In every nation there are power conglomerates that determine and influence the domestic and foreign policy choices of their nations. In the United States, it is important to highlight the concept known as American exceptionalism that accompanies these power centers, often called the Deep State. According to this principle, the United States alone has been chosen by God to lead mankind.
After World War II, a notion very similar to that of Nazi Aryan racial supremacy was born – that of the chosen people. In this case, however, the chosen people were Americans, who emerged victorious at the end of the Second World War II, ready to face the «existential danger» of the USSR, a society and culture that was different from that of the US. With such mental imprinting, the trend over the following decades was predictable. What followed was war after war, the capitalist economic system sustained by the US war machine widening its sphere all over the globe, reaching Southeast Asia, but then being forced back by the failure of the Vietnam War, signaling the first sign of the end of American omnipotence.
As the Berlin Wall fell and eliminated the Soviet «threat», American expansion had almost reached its existential limit. What has been a constant element during all of these US presidencies, during various wars and economic growth thanks to a rising capitalism, has been the presence of the Deep State, a set of neural centers that make up real US power. In order to understand the failure of the Deep State to achieve its goal of exercising full-spectrum control over the globe, it is crucial to trace the connections between past and the present presidencies from the fall of the Berlin Wall.
When thinking of the Deep State, it is easy to identify the major players: the mainstream media, think-tanks, central and private banks, foreign-state lobbyists, politicians, intelligence agencies, large industrial groups, and the military-industrial complex (MIC). These are the inner circles that hold the true levers of power in the United States. Often, by analyzing past events over a long period of time, it becomes easier to identify motivations and goals behind specific actions, and the manner in which the various members of the Deep State have often accompanied, influenced and sometimes sabotaged various administrations – such as is currently the case with the current Trump administration – for the sole purpose of advancing their economic interests.
During the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Deep State was able to maintain a united and compact front, counting on the economic and military power of what was still a rising global power. The mainstream media, the intelligence agencies, the military and the financial and political centers supported both presidents in their ambitious plans to expand American hegemony. From intervention in Yugoslavia to the bombing of Afghanistan through to the war in Iraq, the refrain has been conflict and devastation in exchange for financial impositions that were focused on maintaining the dollar as the reserve or exchange currency for assets such as oil. In Yugoslavia, the strategy also aimed at dismantling the last block linked to the former Soviet Union, the last act of the end of the Cold War. Even the control of opium trading routes from Afghanistan has been of great importance, becoming a key element in US expansion and control plans, other than maintaining a foothold in central Asia for further destabilization attempts.
The war in Iraq, engineered by three fundamental elements of the Deep State (false intelligence services, journalists with a specific agenda, and the military straining at the leash to bomb a hostile nation), has produced a number of consequences, primarily the disintegration of the country, leaving the door open to Iranian influence. Over the course of 15 years, Tehran’s influence has grown to such an extent that it engages Iraq in a Shiite arch that starts from Iran, passes through Iraq, and ends in Syria, reaching the Mediterranean. In terms of the effect intended and the result actually obtained, the Iraq war may be considered the largest strategic failure of the US Deep State since Vietnam.
In addition to a loss of American influence with the petro-monarchies, Iraq has highlighted the American inability to conquer and hold a territory when the population is hostile. Facing local and Shiite militias, the United States paid a heavy human toll, shocking the American population during the ten-year war with planes returning home to deliver flag-draped coffins. This is not to mention the creation of the Afghan and Iraq wars of hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, all placed on the shoulders of the American taxpayer.
In a sense, Obama owes much of his victory in 2008 to the financial crisis and the American defeat in Iraq. Even today, the debate about the role of the Deep State in Obama’s election is open. The most plausible explanation is based on Obama’s telegenic appeal over Senator McCain, likely a decisive factor for Americans. As many Americans did not admit, Obama’s election, after eight years of Bush, was a break with the past, a clear message to the elite, especially after Obama’s victory over Clinton during the Democratic primaries.
Obama’s victory was immediately accompanied by a strategic recalculation by the Deep State, which sensed the new opportunity linked to Obama’s nature as well as ongoing changes. There were to be no more explicit wars of the type that involve tank divisions. After the disaster in Iraq, even the Deep State understood how American military power was unable to prevail over a hostile local population. For this reason, the neoconservatives have been progressively displaced by the liberal, human-rights brigade. Their new approach has turned the Middle East upside down through the Arab Spring, creating a new balance in the region and causing the situation to degenerate in Egypt, destabilizing neighboring countries, ending up human-rights dystopias in places like Libya and Syria, both victims of direct or indirect military aggression on the grounds of protecting human rights.
In this scenario, the most important components of the Deep State are the media that, by disseminating false intelligence information through manipulation and disinformation for the purposes of justifying military aggression, conditions the populations of Europe and the US to attack sovereign countries like Libya. During the Obama administration, the Deep State rarely faced a hostile presidency, demonstrated by the bank bailout during the 2008 crisis. A few months after the election, it became apparent how empty Obama’s election promises had been, representing the triumph of marketing over substance. By printing money at zero interest, Obama allowed the Fed to donate almost $800 billion to the banks, saving them from a collapse and postponing the consequences of the next financial crisis, which will likely be irreparable. Obama preferred to follow the dictates of the Fed, a key component of the Deep State, instead of reforming the banking sector.
