In 1513, centuries before Kissinger’s Realpolitik, Niccolò Machiavelli published his controversial treaty “De Principatibus”. The treaty, whose content is not always accurately reported, is credited with introducing the first-ever distinction between politics and ethics. In popular culture, Machiavelli’s theories are associated with a cynical exercise of the political power by the Authorities. And it is this spurious interpretation of Machiavelli’s doctrine which was perhaps taken too seriously by the Italian Institutions.
After the disorders which surrounded the Italian Cup final on Saturday, the Italian Police was accused of negotiating with a hooligan boss from Naples – allegedly connected with organized crime – in order to allow the match to start.
Investigations and trials are ongoing on other alleged negotiations between the Government and the Sicilian Mafia.
During the Cold War, the Government was accused of using every dirty trick imaginable in order to hold the Communist Party in check.
Before and during the two World Wars, Italy became known for its frivolous diplomacy rather than its military prowess.