Italy’s search for legitimacy in Lebanon a pr stunt? Why not…

The other day, Italian Premier Romano Prodi, in saluting his young compatriots sailing off to Lebanon to form the larger part of the UN military peacekeeping force, unabashedly called this ‘an historic event’.
For the first time in many years, under strong pressure from the Italian government and with a grudgingly active support from Jacques Chirac, the EU gained its first explicit leadership of a major peacekeeping effort.
Many critical observers, in Italy and elsewhere, are calling this a pr stunt and…if it succeeds in its explicit aim: to avoid further victims and contribute to bring less insanity, in that part of the world at least…then so be it! At least in one instance, our continually discredited professional community will have something to brag about…..
Why a pr stunt?
Prodi,as many Europeans have learned during his five year stint as President of the EU Commission, is everything but a good communicator…whereas media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, nicknamed the ‘great communicator’, was (at least so he has led us to believe..) tongue in cheek with Putin, Bush, Blair and the lot…while having achieved the unique feature of tripling his official personal wealth during his five year Premiership without, at least to our knowleadge sofar, breaking any rules which he appropriately adapted to his needs…
However Prodi has had a long acquaintance with two of Italy’s best pr professionals: Ricky Levi, who was Prodi’s chief political consultant in Bruxelles (amusingly his real name is Ricardo Franco Levi, where the Ricardo with one c is after the famous economist..) and Silvio Sircana who is the Premier’s inseparable spokesperson. The first was a leading journalist before migrating to pr, while the second has always been a pr professional in huge corporations as well as head of his own agency.
They are today amongst the most influential movers of the Italy’s government and specifically responsible for having convinced Prodi to fully support his Foreign Minister and President of the past Communist Party (today Democrats of the Left) Massimo D’alema in his…. existential quest to gain…. full legitimation from Condoleesa Rice’s State Department, even after having been the strongest political influence in the new Italian Govt’s recent decision to withdraw troops from Irak….
It’s much too soon to judge results, but certainly not to study, analyse and (why not?) admire the public relations foreplay which led an internationally discredited leadership, such as Italy’s has been in recent years, reappear in a prominent position.
Time will tell but, in the meantime, our profession may begin to rejoyce. For once….

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4 Replies to “Italy’s search for legitimacy in Lebanon a pr stunt? Why not…

  1. Toni, good that this Helena was anonymous. the usual biased approach. Glad to hear from you that you have become cautious in the common adoration of Prodi by the leftwingers

  2. Thank you Helena, I tend to agree at least that every public move by any leader today has some pr overtone to it.
    As for Gianluca, I do not think that Chirac nor the EU would have decided to send in their troops so promptly, if Prodi and D’Alema had not been so forceful. And I do not think that any Italian Government before this one would have acted so stubbornly on this if they had not sensed that there was a serious pr problem with the international community, but mostly with US Government after they had replaced Berlusconi’s government. Time will tell if it was a good move…but so far so good…

  3. And should it be a case of very good comunication? I don’t believe that Prodi or Chirac or the EU Commission decided to send troops in Libanon just for improving their image. I think that Prodi used his European experience very well and his knowledge of the most important politicians in Europe as well as in Middle Est.
    It’s almost unique that an Italian government is able to promote its political initiatives properly. Even Berlusconi, broadly considered the “great communicator”, was not successful in pushing his goverment’s image positively.

  4. Tony…. I believe this could be seen as a pr stunt….but mostly, what happens nowadays is….everything is born with the precise intention of becoming a pr stunt!

    Not saying this is a good thing. But….why not stress the truth?

    About Prodi…you’re right, he surely is not a great communicator.
    But Silvio…I would say he is quite a clown, instead. And, much better than me, u know people rarely give attention to those who are considered so out of every possible good-sense guideline to become pathetic in nearly every situation they become part of…

    And remember: nobody will ever break rules that were made to fit him. But a great person is he who has no fear of breaking a rule, as far as he believes that the road he is taking is right and CORRECT.

    It is so much easy to redefine the rules when u are top of the power…just to make people think that u are so good in respecting the rules theirselves!

    Well, of course this means you’re dealing with a load of stupid persons…but this is another theme…


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