Obama approach to Lebanon vs. Bush approach
Ambassador Connelly quite sensibly says to the politically dysfunctional M14/Hariri team, NO GOVERNMENT COLLAPSE… at least not right now. Quite a rebuke – siniora must of thought it was the good old days of overwhelming american military and ideological power when he “took to the streets” last week… i.e. the days in 2005-2006 (before the disaster of the July war) when EVERY player in Lebanon INCLUDING HIZBULLAH was lapping at the feet of the bush administration in order to work out a modus vivendi favorable to US interests and favorable towards peace building in Lebanon. Sadly then as now, Siniora, Jumblatt and Hariri all got WAY out ahead of themselves and facts on the ground and went for TOTAL victory. Back then, team Bush was READY WILL AND ABLE. Not so for team Obama who at least can read the balance of power and risks clearly, but who also have almost NO vision for addressing and solving tough problems in the middle east (and maybe beyond) that can ONLY be solved by daring and deftness.
“…The United States remains committed to an independent, sovereign, and stable Lebanon. It is for the Lebanese parties to agree on the way forward, and it is vital that this be done through a peaceful political process. The continuity of Lebanese institutions and government action must be maintained to ensure stability, security, and justice in Lebanon. We will continue to work with our international partners to promote the strength of the Lebanese state and to promote Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty, and stability.