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What is a deep state in the USA?

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Apr 26 in Politics & Government ✌ by Kninjanin (3,448 points)

I heard it in Serbian media.

3 Answers

TheOtherTink Apr 26

The deep state is the part of the US government that is made up of middle and low-level bureaucrats who keep their jobs, no matter who is president.  Only the top people in the various departments of the executive branch of government are changed when there is a change of president.

It is probably true that most of these deep-state bureaucrats do not like Trump, and therefore they work to delay or undermine his plans, or, for example, delay or refuse to hand over documents to Congressional investigators that might incriminate Democrats, or pretend that the documents have been "lost".

The Internal Revenue (Tax) Service has done this, as well as the FBI and the Justice Department.

I imagine the "deep state" concept applies in other countries too, but I have only heard of the expression in the US since Trump became president.

Virginia Apr 26

Hi Kninjanin,

I had never heard of "deep state" until you brought it up, and now Tink has discussed it! 

In turn, I went online and this is what I found to add to Tink's comment..."The term 'deep state' was defined in 2014 by Mike Lofgren, a former Republican U.S. congressional aide, as "a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process."

All this gets more and more creepy as you then read the following observations: "...the deep state draws power from the national security and intelligence communities, a realm where secrecy is a source of power. Alfred W. McCoy states that the increase in the power of the U.S. intelligence community since the September 11 attacks "has built a fourth branch of the U.S. government" that is "in many ways autonomous from the executive, and increasingly so."

Interesting, Virginia.  I didn't know the expression was coined as long ago as 2014... I had only heard it used since Trump's election.

Virginia Virginia Apr 27

Tink, Rooster's POLITICO link has even more history of the term...I found it quite fascinating, from both of you!

Rooster Apr 26

Interesting. I hadn't heard the term before either. Thank you Tink and Virginia for the info. Something I'm going to have to study further when time permits.

 The Deep State Is Real - POLITICO Magazine


Virginia Rooster Apr 27

Rooster, that POLITICO link does give a great deal of information, I learned lots!

The article says 'deep state' was originally applied to other governments, other countries. Then liberals began crying wolf about deep state here in the USA, but now the focus has shifted to conservatives. 

Here is a paragraph I found especially of concern: indicates that George W. Bush was inexperienced, and so "deep state" people were able to push him into the Irag War? I wonder if you have looked into that, if you have any opinion?

"Beneath the politics of convenience is the reality that a large segment of the U.S. government really does operate without much transparency or public scrutiny, and has abused its awesome powers in myriad ways. And sometimes the government bureaucracy really does exercise power over the commander in chief: Obama felt that the military pressured him into sending more troops to Afghanistan than he had wanted, while an inexperienced George W. Bush was arguably led to war by a bipartisan cadre of national security insiders who had long wanted to take out Saddam Hussein." (Bolding emphasis mine.)

Rooster Rooster Apr 27

@Virginia: I've always thought that about Bush. CIA misinformation and deep state people convinced him to send armed forces to Iraq and Afghanistan. Where we completely made a mess out of the region that may never be repaired in our lifetime.

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 27

I often wondered about Bush 43's inexperience.  Couldn't/wouldn't he consult privately with his father for advice? 

Virginia Rooster Apr 27

Thank you Rooster, I value your opinions in such matters.

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 27

@ Rooster:  About Afghanistan, even Obama said that was the "right" war. After all, the Taliban were harboring bin Laden, and wouldn't turn him over to us after 9/11.  Could we really let Mullah Omar get away with that?

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 27

@ Virginia:  I wonder if the deep state also got Obama to take out Gaddafi, leading to the ongoing chaos in Libya?  Seems like the same kind of nation-building that Bush was naively envisioning; i.e., that democracy would break out in the Middle East, if only we got rid of the despots. Didn't work in Egypt either.

Virginia Rooster Apr 27

Tink I was asking myself that question at the time, even before I knew the phrase "deep state." Maybe Rooster will see our conversation, and give us his ideas?

idk...I am totally unwilling to accept that our government and its economy is the best we can do, it's not okay as is, but more and more of these really huge obstacles seem to be surfacing...

