But the European pillar of this community of democracies has never been more under assault — so much so that for the first time I wonder if this European pillar will actually crumble.
From Italy you can see all the lines of attack: Donald Trump coming from the West, Vladimir Putin from the East and environmental and political disorder from the south — from Africa and the Middle East, where the reckless 2011 French-British-U.S. decision to topple Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and not stay on to help build a new order in his place, now haunts Italy.
Toppling Qaddafi without building a new order may go down as the single dumbest action the NATO alliance ever took.
It took the lid off Africa, leading to some 600,000 asylum seekers and illegal migrants flocking to Italy’s shores in recent years, with 300,000 staying there and the rest filtering into other E.U. countries. This has created wrangles within the bloc over who should absorb how many migrants and has spawned nationalist-populist backlashes in almost every E.U. country.