Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Nationalist International

The leader of the Italian Northern League has expressed his admiration and support for Donald Trump in the USA. There is a paradox here, in that nationalist movements are supposed to care only about their people. But of course all these leaders (also Marine Le Pen and other European populists) have interests in common. All of them are interested in promoting the xenophobic values of supremacism, more or less disguised in a democratic rhetoric. The Italian Northern League has been particularly active in expressing its support for foreign nationalist movements. They are the only important political party in Europe, for example, that has expressed its support for the secessionist movement in Catalonia. What is surprising then is that these nationalist politicians complain when another foreign leader expresses opposition to their ideas. For example, last week-end the Mayor of London (and one of the leaders of the Out vote in the irresponsible Brexit referendum called by David Cameron), Boris Johnson, tried to insult the US President Barack Obama when the latter argued that it would be much better for the UK to stay in the EU, and that he supported a stronger and more united Europe. Some people claim that the support of Obama to the In campaign may backfire and be seen as intefering in internal affairs. But I bet that the Out campaign spends a lot of resources trying to get prestigious foreign leaders to support them (probably with little success, as it happens with secessionists in Catalonia). Here's what The Guardian had to say about the support for Trump by the Northern League: "One of Italy’s leading rightwing politicians, Matteo Salvini, has declared his unabashed support for Donald Trump, saying he would choose the “legality and security” of a Trump presidency over the “disastrous” policies of Angela Merkel and Barack Obama. The bombastic head of the Northern League party – who is known for his verbal attacks on migrants, stance against the European Union and praise of the “good work” of fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini – met his American idol at a rally in Philadelphia on Monday. The date was 25 April, a day when most mainstream politicians in Italy are celebrating a national holiday that has never sat well with some ultra-conservative politicians: the day that marks the country’s liberation from fascism. Salvini’s most important European ally is Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s Front National party. In a series of tweets, Salvini praised Trump’s candidacy and published a photograph of himself with the New York tycoon."

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