Benvenuto! The new United States Ambassador to Italy, Jack Markell, is slated to land in Rome soon. He’ll be filling the top spot at the Embassy in the Eternal City that’s been overseen by two chargés d’affaires, Thomas Smitham and Shawn Crowley, since former Ambassador Lewis Eisenberg left in January 2021.
- Mr Markell’s appointment was officially confirmed during Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s visit to Washington in late July.
A top pick for a top post. Ambassador Markell, 63, hails from a successful career in the private sector and politics. From 2008 to 2017 he held the position of Governor of Delaware, the home state of Joe Biden, with whom he’s very close (here’s a more comprehensive bio). This closeness testifies to the regard in which the US President holds Italy and the White House’s willingness to enhance coordination on crucial issues.
- The key geopolitical challenges on which the US and Italy have been working shoulder to shoulder include the Russian war in Ukraine (where Rome and Washington pressured allies to expedite the delivery of military equipment and are supporting Kyiv in multiple spheres) and China’s rising assertiveness (at a time when the Meloni government is about to exit the Belt and Road initiative), as well as boosting stability and development from the African continent to the Indo-Pacific area.
It’s a great time to be in Italy. The country has consolidated its status as an Atlanticist stronghold over the past years, which has boosted Italy’s capacity for foreign policy and underpinned the expansion of its international efforts, both within the European Union and at the global level, and even in increasingly strategic areas like the Indo-Pacific.