In February 2007, two unusual events placed foreign policy at the centre of Italian politics. The first concerns an open letter that the ambassadors of six of Italy’s partners in Afghanistan sent to La Repubblica. In that letter, they expressed appreciation for the role that Italy had played in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan but at the same time urged it not to withdraw its troops. This appeal was motivated by the level of resistance of the three radical left parties within the centre-left coalition led by Prime Minister (PM) Romano Prodi to the continued funding of all military missions, especially the one in Afghanistan. The use of ‘public diplomacy’ is still an unknown practice in Italy, and therefore the letter caused a wide range of reactions. 1 The more reformist parties of the ruling coalition, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Massimo D’Alema and the Minister of Defence (MD) Arturo Parisi, defined it as an unusual and inopportune method of conducting diplomacy. The more radical parties, showing their anti-American sentiment, maintained that it was a way to condition domestic politics in a sovereign country. Finally, the parties in the centre-right opposition took the opportunity to denounce Italy’s loss of all credibility in the eyes of its traditional partners.