Friday, February 24, 2017
America's Deep State - More and Less Than Meets the Eye
There's a lot of talk about America's "deep state." This supposed hidden government is the stuff of many conspiracy theories. Donald Trump is obsessed with the idea, wants them exposed. Foreign Policy's Steven Cook says the leakers are a last resort response to a rogue government gone amok.
American bureaucrats are doing something similar to what the Egyptian and Turkish deep states have done — protect a system. That is as far as it goes, however. In the American case, the bureaucrats themselves don’t control, or want to control, the system they are trying to protect. People in the White House, the Pentagon, the State and Justice departments, Congress, and the intelligence community are leaking to the press because they have no choice in an administration where officials have unexplained links with Russia, an array of conflicts of interest, and have promoted soft forms of white nationalism and fascism that threaten basic ideals of American democracy. On top of all of this, those same officials have openly expressed disdain for the professional bureaucracy. This is more than the mundane leaking of everyday Washington but only because the stakes are so high.
Nothing in any of what has transpired in the United States since Trump’s inauguration indicates the existence of an American deep state. The idea has emerged because, like Egyptians and Turks who live in societies where government is opaque, Americans, who are bereft of good explanations for the often bewildering turn of events in a highly polarized and charged political environment, have sought an easy interpretation: conspiracy.