Is France helping Lebanon, or trying to reconquer it?

PARIS (AP) — When France’s president visited explosion-ravaged Beirut this week, he promised to rebuild and claimed that the blast pierced France’s own heart. But Lebanon is no longer a French protectorate. Macron’s critics denounce the overtures as a neocolonialist foray by a European leader seeking to restore sway over a troubled Middle Eastern land. Yet some desperate Beirut residents call him “our only hope” and praise Macron for visiting gutted neighborhoods where Lebanese leaders fear to tread. France faces a challenge as it prepares to host an international donors conference for Lebanon: how to help the country without interfering in its internal affairs.