Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Man Who Was Trump Before Trump

He is a self-made zillionaire.
He's flashy, provocative, controversial and bigger-than-life.
He's not a particularly handsome man and no longer young but he retains and eye for the ladies and he's had more than his share of young, curvaceous babes.
He can be rude, divisive and even shocking. In fact, he can expertly bait you to get exactly the response he desires.
Though he sometimes calls himself a "conservative," his alliances and his policies cannot be categorized as embracing any one overall philosophy or ideology.
Defying polls and conventional wisdom, he rose to prominence in a spectacular fashion and his followers have proved to be fiercely loyal. In fact, time and again, this hugely successful businessman and unapologetic self-promoter had broken the rules and won.
He's remained unpredictable, indefatigable and often impenetrable.

We're talking about Donald Trump, right?


We're talking about a man vaulted onto the world stage and effectively governed a nation that everyone thought was ungovernable. His government style was messy and raucous, to say the least, but it managed to hold sway far longer than most had predicted.

In fact, e're talking about a man who became the longest serving post-war Prime Minister in his nation's history and the third longest serving since its unification.

We're talking about Silvio Berlusconi.

Berlusconi is now the controlling shareholder of the huge media conglomerate, Mediaset and has owned the Italian football club A.C. Milan since 1986. He is nicknamed Il Cavaliere (The Knight) for his Order of Merit for Labour, although he voluntarily resigned from this order in March 2013. In 2015, Forbes magazine ranked him as the 141st richest man in the world with a net worth of US$8.0 billion. In 2009, Forbes ranked him 12th in the List of The World's Most Powerful People due to his domination in Italian politics.

Berlusconi was Prime Minister for nine years in total. He was the leader of the centre-right party Forza Italia from 1994 to 2009, and its successor party The People of Freedom from 2009 to 2013. Since November 2013, he is acting as the current leader of a revived Forza Italia. Berlusconi was the senior G8 leader from 2009 until 2011 and he currently holds the record of G8 Summit hosting (having hosted it in Italy three times).

During a time of considerable upheaval in Italy, Berlusconi emerged as the leader of a populist movement that turned Italian politics upside down. Known for his seeming unpredictability, he survived by building a powerful cult of personality and forging the type of complicated alliances that are necessary to prevail in the complicated minestrone that passes for Italian government. 

There are lessons in Berlusconi's rise and fall; in what he accomplished and what he failed to accomplish; in his many peccadilloes and contradictions; in the alliances he forged, the enemies he made and the mounting legal woes which bedevil him to this day.

America should pay attention.

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