By Firas Maksad
People walk outside Lebanon's Central Bank in Beirut November 6, 2014. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi/File Photo

In an interview conducted on the sidelines of Davos this week, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil boasted to CNN’s Becky Anderson that, despite his country’s chronic financial and political woes, he and his fellow Lebanese politicians can teach Washington and London “how to run a country without a budget.”

In the same breath, seamlessly transitioning from hubris to humility, Bassil pleaded for “Saudi Arabia and other countries to help Lebanon stay stable” by pledging additional financial aid.

The foreign minister, and a resourceful yet deeply corrupt Lebanese political establishment, are desperate to forestall an impending financial collapse that is largely of their own making. In a lightly veiled attempt at extortion, primarily targeting European donors who fear that a financial meltdown in Lebanon could send waves of refugees into Europe, Bassil warned that “a collapsed model of Lebanon would result in more terrorism, extremism, and violence.”

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