Lebanon: The Long Road to Disaster

After 17 months, the U.S. effort to rebuild Lebanon has failed

In retrospect, it never worked particularly well as a nation-state. But during the late 1950s and 1960s, Lebanon was prosperous, relatively peaceful, more or less democratic, a relaxed oasis of tolerance for the Islamic world. Beneath its patina of tranquillity, however, stirred future troubles: a bewildering mixture of sectarian communities that had fought one another, on and off, for centuries. Two events brought the latent antagonisms to the surface: the decision by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the late 1960s to establish its...

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