Monday, February 7, 2011

Lebanon: Single Colour Cabinet and a Constitutional President



A team must be cohesive if it wishes to succeed. Its members must all share an understanding and a commitment to the goal so that they can execute the plays flawlessly. Unless they can communicate and cooperate selflessly then their efforts will not be in harmony and will result in missed plays and a record of bad calls.

Government cabinets are not any different. A cabinet must be composed of members that share a vision of what needs to be accomplished so that all ministries would align their policies and efforts in order to reinforce each other. Furthermore as challenges arise the discussions will be collegial and not antagonistic. These matters are elementary and are used as a guide in cabinet formations all over the world. Unfortunately, this very simple and obvious idea is not being heeded in Lebanon and the results have been simply disastrous. The last two Lebanese governments have failed to have any meaningful accomplishments in any field and have resulted in nothing else but governing paralysis and dogmatic infighting. These results were to be expected since the structure of the last two cabinets has been anything but homogenous; in a sense the members did not even speak the same language. The cabinets have resembled the biblical story about confusion, lack of effectiveness and disarray told about the Tower of Babel.

It has often been said that one must experience pain in order to appreciate happiness and chaos in order to seek coordination and cooperation. Although we can assume experience is the best teacher, some slow learners will get their fingers burnt repeatedly by touching the same hot service again and again. The best that can be said about the current crop of Lebanese politicians is that they appear to suffer of a serious learning disability that is preventing them from internalizing the lessons from the recent past two attempts at forming cabinets that are designed to fail.

March 14 had fought unsuccessfully the idea of sharing the cabinet with March 8 under PM Saniora and then repeated the mistake, under pressure, with PM Sa’ad Hariri. In both of these cases March 8, a group that is the antithesis of March 14, cannot be blamed for insisting to be included in the cabinet and be given veto powers. This brilliant policy transformed the parliamentary minority into the effective group whose approval is required for any and all government acts and it allowed the minority to demonstrate the inability of the majority to govern by preventing the majority from any accomplishments.

One would have hoped that this experience of ineffectiveness would make the idea of incongruous cabinet something to be shunned by all. Not so. A few of the March 8 allies are willing to form a cabinet that accommodates their adversaries and what is even more astonishing is that many in March 14 are also open to the idea of joining the Mr. Mikati cabinet as the blocking minority with a veto power.

Responsible governance should be the only guide and whoever is to form the cabinet must avoid at all costs the mistakes of the past. Mr. Mikati can demonstrate his ability to govern by assembling a group of either politicians or technocrats or possibly a combination of both provided that all the members share the same vision of what is good for the country and also share the vision of how to get there. Let the cabinet govern, let it be homogeneous and let it be held accountable to the parliament and to the public. It is time that we stop playing the silly unconstitutional games of allocating ministries to groups and political offices. A cabinet must be one colour and must not award the veto power to any group or even offer the president a group of ministries. That would be a gross violation of the constitution and will introduce another governing tradition that is misguided. A country is to be ruled by a set of laws embodied in its constitution. If these laws do not offer the president any meaningful executive power then we have no choice but to obey these laws as long as they are in effect.

Lebanon needs to demonstrate its ability to respect its constitution by forming a government guided by and based on laws. This implies that those who have the most votes form a single colour cabinet and that whenever the constitution is violated then these alleged violations must be addressed. Lebanon would be doing itself, legitimacy and democracy a disservice if it does not clear up the issue of whether its current president, Michel Suleiman, has been constitutionally elected or not.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course GK and company have not yet explained just why the US supported the Syrian occupation of Lebanon for 30 odd years ….(remember that?), or just why the US gave a green light to the Israelis to invade in 1982 , 93, 96, 2006, (remember that?), or…why the US cut and ran like cowards in 83…, or what did they say to the LF in 84…? only to do exactly the opposite in 86…, Or….the actions of the Infamous White House Murder INC, from 2002 to 2008, Or….

