening to their allies. Yet that doesn’t...
Abe´s Style of Raising Japan: Money for Everyone and the Olympics
La Stampa - September 15, 2013
There’s no doubt about it: suddenly Japan
feels “hot”, and that is not just a comment about the exceptionally warm weather
that greeted me in Tokyo, nor the erupting volcano, Sakurajima, that greeted me
in the south-west...
Why PDL is "fit" to be in Government
La Stampa - August 3, 2013
Ever since 2001,
when we at The Economist wrote on our
notorious cover that Silvio Berlusconi was “unfit” to lead Italy, I have been told that there is not really a term in Italian with
an equivalent meaning. Maybe not,...
Britain´s Brilliantly Powerless Monarchy
La Stampa - July 24, 2013
I must admit I was
a bit surprised. Yesterday I was having my hair cut, in my small village in the
English countryside, and the elderly lady in the chair next to me asked a
question: “Why on earth is there so much fuss...
Letta is OK but the City Remains Sceptical
La Stampa - July 21, 2013
There is nothing that we sceptical,
suspicious, sometimes rather insular Brits like more than when someone comes to
visit us and speaks our language—in more ways than one. That was certainly the
case with President Enrico...
USA and China: A Future Side-By-Side
La Stampa - June 9, 2013
We all like simple narratives. Yet even our
favoured narratives often contradict one another. One popular storyline is the
idea that when a new power rises up, there will inevitably be an eventual clash
with the existing...
Lesson for Europe: Mr.Abe´s Gamble
La Stampa - May, 2013
All politicians need
luck, especially in their early months in office. So the lucky star has
certainly shone on Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Even he could not
have expected that immediately after he introduced...
Why Asia Condemns Us to a Supporting Role
La Stampa - May 8, 2013
Baffled. Disdainful. Pitying. But in the end, not really interested. Those are
sort of the words and phrases that came to my mind as I asked bankers,
officials, diplomats and journalists during a visit to Delhi...
The Iron Lady Who Woke Britain Up
La Stampa - April, 2013
What makes a
great political leader? One measure, most probably, is whether you still
inspire fierce passions, of both love and hate, many years after you left
office. That is certainly true of Margaret Thatcher, even...
La Stampa - February 28, 2013
Foreigners, especially journalists and
politicians, love jokes and simplifications, which is why so many have reached
for the word “clowns” to describe Italy’s stunning election result, ranging
from Germany’s Peer Steinbrueck...
Japan and Chinese syndrome
La Stampa - December 18, 2012
It felt a
bit strange. On Sunday afternoon, from a video connection deep in the English
countryside, I was transported to the other side of the world and also to my
past, by taking part in a television discussion programme...
The Country which Denies Reality
La Stampa - December 10, 2012
If someone had told me, a
dozen years ago, that by now I would be writing and thinking, and
even making a film, not about Japan, China or my other old topics but
instead about Italy, I might have wondered whether they were smoking
The Desire to Change
La Stampa - November 19, 2012
As I sat on Friday
in the Sala D’Arme of Florence’s wonderful Palazzo Vecchio, listening to so
many young people, from Mayor Renzi to the “pionieri” being celebrated and
hunted for by my friends from the Rete per l’Eccelenza...
The Global Soul is Hidden in the Langhe
La Stampa - November 4th 2012
gathered for a convivial Piemontese dinner in Torino on our first evening, and
as we drove out the next day into the perfect, vine-laden hills of the Langhe,
we ought to have been thinking about friendship, about shared...
BBC: Two English Extremes
La Stampa - October 2012
countries’ popular television stars are generally incomprehensible
to foreigners, whether they are game-show hosts, comedians, showgirls
or even pop-singers. There is something impenetrably local about mass
The political legacy of the Games
La Stampa - August 5th 2012
We should probably thank Mitt Romney. Until the Republican candidate for America’s presidency came to London and made the mistake of publicly casting doubt on whether the British were really ready for the Olympics, and, even worse, whether we liked the...
The risk that scares the world
La Stampa - July 22nd 2012
We in the northern hemisphere are entering our summer holidays in a gloomy mood, partly because we are being joined in our gloom by some of the emerging economies of the southern hemisphere. But the most important word to bear in mind, the one that is...
Italy must face the truth
La Stampa - June 10th 2012
President Giorgio Napolitano was right when he said, last November when the new Monti government was being installed, that it was a time to tell, and face, the truth. Unfortunately, few people seem to have listened. And that includes among the euro-zone’s...
