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Reply To: What were your primary takeaways after reading “Lebanon: Past Challenges, Present Calamities, Future Prospects”? Is there hope for preserving a pluralistic Lebanon in the future?

Erik Nilsen

After reading “Lebanon: Past Challenges, Present Calamities, Future Prospects,” my takeaway is that preserving a pluralistic Lebanon into the future will be an uphill battle, and that several of Malik’s proposed policy recommendations leave the fate of Lebanon too much in the hands of foreign nations rather than the Lebanese themselves.

In points 6 and 7 of his short-term policy recommendations, Malik calls for expanding the powers and scope of UNIFIL and the Global Magnitsky Act (“or any similar US government instrument”) to combat violence and corruption in Lebanon. In his medium-term policy recommendations, Malik further pushes for coordination with Russia, France, the Vatican, and the U.S. to achieve domestic goals. While Malik correctly correlates Lebanon’s relative political and economic stability in the Arab world with its cultural ties to the West, his proposed policies would render Lebanon completely dependent on the West for its own domestic security. Certainly, such foreign influence would be far better than that of Iran’s Hezbollah, but it still consigns Lebanon’s fate to the shifting whims of regimes unaccountable to its people.