By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
In a previous article, we analyzed the dangerous plans for igniting a major conflict in the Middle East before Trump’s departure from the White House and the ongoing conflict between two tendencies inside the US, the one pushing to War (first against Iran, then against all others!), the other trying to avert it.
Just some hours after the publication of this article, Trump ordered the Defense Department to revoke its own decision to get the air – carrier Nimietz out of the Gulf. Such unprecedented events prove the enormous instability prevailing now in the very center of power of the United States and, consequently, as regards the whole world situation.
But the conflict of the above mentioned tendencies has not to do only with the Middle East, it has also to do with power in the United States and even the societal project, the regime of the Unites States. There is a deep irony to the facts that, after engineering so many coups and “regime changes” abroad, Americans seem now to face the same dangers in their own country.
For the first time in the history of the Unites States this country is openly debating the probability of a military or police coup, to stop Biden from becoming President. Ten former Defense Secretaries, both Republicans and Democratic, have published a letter inviting the Armed Forces to remain out of the political disputes!
According to an article in the Newsweek magazine, the US military leadership is on “red alert” for a possible move of Trump, especially after the interview of his former national security adviser, convicted criminal and then pardoned by Trump, along with the notorious Blackwater war criminals, General Flynn on December 17, to the to the far-right Newsmax network.
The conspiracy of conspiracies
Newsmax still supports the unproven and implausible theory that Biden won by fraud. This theory is also being spread worldwide through the extensive social networks controlled by the new global far right, coordinated by (ex-Goldman Sachs banker and ex-US Navy officer and ex-ulrtra right Reaganite) Steve Bannon, despite its apparently absurd nature (as well as everything that is spread by these networks, including about climate change and the coronavirus. Bannon’s communication doctrine, as he puts it, is “fill the internet with shit” – https://www.bloomberg.com/
We called the allegation of fraud implausible because, in all countries of the world and throughout history, there have been endless election frauds, but all were committed by the powers in place, not by the opposition. The mere fact that one has to discuss such things is a rather disappointing sign of the political and intellectual decline of the United States and of humanity. The same goes for the fact that 74 million Americans voted in favor of a President who argued that the coronavirus can be fought with antiseptic injections and threatened, from the podium of the UN Assembly, to wipe out North Korea, a country of 25 million people (without any significant reactions by the way).
Some people disregard all that as a picturesqueness of an eccentric President. It is not. In all History such radical divorce of leaders from reality and reason was necessary only to prepare disasters, as it happened with Emperors of the period of the Roman decline, like Nero or Caligula. Caligula wanted to make his horse a pro-Consul but he did not manage to achieve that. The Empire was able to do it in our era! The fact that tens of millions of Americans follow a politician telling such impossible things as Trump does, is not a proof of weakness, or a disadvantage for this politician. It proves the strength of his links with his followers, his capacity to express their psychological needs and thus acquire the power to lead them to anything he will do.
As for all those conspiracy theories circulating now not only in America but around the world, in spite of their obviously irrational character, they are of course the are not merely a sign of the depth of the crisis affecting our civilaztion, they are most probably the product of a conspiracy aimed at making humans mad, unable to use their critical brain functions, thus transforming them into a herd. Certainly conspiracies do exist and one of them is exactly to diffuse erroneous, misleading and even totally irrational conspiracy theories in order to properly direct the justified discomfort and distrust of people to the wrong direction.
General Flynn argued in the above mentioned interview that the President could declare martial law and develop “military capabilities” in the states that were critical for the election to trigger a new vote. The next day, Trump invited him to the White House with attorney Sidney Powell to discuss whether and how this could be done.
Purging the Pentagon
We remind that immediately after the election Trump fired his own Secretary of Defense Asper because he has opposed the use of Armed Forces to quell civil unrest inside the USA and because he was opposed to war with Iran, disregarding the law on replacement of Defense Secretaries in order to replace him with a counter-terrorism specialist and a veteran of the special forces. He also fired his own Attorney General, who refused to cooperate in the “fraud” scenario. He appointed some outspoken Fascists in critical positions in the Pentagon, including the Special Forces, which have gained an unusual autonomy from the normal hierarchy of the Pentagon. He appointed also his own man as chief of the NSA.
