Federalism: Pros and Cons

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
How about naming the problems that federalism is supposed to fix, and analyse whether or not it actually fixes them. For example, and I bring this up in every topic about federalism...

If Christians have a demographic issue, and are worried about being sidelined by other sects, how does federalism fix this?

There are non Christians living in what would be the Christian canton of a federal Lebanon. Eventually, the demographic issue could come up again within the canton. For example, if Christians continue to emigrate, while non Christians choose to have big families. These non Christian families will surely want to be represented in the Christian cantonal government. So you are right back to square one on this issue, unless you implement strict and discriminatory measures to keep the canton Christian.

My suggestion in the other thread is that local governments would have the ability to restrict the sale of land to Lebanese who are not from within the canton, thus able to keep the majority of the land, majority Christian in Mt. Lebanon.

It is true that they would still be competing demographically against the minority within the canton, if those decide to stay in the mountain instead of immigrating to one of their own cantons.

The truth is, if the Christians continue to emigrate and not have children, there is no political solution to this problem.

Edit: My logic here is this. A federal state which grants the Christians this canton, may encourage more to stay to invest and work in their country. Laws which guarantee them that their land will be inherited by their children and grandchildren will make them change their mind about leaving the country permanently.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
Geography takes precedence over any other discussion when it comes to federalism.

The main issue with federalism in Lebanon is that while it is easy to make functioning Christian and Shia cantons, there are a lot of kinks that need to be worked out in terms of the Sunni and Druze side of the equation. There is also the question of who will inherit Beirut, or whether Beirut will itself be an autonomous capital where the federal government has its seat of power.

This is one of the maps I made in the previous discussion about this here:

Bxqg3vb.jpg


Some notes:

1. Marjeyoun and Jezzine have referendums regarding the canton they wish to join (with the borders slightly adjusted according to the results).
2. Dahye residents likely will not be happy being a part of the Beirut-Saida canton.
3. The capital exists within a Sunni canton, and this is likely where the national government will have its seat of power (and where the only functioning commercial airport is), this probably will not be acceptable to the other sects.

The main issue with creating a federal system is creating a new constitution for the 4th republic which outlines local vs. national government jurisdiction, as well as guaranteeing the right of movement of all citizens, and the protection of property already owned by minorities in cantons of a different sect (no forceful removal of Shiites from southern Beirut for example).

There is way too much to discuss when it comes to this, but we really did hash out a lot of things in the earlier thread. I believe this system is possible in Lebanon if done peacefully and through consensus.

So Sunnis and Shiites got two cantons each or is it one that is split into two because of geography?

Plus the Druze canton is landlocked.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
So Sunnis and Shiites got two cantons each or is it one that is split into two because of geography?

I think separate cantons (two each) makes more sense to meet the needs of the canton if they have different plans. For example, the Bekaa may want a technocratic local government focused on agriculture and energy, while the south may want a highly political cabinet to lobby the central government in Beirut regarding defense matters.

Plus the Druze canton is landlocked.

We need to remember that these borders delineate an administrative zone, nothing more. Anyone can go anywhere he wants in his own country, and obviously all of these cantons will still be economically linked with each other. The idea, for me at least, is to give majority Christian, majority Druze, majority Sunni, majority Shia regions the ability to self-govern without having to defer to the permanently deadlocked government in Beirut, and the ability to maintain their sect in the country by having something of a monopoly on land ownership within their own canton.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
The federalism we are discussing in Lebanon is obviously the geographic kind.

There is nothing obvious about it. If your goal is to find the best solution, you have to look at all the possibilities.

The capital would still be the same for everyone. It's a federation not a partition.

All the cantons would have minorities from other sects. This doesn't mean you break the country into dozens of tiny cantons, it means you create a constitution that guarantees their rights. Although it's funny that the focus of your "don't be greedy" statement is towards Beirut, why didn't you say "don't be greedy, create a Shia, Druze, and Sunni mini-state in Mt. Lebanon"?

When you are trying to design a system that would be acceptable to people, and thus be able to implement it peacefully, you have to let go of your dislike towards certain sects and think of what is fair and what can actually work.

It is logical to have a majority Sunni, Beirut-Saida canton with a Shia minority, because this reflects all the other cantons which also have minorities, but create contiguous territories for the majority sect.

It does not make sense to create three mini-states (Sunni Beirut, Shia Beirut, Sunni Saida) which cannot function properly.

For starters, I'm not the one calling for federalism, and have posted my opposition to it on multiple occasions because I don't believe it will solve Lebanon's problems. So spare me your "dislike of other people" speech. Whatever I post here is based on what other people are saying they want federalism for. I'm simply taking part in a hypothetical discussion. And it struck me as odd that you are so confused about what to do with Beirut.

1 - Even on your own map, it is quite clear that Beirut can be geographically considered a continuation of the "Christian canton" just as much as a continuation of the "Sunni canton."

2 - Most of Lebanon's population lives in Beirut and its suburbs, including most Christians, so there is no way any sect will accept handing over the entirety of Beirut to another sect.

