The Lebanonization of the World: Criminal and terrorist money is becoming a very significant part of the global economy – by Norman A. Bailey
There are two tectonic social movements going on in the world right now and they are on track to transform the future in a predictable and unpleasant way.
I do not refer to technological developments–the vaunted hi-tech fourth industrial revolution. As is well known, technology can be used for good or for evil and is extensively used for both–as witness currently the misuse of the so-called “social media”.
No. I am referring in the first instance to the wave of popular rage, exemplified by the so-called “Arab Spring”, the 2016 election in the US, the “yellow vest” riots in France, and the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong. Foremost among these manifestations is the Brexit fiasco in the UK–the world’s oldest and until very recently most solid democracy.
The other phenomenon I have baptized the process of “Lebanonization”. Lebanon is currently no longer a country but rather an amalgamation of a sovereign state, ethnic groups, criminal gangs and a terrorist organization, Hezbollah, that is also a political movement and party and part of the government, and therefore of the state.
The degree to which huge chunks of the modern world are becoming permeated by the criminal and terrorist economy, polity and society is not well recognized. Phenomena such as the control of the European fruit and vegetable trade by various mafias, the marketing of ISIS oil products by the great oil trading companies without a twinge of guilt, the laundering of huge amounts of dirty money by financial icons such as Deutsche Bank and Den Danske Bank and dozens of their colleagues, and the facilitation of all of this by legions of lawyers, accountants, and communications specialists, among others, is overwhelming.
Dirty money is circulating in quantities of such magnitude that if it were all to disappear by some miracle the international financial system would collapse and the international economy with it.
Endless recruits are available for the criminal and terrorist organizations from the same pool as the rioters, demonstrators, and voters manifesting the popular rage mentioned above. Bloody barbarians such as ISIS are able to attract people from all parts of the world, very much including the advanced countries of Europe, America, and Asia.
So far, the only polities which have been able to stem at least somewhat the social tsunamis outlined above are repressive dictatorships, which simply follow the example of Mussolini in Italy–don’t battle the Mafiosi, just kill them. Such states are, of course, themselves criminal organizations.
Assuming that less repressive regimes are not willing to follow that pattern, as they certainly should not, they all, very much including Israel, must find other ways to counteract the forces of anarchy, criminality, and terror.
*Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and National Security, The National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, The Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. He was formerly with the US National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The original title of this article The Lebanonization of the World was written by Norman A. Baley and published by Globes, Israel business news – on September 10, 2019