Time Magazine has given rave reviews to the current political play titled: The Suleiman Era.
Expectations were low when the former head of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Michel Suleiman, became president in May 2008 after a nearly two-year political crisis that ended in pitched battles between rival militias in the streets of Beirut.
Apparently, they are comparing his ‘rule’ to Rudolph Giuliani who employed a “Broken Glass” policy whereby he focused on the grassroot issues in the hope improvements would spread to greater issues.
Unable to solve the big problems facing the country, Ziad Baroud, Suleiman’s choice to lead the powerful Ministry of the Interior, began focusing on problems that might actually make a difference in the lives of average Lebanese. In particular, the police began cracking down on the single biggest cause of death in the country: not terrorism, or war, but traffic accidents. After years without traffic enforcement, Lebanon’s roads were dysfunctional and dangerous, with stoplights often ignored and one-way traffic directions optional, and too many drivers acting like they’re on the Autobahn.
The Time also goes on to say that the Lebanese Army is being properly upgraded for the first time in post-civil war history thanks to a consensus on both sides (Israel & the US on one side and Syria & Iran on the other) concerning the issue.
Meanwhile, the country has for now managed to avoid the worst of the global financial crisis, thanks to the conservative policies of its central bank governor, Riad Salame, who banned the exotic financial instruments and over-leveraged practices that became common in the rest of the world. While Salame took office before President Suleiman came to power, the validation of his banking policies are adding further shine to the reputations of the country’s non-partisan officials.
The Time seems to conceed that things are actually going extremely well.
Suddenly, Lebanon feels like an island of stability in a world upside down.
Wow, everything is perfect! This is too good to be true. Oh wait, it isn’t:
In the end, Lebanon’s fate is out of the hands of even its best and brightest. While tempers may remain calm as leaders in Washington and Tehran test the waters of engagement, Lebanon can’t have a separate peace of its own for long. So there’s one more reason for Lebanese to fasten their seat belts: if the Obama administration can’t pull off a regional peace deal, there may well be another civil war.
Well, it was a good run while it lasted.