3 - There is no reason they should, either. Why would the Sunni canton get Ashrafieh, for example?

4 - "Sunni Beirut, Shia Beirut, and Christian Beirut" wouldn't be mini states, bur rather, the capitals of their respective cantons.

5 - And finally, how would the rights of minorities in each canton be respected, while ensuring that you don't eventually end up with another demographic problem, that the federalism is supposed to be fixing?
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
My suggestion in the other thread is that local governments would have the ability to restrict the sale of land to Lebanese who are not from within the canton, thus able to keep the majority of the land, majority Christian in Mt. Lebanon.

It is true that they would still be competing demographically against the minority within the canton, if those decide to stay in the mountain instead of immigrating to one of their own cantons.

The truth is, if the Christians continue to emigrate and not have children, there is no political solution to this problem.

Edit: My logic here is this. A federal state which grants the Christians this canton, may encourage more to stay to invest and work in their country. Laws which guarantee them that their land will be inherited by their children and grandchildren will make them change their mind about leaving the country permanently.

I see where you're going with this. So feel free not to answer the last part of my previous post, since the answer is right here.

We both agree that emigration is a big issue, the biggest one probably, for the Christians. As far as family size, is it fair to expect people to have more than a couple of kids nowadays? Don't you think it's unfair to lose your rights because of a demographic war where the other side is having more children even though they can't afford it, while you prefer to have less and bring them up properly? There comes a point when being a majority at all cost shouldn't cut it anymore. Especially in a tiny, overpopulated country like Lebanon.
 

LebReporter

Legendary Member
The problem is, if you want to change into Federalism for example, you will need the majority of people agreeing on that.

I fail to see that will ever happen.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
For starters, I'm not the one calling for federalism, and have posted my opposition to it on multiple occasions because I don't believe it will solve Lebanon's problems. So spare me your "dislike of other people" speech. Whatever I post here is based on what other people are saying they want federalism for. I'm simply taking part in a hypothetical discussion. And it struck me as odd that you are so confused about what to do with Beirut.

1 - Even on your own map, it is quite clear that Beirut can be geographically considered a continuation of the "Christian canton" just as much as a continuation of the "Sunni canton."

2 - Most of Lebanon's population lives in Beirut and its suburbs, including most Christians, so there is no way any sect will accept handing over the entirety of Beirut to another sect.

3 - There is no reason they should, either. Why would the Sunni canton get Ashrafieh, for example?

4 - "Sunni Beirut, Shia Beirut, and Christian Beirut" wouldn't be mini states, bur rather, the capitals of their respective cantons.

5 - And finally, how would the rights of minorities in each canton be respected, while ensuring that you don't eventually end up with another demographic problem, that the federalism is supposed to be fixing?

1, 2, 3 - East Beirut already is a part of the Christian canton in my model. As stated, the issue is Dahye being a Shia majority area far away from other Shia majority areas and in between two geographically close, Sunni majority areas - western Beirut and Saida. Refer to the map if you don't get it. My argument is that it makes more sense to create a contiguous, Sunni majority canton containing west Beirut and Saida and everything in between, rather than three rump-cantons.

4 - My model is not a 4-canton model where each of the big sects represents a nation. It's a 6 canton model where each region is locally administered and happens to contain a 60%+ majority of one sect. Thus the Shia would have two capitals for two cantons - Sour and Baalback for example. You are overestimating the percentage of Shia living in Beirut and underestimating the percentage of Sunnis living in Beirut. It's doubtful that the Shia would choose Dahye as a capital even in a 4-canton nation model.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
I see where you're going with this. So feel free not to answer the last part of my previous post, since the answer is right here.

We both agree that emigration is a big issue, the biggest one probably, for the Christians. As far as family size, is it fair to expect people to have more than a couple of kids nowadays? Don't you think it's unfair to lose your rights because of a demographic war where the other side is having more children even though they can't afford it, while you prefer to have less and bring them up properly? There comes a point when being a majority at all cost shouldn't cut it anymore. Especially in a tiny, overpopulated country like Lebanon.

Demographics matters in any political system, in any point of time, in any civilization. Breeding below replacement levels coupled with mass emigration is a social problem among the Christians that comes with blind westernization, and it is fixed socially, not politically. The only political solution would be apartheid which obviously isn't an option since federalization is ideally done through peaceful means.

Also, Lebanon is not overpopulated. There is simply a lack of opportunity and infrastructure outside of Beirut and Mt. Lebanon. This is something a federal system could go a long way towards fixing. Lebanon can feed and shelter 10 million people comfortably.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
1, 2, 3 - East Beirut already is a part of the Christian canton in my model. As stated, the issue is Dahye being a Shia majority area far away from other Shia majority areas and in between two geographically close, Sunni majority areas - western Beirut and Saida. Refer to the map if you don't get it. My argument is that it makes more sense to create a contiguous, Sunni majority canton containing west Beirut and Saida and everything in between, rather than three rump-cantons.

