If you strike the king but do not kill him, by definition your position is weak.
There has never have been a deeper deep state than the Soviet Union’s. It controlled everything: the military, intelligence, the judicial system, the rest of the government, the press, and the economy. It operated in shadows and darkness; there was no loyal opposition or media to shine the occasional light. Yet at 7:32 p.m., December 26, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin and replaced with the Russian flag. The Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union’s declaration number 142-H recognized the independence of the Soviet republics. Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned, handing power to Boris Yeltsin. The Soviet Union and its deep state were no more.
There are still lessons to be generally recognized from the fall of the Soviet Union.
First and foremost: command and control doesn’t work. That’s a lesson US commanders and controllers and their media and academic fellow travelers ignore at their peril. They cling to their cherished vision of American life directed from above, with the infamous Deep State at the apex of the power pyramid, the ultimate string pullers. Recent maneuvers, however, suggest a Deep State so tangled in its own strings that any attempt to free itself will only make the situation worse.
A deep state operates submerged from public view. The US deep state had to emerge in its effort to topple Trump, an emergence that screams weakness (see “Plot Holes”). The ineptitude of the effort made the weakness that much more apparent. A claim that Russia had hacked the Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) last summer and then used Wikileaks to disseminate what it had hacked, all in collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign, was the cornerstone of this maladroit coup. It should have raised more eyebrows than it did that the DNC refused to turn over its servers to the FBI for analysis, and that the only confirmation of the hacking claim came from a contractor, Crowdstrike, which had numerous conflicts of interest, including that it was paid by the DNC.
No objective, scientific analysis of the evidence was performed until that of the Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). That group forensically analyzed the metadata associated with the alleged hack. The speed with which the material was downloaded precluded an Internet based hack. The only way it could have been downloaded so quickly was onto an external storage device. That’s a leak, not a remote hack. It had to have been done by someone with direct access to the DNC’s computer system, which suggests a DNC insider, perhaps Seth Rich.
Alternative news site consortiumnews.com published the VIPS’ analysis and conclusions . Mainstream “confirmation” followed at the left-leaning thenation.com. With its cornerstone gone, the Russian collusion story collapsed. For form’s sake Special Prosecutor Mueller will fan the embers for the next few months, perhaps uncovering a technical violation or two of this or that inconsequential law, perhaps releasing some sort of face saving report, but even the most rabid anti-Trumpers appear to recognize that the Russian hack dog won’t hunt.
If this is the best the supposed all-powerful deep state could come up with, then the deep state isn’t nearly as powerful as supposed. The way this affair was handled buttresses that conclusion, because it opens deep staters to serious legal liability.
Before the election they thought they would be shielded by a Clinton administration, but now they’re wide open to prosecution for a number of possible crimes. There is the FBI’s dereliction of duty, not performing its own analysis of DNC servers and accepting Crowdstrike’s conclusions without further scrutiny. (It was apparently in bed with the Clinton camp from the get-go.) There are the multiple leaks to friendly news outlets of classified information. There are the intelligence reports with their damning and much-reported, but evidence free, best assessments and probable conclusions. Potentially the most legally troublesome: a cabal of deep state insiders concocted their story to unseat a duly elected United States president. That makes out a prima facie case of treason.
If you strike the king but do not kill him, by definition your position is weak. He can exact ultimate retribution and your head is in a basket, or he can let you twist in the wind. The best guess is that Trump will do both, depending on the specifics of each conspirator’s situation and which course will be most useful to him.
When California Senator Diane Feinstein says conciliatory things about Trump, infuriating her base, you know things have changed. As ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has also joined chairman Charles Grassley requesting interviews with two high-ranking FBI officials concerning the discredited Trump dossier. She’s one of the shrewdest power players in Washington, a deep state stalwart. Her effort with Grassley and her conciliation aren’t magnanimous gestures from the bottom of her black heart. Rather she’s bending the knee; Trump has won the game of thrones.
When the major mainstream media outlets in unison condemn Antifa’s violent tactics, you know things have changed. George Soros, meet Donald Trump and the new order. The condemnations toss the latest kerfuffle about what Trump said after Charlottesville down the memory hole, and give Trump cover to do something about fringe violence in the future. The extremists are by no means finished; that wouldn’t serve anyone’s purposes. They’ll make handy scapegoats; you never know when there’s going to be a fire at the Reichstag.
There has been a tiresome litany of articles about Trump’s capture by the deep state, characterizing him as a puppet for the military and Goldman Sachs. Whatever idealism motivated his run for president is gone and he’s now supposedly just an errand boy. The commentators who bemoaned the firing of Michael Flynn dusted off their articles, changed and rearranged a few things, and bemoaned the departure of Steve Bannon. Poor Donald’s all by himself in big, bad Washington. Except he’s mowing down his enemies one by one (it looks like James Comey may be next), and he’s got the deep state cornered. As for his associates, if there’s one clear lesson from Trump’s life it’s that everyone—wives, employees, Goldman Sachs flunkies, generals, you name it—is expendable. Some of those he’s terminated in the past probably thought they had the upper hand.
Many of the same Trump-as-puppet commentators dusted off their articles bemoaning Trump’s bombing of the Syrian air base, changed and rearranged a few things, and bemoaned Trump’s Afghanistan escalation. Few of those latter articles mentioned that the Syrian government, with the aid of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, has turned the corner on quashing the rebellion, ISIS is on the run, and Syrian refugees are returning home. All of which sets the stage for the US to eventually leave Syria. Look for something similar to eventually play out in Afghanistan, and to go similarly unremarked upon.
Donald Trump didn’t risk all for the Iron Throne to let Goldman Sachs and the military run the show. He has allied with those power centers, but he’s calling the shots. Trump has allied with another power center: state and local police departments. He has given them fulsome, vocal support, encouragement to be more brutal, rescission of President Obama’s civil asset forfeiture rollback, and promises of more military gear. This is what one would expect of a ruler bent on consolidating his power—secure the praetorians. The Bill of Rights won’t stand in the way of sealing that alliance.
Trump’s supporters can’t believe their man’s primary motivation is acquiring power. Trump’s enemies, other than Senator Feinstein, can’t believe how good he is at it. Neither side will recognize the real danger until it’s too late. Legions of worrywarts fret that an erratic, captured Trump will go off half-cocked and press a nuclear button or do something else almost as stupidly devastating. What should worry them are the precise calculations and bloodless strategies of the most ruthlessly Machiavellian president since Franklin D. Roosevelt as he further consolidates and extends his power. Given present jurisprudence, nothing in the Constitution stands in his way.
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