By ann summers
If the Russians knew about the Syrian chemical weapons strike before it was executed, it raises some interesting questions but is not evidence of increased culpable distance between Trump and Russia.
Considerable time and media has been spent suggesting that because of Breitbart’s negative media attacks on Kushner, and its being “reined in” by Jared’s whining to Big Orange, that there is a bigger feud between the Bannonist and Kushnerian wings of Trump’s domain. Ultimately, like the grandkids singing for Agent Orange, in order to consolidate power, Bannon will have to either marry Tiffany or Barron (see Milo Yiannopolos).
Remember that under a Strategy of Tension, disinformation is the norm, so consider the weekend’s multiple media games played off-site of the WH that aren’t involved in golfing.
The Kochs’ meeting with domestic Cabinet members while Trump showed off for China’s president by launching missiles at Syria is only one aspect, as is the feint to return the Glass-Steagall Act as a means to lure centrists.
Elevating global military posture pushes Congressional hawks and doves concurrently and in all this the media could forget about the onward arc of #TrumpRussia.
One key to interpreting the mess that is the Trump regime is to keep following the money. The other side of the trail consists of the ideological fissures that Trumpian rubes cannot be expected to sustain, but it is what the more deeply situated RWNJs are navigating. The other big players are the GOP like Devin Nunes running cover(-up) or at least throwing themselves on a recusal grenade. And then there’s the industrialized MSM filling that remaining roster spot, as they enable the lobbying classes and their corporations.
Seeing who exits and elevates in the WH is more than a fantasy football game because the wackos like Anton and Miller remain in ideological play on the strategy side even as the military continues to serve itself and the MIC. The Flynn cohort may be gone as are Priebus’s stooges, but the GOP and its RWNJ extremists remain in charge, tolerated by conservatives who reveal their libertarian streak with each Syrian military escalation.
Popcorn futures will rise but celebrating open/closed feuding among RWNJs is as normal as Democrats fighting over purity with the same net effects.
Background briefings are fairly common, off-the-record briefings less so, and canceling one or the other happens occasionally. But, as someone who worked as a White House reporter for seven years, beginning a briefing on background and changing it to an off-the-record is something I have never heard of.
The unusual circumstances allowed the pool reporter a loophole to reveal at least one source for the briefing, mysterious Trump senior national security official Michael Anton. Ordinarily, officials at a background or off-the-record briefing are anonymous, but the reporter took advantage of the situation to get Anton’s name out.
Whatever the reason for the change, its occurrence, after yet another blow to Trump’s Syria airstrike mythology, hardly seems coincidental, but because the White House is forbidding journalists to report on it, we may never know.
There are plenty of divergent views of the Trump regime’s animating ideologies, which like his foreign policy doctrine are lots of hammers and doorknobs in a burlap sack.
One speculative guide to The Trump regime can be found in this article by Nafeez Ahmed that presumes the existence of a Deep State much like POTUS tends to be captured and dominated by various key institutions despite some adjustments in the postwar capitalist welfare state… Imagine if Eisenhower, JFK, and Nixon were captured primarily by Cold Warriors, LBJ, Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43 by the Military, Clinton and Obama by Wall Street, with that hybrid, Trump captured by rich US/Russian RWNJs.
One approach to framing the Trump movement comes from Jordan Greenhall, who sees it as a conservative (“Red Religion”) Insurgency against the liberal (“Blue Church”) Globalist establishment (the “Deep State”). Greenhall suggests, essentially, that Trump is leading a nationalist coup against corporate neoliberal globalization using new tactics of “collective intelligence” by which to outsmart and outspeed his liberal establishment opponents….
- The Trump regime is not operating outside the Deep State, but mobilizing elements within it to dominate and strengthen it for a new mission.
- The Trump regime is not acting to overturn the establishment, but to consolidate it against a perceived crisis of a wider transnational Deep System.
- The Trump regime is not a conservative insurgency against the liberal establishment, but an act of ideologically constructing the current crisis as a conservative-liberal battleground, led by a particularly radicalized white nationalist faction of a global elite.
Perhaps the most powerful takeaway from this examination of who the Trump administration actually is that the Trump regime is not external to the Deep State.
On the contrary, the people who hold senior posts in his administration, both formal and otherwise, are key nodes that represent whole layers of social and institutional networks within and across the wider US Deep State.
The problem is seen simply as insufficient exploitation of America’s fossil fuels; too much regulation of the financial system; constant economic pandering to unAmericans — Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, black people — who are either draining the financial system through crime, drugs and terror, or simply overburdening it with their huge numbers.
Both sides of the US Deep State blame each other for the system’s failures, neither wishing to admit their own complicity in driving the systems responsible for those failures. -One side wants to respond to the systemic crisis by accelerating market share of the old paradigm — extending the life of the fossil fuel system and deregulating predatory capital. While most are climate deniers, some even appear to recognize the dangers of environmental crisis and resource scarcity but wish to shore up the US Deep State against the crisis as a nationalist response: Fortress America. -The other side hold a deep faith that technological progress will save the day and permit business-as-usual and endless extraction-premised growth to continue — they believe that digitally-driven technological innovations will allow Wall Street to have its cake and eat it: we can grow the economy, and enrich a tiny number of financiers in the West exponentially, and the dividends will trickle down to the Rest with a bit of technocratic tinkering, selective regulation and generous philanthropy.