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 27

I agree, Virginia, we should be able to do better, but I am reminded of Churchill's words, which went something like "Our Western democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."

Virginia Rooster Apr 27

O'Tink, yes I still totally rebel against accepting all this as the best possible of a bad deal. And, I doubt Churchill even imagined things could ever get as bad with a capitalist democracy as we see now...?

Rooster Rooster Apr 28

@Tink: I think my son would disagree with you after three tours there. Yes, the Taliban were initially hiding Bin Laden but he soon was moved to Pakistan where the double dealing Pakis took care of him. That's where our real trouble lies.

We should have left Asscrackistan a long time ago. No one has ever conquered them and no one ever will. Waste of lives and money. Get rid of one corrupt government and now have another. Time for us to go!

Virginia Rooster Apr 28

Tink and Rooster, I have been thinking of posting a Q about WWI (not II but I), because I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor that WWI laid the ground for many of the problems we have today. And both of you are good students of history...

I am trying to understand how we got into this worldwide pickle in which we find ourselves...

Tink, regarding the capitalism stuff, one idea I sometimes run across is that Roosevelt did a competent job of bailing out the economy from the Great Depression, Obama in 2008 did not. Thus things continue to be just really unstable and precarious right now.

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 28

@ Rooster, yes I agree that the Afghanistan war has gone on much too long.  The ironic part is that we sponsored the Taliban in the first place, to kick the Russians out.  If the Taliban had remained bought and paid for and not made common cause with al-Qaeda, none of what followed would have happened.

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 28

@ Virginia, yes, if the Germans had been smarter about keeping the US out of WW1 (by not sinking the Lusitania and not suggesting that ridiculous plan to Mexico for regaining Texas and the Southwest), they might very well have won the war, which would have drastically changed the course of history in Europe.

Virginia Rooster Apr 28

Tink (Rooster too), I did not realize those two factors alone might have made a difference in the outcome of WWI...this article in CSM May 2014 emphasizes WWI as even more significant for world history than WWII, and I for one had always assumed WWII was the more important...

I found the article interesting, and really too long for a single Q, but for example three empires met - or completed - their demise in WWI; Hapsburg, Russian, and here is what the author notes about the significance of the Ottoman Empire:

"The demise of the Ottoman Empire also shaped American destiny. It had shrunk significantly by 1914, but still included portions of present-day Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories. The region has never recovered the stability that the Ottoman emperors, in their heyday, sonce imposed."

The author is Gerald DeGroot, professor of history at the University of St. Andrews; have you heard of him? He apparently specializes in WWI...

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 28

Virginia, I haven't heard of DeGroot, but he is right.  If the outcome of WW1 had been different (or even if the peace had been handled more wisely), WW2 would not have happened, or at least in nothing like the form it actually took.

And of course, there was a fourth monarchy that met its end with WW1... the Hohenzollern.

Later, some wag made a joke: "Soon there will be only 5 kings left... the four in a pack of cards and the King of England," or words to that effect.  :D

Virginia Rooster Apr 28

Ha ha, the British monarchy does seem tenacious...even surviving an Oliver Cromwell...

The end of the Hohenzollerns...Tink, and/or Rooster, does it appear to you then that Germany was fighting WWI with imperial/colonial aspirations? From this writer, I learned the term revanchism; seeking to retaliate, esp. in terms of regaining lost territory, which was doubtless a motive for Hitler in WWII.

If I recall, by WWI Germany had only been consolidated into a modern form for maybe a couple decades? So, was it seeking to expand or colonize further? 

I also learned from this article the resentment smouldering, because Germany did not lose WWI through military defeat, it was not invaded and in fact its military was still occupying some places as conquerers; instead, there was a collapse of morale at home. All of which help open the way to scapegoating of Jews...branded as traitors who undermined the gov't. from within during WWI.

Is all that consistent with your information?

