Show your muscles

(To Nicolò Manca)

History teaches that when a nation flexes its muscles, barring sensational bluffs, the first to be defeated is the possibility of a war. In fact, in the escalation of international crises, one or more contenders may manage to maneuver ground units, deploy missile units and even extend air-naval patrol outside national space and territorial waters; but usually it stops there.

Before the advent of the nuclear device consolidated this modus operandi, military operations undertaken in the past without warning of warning signs almost always came at a steep cost to attackers. So it was in Europe for the powerful armored divisions of Hitler's Germany and the same for the recent offensive developed by Hamas with 4000 missiles against Israel. In both cases the attacker did not achieve the set goals.

It goes without saying, however, that if you need to flex your muscles, turning away pays neither in political nor economic terms, if not in terms of loss of freedom and human life. It goes without saying, however, that a country that is militarily not credible and economically shaky cannot in any case show muscles it does not have; a situation that condemns him to have an irrelevant international political weight.

On the occasion of international crises, it is not exciting for the average Italian to make a comparison, naturally excluding the great powers, between the political weight of Italy and that of other European countries and beyond, such as Turkey, Egypt and various states. Islamic.

For example: the invitation to suspend the fighting addressed to Israel and Hamas from Palazzo Chigi or the Farnesina is one thing and those coming from Cairo or Ankara have another significance. In the first case it is an exhortation of a feel-good matrix, while in the second we are faced with a severe warning bordering on the threat of intervention.

It is undeniable that the tendency of Italian politics in terms of the use of the armed forces has for years been framed in a context of concurrence with civil protection and other state bodies for tasks cleared by customs with the name dual-use, however, equivalent to the less exciting Italic handyman.

This policy is obviously not functional to any version of "flexing your muscles". Seven thousand soldiers permanently employed to check the streets, others to operate with syringes and swabs, others to guard the detention centers for repatriation and Roma camps, others to handle shovels and picks, others to collaborate in waste management: they are all meritorious commitments but which have no contiguity with a possible flexing of muscles.

It is now taken for granted that our armed forces must permanently lend a hand to the 306.000 law enforcement officers, the 300.000 personnel in the Civil Protection, the national health system with 450.000 doctors, 20.000 personnel at the Red Cross and a large number of volunteers among which the more than 300.000 members of the meritorious National Alpine Association.

In a semi-unionized military / civil limbo the soldier of today operates, with his gaze aimed at the renewal of a long-frozen work contract. The soldier continues to hope to read in the press that the political-military leaders have finally unlocked this stalemate and that economic measures will be launched for him too, based on criteria if not equal at least similar to those adopted for the contributions given by the Defense to theNational Partisans Association (passed from € 15.600 in 2013 to € 66.200 in 2021) and to Italian Association of Anti-Fascist Combatants in Spain (passed from € 15.500 in 2013 to € 31.200 in 2021). It goes without saying that an adjustment of military salaries would involve costs, but these would still be figures far from the exponential spikes in expenses associated with illegal immigration and similar emergencies.

To this we must add the consideration that the defense item often represents, in consideration of the exports of our naval and aeronautical industries, an asset in our balance of payments.

But beyond these economic considerations it should not be forgotten that many of those who chose to wear the uniform were moved by the spirit of the message contained in the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu poem, in which Prince Arjuna refers to his warriors with these words: "On the day when the pillars of heaven fell on the day when the foundations of the earth fell, they followed their vocation as mercenaries and received the pay and died".

History teaches us that an economic collapse or a natural disaster of global dimensions, an unforeseeable accident more serious than a pandemic and therefore capable of exhuming and reviving the ancient "mors your life mea ". In this case, it is vital to have muscles to show. But we all trust that this eventuality will not occur, even if Israel and many Islamic countries are of different views. But on closer inspection this is a concern that also haunts the French generals who signed the two well-known open letters addressed to Macron, documents in which, to the cry of “Allons enfants de la patrie”, reference is made to the shaky sovereignty of France. But it is known that since 1789 the French have shown that they are made of a particular dough, whether they wield shovels and picks as weapons rather than work tools or whether they wear a camouflage or a yellow vest.

On this side of the Alps, the watchword today is one and only one: “Vaccinate! And we will vaccinate! ". Even house by house, including migrants. Indeed, the whole of humanity will be vaccinated, as declared on May 21 at the conclusion of the Global Health Summit in Rome.

For everything else, God willing and the EU permitting, we'll see.

Photo: Farnesina