We’re in Deep State, Man

I’ve recently read a few articles that allude to a Deep State in the United States of America. That term seems to be derived from a collusion between drug traffickers and the military in Turkey, but has been expanded to describe organized behind-the-scenes political activity in other countries, including the US.

Essentially, outside observers suspect that some combination of the military–industrial complex, intelligence community, too-big-to-fail bankers, monopolistic corporations, lobbyists, plutocrats, oligarchs and sometimes the mainstream media, secretly and effectively determine public policy. The more conspiratorially-inclined think the deep state is a very organized secret Politburo; others think it is loose and factional like the rest of the government, but responds only to the desires of the wealthy and influential. I tend towards the latter view.

In, Trump Aims to Cut the Neocon Deep State Off at the Knees, Charles Hugh Smith opines that while one cannot prove the existence of a shadow government, one can sorta, kinda read what is going on. Smith sees a deep state power struggle as evidenced by a public disconnect between the CIA and the FBI over the course of the recent election.

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the unelected National Security State often referred to as the Shadow Government–is not a unified monolith but a deeply divided ecosystem in which the dominant Neocon-Neoliberal Oligarchy is being challenged by elements which view the Neocon-Neoliberal agenda as a threat to national security and the interests of the United States.

I call these anti-Neocon-Neoliberal elements the progressive Deep State.

Smith, John Michael Greer and others consider Trump to be a better option because they feared that Clinton would lead the US into wars of hegemony with Russia or China. To that extent they would be cheering any challenger to the neoliberals. They generally admit, however, that they have no idea whether Trump will be an effective President.

In, America Versus the Deep State, perennial kollapsnik James Howard Kunstler sees just the one, neocon-neoliberal, deep state:

The story may have climaxed with Trump’s Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State’s power. Trump worked a nice piece of ju-jitsu afterward, pretending to accept the finding as briefly and hollowly as possible and promising to “look into the matter” after January 20th — when he can tear a new asshole in the NSA. I hope he does. This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic.

Kunstler also thinks/hopes that Trump’s changes may turn out to be a better alternative to continuing the neoliberal hegemony.

In, The Age of Great Expectations and the Great Void, which is posted on TomDispatch, Truthdig and CommonDreams, historian Andrew Bacevich doesn’t invoke a deep state to make his case for why America is changing course. Bacevich feels that after the collapse of the USSR, America’s leadership (mistakenly) bought into three themes:
1 Globalization of the American business and financial system
2 Preeminence of American military power
3 Expansion of Personal Freedom

Regarding #3, Bacevich is a social conservative, to whom too much personal freedom is a recipe for failure. We did eventually see some laws changed to reflect greater personal freedoms, but after the good feelings of the early 1980s, Middle America’s confidence was rocked:

 … During the concluding decade of the twentieth century and the first decade-and-a-half of the twenty-first, Americans endured a seemingly endless series of crises. Individually, none of these merit comparison with, say, the Civil War or World War II. Yet never in U.S. history has a sequence of events occurring in such close proximity subjected American institutions and the American people to greater stress.

During the decade between 1998 and 2008, they came on with startling regularity: one president impeached and his successor chosen by the direct intervention of the Supreme Court; a massive terrorist attack on American soil that killed thousands, traumatized the nation, and left senior officials bereft of their senses; a mindless, needless, and unsuccessful war of choice launched on the basis of false claims and outright lies; a natural disaster (exacerbated by engineering folly) that all but destroyed a major American city, after which government agencies mounted a belated and half-hearted response; and finally, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, bringing ruin to millions of families.

Bacevich feels that Americans who elected Trump were simply ready for a change – any change – from the status quo, but that Trump will be a transitional rather than a transformational leader – if only because he and his party seem bereft of any ideas other than consolidating their own power.


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