Development Cooperation, 1958–1992: Party Politics and a Foreign Policy Debacle
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Why did development cooperation policy in Italy take shape so much later than in other developed countries and why did it remain so weak, and vulnerable to manipulation and distortion? In this essay an answer is found in the interplay between foreign policy and domestic change, and in the primacy of domestic party politics in determining the planning and implementation of a proper aid policy. Three phases are analysed: ‘Neo-Atlanticism’ and cooperation between the Christian Democratic and Socialist parties; international détente and the ‘historic compromise’ between the Christian Democrats and the Partito Comunita Italiano (PCI); and early globalisation and the ‘Pentapartito’. The study of Italian development cooperation suggests that diplomatic ambitions and domestic political drivers ignited, but that they were not able to consolidate and give substance to aid actions.