Leaks Shows U.S. Condescension Toward Berlusconi A new trove of WikiLeaks cables concerning Italy has been released by Italian media and shows U.S. officials regard Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi as something of a clown. While his relations with Russia's Vladimir Putin cause concern, his lack of gravitas is seen as useful for American interests since Italy is a unique geostrategic platform for U.S. forces operating in the Middle East and Africa.
NPR logo

Leaks Shows U.S. Condescension Toward Berlusconi

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133902694/133902680" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Leaks Shows U.S. Condescension Toward Berlusconi

Leaks Shows U.S. Condescension Toward Berlusconi

Leaks Shows U.S. Condescension Toward Berlusconi

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133902694/133902680" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A new trove of WikiLeaks cables concerning Italy has been released by Italian media and shows U.S. officials regard Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi as something of a clown. While his relations with Russia's Vladimir Putin cause concern, his lack of gravitas is seen as useful for American interests since Italy is a unique geostrategic platform for U.S. forces operating in the Middle East and Africa.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome that a new batch of confidential cables released by the website WikiLeaks describes the Italian leader as a laughingstock, but also very useful for American national interests.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Analyst Franco Pavoncello says the cables show an excellent grasp of the situation.

FRANCO PAVONCELLO: The embassy certainly did its homework. Most of the kind of stuff that came from the consul general of Naples about the inefficiency of the government vis-à-vis organized crime, I think that these are all good assessments of this country.

POGGIOLI: Franco Pavoncello.

PAVONCELLO: That is certainly something that they don't understand in terms of where Italy wants to go. And certainly, you know, this is an aspect that has been discussed and analyzed quite extensively also in Italy. You know, why is it that there is this strong personal affinity and congeniality between the two leaders?

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.