Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Lebanon to meet with president du jour Michel Aoun and he confronted what happens when you’re dealing with someone who neither likes nor respects you and knows you will still give them boodles of cash.
The Lebanese presidency denied that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been kept waiting ahead of a meeting with President Michel Aoun on Thursday at the presidential palace, where he sat for several minutes before his Lebanese counterpart greeted him.
The Lebanese president’s office denied any departure from diplomatic protocol. Rafic Chlela, head of the media office, said Tillerson had arrived a few minutes earlier than expected and the meeting began on time.
The best you can say about that explanation is that it violates the “lie to me with respect” rule:
The U.S. Secretary of State does not just meander into a meeting early with the president of a country, even it is, technically speaking, a shithole country. By basic protocol, Tillerson would not have entered the room until the host was ready to greet him. There is staff to make sure this doesn’t happen.
This underscores the utter insanity of U.S. policy in Lebanon. We are pouring in military aid to that country under the belief, or delusion, that Lebanon and Hezbollah are different entities. They aren’t. We should and do know better but somehow we’re trying to act like Lebanon is a potential ally while Hezbollah, which are Iranian stooges to the last hairy one of them, is an opponent. The money and weapons we’ve been lavishing on Lebanon might as well be going directly to Tehran.
“Hezbollah’s presence in Syria has only perpetuated the bloodshed, increased the displacement of innocent people and propped up the barbaric Assad regime,” Tillerson said https://t.co/JOYv8RP2S3
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 15, 2018
Ironically, Tillerson says the right thing:
Tillerson: It us unacceptable for a militia like Hezbollah to operate outside the authority of the Lebanese government. Hezbollah's engagement in Syria has "perpetuated the bloodshed" in that country and threatens the security of Lebanon. Hezbollah Must Cease Foreign Forays
— EHSANI2 (@EHSANI22) February 15, 2018
But it is meaningless because it perpetuates the fiction that the Lebanese government is capable of operating independently of Hezbollah.
Tillerson’s comment encapsulates the idiocy of the US Lebanon policy, which is predicated on distinguishing between Hezbollah and Lebanon when no such distinction exists. It only makes you sound stupid. https://t.co/prRkCZy34i
— Tony Badran (@AcrossTheBay) February 14, 2018