ALL what is said about Mr. Elie Hobeika is pure hearsay with the obvious intent of further demonizing Elie unfairly, because none of you really knows anything about the man and his real record during the long war…

http://hk-elie-hobeika.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post.html

http://newhk.blogspot.com/2011/01/rip-elie-you-are-in-our-hearts-and.html

On the other hand you March14th idols’ record is well established and well documented…

Samir Geagea was behind many atrocious deliberate assassinations that are too numerous to even count: Tony Frangieh and his family, kids and about 21 innocent people. This particular hit was also orchestrated by the Gemayels, with a very heavy Mossad input. Geagea also assassinated a sitting Sunni Prime Minister by the name of Rashid Karame. Geagea also assassinated Dany Chamoun, his family and kids. Geagea also lined up against the wall with a firing squad, many Lebanese Army officers during his battles with Michel Aoun in 1988/89 with hundreds of casualties. Geagea also launched an insurrection against comrades in arms in 1986 to secure total control over his sector of the country, whereby over 650 young Christian combatants lost their lives in a futile battle of wills. Geagea blew up a Patriarchate and a Church killing and maiming many innocent by-standers…Geagea stole hundreds of Millions of USD from the coffers of the LF. Geagea was tried and convicted in 94 for some of those crimes and was sentenced for three consecutive life sentences and served 11 years in solitary confinement. He was recently Pardoned in 2005 following American/CIA machinations, because CIA needed his “services” again and has re-launched his political party and other related CIA/subversive activities etc. confronting again the policies of GMA [ General Michel Aoun ] in a political rematch of sorts…

The US takes the same failed projects and US puppet personalities…draws similarly eerie plans from the past…and seems to always take off the “shelves” past operations for an Encore…The end result is all around us with what is taking place today all over the ME…and from Quetta to Darfur…
My view is that nothing can be done about US Foreign policy until the American people wake up and take charge of their Government again, throwing all the rascals out….

I understand you were distracted, far away and busy, these were times when events were moving faster then any of you could keep pace with…

To deny the essential hubris of the everlasting, all conquering Self was always to hold dear something older, some vague memory of higher ideals, greater meaning….History will be fair to our fallen Heroes no matter what is thrown at them by the gullible ignorant few.

http://univercia2langley.blogspot.com/2010/12/proxy-cia-militia-skunks-geageas-lf.html

http://elie-hobeika.blogspot.com/2009/05/1995-2-25.html

ghassan karam said...

HK
As I have told you many a time you are entitled to worship EH. For all that I know you might be related to him and that is fine.
I brought it up because it is , in this case, an issue of intellectual integrity. Every Lebanese, Arab, Palestinian and International source agrees that EH was the leader of the forces who killed , butchered and maimed men, women and children at Sabra and Shatilla.
To claim otherwise is disingenuous and to use the lame excuse that you were not at the camps and so you do not know what happened is pathetic.
But I am not interested in all of that at the moment. I am interested in intellectual honesty. You cannot possibly expect to be taken seriously about any of your critiques/tirades about the injustice that has been done to the Palestinian people by Zionism and yet hold Hobeika as your hero. Its that simple.

Anonymous said...

Ghassan,

An academic can do better than that...Please.!!!

I am absolutely amazed about the weakness of your argumentation, given your last response to me on QN, I will not respond to you about this last stint on QN..., because it will be thoroughly humiliating to you and very embarrassing to you....and I do not want to do that in public there anymore.

The war in Lebanon was extremely complex and from my reading of many books on this, and having lived those events, I know for sure that Alain Menargue's is the best ever account about that ugly war...and his account of all events we are discussing is the most accurate. EH notwithstanding, you obviously do not know anything about him...except the garbage spewed by the Israelis and the MSM fully in league with utterly superficial and faulty accounts about most everything....

Anonymous said...

One last thing Mr. Ghassan Karam,

Your reactions and commentary about subjects raised re: Lebanon, the late Elie Hobeika, RIP, the War in Lebanon Etc. should not be surprising to anyone.

US and most MSM corporate media worldwide has devolved to "blow dried talking head entertainers". Unfortunately, the vast majority of the American people as a consequence do not have real information and analysis from experienced and knowledgeable folks... So we get nonsense spouted by Glenn Beck with the conspiracy of the Islamic Caliphate and the Communists and Nazis all collaborating on a New World Order of Sharia law or something like that... Just craziness - and this kind of stuff is being lapped up by large segments of US population.

I really despair for your country when they have successfully dumbed down large numbers of the people that they no longer have much ability to discern fact from fiction about Elie Hobeika, the ME or anything else for that matter...

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