“I’m really moved.” Thus began, in a very personal tone, the Prime Minister Mario Draghi in receiving the World Statesman award, world statesman, from the organization for human rights, religious freedom, tolerance and peace Appeal of Conscience Foundation in New York , where he is to participate in the UN General Assembly. Moved, he said: “I am especially moved by the words of Dr. Kissinger.” From the fact that he «he found the time to come here on this occasion. For me it is a gift, a great gift ». Kissinger, who is 99 years old, was entrusted with the laudatio: he presented Draghi recalling a long-standing friendship, born with the sharing of sandwiches on the plane decades ago, and paying homage both to his leadership skills and intellectual analysis .
The confrontation with Kissinger on autocracies
The relationship with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, for Draghi, however, has introduced urgent and burning issues on the international stage, starting with the war in Ukraine up to the challenge of authoritarianisms. “Our friendship began thirty years ago, on a plane, and has grown over the years, even if we have not seen each other very little,” he said. But «recently, with the events that are of the last twelve months, we have had the opportunity to have in particular an in-depth conversation about what is happening, perhaps a month after the start of the war, about what to do now, later and on how to deal with autocracies ».
Draghi articulated that challenge in the concluding part of his speech. The very idea of working together for the benefit of all countries is now under attack, he said, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This threat of bringing with it “a new era of polarization”, unprecedented since the Cold War. And here arises the ‘question of how we confront autocracies’ which’ will define our ability to shape our common future for many years to come.
The appeal to Russia
He offered an answer: “The solution is in a combination of openness, consistency and commitment. We need to be clear about the founding values of our societies. I am referring to democracy and respect for the law, the defense of human rights, the commitment to global solidarity ”. Ideals that “should guide our foreign policy” in a “predictable” way. That is to say «when we draw a red line we have to enforce it. When we make a commitment, we must honor it. Autocracies grow by exploiting hesitation », ambiguities. Finally, he continued, it is necessary to be ready to cooperate, without “compromising the essential principles”. Draghi here appealed to Russia, hoping that in the future he “decides to return” to compliance with the rules he had signed in 1945.
“Only Ukraine can decide which peace is acceptable”
Despite the times defined as “gloomy”, Draghi said he was optimistic about the future. He first cited Ukraine’s heroism as a “powerful reminder of what we believe in, what we risk losing”. And the EU and the G7 remained united, together with their allies, “in supporting Ukraine” even in the face of Moscow’s attempts to create divisions. At the same time, he argued, “our effort for peace continues, as evidenced by the agreement to unblock millions of tons of cereals from the Black Sea ports.” And if only Ukraine can decide which peace is acceptable, we must do everything we can to facilitate an agreement when it becomes possible ”.