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Friday, November 30, 2007

Presidential Musings

Aside from the rightful and righteous indignation that many bloggers are displaying around the nomination of Michel Sleiman as a consensus candidate, both the timing of the move and its nature sparked some questions and observations that I found interesting.

1- Purely out of interest, I am just wondering what rabbit out of the hat are our beloved MPs going to pull to amend the constitution, when constitutionally they cannot amend the constitution this time - one time only or otherwise. In other words, not only is it deplorable that they are considering the same trick that our overbearing neighborly previous occupier (you know which one I am talking about) used to pull, but it is also explicitly illegal this time.

2- How on Earth can there be no audible cries of indignation from within M14 (say from the nominees whose candidacy is being scuttled) or especially from within the M14 crowd - say from the 1% that actually demonstrated a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, for something rather than somesect or someone. Oh right, those 1% where guided by principles personified in assassinated journalists, and arguably even led by said assassinated journalists...

3- How about that timing? I mean Sleiman's candidacy was up for discussion when it was still possible to legally disregard the constitution and amend it for one time only, for the 4th time in a row. Why was it inconceivable back then and why is it ok now. What changed ?

4- Which brings us to Annapolis. The big unknown as far as I am concerned. There are fears that some sort of deal was struck between the US and Syria with the Saudis having some hand in it. Who the hell knows.

5- Of course, there is also the distinct possibility that M14 (read the big 3 in M14) having gotten rid of Lahoud (as in by virtue of the passage of time) without him reverting to trigerring the formation of a second government, felt that it had won a minor (major ?) victory and hence felt that it was capable of compromising a little bit with the opposition. You know, with the president having no powers save from stalling the passage of time - who in M14 really cares ?

6- But then again, why Michel Sleiman? I mean fine, he is widely respected bla bla, but he is also not constitutionally allowed to run, and parliament is not allowed to mess with the constitution at this time - not that, this would stop Lebanese parliamentarians, the eternal guardians of the republic, the constitution and the rule of law. But I digress. So if you are M14, why pick a maneuvre that is so morally and legally weak, on the grounds of averting a civil war. Especially when I am sure that out of at least tens of thousands of eligible (and apparently willing) Maronites, there must be one other candidate who can avert the threat of civil war, i.e. be non-threatening to Hizbulla and Syria...

It all just doesn't make sense to me, and my feeling is that this won't go through. Of course I am basing my argument on the premise that nothing substantial has changed. Otherwise, in such a short time, much has changed on the international, regional and possibly national levels that we don't know about and that our politicians feel that they do.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Slightly off the general trend of my posts, but I was recently reading Asimov's Prelude to Foundation, and came across this quotation, the conclusions of which seem so self-evident, the question so relevant. And yet...

It seems to me that no sane man wants to uphold a ... system that maintains itself by fostering mutual hatred and suspicions. Even when it seems to work, it can only be described as metastable; that is, too apt to fall into instability in one direction or another. But the question is, how can we help? ...

Friday, November 02, 2007

On Compromise

It is naive to assume that a compromise or "consensus" president is anything but ridiculous. Simply put, the objective of a compromise is to achieve a working solution that is somewhat satisfactory to both sides.

1- To be able to understand what is satisfactory to someone, you have to be able to understand their objectives. Which brings us to why a so-called compromise with Syria via her allies is not only naive, but also counterproductive. Anyone who believes that anything short of the complete elimination of the tribunal, and of hegemony over Lebanon would be satisfactory to the Syrian regime is delusional. As such, compromising now is tantamount to giving them a new tool to exert pressure on Lebanon for another 6 yrs.

2- On the other hand, "consensus" on the part of March 8 cannot mean anything less than a lame-duck president who will agree to "protect" the resistance and their ever increasing arsenal of weapons, and hence ignore the elephant in the room for another six years.

3- Not to mention that a consensus president is a slap in the face of actual democracy (as opposed to the farcical least common denominator consensual democracy), and a concession to a policy of assassination and terror, whereby a working majority whose members are being picked off one by one decides to concede defeat, forfeit its right to exercise its majority, and "voluntarily" hands over power as the other side threatens civil war.

4- Moreover, the question of consensus between March 14 and March 8 is rather silly. We all know that the maximum that they can achieve, if anything at all, is agree on a name. In all likelihood, the person whose name they agree on - our next president - will be an inconsequential fool with no popular support whatsoever. Thus making an almost ceremonial position whose only real power is to impede even more ceremonial.. Of course, by compromising here, M14 is opening the door to the next question, that of a national unity government, on which they will have to compromise again in the face of threats of unrest and civil war - in other words blackmail.

5- Needless to say that the "compromise" president, if the necessary 4 members of the majority are assassinated before a new government is formed, or after a national unity government where the opposition resigning would fell the government, would be obliged to consult with parliament on the name of a new prime minister. Of course at that time, the majority may have shifted and we would have a pro-Syrian PM and a useless president.

6- As for the pros of consensus, well that would ensure that nobody would make good on their threats of unrest and war for the short term.