February 21, 2007

Italy's Left Bares Its Agenda

Hatched by Dafydd

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi's government, having just finished nine months of gestation, has been forced to resign -- because the anti-war Communists, who were members of his coalition, refused to support the anti-terrorist mission... in Afghanistan:

Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigned Wednesday after nine months in office following an embarrassing loss by his center-left government in the Senate on foreign policy, including Italy's military mission in Afghanistan....

The loss, by two votes in the Senate, came on a bid by Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema to rally the often bickering partners in the coalition, which range from Christian Democrats to Communists.

He was hoping to the allies would close ranks in the vote on foreign policy, including Italy's military mission in Afghanistan, but his bid backfired.

There are several possibilities for Italy's immediate future:

  • President Giorgio Napolitano (who is also a "senator for life") could ask Prodi to put a new coalition together; if it includes the Communists, they would assuredly demand Italy pull all its NATO troops out of Afghanistan as a condition to rejoin the coalition;
  • But Prodi could instead try to craft a "grand coalition," joining the centrist parts of the Union, his center-left coalition, to the centrist parties in the House of Liberty (or House of Freedoms), Berlusconi's center-right coalition. Berlusconi would certainly have to be included in the government in some significant post, and the Communists and Greens would likely be excluded;
  • Or if Prodi tries and fails, or if he's not even asked, then another party leader would try to form a coalition -- perhaps former President Silvio Berlusconi, head of Forza Italia, the leading party in the House of Liberty coalition.
  • If none of these works out, then there could be new elections -- though that would be a drastic step, as the last election was less than a year ago.

But I'm less interested in the intricacies of Italian coalition politics than I am in the fact that the Communists broke with Prodi, not over the Iraq war, but in a dispute whether Italy should participate in the non-controversial Afghanistan war... where the defeated Taliban are trying -- without any success so far -- to stage a resurgance.

Even the French and the Canadians participate in Iraq as part of their NATO commitment to the International Security Assistance Force: 1,700 from the former and 2,500 from the latter. At the moment, there are 1,950 Italian troops in Afghanistan... but evidently, the so-called "pacifists" in Italy (perhaps taking their cue from Russian President Vladimir Putin) now almost openly side with the anti-liberal, anti-woman, anti-gay, Moslem-fundamentalist terrorists in the Taliban.

I have argued for some time (since at least 1996 in print) that the global jihadis are the natural heirs of the Communists; that when push comes to pull, totalitarians of a feather stick together. Over and over, in virtually every corner of the globe (well, you know what I mean!), Communists ally with jihadis:

  • Russia, swiftly re-Communizing under Putin, and despite fighting for years against Chechen separatists, is clearly allied with Iran against the West;
  • Red China is also allied with Iran against the West;
  • North Korea conducted nuclear and missile trades with Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq;
  • Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has formed a virtual partnership with Hezbollah and Hamas;
  • And the Godfather of Latin American Communist revolution, Fidel Castro, formed a deep bond with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, launching a connection between Cuba and Iran that exists to this day.

The slow drift of Communists supporting jihadis has dramatically accelerated in recent years. It appears that the party of atheist empire has more in common with the fighters for global theocracy than with any supporter of freedom and liberty.

This may well explain the mounting rejection by the Democratic Party here in America of a serious war against global jihad: it's not that the Democrats are anti-war; a major part of their leftist base has simply become pro-jihad. Recall Michael Moore referring to the Iraqi al-Qaeda terrorists as "Minutemen," and note the embrace by the Democratic Party of noted apologists for jihadist terrorism, such as CAIR, the Nation of Islam, and Sami al-Arian.

This is a very scary development, but I wonder how far it can possibly go: the mass of Democrats in the United States are certainly not supporters of jihad or jihadists. At what point will they suddenly wake up to what the party leadership is doing -- something that formerly Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 80%) realized some time ago -- and actually begin doing something about it? Either by voting against future Keith Ellisons in primary elections, or even by starting to vote Republican, as many did during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

By catering to the leftist MoveOn.org crowd, the Democratic leadership is playing, not just with fire, but with molten lava.

(In the extended entry, I demonstrate my complete inability to grasp the minutiae of Italian politics by discussing the possibilities of Silvio Berlusconi being able to form his own coalition.)

