Just when I thought everything would calm down…
The Deep State. I’ve been hearing rumours about it on and off for the past year or more. But now it seems it’s become official.
Bill Kristol, the prominent Republican analyst who founded The Weekly Standard, wrote on Twitter, “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”
Glenn Greenwald provides a definition:
GLENN GREENWALD: The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.
It makes perfect sense. In the UK the deep state would be the Civil Service and the intelligence agencies, many of whose mandarins work inside them for their entire lifetimes, the Sir Humphrey Applebys satirised in Yes Minister.
But if there’s a permanent deep state, there’s also a transient deep state that’s made up of political appointees from different administrations. There are some 4,000 of these, it seems, and Donald Trump nominees for these various posts are only slowly being ratified by the Senate, with the result that maybe less than 10% of them are in place.
Which means that 90% of those remaining are Obama appointees. And if they are also Obama loyalists, then they’ll still quite possibly be taking their cue (and maybe even their orders) from Barack Obama, who has bought a house in Washington DC, perhaps so as to be best placed to direct matters. It seems entirely plausible to suppose that, right now, Donald Trump has only got political control of 10% of the US government, while Barack Obama remains in control of the other 90% of it. Perhaps that explains why Mike Flynn’s telephone conversations have been leaked, along with Trump’s telephone conversations with the Mexican and Australian prime ministers. Trump, in his press conference yesterday, said that neither of these two conversations were particularly important, but asked what if they’d been about North Korea or something. Trump is hamstrung right now.
Trump seemed to think that he’d eventually get all his political appointments in place, and get rid of the transient population of Obama appointees. But that would still leave the permanent deep state inside the CIA and other organisations. Glenn Greenwald again:
…Trump’s agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted. Clinton’s was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they’ve been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him. There’s claims that they’re withholding information from him, on the grounds that they don’t think he should have it and can be trusted with it. They are empowering themselves to enact policy.
Greenwald said that he thought Trump was very dangerous (to the environment, Muslims, etc.), but there were legitimate ways in which he could be resisted, in the courts, in the House and Senate, and on the streets.
That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.
It certainly seems like Bill Kristol wouldn’t mind if US democracy was destroyed, if that’s what it takes to stop Trump.
More than 12,000 tweets have called for Trump’s assassination since the inauguration
Assuming that Trump does manage to take complete control of the US government over the coming months, I’m beginning to wonder if he’ll want some payback for what’s being done to him right now – and we’ll be seeing arrests and trials of some surprising people.
Not unrelatedly, Breitbart:
LONDON (AP) — The European Union is blatantly anti-American and President Donald Trump’s administration regards it with suspicion, a leading contender to be the U.S. envoy to the 28-nation bloc said Thursday.
Ted Malloch, whose potential appointment has prompted anger and alarm in Brussels, said he and Trump “have very similar views about Europe.”
He said the U.S. is “somewhat critical and suspicious” of the bloc, an economic and political union involving half a billion people.
“We would prefer, certainly in the Trump administration, to work with countries bilaterally,” Malloch said in an interview with The Associated Press.
James Delingpole has a podcast interview of Ted Malloch, who compares 2016 to 1968, and thinks Mount Rushmore will need a new addition.
Marine Le Pen is on course to be the next president of France, according to one fund manager’s big-data analysis.
Fillon: ‘My Voters Will Go Straight to Le Pen’