George W. Bush invited Silvio Berlusconi to his ranch
The series of meetings between the American president and European leaders of Spain, Great Britain and Italy showed that these three countries are America's closest allies. This can not be said about NATO on the whole and the European Union. The reverse of the medal includes another aspect: George W. Bush has demonstrated it to the world that his sympathies towards this or that politician do not depend on what his country-fellows or foreign politicians think of that person. If a politician supports the policy of the American president, at least verbally, this person will feel rather comfortable.
It goes without saying that those sympathies will not help Jose Maria Aznar, Tony Blair or Silvio Berlusconi solve their own countries' problems, although the three politicians will be more confident in foreign affairs. It is especially relevant for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi: hardly had he chaired the EU, when he managed to quarrel with a half of it including Germany. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was very offended by Italy - he did not even go for a vacation in Venice. Italians are currently counting losses that have been caused with the outflow of German tourists. The problem is simply about the Italian prime minister's lack of self-restraint.
In the USA, the attitude to Silvio Berlusconi is absolutely different. The Italian prime minister was welcomed a lot better at Bush's ranch in Texas. AP analysts say, Bush and Berlusconi had a very friendly and warm meeting (Berlusconi's visit started the day before yesterday). One may say that official meetings at the Texan ranch will soon become a common cliche for reporters - everyone knows that Bush invites only special guests there. Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder are not going to experience this honor in the nearest future.
Observers say, such a hearty welcome is meant to show it to the whole world (to Europe, first and foremost) that the relations between Italy and the USA are very strong. Berlusconi enjoys the support of the USA - this is a very good trick to ameliorate the relations between Italy and other European states, analysts believe. Probably, it is a good thing to do indeed, although it does not at all mean that Berlusconi's relations with other EU countries will improve. France and Germany have repeatedly demonstrated this year that an opinion of the White House is not the ultimate truth. The ranch meeting will not make Schroeder change his mind and come to Venice.
There is an impression that the present global policy is based on world leaders' sympathies and dislikes. It has always been like that, of course, but the current situation is very much about it. As Russia's recent experience shows, building long-term relations between certain countries on the base of their leaders' personal favors is not a very productive thing to do. What can be said about the global policy on the whole then?