It is clearly a sign of changing times: Silvio Berlusconi, the longest-serving prime minister of the Italian Republic, wants to fight, at the ripe age of 82, in the European parliamentary elections next May. He pledges to make sure that "Europeans don't stray too far from Western values" and fall under "the domination of the Chinese empire whose convictions and values are opposed to our own."
China, of course, has nothing to do with Berlusconi's real intentions; it's just a device to attract attention like a bandana he was sporting, after a hair transplant operation, at his spectacularly beautiful Villa Certosa in Sardinia, when he was hosting the then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the spring of 2004.
Berlusconi sees that the Italian governing coalition party M5S, with its polls down to 25.4 percent, is losing ground. He, therefore, wants to boost the chances of his right-of-center Forza Italia to take its place alongside his increasingly popular allies of the Northern League, currently polling at 36 percent.
The Chinese have nothing to fear because here is what the other Italy — the one that works — is doing: Last Monday, Italy's low-cost airline Neos Air launched its weekly service from Milan to Guiyang in China's Guizhou Province to serve the rising flows of tourism and other economic exchanges.