Lebanese legislators ignored the popular anti-government protests and decided to re-install the pro-Syrian premier who was forced to step down last week, a move ensuring Damascus’ continued dominance but raising opposition denunciation.

Meanwhile, Syria’s soldiers evacuated Lebanese positions in the north and central mountains and in some cases, Lebanon’s army moved in to occupy the bases.

Outgoing Prime Minister Omar Karami was virtually assured nomination after 71 of 78 legislators put forward his name during consultations with President Emile Lahoud, according to announcements by the legislators as they left the presidential palace.

Under the constitution, the president is obliged to comply with the choice of the majority of legislators. ~Sydney Morning Herald

Even now major newspapers continue to use the same tired narrative: “the people” are against this restoration of a pro-Syrian government, the “popular anti-government protests” express this, etc. This is a very bizarre way to view the matter, all in all. If the Syrian occupation of another country were so awful in the eyes of the Western interventionists, then it should scarcely matter to them whether “the people” are pro- or anti-Syrian. If this were really a matter of enforcing some dead-letter resolution about a Syrian withdrawal or the requirements of state sovereignty (a rich idea coming from some of the hegemonists!), the opinions of Lebanese people would be quite irrelevant.

It is because the Syrian withdrawal itself is not the issue (the Syrians have, after all, been there for nearly 30 years without eliciting much comment from Washington), and neither is Lebanese “democracy” (which is a sad attempt to link a ludicrous Bush foreign policy goal to contingent circumstances), but the effective use of intimidation and coercion to dictate terms to a state hostile to Israel and therefore, in the delusions of the neocons, also hostile to the United States. Once again, as in reporting about the Ukraine, the narrative has been that of those who abide by their national constitution vs. those who invoke “the people.” On the terms of the democratists’ narrative, I should prefer the legalists, but the narrative also happens to be a pack of lies.

As historian John Lukacs has reportedly said in his new book, Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred, “The people do not speak, or they very seldom speak, but other people speak in the name of the people.” Again and again we are seeing a great many people styling themselves spokesmen for “the people.” Almost by definition, they are trying to deceive us, as they cannot really be speaking for the people and so must be speaking for their narrow interests. Even if they are well-intentioned, which I often very much doubt, we would be fools to believe them, much less glorify them.