January 21, 2016

The Deep State

This essay, "Anatomy of the Deep State," was written almost two years ago but it is still a very interesting read. The Deep State is defined as follows:
In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as “… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”
In America the essay posits that the Deep State exists outside the normal channels of government but pervades it and exerts influence over key members. It is a vast network of financial, military and industrial operators - the puppet masters if you will - that preserves a political circus side show for the public/electorate but plots the course of our nation for their own purposes.
There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

[...]Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.

How did I come to write an analysis of the Deep State, and why am I equipped to write it? As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing, if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition. But, like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, starting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush, “the deciders.”
I don't agree with all of this essay, certainly not the voter identification laws that are pending in several states, and the issue of Congressional deadlock; as a NY judge wrote in an 1866 court opinion, "No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session."

Also, you may want to spend some time reading the comments  section to this essay, some are very well written.


LL said...

Having dabbled in the dark arts, I can say that sometimes there is confusion by the public when it comes to situations that are undertaken where both public and private interests are involved. I can think of one recently. One might confuse "Deep State" with normal course of business, which it was.

sig94 said...

LL - ya got me. I chased pimps, murderers, thieves, robbers, rapists and drug dealers - nary a national security threat among them.