Italy will not help the United States lead airstrikes in Syria, according to their Prime Minister.
“If being a protagonist means playing at running after other people’s bombardments, then I say ‘no thank you,’” said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
He added: “Italy’s position is clear and solid. We want to wipe out terrorists, not please the commentators. The one thing we don’t need is to multiply on-the-spot reactions, without a strategic vision.”
“Pleasing the commentators” means, apparently, that Italy sees the war on ISIS mostly as theatrics–a way to placate restless Western citizens, rather than actually confront a major global threat. It’s unclear whether or not Italy has a better idea for “wiping out terrorists” on their own, but that’s unlikely.
Since the attacks on Paris in November, and the attacks on San Bernardino, California, last week, the call to defeat ISIS has grown progressively louder in Western countries—now that they’re starting to feel the danger of terrorism for the first time in years.
But Italy, which has not yet seen an ISIS attack on their soil, has decided to sit on its hands and do nothing.
Renzi cited the botched war in Libya—led by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—as evidence that Italy shouldn’t throw their weight behind another U.S.-led intervention in the Middle East.
“Four years of civil war in Libya show it was not a happy decision,” he added. Today there needs to be a different strategy” to deal with ISIS. He added, “The one thing we cannot allow ourselves is a repeat of Libya.”
Despite Italy’s lack of involvement, countries as diverse as the United States and Russia have led the charge to defeat ISIS—and, according to sources, ISIS is losing land and clout in the Middle East, even if they’re still able to do considerable damage in other countries.