Rooster Rooster Apr 28

@ Virginia: That about sums it up. Germany had some nice colonies and islands taken from them after WW1. Like most of East Africa. I saw where they had planted tree farms and cultivated a lot of land and you could easily see where the work was done for improvements.

I think Germany was fighting to hold on to their colonies and boot the British away.

How they raped Germany with the Versailles Treaty directly led to WW2 and the need for fascist revenge. Germany was ripe for Hitler.

Virginia Rooster Apr 28

Thank you, Rooster! 20th was apparently truly a wild century.

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 29

Virginia, I think revanchism was originally coined in France after their defeat by Bismarck's Prussia in the War of 1870, and it was one of the prime motivating factors for the harshness of the Versailles Treaty.

Virginia Rooster Apr 29

O-o-o-h, e-e-e-w!  :O  Excellent insight, Tink...I did not know that about Prussia/France War of 1870, motivating the harsh revenge of Versailles Treaty....and apparently help set us up for ugly stuff continuing into the present.

TheOtherTink Rooster Apr 29

Oh, and I forgot to mention, Virginia, that it is true that the German military defeat in WW1 was not total, but the commanders, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, had seen the handwriting on the wall after the great German offensive earlier in 1918 had been checked (in no small part by the arrival of the Americans), and so they in fact recommended an armistice, probably not imagining how harsh it would be (despite the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, imposed on the Russians by the Germans a year earlier, having been plenty tough).

Called before a German government commission after the war, investigating the defeat, Hindenburg read a prepared statement essentially blaming the defeat on the collapse of the home front, and refused to answer any questions. Such was his prestige, that no one dared bring any legal charges against him.

https://erickoch.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/armistice-1918-hindenburg-and-the-legend-of-the-stab-in-the-back/

Virginia Rooster Apr 30

Tink, that is just incredibly breathtakingly fascination, a wonderful piece of the puzzle as I attempt to understand what led to where we are today...I lifted out that part about Hindenburg's prestige...here,

"Despite being threatened with a contempt citation for refusing to respond to questions, Hindenburg simply walked out of the hearings after reading his statement. Hindenburg’s status as a war hero provided him with a political shield."

 And, did you see the comment below from Curmudgeon? He (I think it's a he...women cannot be curmudgeons? ;)) ...anyway, he quotes from a book he read on the topic: “At the battle of Amiens [starting in August 1918], hundreds of Allied tanks broke through the German lines. Ludendorff recognized that the situation was hopeless and informed the kaiser that the war was lost…. "

So Ludendorff was actually correct, but sounds like Hindenburg was protecting them both? And then Curmudgeon continues quoting...'this sudden military collapse shocked the civilian population profoundly. Many gave credence to the so-called Dolchstoßlegende, or “dagger thrust legend” '...

O'Tink, your knowledge of history is remarkable and delightful.

I just looked up a photo of the great Paul Ludwig von...learned he attained a height of 6'5", quite lofty for someone born in 1847!

image

Rooster Rooster Apr 30

He also went on to be President of Germany for a time while Hitler was on the rise.

Jan. 30 1933

World War I

1933

Adolf Hitler is named chancellor of Germany

On this day in 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg names Adolf Hitler, leader or fÜhrer of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party), as chancellor of Germany.

The year 1932 had seen Hitler’s meteoric rise to prominence in Germany, spurred largely by the German people’s frustration with dismal economic conditions and the still-festering wounds inflicted by defeat in the Great War and the harsh peace terms of the Versailles treaty. A charismatic speaker, Hitler channeled popular discontent with the post-war Weimar government into support for his fledgling Nazi party. In an election held in July 1932, the Nazis won 230 governmental seats; together with the Communists, the next largest party, they made up over half of the Reichstag.

Hindenburg, intimidated by Hitler’s growing popularity and the thuggish nature of his cadre of supporters, the SA (or Brownshirts), initially refused to make him chancellor. Instead, he appointed General Kurt von Schleicher, who attempted to steal Hitler’s thunder by negotiating with a dissident Nazi faction led by Gregor Strasser.

Virginia Rooster Apr 30

Rooster, it just keeps coming up again and again...the Treaty of Versailles was truly a world disaster, and repercussions still with us...

