Giorgia Meloni has now governed as Italy’s prime minister for more than 100 days. She has proven wrong those who warned of Italy’s slide into fascism. Without much fanfare, too, she has taken to fashioning Italy as Europe’s gatekeeper amid what is becoming an intractable migrant crisis –– one exacerbated by Russia’s growing influence in Africa.

“The most dangerous woman in Europe” is how in September one German magazine described Prime Minister Meloni. She is out to “transform Italy into an authoritarian state,” it asserted. Similar alarms were sounded by the New York Times, CNN, the BBC, the Economist, all warning that Mrs. Meloni and her party, Brothers of Italy, are authoritarians, nationalists, and, ergo, menaces to democracy. Yet the pundits’ reality is not quite the reality. For there is little in Ms. Meloni’s agenda that would signal danger, unless, of course, the term is understood to mean a reassertion of traditional Italian identity, support for moderate conservative values, more police, less crime, lower taxes, control over illegal immigration, and the occasional tribute to Sir Roger Scruton.

Since Angela Merkel in 2015 opened wide Europe’s doors with her cry of “We can do this,” Italy has found itself on the front lines of these inflows. Now the situation has become worse. As Russia has become isolated from the West it has turned its attention to the African Sahel, where it is arming governments and shaping domestic politics.

Inflows of Russian mercenaries, weaponry, and propaganda into a region prone to upheaval could open another front against Europe. Ms. Meloni appears more aware of this than most. To curb illegal arrivals at Italy’s ports, her government has taken recent measures to complicate the work of charity ships that ferry migrants across the Mediterranean.