Adonis Diaries

How Superpowers behave

Posted on: June 4, 2009

How Superpowers behave toward the smaller States (June 1, 2009)


The ex-French Foreign Affairs, Hubert Vedrine once told Lebanon ex-President Lahoud: “When our relations with the US Administrations are closer to cooperation than competition we communicate our information to them but they fail to return the honor.  When our relations are fine then the US tends to horde the solution.  When world politics deteriorate then the US asks us to resolve the problems on their behalves, on conditions that the signing of any agreement is done in Washington, DC.

Bill Clinton insisted on the sick and dying Hafez Assad for a month to meet him in Geneva in February 2000 on the ground that a deal is ready for the return of the occupied Golan Heights.  The two Presidents met in March.  Clinton knew very well that Assad is not ready to negotiate for less than 100% on the returned land. Clinton proudly declared “Ehud Barak is willing to return 98% of the Golan Heights”.  The meeting was over in ten minutes.  Clinton lost a golden opportunity for peace in the Middle East.

Madeline Albright, US Foreign Affairs during Clinton tenure, met in Beirut with Lebanon’s Salim Hoss PM in September 1999.  It was the first high ranking US emissary in 16 years.  Without preambles, Albright ejaculated “The USA wants the two highjackers of the TWA of 1985; the USA wants the perpetrators for the blowing up of the Marines headquarter in 1984; the USA wants those who demolished the US embassy in Beirut and the one who assassinated our Ambassador” Our Prime Minister retorted “When the TWA was high jacked I was subjugated to an assassination attempt and three of my bodyguards died.  At the time of this civil war Lebanon witnessed 150,000 civilian victims’ dead and over 400,000 severely injured” The same Albright confronted President Lahoud to desist demanding an accurate demarcation line (The Blue Line) on the southern borders after Israel withdrew in May 24, 2000.  

The Syrian young President Bashar Assad described the superpower games saying “The first fundamental principle is that superpowers and especially the USA try hard to convince the smaller States that they are too weak and need urgent aids.  They claim that the smaller States have practically no “products” to transact.  They insist on “market demand and offer” and barely care about State values or the logic of Statehood.  The second principle is that superpowers care to the extent they need to resolve a problem.  It does not matter the level of rhetoric or the squeeze of economical and financial embargo on the smaller State; once a superpower is in need then everything is forgotten and relations resume normally.”


In October 2000, Hezbollah took prisoners three Israeli soldiers in the Shabaa Farms and then lured the retired Israeli Colonel El Hanane Tanenboum to Beirut.  Israel had withdrawn from south Lebanon unilaterally in May 24, 2000 but had failed to vacate the Shebaa Farms. Albright demanded the release of the Israeli prisoners and Ehub Barak gave an ultimatum of 4 hours. Lahoud answered the US Ambassador Satterfield “Consider the 4 hours have ended.  I will not negotiate the release of the Israeli prisoners” Lahoud was in strong position because the Lebanese army was not on the borders so that Israel could not exercise any pressures on the President and Lahoud won his bet and Israel refrained temporarily from any incursions.

Foreign diplomats and officials view the problems of Lebanon from the outside in; they never consider the precarious social and political conditions of Lebanon.  Emile Lahoud refused to deploy the army across the Litany River since he was appointed army chief in 1989 and then President of the Republic till July 2006 when Hezbollah agreed under UN resolution 1701 to withdraw his military presence behind the Litany River.  During all these years the international community and the Arab States had constantly pressured Lahoud to send the Lebanese army to the borders with Israel.  Lahoud kept steadfast and never obeyed any of these orders and he was completely right; he had said: “As long as there are no guarantees that Israel will not violate Lebanon’s integrity and security then the Lebanese army will refrain playing the police force and antagonizing our resistance to easing Israel’s security at the expense of jeopardizing Lebanon internal security.” (To be continued)

1 Response to "How Superpowers behave"

it’s a frustrating saga, isn’t it?

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June 2009

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