NGOs in Lebanon: The new drones of US imperialism
The US crippled Lebanon and drained all the US-opposed international parties that parked their assets in Lebanese banks. A story as obvious as this is not even entertained by the US-sponsored NGOs.
It appears that Lebanon is always crying for help; so why so? It is natural for a country that imports most of what it consumes, produces little, and lives off the avails of self-prostituting to solicit geopolitical rents to demand more and more to redress its deficits. As of late, beseeching ‘donors’, the pseudonym of those US/European powers and their Gulf lackeys that invest in Lebanon with the blatant purpose of debilitating, have intensified as the country neared a condition of stasis. To buy a foothold in a strategic region by emasculating the indigenous population is the actual process, which unfolds before us in the region as a whole. While the trend has been to blame local political elements for the misfortunes of the country, the reality seems to be that there is a disregard for the more decisive political causes of this crisis.
Doubtless, the dichotomy of ‘local vs. foreign’ is inappropriate. The class or the social relation, which is the form of social organization by which a social formation reproduces, is cross-national. In an interrelated globe, all social strata are subsets of one another. People for instance live in Lebanon, but they uphold and live by ideas that transcend Lebanon. They do so because the circumstance of the geopolitical rents that shape their consciousness and their views on how social production ought to be ordered is fed by imperialist ideological apparatuses that breed divisions in order to control the political will of society. It is also immanent to observe that every exchange relationship is preceded by an exercise of power that lays out the grounds upon which trade is carried out. Thus, before one buys a gadget from some store for a cheap price, one must conceive of the reality that much violence has been exercised to lower the costs of these gadgets.
Every exchange relationship is historically a series of violent exchanges that culminate in a final act of sale. While we are on the subject of class, let me just note in passing that the dominant ideology is that of the dominant class or, formally, the dominant ideology is class. So as long as the working people uphold the sectarianism or equivalently the ideology of the dominant class in Lebanon, they will breed, support, and be part of that dominant class. A sectarian is part of the ruling class no matter how factually poor he or she is. The sectarians are the capital class because they engage in activity that reproduces or de-reproduces the existing social or capital order in tune with the objectives of the highest-ranking imperialist echelons and funders.
Where the imperialist class deems that the developing state and the social formation have to come undone, the sectarian carries out its historical mandate often by sacrificing his or her very basis of existence as happens everywhere, but to a higher degree in Lebanon. Now that we relegated the sources of historical events to a hierarchical order of class or social relations, the causes of the Lebanese crisis may be multiple, but the determining cause or link is ascribed to the imperialist/financial class that sits atop the accumulation pyramid. It is this class and its ideas/ideology, which sketches out the historical grounds upon which events unfold.
So once, for instance, Lebanon liberalizes the economy and pegs its exchange rate, it will invariably liquidate its real resources, transform them into dollars and ship them abroad where it is safer to keep. Local groups or individuals cannot do much to avoid the disaster unless they restructure the whole economy on a dirigisme basis, which is post-facto not the case because the Lebanese sectarians uphold the views that self-sacrifice them. They are forms of capital and reproduce capital. In this vertical power scale, the US-led financial class, which accumulates from war has a vested interest in culling resistance in Lebanon in order to lay hegemony in the region and is the true sovereign of all the misled sectarians.
It is not Aoun or Berri or whomever, in more relevant ideological terms, the true ruler of Lebanon but it is the US financial class and its neoliberal ideology. It should be no secret that this US leading class accumulates capital through war, and if so one may include into his spectrum of knowledge the fact that war-technology and global power balances are principally decided by militarism. These in turn decide the global division of labor and the leading moment that articulates the totality of social production and exchange relations. To cut to the chase, war determines power and power shapes the way things are. The symbiosis of US militarism and neoliberalism leaves in its trail poverty, death, and destruction, which are the factual desired outcome of the Empire because they are the fountainhead of the wealth-making process; why so?
Let me repeat that any social exchange is carried out on the basis of power balances, the wakened, starved and bombed masses must then give up their resources in exchange for a pittance to boost the profit rates. Insofar as Lebanon is concerned, the current crisis goes thirty years back in time, specifically when the central bank of Lebanon first implemented neoliberal openness. It did so as it emerged beleaguered from the war and under the guidance of the ideological apparatuses of US capital, which include inter-alia the IMF and the World Bank and the litany of liberal NGOs, which were dubbed as instruments of fascism by the prominent Italian philosopher Domenico Losurdo. Leading figures of liberalism, such De-Tocqueville, were supporters of genocides in the colonies, while current liberalism infuses developing societies with the venom of equality before the law without social equality: the case of African Americans best illustrates the point. What is more, in countries like Lebanon, the liberal mantras weaponize cultural divides.
The rift between the modern and the conservative displaces the struggle against imperialism into a struggle over fashion and personal persuasions. This is an important task for imperialism: it wants to weaken Lebanon without appearing it did so, and for this, it is aided and abetted by an army of NGOs whose role is mightier than the F35s of the US air force. These are the institutions that voice freedom while they instrumentalize the neoliberal socio-economic policies, which leave the masses without any essentials to exercise any degree of freedom. To illustrate: NGOs’ emphasis on the corruption of the Lebanese class, as opposed to the reigning US-neoliberal ideas espoused by the Lebanese masses, shows how useful they are in obfuscating the true causes of the crisis.
Not a single NGO speaks of the fact that the Lebanese banking sector acting at the behest of imperialism violated all the rules of the Basel agreement when they lent depositors money to a structurally broken state. Lebanon is a negative savings state, which requires foreign savings (it has to borrow) to keep itself afloat. Now think of these two real conditions. First, the Lebanese currency and its financial instruments were rated junk as of 1990. This means that none of the financial investors will place any significant funds in Lebanon. Secondly, the banking sector, which holds the Syrian and other US non-grata personal deposits, has funneled these funds into the defunct Lebanese financial order. According to the Basel agreement, they should maintain a balance between lending and deposits and they should not place a significant portion of their assets upon highly risky instruments. By continuously lending to Lebanon, they drew more on deposits and risked those deposits.
The US has hit two birds with one stone, it crippled Lebanon and drained all the US-opposed international parties that parked their assets in Lebanese banks. A story as obvious as this is not even entertained by the US-sponsored NGOs. History is personalized like a cartoon spectacle with this or that guy being bad as opposed to the terrible ideological or class context in which things evolve.
The real issue and the real war is against the liberals and their NGOs which have sown the seeds of the disaster from day one. It is them and not the F35s that the Lebanese masses must shoot down.