Is Trump Controlled By The Deep State?

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes” In May 2017, Rich Higgins, a pentagon staffer for the National Security Council, circulated a memo around the White House He entitled it “POTUS & Political Warfare” The memo is a list of President Donald Trump’s enemies, including terrorists at political enemies Startlingly, Higgins also warns against the ‘deep state’ – a “bureaucratic state beholden to no one, certainly not the American people

” Higgins says the deep state has “no rule of law considerations outside those that further deep state power” Trump’s administration has been beset by failed legislation and constant leaks from within Trump blames his troubles on the deep state working against him and democracy But until he popularised it, the idea was widely dismissed as a conspiracy theorist’s fantasy Does the deep state exist? And is it working against President Trump? The memo was so controversial that the National Security Advisor, Lt

Gen H R McMaster, fired Rich Higgins against Trump’s wishes McMaster is one of the heads of federal agencies whom Trump’s allies accuse of working against the President

Trump’s political agenda has been hindered by a record amount of leaks by anonymous officials within his own White House and within the various federal agencies who work for him As Princeton University’s Nolan McCarty says, “There are a striking number of leaks… people competing for power” The results are visible Since entering the Oval Office, Trump has had his travel bans overthrown by the courts, has reversed his positions on NATO and China, has escalated US

military action in Afghanistan and Syria despite opposing the wars, and has completely ignored his promise to “drain the swamp” by filling the White House with lobbyists and special interests Mike Lofgren, a former Congressional aide to the Republican Party for 28 years, defines the deep state as, “a hybrid… of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without… the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process” The term deep state was coined in the 1990s to describe the power structures in Turkey At the time, the Turkish military was using drug traffickers and hit men to combat Kurdish insurgents Since then, the military, the police and corrupt politicians have wielded increasing power in Turkish politics

Perhaps the clearest indication of this is the attempted coup against President Erdogan in 2016, which led to nearly 3,000 casualties Several other Middle Eastern countries have been identified as having deep states They comprise of influential, unelected members of government agencies or the military, who secretly manipulate and control government policy, often by stalling its implementation In Syria, in Afghanistan… and in Egypt, the deep state led to such ineffective government that it triggered the Arab Spring But the military soon restored the deep state, and it's debatable just how much democracy has returned to Egypt

The idea of a state within the state may sound familiar, because conspiracy theorists have been writing about it for years, just without mentioning the phrase “deep state” Professor Peter Dale Scott tied the deep state to the assassination of President Kennedy His predecessor, President Eisenhower, warned against the alternative power structures developing in the aftermath of World War Two, which he identified as the military-industrial complex However, compared to the examples in the Middle East, political scientists find it hard to say a deep state exists in the United States Professor Jon D

Michaels argues that Trump’s problems come from bureaucratic resistance Michaels argues that the various federal agencies are too territorial for an organised resistance to exist This is especially true in America where powers are separated between different branches of government Each part of the state is preoccupied with its own purview That is why resistance to Trump’s policies varies so much: whether it is court orders, leaked memos or passive-aggressive tweets

The state itself is a machine that no single politician can overcome Numerous presidents have failed to fulfill promises they made – Barack Obama found himself as entrenched in Afghanistan as Trump has found himself to be; and found his promise to close Guantanamo impossible to fulfil The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, summed it up in early 2017 “Everywhere, especially in the United States, bureaucracy is very strong – and bureaucracy is the one that rules the world” Nevertheless, the consequences of this resistance are similar to what has happened in countries with a deep state

The government cannot function, and society becomes even more divided over the power of the executive branch In Turkey, President Erdogan has tried to battle the deep state by consolidating more power to himself and crushing opposition For instance, his response to the attempted coup against him was to arrest or fire over 100,000 people; including 36,000 teachers and 2,745 judges It is another dangerous step towards a dictatorship Already, Trump is trying to do the same thing

He has replaced more senior staff than any other president at this stage in his term He is challenging the checks and balances that preserve democracy On the other hand, if the fighting between Trump’s subordinates gets worse, if the separated powers become too antagonistic, it may become impossible for any future president to govern the country Yet there is an argument that federal agencies have a responsibility to resist bad policy and to change it Should a leader be allowed to have their way, just because they were elected by the rules? The Deep State does not exist in America as it is defined by political scientists

The use of the term by Trump and his allies is technically misleading However, they are right to accuse the wider federal bureaucracy of the United States of resisting his authority The question is, is this a bad thing? Does Trump deserve to be thwarted by the people who run the country day-to-day? Should any bureaucratic resistance and any leaks be condemned? Even if they might serve a greater good?

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