For such a nice country, Italy's politics seem weirdly screwed up. There's the famous instability of the governments, of course. And then there's the fact that their main right-of-center party is led by the legendarily corrupt Silvio Berlusconi. And then there's the fact that despite the broadly discreditable nature of Berlusconi, the left-of-center bloc can never seem to stop him from coming back to power.

And then there's the Northern League -- a blend of a separatist party with a far-right party that made substantial gains in the recent election and will be a junior partner in the new Berlusconi-led coalition. Henry Farrell says "US readers who aren’t familiar with European politics should try to imagine a political party with a program co-written by Mark Steyn, David Duke and Tom Tancredo, and they’ll be at least half-way there." Joshua Keating notes that "The League's control of the Interior Ministry puts Italy's immigration policy is in the hands of a party whose leaders have suggested that the navy fire on rafts carrying illegal immigrants."