Friday, February 17, 2017

What is the "Deep State"?

A lot of RIS and Steve Bannon inspired propaganda seeks to paint out the Flynn departure as some kind of scheme by  the "Deep State" to undermine President Trump.

Some of you are probably wondering what is a "Deep State"?

I have had a ring side view of some of this "Deep State" stuff in another context but I think it works similarly in many places so I can offer my readers some of what I have learned.

My knowledge is by no means complete - but it is enough for you to understand the issue. For brevity I leave out irrelevant details about how and where I came upon such knowledge.

Now to the most obvious facts -

Firstly - It exists - it is not a figment of some conspiracy theorist's imagination. Denying it is a waste of time.

Secondly - everything you think you know about it is probably wrong. Specifically in movies and TV, the Deep State is personified as key character - a "Cigarette Smoking Man" (X-Files) or a "Alan Fitch" (Blacklist) or some such sinister eminence. Those cartoon-ish people do exist but the reality is much more sober and frankly infinitely more terrifying.

Thirdly - every "Deep State" has a similar structure and serves a very similar function. They all operate in a similar fashion.They all seeks to self-perpetuate and preserve and there can easily be more than one at play in a given time.

So now lets get down to some important details

The Deep State is an information repository

Deep States evolved out of the need to preserve institutional memory of government actions. As nation states grew in size and complexity, it became much harder to keep a list of the "lessons learned". This is where the Deep State come into its own. It became a way to preserve knowledge. In that sense the Deep state is very similar to the Brahminical cabals of my ancestors. It offers a way to teach the next generation of bureaucrats and decision makers how to responsibly use power.

As it is a natural consequence of the evolution of a nation state, it exists everywhere in every nation and in various stages of development. The established ones tend to be more secure than nascent ones but it really depends what is going on inside the state than outside it.

The Deep state is a mindset 

As membership of the Deep State is by invitation only, it is not made to people who don't share a mindset. The core aspects of this mindset are that the levers and knobs of power should only be accessible to the select few. The mindset creates an aura of exclusivity around the mechanisms of power, it also protects the knob turners from accountability for events that are outside the scope of their actions. The essential desire here is to preserve the purity of power and to filter accountability in a way that shields the basic mechanisms of the Deep State.

The Deep State is groups of groups of groups .... of people

While anyone may make policy - only a select few can implement it. Those that implement it form an automatically sealed social group distinct from all others in the way it executes the specific agendas assigned to it. Each group seeks expedient ways of managing its load so it creates a local reserve of money and human resources to act on its core mission. This is a process of self assembly once initiated it proceeds at a pace dictated solely by the availability of resources (financial and human).

Given that the equilibrium between issues is often naturally obtained by open competition for resources, it is also natural for factions to develop inside the Deep States and there is little to prevent friction from such clashes.

So what should I be afraid off?

The choices I see are

1) Should you be afraid of an amorphous ill-defined bureaucratic cult that sits inside all the major elements of the USIC ? or

2) Should you be afraid of the Strategic Interests Group that Steve Bannon has set up which acts as a parallel national security council? or

3) Should you be afraid of a war between such factions which wastes scarce national security resources and grinds the nation into oblivion?

IMHO - one should be afraid of 2 and 3 the most. I believe 3 is a corollary of 2. The SIG created by Steve Bannon is being led by people with little or no experience of real government. These people have questionable motivations and they have no history of proven or workable ideas. They will execute on their agendas at a great cost in resources, and this will deplete the watering hole for everyone else. These idiotic EOs we are seeing pushed out via the current WH are a good example of this inefficiency.

The role of small special groups must not be ignored. Sometimes they can lead to a revolution in intelligence affairs.  For example, Edwin H Land was able to lay the foundations of TECHINT with his emphasis on advanced science and novel imaging. Edwin H Land was a runaway business success who employed hundreds of thousands of people. Edwin H Land's efforts and access to President Eisenhower actually saved millions of lives by encouraging an honest appraisal of Soviet nuclear forces via IMINT.

Bannon is the polar opposite of Edwin Land. Edwin Land brought real productivity - Steve Bannon lusts after destruction . It is far more likely the Steve Bannon's efforts will ultimately lead to an MKULTRA/MKNAOMI/Gottleib style toxic mess that we will spend generations sorting out.


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