At a Democratic fundraiser last Wednesday, President Joe Biden stated that “literally”, “there’s an argument being made around the globe, not just here because of democracy and autocracy.” It wasn’t even one sentence, but it gives you the idea. “You’ve just seen what happened in Italy during that election.” You are seeing the events around the globe. You can’t be optimistic about what’s going on here, that’s why I bother to mention it.
Biden wasn’t just using his usual divisive rhetoric to suggest that democracy was under attack due to a healthy democratic electoral result. Biden was referring to Giorgia Maloni, a conservative Italian politician, as a direct insult. Meloni will become Italy’s next prime minister after he has completed the democratic process and won an impressive number of votes in last month’s election. Biden insulted Meloni before meeting her to weaken America’s global standing. Biden may feel that there are not enough world leaders willing to answer his calls.
The word “fascist”, while still being used, is meaningless. Biden called anyone who disagrees with him “semi-fascist.” But Meloni is not fascist in any meaningful sense. Her party’s social and economic programs are not similar to those of Italy’s Fascist regime. Even the assertion that her party “has roots within Fascism,” is a stretch. It could have been applied to Silvio Berlusconi just as easily, for exactly the same reasons. The party, which included some ex-fascists and used the torch symbol as its symbol, merged more than a decade ago with Berlusconi. Meloni, a single mother who has an inspiring life story and a sharp tongue is seen as a greater threat to the Left than the clownish Berlusconi. Meloni, therefore, gets the “f-bombs” honor.
When Meloni invades Abyssinia and changes Italian pronouns or declares a one-party state, we will worry about fascism. American journalists need to stop comparing Mussolini with Americans.
Meloni is actually quite friendly to the U.S. interests as a right-leaning European. She speaks like any other mainstream conservative Republican since the 1980s when it comes to domestic issues. She is much more moderate than most European right-leanings when it comes to foreign policy. Meloni strongly opposes Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression on Ukraine. She wants to keep Italy in the fight. She is more pro-European today than any other right-wing movement in Europe, both within and outside her country.
Meloni is in favor of NATO remaining part and staying within the Eurozone. She is a bit hostile to China’s bullying of smaller European countries, which she regards as a real threat.
All of these aspects make Meloni’s program seem less extreme and more threatening to American interests than her junior coalition partner, ex-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.
Biden’s suggestion that he would insult the leader of the third-largest European Union country, without knowing anything about her and before meeting with her, is yet another self-inflicted embarrassment on himself and his country.
Unfortunately, English-speaking people are decades removed from the time when the term “fascism”, had any meaning. This is what Biden has done especially well with his domestic campaign rhetoric.
Biden, who has tried to label parents as domestic terrorists for objecting to serious problems in their local education system, recently gave a speech with military personnel as the background. He called anyone who opposes him a threat the democracy. Biden’s speech is a good example of fascist behavior.
Contrary to Meloni, Biden is using a public incident (for Biden it’s the 2021 Capitol Riot; for others, it was the Reichstag Fire) as a pretext for an authoritarian crackdown on political opponents.
Between this and his flagrant, recent attempts to usurp congressional authority, Biden’s actions are a direct attack against democracy. Biden’s misuse of military personnel in his blood-red-background speech should make leaders at the Pentagon ponder how far they will go to follow his orders.
This is something that voters should consider as they witness Biden humiliate the country on the international stage. The president who speaks so strongly about fascism at the expense of national unity and foreign policy goals is likely just projecting.