We continue to watch shockingly from afar just how much Lebanon is on the edge of a cliff; Lebanese however are paying the ultimate price from decades of corruption & neglect. In my personal opinion Lebanon can be viewed in 1 of 2 ways; a country at the brink of disaster or a transformational opportunity for a region mired in authoritarianism and corruption. I subscribe wholeheartedly to the second view and I do hope that the EU and the U.S. begin to appreciate how the possibility of helping bail out Lebanon could have quite positive ramifications for the entire region. This is NOT about nation building because Lebanon has the talent/dedication to achieve this transformation with a well educated population – it is about ensuring that a bail out is well managed and finding the right partnership within the political establishment that is untainted by the political corruption that’s draining the country. There should be a clear roadmap for reform at every level of governance from economic, to financial to political with the main focus of rooting out corruption. However in order to achieve this roadmap there needs to be a temporary financial package to allow the country and its potential creditors some time to develop a more robust medium-long term package within a specific timeframe.
Lebanon is the pearl of the Middle East and has the capacity to shine its light throughout the region, so let’s not waste the opportunity. I’m certain that there are plenty of people around the world that are ready, willing and able to support the cause in effort & resources once a serious plan is developed. Time is running out so let’s not develop another failed state in the Middle East and let’s make this a win-win proposition for all; one that would very likely help deal pragmatically with the migration crisis we face today. Better yet, why not develop a template for transition as I mention in an old post below.
Hope this helps.