Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Belgium, still does not have a government. This has lead to a little schadenfreude from a usual suspect. But mostly in the United States it passes without notice.

So why do I care. I one Belgian and have no attachment to the country. I spend a weekend there about 5 years ago (it rained the entire time) though I had some good beer in Brugge. But I find the current "crisis" fascinating.

Belgium exists solely because in 19th century power politics, the English could not allow the French to control Antwerp, the Prussians wanted a little distance between them and France, the French wanted no power to have troops on their broader, the French speaking elite of Brussels wanted the Dutch out and the Catholic Flemish wanted to Catholicism to be respected. So the great powers found a minor German prince and made him a king.

Today, Belgium has outlived the reason for its birth. The French no longer are any threat to invade Britain, the Germans and French are close buddies and the Walloons and Flemings are no longer on speaking terms in a post nation and post-Christian Europe. The central state of Belgium is disappearing. In 20 years, it will have control of the army, the post office and the foreign service and that is about it. That is, if Belgium still exists in 20 years.


Rodak said...

Two words: Stella Artois.

Anthony said...

I had two at a soccer game last night in your's and Belgium's honor!