4 - My model is not a 4-canton model where each of the big sects represents a nation. It's a 6 canton model where each region is locally administered and happens to contain a 60%+ majority of one sect. Thus the Shia would have two capitals for two cantons - Sour and Baalback for example. You are overestimating the percentage of Shia living in Beirut and underestimating the percentage of Sunnis living in Beirut. It's doubtful that the Shia would choose Dahye as a capital even in a 4-canton nation model.

Dahyeh is closer to Christian areas on the east than it is to Saida. There's no reason why it couldn't be part of the Shia canton, either as a canton of its own or related to another one. You have to consider population and not just geography.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Demographics matters in any political system, in any point of time, in any civilization. Breeding below replacement levels coupled with mass emigration is a social problem among the Christians that comes with blind westernization, and it is fixed socially, not politically. The only political solution would be apartheid which obviously isn't an option since federalization is ideally done through peaceful means.

Also, Lebanon is not overpopulated. There is simply a lack of opportunity and infrastructure outside of Beirut and Mt. Lebanon. This is something a federal system could go a long way towards fixing. Lebanon can feed and shelter 10 million people comfortably.

In this day and age, having around 2 kids per family can't be considered "breeding below replacement levels."

Let Lebanon feed and shelter 4 million people comfortably, and then we'll talk about 10 million.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
The problem is, if you want to change into Federalism for example, you will need the majority of people agreeing on that.

I fail to see that will ever happen.

Christians are already on board, even if they don't say so openly. Shia get a very nice deal out of federalism due to their large contiguous areas. That's already a majority. Tripolites could easily be swayed towards federalism as well, reclaiming lost glory and all that. Beirut Sunni's can be brought around provided that their canton is not a shattered and isolated tiny piece of land, which is what I am currently arguing about with Indie.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
Dahyeh is closer to Christian areas on the east than it is to Saida. There's no reason why it couldn't be part of the Shia canton, either as a canton of its own or related to another one. You have to consider population and not just geography.

Are you reading my arguments? Like actually reading them?
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Are you reading my arguments? Like actually reading them?

I fail to see how removing Dahyeh from the Sunni canton would shatter it into an tiny, isolated piece of land. Do you expect all the Shias in Dahyeh to live in a Sunni canton?
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
In this day and age, having around 2 kids per family can't be considered "breeding below replacement levels."

It can when you factor emigration into the equation.

Let Lebanon feed and shelter 4 million people comfortably, and then we'll talk about 10 million.

Bandar said:
Also, Lebanon is not overpopulated. There is simply a lack of opportunity and infrastructure outside of Beirut and Mt. Lebanon. This is something a federal system could go a long way towards fixing. Lebanon can feed and shelter 10 million people comfortably.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
I fail to see how removing Dahyeh from the Sunni canton would shatter it into an tiny, isolated piece of land.

How can you fail to see it? Just look at a map of Lebanon.

Do you expect all the Shias in Dahyeh to live in a Sunni canton?

You realize that every single canton will contain a minority right? That's why I asked you before, if this is your point of contention, why aren't you calling for a Druze-Shia canton in Mt. Lebanon or a Sunni canton in the Bekaa and only focusing on breaking Beirut into three pieces? I'm afraid you're letting March 8/14 politics interfere with your argument here.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
It can when you factor emigration into the equation.

Your solution to emigration is to give Christians a canton where they feel safe and that they know will stay Christian. You cannot give them that feeling of security if there are non-Christians in their canton who are having bigger families than them.

It's a vicious cycle, and hence why federalism isn't the solution.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
How about having Beirut as a canton and itself divided into 3 regions. West Beirut Sunni, Southern Suburb Shiite and East Beirut Christian. It will have 3 mayors and each municipality collects taxes and issues internal laws.

That way Beirut remains apparently a capital for all Lebanese.
 
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Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
How can you fail to see it? Just look at a map of Lebanon.

You realize that every single canton will contain a minority right? That's why I asked you before, if this is your point of contention, why aren't you calling for a Druze-Shia canton in Mt. Lebanon or a Sunni canton in the Bekaa and only focusing on breaking Beirut into three pieces? I'm afraid you're letting March 8/14 politics interfere with your argument here.

The solution is easy. You take Greater Beirut as a separate entity. And each sect gets the part it already occupies. That still leaves you with a huge Saida canton that starts after Dahyeh and goes all the way to Saida. As well as the Tripoli canton to the north.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
You realize that every single canton will contain a minority right?

Yes, and that's why federalism based on geography will fail. Eventually, the same problems you have now will resurface.

That's why I asked you before, if this is your point of contention, why aren't you calling for a Druze-Shia canton in Mt. Lebanon or a Sunni canton in the Bekaa and only focusing on breaking Beirut into three pieces? I'm afraid you're letting March 8/14 politics interfere with your argument here.

Because the populations in Beirut are far larger than a few villages here and there in the mountains. And Beirut is already de facto divided between east, west, and southern suburbs.
 
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