Maybe Mr. Trump does not want to engineer a military coup or a great war in the Middle East (for the beginning). But if he wanted, he would do exactly what he did.
According to some reports, Trump’s new appointees are not concerned with “burning aggravating paperwork”, as outgoing government officials often do, but they are planning all day “how to make things happen.”
The leadership of the armed forces, for the most part, does not seem willing to follow such a path. However, David Ignatius, one of the most serious columnists in the US, probably associated with the “deep state”, wrote in the Washington Post that until the ratification of Biden’s victory, the United States remains vulnerable and in the danger zone as any internal or external turmoil could provide Trump with an excuse to stay in power according to Ignatius.
Trump has called on his supporters to gather outside the Capitol at 6.1 with a tweet saying “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there it will be wild!”. Potential violent clashes (Trump’ supporters are organized into armed gangs) may offer him the pretext he needs to declare a state of emergency and mobilize the military.
“Trump will not succeed in undermining the Constitution, but he can do enormous damage in the coming weeks,” Ignatius wrote, before appealing to Republicans to go to the White House and tell Trump to stop.
Rival military groups
According to CNN, which interviewed twelve acting senior officials, they have compiled a list of all possible actions Trump can take up to 20.1 and ways to deal with them.
Chief of General Staff James McConville and Acting Secretary of Defense Ryan McCarthy have publicly spoken out against such plans, saying “there is no role for the armed forces in deciding the outcome of a US election.” But the mere fact that such statements need to be made, for the first time in the history of the United States, is entirely revealing of the situation in the US armed forces and also of the depth of the crisis facing the most powerful state on the planet.
A former commander of the US Armed Forces (NORTHCOM) told the Newsweek that “although I am convinced that the uniformed leadership of the army has the right mind in its head, the madness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless.”
It should be noted at this point that the national security responsibilities of the President of the United States have increased dramatically and quietly over the past twenty years and are not far from the responsibilities of an absolute monarch, as recently revealed by Newsweek. There are also secret “Cold War” Presidential Emergency Documents (PEADs) that provide for the declaration of an “unlimited national emergency”.
The majority of the political class in the United States seems to believe that the Armed Forces are under firm control and there will be no surprises. They are most probably right. But many people in History were certain they control the Armed Forces. One of them was Salvador Allende and another one the Soviet Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev. The United States had not a history of coups and nobody is really prepared for such a thing. Americans don’t even believe such things can happen to them.
One great advantage of Trump consists to the fact he does not care about legal niceties, in his disposal to use all means to his disposal and he is not interested to preserving the total stability of the US system.
Another is the fact his main opponents are representing a despicable elite and they criticize him from the point of view of his effectiveness in running US imperialist policies, thus helping him in reality to construct his supposedly “antisystemic”, “anti-war” profile. (Very much like Hitler, who was elected as a socialist in Germany, signed a treaty with Russia and then attacked it).
Biden did not win over Trump because of his ideas and of his personality. He won because tens of millions of Americans were terrified out of their own experience with his handling of the popular revolt and of the pandemic. He also won because his election was supported against Trump by people known for their real anti-systemic and anti-war attitudes, like Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders and because of grass-roots mobilization.
The question is how likely all such coup scenarios. There should be no doubt that if Trump feels he can do it, he will do it, as did Hitler, who won the election and then imposed a dictatorship. One of the main supporters of Trump and Trumpism, Silicon Valley billionaire and member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee Peter Thiel, has made no secret, even before Trump’s election, of his intention to use democratic institutions to overthrow democracy. (Some will say that there is no democracy in the US anyway, and that is probably true. But they obviously do not have the experience of what it means to live and work in a military or police dictatorship. Not to speak of the fact that what remains of democracy in America is also a formidable obstacle to any huge military adventure abroad).
