State dinners and saving the best for last
Washington Post, October 28, 2016
Regarding the Oct. 17 Style article "Final state dinner stars Italy's 'Scrapper'":
The Oct. 18 state dinner in honor of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, was a triumph for the Obama White House. In fact, the president boasted that the administration had "saved the best for last."
And Obama wasn't just whistling Verdi. Renzi is the leader of the land whose ancient Roman Republic served as a model for our Founding Fathers' res publica — from the Constitution to our tripartite governance to the concept of citizenship ("civis Romanus sum"). As John Milton wrote, Italy "was the seat of civilization and the hospitable domicile of every species of erudition." Indeed, Italy — a leading Group of Seven member, the euro zone's third-largest economy and a stalwart NATO ally — remains the birthplace of capitalism, the modern scientific method, the rule of law, accounting, banking, music, art and architecture. Managing such an august patrimony is as daunting as it is exhilarating. Just ask Renzi, who is embarking on critical constitutional reforms.
Rosario A. Iaconis, New York
Italic Institute of America.