The new route of Europe comes from protest votes
La Stampa - May 6th 2012
Democracy is, at its most basic, a mechanism of control, of accountability. So elections are times for registering anger, for protesting, for punishing those who have been in government during bad times. Today’s elections, in France, in Greece, in Italy...
The markets are demanding more answers
La Stampa - April 11th 2012
If you believe the financial markets, the difference between happy recovery and imminent disaster is 80,000 American jobs, in a country with a labour force of 155 million people, plus admittedly some mildly negative news from China. Of course this cannot...
La Stampa - March 11th 2012
It has been a year of extraordinary swings of emotion. When news spread of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in north-east Japan on March 11th 2011, the first response was one of shock, awe and sympathy. How could a rich, developed country...
This time, Beijing must take risks
La Stampa - February 28th 2012
China is the sort of country, and economy, that can make you feel giddy. No sooner do you think you have grasped the basics of how China works and the direction it is heading in than it changes. This may be frustrating for foreign observers and competitors,...
The possibility of change now is real
La Stampa - February 9th 2012
Time is said to be a great healer, but the way in which Italy’s image abroad has been transformed in the three months between President Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation on November 12th and President Mario Monti’s visit to the White House today has been...
What Monti should say
La Stampa - January 15th 2012
The indiscipline of member states that led to the euro crisis, wrote a wise man last June, occurred thanks to "an unhealthy politeness towards each other, and excessive deference to large member states". That wise man was Professor Mario Monti, writing...
Lifesaving medicine for the Euro
La Stampa - December 8th 2011
Sadly, one good day will not save the euro, and neither will pious promises to behave better in the future. For sure, Italy´s austerity plan and the Franco-German proposals for fiscal union represent progress. But there is much more to be done.
Because Italy can do it
La Stampa - November 13th 2011
Watching Italy during the past few years has been like watching a slow-motion car crash. Or perhaps a better, more English analogy would be to compare il Bel Paese to the Titanic. It is strong, full of rich people and built with fine engineering, but...
Chasing lost credibility
La Stampa - November 2nd 2011
What is credibility? In one of his films, Groucho Marx might have said that credibility, alongside integrity, is essential in life, and if you can fake that, you´ve got it made. At the very least, financial markets are now indicating that they believe...
That´s why the crime of Perugia has become a unique case
La Stampa - October 5th 2011
Having spent most of September in Perugia, I know that it usually feels delightfully isolated from the outside world, except of course that it is full of foreign students, one of whom, during that month, was this English journalist. At least it did feel...
Powerlessness of a fragile system
La Stampa - August 10th 2011
He won’t think this very often, but as he returned home early from his Italian holiday to take charge of the emergency, the British prime minister, David Cameron, must have been praying that he would find traditional English summer weather: rain, preferably...
The entrepreneur who does not understand Italy the company
La Stampa - August 5th 2011
The turmoil in financial markets is almost enough to make you agree with the President of the Council: Italy looks like the victim of this crisis, not its cause. For it is partly true: economic growth is weakening everywhere in the rich world, America...
The transparency of a scandal
La Stampa - July 20th 2011
British scandals, it should now be abundantly clear, work quite differently from Italian ones. In Italy, scandals start with a seemingly huge revelation and huge amounts of attention, but then get steadily smaller and the attention fades away. In Britain...
Be careful, Italy, or risk your credibility
La Stampa - July 10th 2011
During the past two years of writing and talking a lot about Italy, whenever I have said something critical about weaknesses in the Italian economy, almost inevitably someone in the audience or among the readers has responded by saying "But we are not...
When readers´ trust is betrayed
La Stampa - July 7th 2011
British journalists can often be annoyingly arrogant and self-important, even while they pretend to disparage themselves as being even less popular than politicians and used-car dealers. The scandal now exploding in London looks set to explain both of...
Britain is resigned to austerity
La Stampa - June 28th 2011
In Britain a strange silence, or at least a strange calm, is about to be broken. It has been strange because we have a weak economy, high unemployment and sharp government spending cuts and yet there has been barely a murmur of protest on the streets....
Ten years of controversy
La Stampa - June 10th 2011
If anyone had told me, ten years ago, that in 2011 I would be writing regular editorials for an Italian newspaper and would have published a book about Italy, I would have said that they were mad. After all, as direttore of The Economist, I was travelling...
US-China power fatigue
La Stampa - May 30th 2011
We crave simplicity, or at least simple explanations. As Barack Obama made his triumphal, political-celebrity-in-chief tour of Europe last week, many wanted to believe that America remains the world’s dominant, even hegemonic power, despite all the forecasts...