You prolly saw Tink's observation above (actually, you probably already knew), that at Versailles France was motivated by revenge for their defeat in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, with Bismarck's Prussia? That Ludendorff and Hindenburg did not realize the terms of surrender would be so harsh?

Yes, Virginia, Hindenburg was remarkably tall, especially for his time.

image

In this picture, Hindenburg looks like he's about 6" taller than Hitler, who was 5' 9", so perhaps Hindenburg was 6' 3" when he was old. (Or maybe Hitler was wearing elevator shoes to diminish the height disparity.) :)

Virginia Rooster May 1

Tink, what is your impression of Hindenburg, based on your historical studies? Was he a great statesman/military leader? After your mention of Frederick the Great, I found a wonderful YouTube documentary which I will prolly watch again at some point, that he (Frederick) was indeed one of the great military tacticians of all time...how about Hindenburg, do you have an impression?

He was such a good-looking man...I am taken by his photos.


Rooster Rooster May 1

@ Virginia : He really was a professional soldier through and through and barely got elected. Many were against him as in this propaganda article. He wasn't a Bismarck or Frederick but he ranked close to them.

Why Hindenburg? - Calvin College

image
Rooster Rooster May 1

The four greatest of German history. Von Clausewitz, Hindenburg, Bismarck and Frederick the Great (although he was a Prussian leader before Germany unified.) image

imageimageimage

Virginia, I agree with Rooster, Hindenburg was certainly not in the same league as Frederick or Bismarck, nor was he a great military thinker like Clausewitz. Nevertheless, his reputation was made by his stunning victories over the Russians in the East early in WW1, which, had those battles been lost, would have left Germany in VERY precarious shape. I think those victories also depended a lot on the organizational skills of Ludendorff, with whom Hindenburg worked throughout the war.

@ Rooster: GREAT link showing the propaganda of the 20s and 30s in Germany.  Thank you.

Virginia Rooster May 1

Rooster I wanted to mention also, that I too did appreciate the link showing propaganda of the 20s and 30s in Germany.

And Tink, this is the first time I am learning some of the inside stuff on Germany early WWI; also I have never even heard of Clausewitz, and I go to look him up now! Also, both of you seem to be putting Bismarck into the same class as Frederick the Great (aka affectionately OLD FRITZ), so at some point I will learn more about him too!

Yes indeed, Virginia, I think Frederick and Bismarck are easily the two greatest German/Prussian heads of state.

I once heard a German joke about how smart Bismarck was. When Bismarck died and went to heaven, St. Peter, in the course of showing him around, said, "I understand you are very, very smart. Can you tell me which of these angels are Adam and Eve?" as he pointed to a large group of about 100.

Bismarck glanced at the group for a few moments and said, "Yes, it's these two," putting his hands on their shoulders.

"OMG, Bismarck, you're right!  How did you ever figure that out?" asked the astonished St. Peter.

"It wasn't difficult," said Bismarck. "They are the only two who don't have navels."

Virginia Rooster May 1

Tink & Rooster!!! That Clausewitz is REALLY something...philosophy of war, tried composing a definition of war, the fog of war...all very likely studied/understood in the light of Immanuel Kant, whom he probably studied as a young man...(and with whom I am also in love)...

Anyway, I suspect that for Clausewitz, war was his way of approaching the meaning of life, the experience of life; something which interests me BIG TIME also...so I am wondering, do either of you know of an essay or short book (something accessible/easy-to-read) that summarizes Clausewitz' life and philosophy accurately? 

In other words, I don't want to study him in depth, just want to enjoy a brief acquaintance with someone very wonderful...

* * *

Oh an' btw Tink, your Bismarck story gave me my first laugh-out-loud of the day, and it's already 4 PM, but SOLVED is often the source of that wonderful initial daily mirth!!!

I came across this book chapter that sounds just like what you want, Virginia.

http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/Bassford/Cworks/Works.htm

Glad you enjoyed the joke. :)

Rooster Rooster May 2

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