Last week the Iranians and the Americans came to town.
The US senator Joseph Lieberman and the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, made sure at least one part of Lebanon's government heard Washington's views on Syria, while the Iranians checked in on their allies.
Tehran's delegation had the trappings of a trade mission and there was talk about once again buying Iranian electricity and activating previously inked bilateral trade agreements.
The Iranians made it clear they had not come to stir up trouble - unlike those scheming Americans. They merely wanted to strengthen economic and social ties with Lebanon, bless them.
Which is ironic, given that Iranian-backed Hizbollah has based its whole world view on conflict, on what it calls the resistance "project", an ideology that, we are assured in no uncertain terms, will have a victorious outcome. It is easier for the Iranians to come to Lebanon with an air of benevolence. Hizbollah does control the government.
OK, the embarrassing developments in neighbouring Syria might have put a spoke in the party's ideological wheel, making some supporters question why the party was not fulfilling its mandate to stand up for all the downtrodden but, by and large, Hizbollah has Lebanon where it wants it.
But this position has come at a price. Four years ago this week Hizbollah, along with its allies in the pro-Syrian March 8 coalition, attempted to stage an armed coup to reverse a government decision to get rid of the party's private phone network andHizbollah's aura of martial purity has thus been stained.
Lebanon's Shia communityhas been tarred with the brush of Hizbollah and, to a lesser extent, its ally, the equally cynical Amal Movement. Privately, May 2008 left a sour taste in the community.
"I always supported [Hizbollah] because they were the resistance," a young Shia woman who works in advertising told me. "They fought for our land when no one else did and appeared to genuinely care about their people. I assumed they were cleaner than the other parties but after 2008, they showed they were just another militia."
To other Lebanese, the Shia are seen as obedient drones, dutifully fulfilling their electoral duties come polling day. Then there is the petty bigotry, fuelled by the old perception of the Shia as Lebanon's underclass. They do not pay their electricity bills, they live off party funding and social services and tacitly accept the uncomfortable reality they are a state within a state.
"The reality is that as an economic force they have been marginalised by their political orientation. "No one wants to deal with them," said a fund manager in Beirut who did not want to be named.
"It's hard for them to leverage any long-term economic investments as they don't have any serious banks to represent their interests unlike the other sects. They are not welcome in the GCC and in the US they are seen as pariahs.
"The majority of the community's money comes from Iran and Africa. When you deal in diamonds, you are outside the system. When you don't pay [value-added tax], you are outside the system and when you send remittances home, you are outside the system."
Which is all very sad because Lebanon's Shia is a growing and dynamic sect, a genuine economic force that will have a significant say in the economic future of the country.
Hizbollah's grip on Lebanese affairs cannot last forever and the Shia business community must demonstrate the same energy it used to create vast wealth in Africa and elsewhere to show that it wants to be associated with prosperity rather than conflict and a vibrant free market economy rather than grinding sectarian politics.
Michael Karam is the associate editor-in-chief of Executive, a Lebanese regional business magazine