The underlying mistakes of the last months of the Obama administration continue to affect Trump’s new presidency. Obama’s attempt to placate the Deep State by arming terrorists in the Middle East, putting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, bombing Libya, and bailing out the banks has only increased the appetite of the Deep State, which has progressed to more explicit demands like an attack on Iran and direct intervention in Syria. From this moment on, after having granted virtually all the wishes of the Deep State, Obama put on the handbrake and activated a couple of countermeasures to rebalance the legacy of his presidency. He opposed direct intervention in Syria following the false-flag chemical attacks, signing and implementing the nuclear agreement with Iran and restoring relations with Cuba.
It was at this very moment that the Deep State declared war on Obama, relying on the indispensable support of intelligence agencies, the mainstream media, and the most conservative wing of the American establishment. Attacks on Obama’s presumed weaknesses as president, his inability to defend American interests, and his lack of courage characterized the last two years of his presidency.
It was this perennial state of siege during Obama’s presidency that created the conditions for Trump’s electoral ascent. The Deep State has for years insisted on the need for a strong and determined leader representative of the spirit of American exceptionalism. Initially, the Deep State focused on Hillary Clinton, but Trump had the intuition to emphasize the military and industrial aspects of the country, appealing to the yearning of the population for a rebuilding of domestic industry, and opening new opportunities for the Deep State. This served to drive a split within the intelligence agencies, the mainstream media, and a good deal of the domestic political class, leaving them in open warfare. Russia’s affairs and Trump’s alleged connections to Putin are false news, created to sabotage Trump’s presidency.
In the 2016 Republican primaries, Americans voted for a leader who promised to improve their livelihoods by boosting the domestic economy and placing the interests of their country first. This promise almost immediately captured the working component of the population and large industrial conglomerates. Trump later gained the support of another fundamental component of the Deep State, the military wing, thanks to the proclamation that the United States will be returned to the role they deserve in the world, salvaging the perverse idea of American exceptionalism.
Trump’s decision to embrace the MIC is particularly controversial and represents the beginning of a Deep State faction built upon Trump’s presidency. The daily din surrounding his presidency, with constant attacks from the opposing faction of the Deep State, became intense with fake news alleging Trump’s links with Russia. With the appointment of generals who subscribe to the idea of American exceptionalism, it can be debated whether Trump intentionally wanted to give a leadership role to his own generals or whether he had no choice, having to associate with some of these Deep State members in order to defend himself against the assaults of opposing Deep State factions.
Recent Trump-related events are all based on these factors, namely a Deep State driven by the neoliberal faction that has never stopped attacking Trump, and a neoconservative Deep State faction that has been tightening the noose around Trump.
The immediate results have been a level of chaos that has been unprecedented in a US administration, with continuous appointments and layoffs, the latest one being Steve Bannon, not to mention the impossibility of abolishing Obamacare with all the forces arrayed against Trump’s legislative agenda. Trump has progressively had to concede more power and authority to his generals (pictured), acceding to bombing Syria and passing sanctions that worsen relations between Moscow and Washington. A self-destructive spiral began with the granting of a primary role to those nominated to key positions.
The final effect of this ongoing sabotage ever since the Obama presidency is a bankrupt US foreign policy and a continuing fratricidal struggle within the Deep State. America’s European allies are in revolt over anti-Russia sanctions, which is their main source of energy. Countries like Russia, China and Iran are beginning to undergo an economic revolution as they progressively abandon the dollar; and as these countries take over a Middle East devastated by years of American wars, Moscow gains significant influence in the region. The crisis engulfing the Gulf Cooperation Council, increasingly beset with fickle fractures between Riyadh and Doha.
One of the consequences of two decades of the US Deep State’s brazen foreign policy has been the birth of a multipolar world order, with US superpower status being challenged by competing powers like China and Russia. Indeed, Washington’s historic allies in the Middle East – Israel and Saudi Arabia – have borne the consequences of the disastrous policies of the US, with Iran rising to be one of the power centers of the region destined to dominate the Middle East militarily and even economically.
The incredible paradox of the failure of Deep State is represented by the emergence of two alternative poles to the American one, increasingly allied with each other to counter the chaotic retreat of a unipolar world order. In this scenario, Washington and all its power centers are in an unprecedented situation where their desire does not match their abilities. A sense of frustration is increasingly evident, from the incredible statements of many American political representatives on Russian influence in US elections, to the threats of aggression against North Korea, or the game of chicken with the nuclear powers of Russia and China.
If the Deep State continues to hamstring the presidency, and the military wing succeeds in pressuring Trump, there are likely to be a number of indirectly linked effects. There will be an exponential increase in synergies between nations not aligned with American interests. In economic terms, there are alternative systems to that centered on the dollar; in terms of energy, there are a host of new agreements with European, Turkish or Russian partners; and in political terms, there is a more or less explicit alliance between Russia and China, with a strong contribution from Iran, as will soon become more evident with Tehran’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
By the end of the 1980s, the United States was the only world power destined for a future of unchallenged global hegemony. The Deep State’s greed, as well as the utopian desire to control every decision in every corner of the world, has ended up consuming the ability of the US to influence events, serving only to draw Russia and China closer together with the shared interest of halting America’s heedless advance. It is thanks to the firmly ensconced American Deep State that Moscow and Beijing are now coordinating together in order to put to an end the United States’ unipolar moment as soon as possible.
It is not entirely wrong to say that the American unipolar moment is coming to an end, with the Deep State’s attacks on the Trump presidency preventing any rapprochement with Moscow. The stronger the pressure of the Deep State on the multipolar powers, the greater the speed with which the advance of the multipolar world will replace the unipolar one. Early effects will appear in the economic sphere, particularly in relation to movement towards de-dollarisation, which may mark the beginning of a long-awaited change.
ER recommends other articles by Strategic Culture Foundation
About the author
Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specializing in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies
Image of Trump’s generals courtesy of Politico.eu