Belgian Coalition Talks Collapse

Sinterklaas and Zwart Piet will be leaving lumps of coal for the parliament of Belgium after tries for a coalition government once again failed on the 174th day since elections. Leterme and DeWever (CDV and NVA respectively)  once again weren’t able to gather enough allies with agreements to the liberal Walloon region parties to form a coalition government. It looks as if the Belgians are going to have to do with interim government and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt until new elections come (I think in January, but I am not certain.)

The CD-V and NVA coalition had been losing support steadily prior to the last elections because the Flemish population thinks they favor the Wallonian regions a bit too much for the majority that the Flemish have in the Parliament. Post election this time they are taking a much harder line to stem the flow of voters departing to Vlaams Belang in protest. It remains to be seen if their harder stance on the BHV region will work until next election. (BHV is a region surrounding West Brussels, splitting that off is somewhat like the Mason-Dixon line and Texas Redistricting all rolled into one for the Belgians, a thorny, passionate issue on all sides.) Story at AFP:
deeper into crisis.

Leterme had given up the task once before since the June 10 general election put his party in pole position to form a Christian-liberal coalition, involving two parties from each side of the linguistic divide.

“The last weeks and months I have done all I can to bring this task to a successful conclusion,” Leterme, the Flemish Christian Democrat leader, said in the parliament building after throwing in the towel.

“Unfortunately that has not been possible. Our country needs a stable government and reforms that will permit it to tackle its problems head on.”

He added that he had been aware, when he had first accepted the task of forming a government, “that I was taking a political as well as a personal risk”.

He remained available to work towards a solution to the political impasse, he said.

Meanwhile the “cordon sanitaire” seems to hold around Vlaams Belang, even though all Flemish nationalist parties voted together on the BHV motion that disrupted talks last time.

zangavondii.gifPerhaps if they gave the Vlaams Belang Jongeren (Flemish Interest Youth) different songbooks then other Flemish parties in their country would feel better about allying with them. This picture comes from the VBJ-Antwerp official page, and Antwerp has always been the core of VB’s party.

UPDATE: Good background of the history leading to this here at Turkish Press

Norm Podhoretz Let me Down

Norm’s arguments about the apocalyptic nature of the Iranian mullahocracy are understood by those informed, but like the Spanish Inquistion nobody who’s an average American ever expects the Persian Apocalypse.

As you can see by my sidebar I am a Rudy Guiliani supporter – one of his foreign policy advisors is Norman Podhoretz, also someone whose views I support. Norm is going to have to get quicker on his feet however. Here he debates with Fareed Zakaria, who makes a seemingly clear argument that Norm failed to counter well.

You cannot sound-bite attack arguments like this with Chamberlin arguments — instead you must destroy the case in total, not with ad hominem comparison but instead with clear facts. There are many that Norm could have marshalled, but failed to. 

Here is the transcript of the segment with “Jihad Judy” Woodruff, (sorry, that’s my Mom’s nickname for her,) Norman Podhoretz, and Fareed Zakaria, please read and follow to my thoughts  below the segment. The lead-in was a pastiche of fact and opinion on the potential of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons: Continue reading “Norm Podhoretz Let me Down”