The Nature of the Deep State and the Post-War Era
I could spend 2 years, write 1000 pages, breakdown and footnote everything and make my case. Apart from a few observations and explicitly Christian commentary my narrative regarding the Deep State wouldn't be unique. I don't have the time or resources for such projects so instead I offer an account based on my years of study, investigation and reflection. What I hope to do is develop a background narrative leading up to the various divisions within the Deep State power structures that command the contemporary US Empire. Due to events of the past decade I believe they are presently in a state of crisis which has produced a great deal of instability and even volatility.
Understanding something of the different factions, how they view things and how they got to where they are will afford those who wish to consider these questions some additional data and perhaps an ability to better understand the issues of the day. The fall of Trump's NSA, one Michael Flynn is I would argue brought into greater clarity when these issues are put forth for consideration.
This multi-part essay will prove tedious for some. If you wish to skip the background, the concluding essay (Part 5) provides a summary and locates the contemporary conflict.
What is the Deep State? It's not easily defined but we'll start with: A loosely affiliated body of individuals operating through various institutions which seeks to exert influence and control over the government and its policies.
Virtually all governments have exhibited this tendency. There are always court intrigues, favourites and conspiracies. The Deep State has taken on a particular character in modern times because this fundamentally anti-democratic tendency has been compelled to function within the wrappings or veneer of democracy. Ideas, language, forms and institutions have to be respected even while they are subverted, manipulated and despised. Perhaps it is this very hypocrisy which continues to fascinate.
For years people have used the term with particular regard to the Byzantine politics of the Turkish Republic and point specifically to the power exerted by the military and intelligence services. They have an occasion openly played their hand through intervention and more than once have overthrown the existing government.
The US Deep State is also difficult to define with any certainty. The best indicator is to borrow from CS Lewis, the idea of 'Inner Rings' or what we might refer to as Circles of Influence and Power. There are various circles, organisations and institutions within which are smaller and smaller circles or rings. The circles which are made up of various government, military, intelligence and corporate agencies, forums, clubs, think-tanks etc... overlap at places. There are powerful figures who belong to many of these groupings simultaneously. These people represent real power even if (at times) they don't hold key or top positions. They don't need to.
There are monied interests, investors and officials within the corporate and banking sectors. They often have government, military or intelligence service connections. There are architects, shaping the grand vision, exerting influence and then there are the actors or operatives. The lines are hardly crisp and clear. The latter category I think of in terms of the people actually holding various senior but often 'deputy' positions within cabinet-level bureaucracies, figures that may float in and out of government, hold positions on various boards and are often part of international organisations. They are sometimes current or ex-military officials, politicians, banking and corporate heads, defense contractors, lawyers, academics, diplomats and even figures tied to the underworld.
Many people understand this or have some notion of it and yet I think it's a mistake to view them as monolithic or unified. Figures rise and fall within these circles. Some aggressively climb the ladder (as it were) into the inner circles. Some are forced out. Some wield tremendous power within limited spheres, others wield a broad influence over a expansive array of sectors and spheres.
If you haven't read a lot then I can appeal to whether or not you have ever watched The Godfather films. If you have, you'll have some understanding of how it works. Outwardly these are polished people that have a great concern for appearance and decorum. I'm not speaking only of the Mafiosi. There are others who float in and out of the story. They will meet and be cordial. They form alliances and will betray one another. They are involved in both legitimate and illegitimate activities. Sometimes what can only be described as civil war breaks out.
Remember much of what they're doing is (like the Mafia) secret and illegal. That's the nature of the Deep State. Legitimate and criminal interests are blended, mixed and work symbiotically.
I offer now a Suggested Narrative, one that due to its generalisation is necessarily reductionist and therefore to some degree false and yet perhaps not wholly so. What I will say can certainly be dissected, picked apart and criticised. These are my largely non-verifiable opinions based on years of reading, listening, observing and discussing.
After World War II, a new American dominated order took over. By the 1950s, Europe was in the process of recovery. The European Establishment, which includes Deep State elements as all Establishments do, was getting back on its feet and while dependent and beholden to the United States, its power centres and agenda were beginning to assert themselves. New alliances and a new vision began to take shape. Don't ever assume a unified group controls all things at all times. They certainly try to, but I think they rarely succeed. The Cold War was in many ways a farce but this synthetic aspect was by no means absolute. There was a real danger of nuclear war. How to deal with the threat was clearly approached in various and very different ways, by the people in power and the Deep State players played a very large part, both openly and behind the scenes.
In terms of diplomacy and geopolitics it's clear there was an early division within the Establishment. One faction advocated Containment of the Soviet Union. This was a mechanism of Soft Empire, American dominated Western influence exerted through alliances and the creation of a powerful bloc that was willing to engage in limited warfare and diplomatic intrigue to stop the spread of Communism. Of course it took on a life of its own and any state that didn't acquiesce to American interests was labeled as pro-Soviet and subject to intelligence services harassment, American funded rebellion, or direct overthrow.
Another faction was even more extreme and advocated Rollback, a nationalist aggression toward not just halting world communism but actively pursuing its destruction. The danger of course was nuclear war and for this reason many Establishment figures harshly rejected this approach. Should the conflict be viewed in terms of a long struggle or was it necessary to bring the struggle to a head? Figures like Curtis LeMay pushed for nuclear war early on while the United States had the advantage. They viewed it as inevitable and for them it was essential that it be fought before the United States lost its tremendous edge. Despite public perceptions the Soviet arsenal was miniscule throughout the 1950s.
Finally there was the viewpoint of Detente which believed in trying to form a relationship with the Soviets, end the hostility and brinksmanship and with an even longer view, slowly transform that state and society.
While the Cold War has ended, these factions and the impulses that motivated them live on and their descendants even now struggle for control.
In terms of economics, the entire Western Establishment is committed to capitalism but in various forms. Some are diehard free market advocates. Others understand that open markets can only operate on one level within society. Inevitably they lead to monopolies which become strategic and are wed to power itself. During the era of total war all of society becomes combatants and elements within military consideration. During an era of technological warfare it is necessary to develop an industrial sector, a military-industrial complex which exists on a permanent basis. This economic factor becomes clearly strategic and the banking sector which sustains it and the finance and cash based economy becomes ever more critical.
Within these various geopolitical and economic spheres and sociological approaches there are those who advocate the market, others push for more regulation. Some believe in a libertarian approach to society, others believe in a generalised capitalism but view stability as paramount and thus advocate social redistribution programmes in order to maintain an order and consensus to society.
Some believe in hard nationalism and unilateralism, others view this as unnecessarily risky, foolish, pre-modern and unsustainable and believe wielding the tiller of a great multilateral endeavour is the way to exert power in the modern world.
There are genuine differences within the Establishment but in the first couple of decades after World War II, they were either largely in agreement or so dominated by certain interests that they were able to hold on to something of a consensus.
It was clear that by the late 1960s the Containment faction had won out with regard to geopolitics and diplomacy.
But then several things happened and cracks began to develop. The frustration, failures and madness of Vietnam led to the collapse of the Containment approach. Both Detente and Rollback were reinvigorated and these factions would essentially go to war.
Continue reading part 2
Continue reading part 2