Big Lizards covered the April, 2006 election in three posts:

In that controversial and still-disputed election, the conservative House of Liberty fared reasonably well in the Senate during initial voting; they won a plurality of 49.86% to the Union's 49.18%. But after counting ballots from abroad, which overwhelmingly favored Prodi's coalition, the Union, this translated to a minority of 156 seats for the House of Liberty to 158 for the Union. Flipping any of several small parties within the Union could give the Senate to the House of Liberty.

The problem is in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, where the House of Liberty's loss to the Union coalition by a scant 49.69% to the Union's 49.80% -- 0.11% of the vote -- translated into a seat differential of 281 for the House of Liberty vs. 348 for the Union. Thus, without a new election, it would be very difficult for Berlusconi to woo enough members of the Union to his side to create a majority coalition.

He would need 35 more seats in this chamber to bring his total to 316, a scant majority of the 630 possible seats. The only party other than Olive Tree with that many seats is the Communist Refoundation Party -- and I think Berlusconi would not be interested in a coalition with them. The other Communist Party in Prodi's former coalition is the Party of Italian Communists, who have 16 seats. Then there is the Rose In the Fist, which is a mini-coalition of 18 seats comprising the Italian Democratic Socialists and the Italian Radicals; again, I doubt this is very attractive to Berlusconi... and in any event, all these Communists and Radicals and such are unstable in their loyalty -- as Prodi just learned.

And then there are the Greens, with 15 seats. Without the Olive Tree, there is no way to snag 35 more seats without stealing at least one of these ultra-leftist parties... who would probably demand an end to Italy's participation in Afghanistan as their price to ally with Berlusconi, just as they probably will with Prodi.

This leaves only other possibility for Berlusconi (a slim one, I think): If Prodi tries and fails to form a grand coalition, Berlusconi might try to form his own grand coalition, peeling away the plurality member of the Union, the Olive Tree party (220 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, but only 1 in the Senate), giving him a very strong 501-seat majority (nearly 80%). It's possible, though unlikely, that the Olive Tree party would like a coalition governed by Berlusconi -- whose Conservative government was the longest-lasting in post-WWII Italy -- than in Prodi's Union coalition; they might simply have grown to dislike or distrust Prodi.

Berlusconi would still need to peel off another seat or two in the Senate; but if the Olive Tree party flipped, I'm sure they would take several other centrist parties with them.

Still, I think the best chance for Silvio Berlusconi to return to power would be through a new election... which could go either way. Without it, I believe there is little chance that the House of Liberty will be able to form a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, hence scant chance they can form a new government.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 21, 2007, at the time of 4:09 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Fritz

My thought is that Putin is on a course meant to drag the western democracies down and thereby put Russia at the top. He hopes to accomplish that by using the jihadis to do the dirty work. Since the USSR couldn’t do it on its own, and crashed and burned trying, I suppose his plan makes sense from that point of view. Yet when you sleep with a snake, you shouldn’t be surprised when bitten. I might say the same thing about some other countries who have long slipped from the stage of world leaders except in their own minds.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2007 5:41 PM

The following hissed in response by: DrMalaka

A fine post D, very well put.

The communists, fascists and islamists are all fighting against one thing, freedom.

Freedom undermines everything they represent. They all believe that either government or religion should rule citizens.

How different is that from the progressives in our country? They believe that the government is the answer to everything and should tell us how to live.

Why would people who believe that side with freedom? It's not what they believe in.

The above hissed in response by: DrMalaka [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2007 7:57 PM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

The only difference between fascists and communists was the color of their shirts. My father who spent time in both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russian will tell you that.

Ditto Jihadis.

Though, don't underestimate the role of pure cowardice in the behavior of leftists. Those that lack strong convictions or morals are rarely willing to sacrifice for them.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2007 9:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: nk

I first heard this as an Isreli joke but I think it applies to Italians better:

Q: What do you get when three Italians get together?
A: Four political parties.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2007 10:49 AM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

It is fascinating that they all seem to mesh together so well.
then watch this little piece of reason and light from greenpeace, and try to count the lies, distortions, hysteria, etc. the little mini-Silas tries to deliver on.

All he really delivers on is hatred and barely repressed violence.
that is so convincing!

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2007 4:03 PM

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