Why the U.S. and Its Allies Should Keep Lebanon from Blowing Apart
August 6, 2020
The port explosion that devastated a large swath of Beirut is just one of a series of crises to hit Lebanon this year. Since shortly after the novice prime minister, Hassan Diab, took office in January, the economy has been in free fall, a banking crisis has erupted, and international aid dried up; a largely middle-class population is being driven into poverty. Lebanon’s politics have long been about protecting sectarian fiefdoms, but parochial avarice has completely overwhelmed any sense of the common good in the country.
In a normal environment, the United States and like-minded allies and partners would come together to show Lebanon a way out of the abyss, simultaneously striking a blow against Iranian influence and helping Lebanon avoid becoming a failed state. There is little evidence that the United States has either the capacity or the intention of organizing such an effort now. Instead, it seems to be allowing adversaries of many stripes to advance their interests in the country.