China´s ever-changing economy
La Stampa - May 14th 2011
No sooner do you think you have puzzled out how the Chinese economy works, than it changes, dramatically. That is what happens when an economy grows its GDP by 10% a year, and therefore doubles in size every seven years, with huge accompanying social...
Lies about Italy´s economy
La Stampa - April 24th 2011
It is quite normal to expect politicians to say half-truths or even lies: in this, Italy is not unique, even if it is fairly exceptional in the ability of its political leaders to say something one day and deny having said it the next, all in the justified...
Japan lifts up its head
La Stampa - April 9th 2011
It is cherry-blossom season in Tokyo, a time when traditionally the nation celebrates the ephemeral, transitory nature of life, symbolised for centuries in Japanese culture by the brief, beautiful appearance and then disappearance of these light-pink...
Without truth there will be no reform
La Stampa - April 2011
It was pleasing to see Antonio Vigni’s elegant reply (“Tre verita’ sull’Italia”) to my provocative article about “bugie”. His truths do, however, need some clarification.
The first pseudo-pseudo bugie/verita’ was about whether Italy’s industrial system...
The risk of retreating from the world
La Stampa - March 13th 2011
If you have ever wondered why Japan has so few old buildings, or why the most famous Japanese woodblock print, by the artist Hokusai, is of a big wave, or even why the internationally accepted term for a tidal wave is “tsunami”, a Japanese word, well...
New democracies, new EU
La Stampa - February 28th 2011
The resistance of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to accepting either the moral or the practical logic of his situation, holed up in Tripoli and with more than half of his country (measured by population) in opposition hands, should surprise no one. During his...
Italy is not answering the telephone
La Stampa - January 30th 2011
A few days ago, a TV interviewer asked me what I thought an alien from another planet, an extra-terrestrial, might think about Italian politics if they were suddenly to find themselves in Rome. It was a nice question, even if it made me wonder whether...
Share the weight of the world
La Stampa - January 18th 2011
Everyone, it seems, accepts that there is a “G2”, or Group of Two, at the forefront of world affairs except the two countries participating in it: the United States and China. The rest of the West, ie Europeans and Japanese, lament the rise of the G2...
A challenging decade for democracy
La Stampa - December 31st 2010
Journalists often think news is defined in terms of days or even minutes. Politicians seem far-sighted if they think in weeks, or visionary if they can see as far ahead as the next election. Most ordinary folk have memories whose range varies according...
Distrust undermines alliances
La Stampa - December 3rd 2010
The good news about the latest Wikileaks disclosures of American diplomatic reports on Silvio Berlusconi is that they take the focus away from the president of the council’s parties and “relaxing” private life. Many Italians, especially supporters of...
Beware of the nuclear risk
La Stampa - November 24th 2010
It is tempting to regard the firing of artillery shells at an island on the other side of the world as unimportant. That temptation is especially strong when the culprit is North Korea, a country that has a long record of nasty actions that turn out to...
Made in Italy tested against reality
La Stampa - November 7th 2010
The global economic crisis of 2007-09 has done us all a disservice in more ways than just the obvious ones of having caused rising unemployment, falling living standards and increasing feelings of insecurity. It has damaged the popular understanding of...
America will become inward-looking
La Stampa - November 4th 2010
So America´s mid-term Congressional elections have, as expected, brought a dramatic defeat for the Democratic Party in general and Barack Obama in particular, with the Republicans taking majority control in the House of Representatives, narrowing the...
Cameron more daring than Blair
La Stampa - October 21st 2010
It is an extraordinary gamble: cutting 500,000 public-sector jobs, in a programme of dramatic fiscal retrenchment, with ministries’ budgets being cut by an average of nearly 20% over four years. Moreover, it is a gamble made with a daring and determination...
A brave choice
La Stampa - October 9th 2010
They are not always known for their bravery. Too often, they follow fashionable sentiment, in a rather weak way. But this year the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has made a bold and admirable choice in Liu Xiaobo, the dissident who China locked up last year...
Obama needs to regain credibility
La Stampa - October 4th 2010
As Barack Obama gets down to the serious task of campaigning for Democratic Party candidates in an effort to stem his party’s losses in America’s mid-term congressional elections on November 2nd, it is time to think about what once seemed inconceivable:...
The majority does not work for Italy
La Stampa - September 14th 2010
It has been flattering to us British that so often during the Italian debate about politics and the electoral law, our system has been praised. It was even flattering this year, in May, when so many Italian commentators expressed worry about how our “first-past-the-post”...