The pathetic attempts to undo Donald Trump’s victory are signs of desperation, not strength, in the Deep State.
The post World War II consensus held that the USSR’s long-term goal was world domination. That assessment solidified after the Soviets detonated an atomic bomb in 1949. A nuclear arms race, a space race, maintenance of a globe-spanning military, political, and economic confederation, and a huge expansion of the size and power of the military and intelligence complex were justified by the Soviet, and later, the Red Chinese threats. Countering those threats led the US to use many of the same amoral tactics that it deplored when used by its enemies: espionage, subversion, bribery, repression, assassination, regime change, and direct and proxy warfare.
Scorning principles of limited government, non-intervention in other nations’ affairs, and individual rights, the Deep State embraced the anti-freedom mindset of its purported enemies, not just towards those enemies, but toward allies and the American people. The Deep State gradually assumed control of the government and elected officials were expected to adhere to its policies and promote its propaganda. Only John F. Kennedy directly challenged it, firing CIA Director Allen Dulles after the Bay of Pigs disaster. He was assassinated, and whether or not CIA involvement is ever conclusively proven, the allegations have been useful to the agency, keeping politicians in line. The Deep State also co-opted the media, keeping it in line with a combination of fear and favor.
Since its ascension in the 1950s, the biggest threat to the Deep State has not been its many and manifest failures, but rather what the naive would regard as its biggest success: the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Much of the military-industrial complex was suddenly deprived of its reason for existence—the threat was gone. However, a more subtle point was lost.
The Soviet Union has been the largest of statism’s many failures to date. Because of the Deep State’s philosophical blinders, that outcome was generally unforeseen. The command and control philosophy at the heart of Soviet communism was merely a variant on the same philosophy espoused and practiced by the Deep State. Like the commissars, its members believe that “ordinary” people are unable to handle freedom, and that their generalized superiority entitles them to wield the coercive power of government.
With “irresponsible” elements talking of peace dividends and scaling back the military and the intelligence agencies, the complex was sorely in need of a new enemy. Islam suffers the same critical flaw as communism—command and control—and has numerous other deficiencies, including intolerance, repression, and the legal subjugation of half its adherents. The Deep State had to focus on the world conquest ideology of some Muslims to even conjure Islam as a plausible foe. However, unlike the USSR, they couldn’t claim that sect and faction-ridden Islam posed a monolithic threat, that the Islamic nations were an empire or a federation united towards a common goal, or that their armaments (there are under thirty nuclear weapons in the one Islamic nation, Pakistan, that has them) could destroy the US or the entire planet.
There was too much money and power at stake for the complex to shrink. While on paper Islam appeared far weaker than communism, the complex had one factor in their favor: terrorism is terrifying. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Americans surrendered liberties and gave the Deep State carte blanche to fight a war on terrorism that would span the globe, target all those whom the government identified as terrorists, and never be conclusively won or lost. Funding for the complex ballooned, the military was deployed on multiple fronts, and the surveillance state blossomed. Most of those who might have objected were bought off with expanded welfare state funding and programs (e.g. George W. Bush’s prescription drug benefit, Obamacare).
What would prove to be a serious challenge to the centralization and the power of the Deep State came, unheralded, with the invention of the microchip in the late 1950s. The Deep State could not have exercised the power it has without a powerful grip on information flow and popular perception. The microchip led to widespread distribution of cheap computing power and dissemination of information over the decentralized Internet. This dynamic, organically adaptive decentralization has been the antithesis of the command-and-control Deep State, which now realizes the gravity of the threat. Fortunately, countering these technologies has been like trying to eradicate hordes of locusts.
A graver threat, however, to the Deep State is self-imposed: it’s own incompetence. Even the technologically illiterate can ask questions for which it has no answers. Why has the US been involved in long, costly, bloody, and inconclusive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why should the US get involved in similar conflicts in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, and other Middle Eastern and Northern African hotspots? Isn’t such involvement responsible for blowback terrorism and refugee flows in both Europe and the US? Have “free trade” agreements and porous borders been a net benefit or detriment to the US? Why is the banking industry set up for periodic crises that inevitably require government bail-outs? (SLL claims no special insight into the nexus between the banking-financial sector and the Deep State, other than to note that there is one.) Why does every debt crisis result in more debt? How has encouraging debt and speculation at the expense of savings and investment helped the US economy? The Deep State can’t answer or even acknowledge these questions because they all touch on its failures.
Brexit, Donald Trump, other populist, nationalist movements catching fire, and the rise of the alternative media are wrecking balls aimed at an already structurally unsound and teetering building that would eventually collapse on its own. The shenanigans in the US after Trump’s election—violent protests, hysterical outbursts, the vote recount effort, the proof-free Russian hacking allegations, “fake news,” and the attempt to sway electoral college electors—are the desperate screams of those trapped inside.
Regrettably, the building analogy is imperfect, because it implies that those inside are helpless and that the collapse will only harm them. In its desperation, incompetence, and corrupt nihilism, the Deep State can wreak all sorts of havoc, up to and including the destruction of humanity. Trump represents an opportunity to strike a blow against the Deep State, but the chances it will be lethal are minimal and the dangers obvious.
The euphoria over his victory cannot obscure a potential consequence: it may hasten and amplify the destruction and resultant chaos when the Deep State finally topples. Anyone who thinks Trump’s victory sounds an all clear is allowing hope to triumph over experience and what should have been hard-won wisdom.
strike your own blow
against the deep state!
THE AMAZON PAPERBACK
THE KINDLE EBOOK
once upon a time there
was no deep state