Only Trump lost, he did not win the election, and it is politically difficult to impossible to implement such plans. Although, of course, one would be advised not to be certain regarding such matters, especially since Biden and the Democrats did everything they could to downplay the threats and not provoke any popular mobilization, which they fear, as much as they fear Trump. They rely exclusively on the Army and the Services. And in the US there is a diffuse, but nothing like a seriously articulated Left, able to intervene in a coordinated manner in the political life.
The difficulty in carrying out similar plans (and also the plans of a major conflict in the Middle East) lie in the fact they seem to run counter to the majority of state and military officials, the majority of the western ruling class and the majority of American citizens. The American state is, in last analysis, an instrument of capitalists, and the vast majority of them either completely disagree with the coup/war plans, or they consider them unrealistic, even if the forces that are behind Trump are not small either.
Most likely, Trump will simply try to maintain tension in order to create a mass movement around the “election was stolen” narrative. So far, his attempt to create a sui generis fascist movement has been made mainly from above and through the Internet.
If he tries to really implement such plans, then he may produce a farce, like the unsuccessful coup attempt by Hitler in 1923. If he has the force to do something more serious, then all possibilities are open, including a popular revolt or a civil war.
Some days ago, a good friend told me that, after all, all that concerns only Americans and their state. “Let them go to hell”.
I had to disagree with him. The United States is a nuclear superpower and it will not disappear from the Earth. What happens there will have a tremendous effect to all the world. By the way they have not probably the force to dominate the world in the way they believed to have back in 1990 or in 2003. But they have the capacity to take all of us with them.
This is what makes the outcome of the present crisis and the others that will follow vitally important for everybody. The world needs a very different USA and the USA a very different world, even for their mere survival.
Some first conclusions
Even if nothing will happen until January 20th, the situation already imposes certain conclusions.
First, the double crisis (in the Middle East and internally in the US) is providing ample proof of the nature of the sui generis fascist forces lined up behind Trump and “Trumpism”, which is, after all, an international, not just American movement (Netanyahu, Bolsonaro, Modi, Johnson, European far right, etc., everyone of course following his national specifications). Even if Trump disappears tommorow, these or similar forces will return, sooner or later. They will do it because they are the product of a deep crisis, of a stalemate and of the absence of a credible radical alternative. They may not even appear in the US, but in other places we do not expect. When the Neocons were in some trouble in the United States, under Obama, they used Paris to launch the war against Libya.
Second, these developments underscore the degeneration and collapse of the institutions of (albeit oligarchic) American democracy, a collapse that is beginning to affect the very center of the state, the Army and the Services, which seem to be among the last remaining institutions of protection of the bourgeois state from the dictatorship of Chaos!
This collapse is the result of two related factors
– the disintegrating and growing dominance of the world financial capital in economics, politics and the realm of ideas and culture.
– the complete inability of modern capitalism, up to now, to respond to its very deep ecological, socio-economic and the crisis of Western hegemony.
The super profits made in the midst of a pandemic, the “mask” and the “vaccine wars”, the imposition of sanctions right now, not to mention the extreme absurdities of the US President and his supporters, are the most striking manifestations of the reality of this crisis.
During its previous such deep crisis, Capitalism has been able to produce two World Wars, a totalitarian answer, in the form of Hitler and Mussolini, but also Roosevelt’s New Deal and Keynsianism. (It has also created the conditions for Lenin and the Bolshevics to take power in Russia, in the aftermath of a coup by General Kornilov, quite analogous to what Trump wants to make now. The Russian Revolution has pushed a part of the West into a more social direction and probably made possible Keynsianism. Much later the soviet collapse has greatly helped the antisocial drive of late capitalism).
Today, Totalitarianism has appeared at the very center of the system. And we don’t see any Roosevelt (or Lenin) at the horizon.
The emergence (out of nowhere) of politicians like Sanders, or the support, by a majority (!) of American youth, of a form of socialism, may be very encouraging, but we are still very far from the emergence of credible radical response to the problems of the United States and of the whole world. One can only hope that the human conscience will make leaps in the years to come, as it has done in the past, leading to the creation of the intellectual and political tools to respond to the crisis.