It would be an irony if the troubles the United States has visited on much of the earth were now visited upon the United States — and, lest you’re feeling smug about that possibility, it’s not likely to be a happy irony if you happen to be a citizen of that country’s next-door neighbour.
Still, filmmaker Michael Moore probably has it right when he predicts Donald Trump will not serve out his full term as president.
Moore, well known as a maker of documentaries with a distinctly progressive point of view, argues that the U.S. President Elect is simply too self-centred not to break the law in his own interests, political or otherwise.
We are advised to pay attention to Moore’s prognostications because, after all, he famously predicted Trump’s election while all the other pundits were still chortling at the Republican candidate’s preposterous antics.
But if Trump, dangerously unpredictable buffoon though he may be, gets into trouble sufficient to see him impeached by the U.S. Congress or removed from office in some other way, it won’t simply be because he breaks a law. That would merely provide an excuse. It will be because he goes ahead and enacts policies that offend what it’s nowadays fashionable to call “the Deep State,” that is, the governing apparatus of the ruling class.
Trump’s open racism and his narcissism may offend many, but are less likely to be deal breakers for the people with real power.
On a range of issues, however, Trump’s campaign policy positions were anathema to the American (and by extension, the world) ruling class, also known nowadays as “the 1 per cent” — the one powerful trope bequeathed to us by the otherwise evanescent Occupy Movement.
These include, for example, his promises to tear up trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership that are really corporate-rights treaties generally harmful to ordinary citizens in signatory countries.
Another example was his position on North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s mostly aspirational military budget guidelines for member states. A NATO tax of 2 per cent of GDP makes a convenient and generous subsidy for the U.S.-dominated military-industrial complex, but shouldn’t distract us from the real purpose of the alliance in the post-Soviet era, to enforce American economic dominance on the world.
When Trump tells NATO members to pay up or get out, that is exactly what the U.S. Deep State does not want to happen.
Closely related to Trump’s skepticism about NATO is his apparent lack of enthusiasm for the New Cold War against Russia — one of two nuclear-armed states that are resistant to U.S. economic dominance. The other is China. A key part of the renewed Cold War has been the constant demonization by Western media of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, now emerging as the other half of the first bromance of the Trump Era.
So on these issues and others, Trump’s survival in office likely depends on his willingness to knuckle under to the demands of the Deep State — not so different, in that regard, from the long list of leaders of other countries who hesitated to obey their marching orders from Washington.
As far as we know, there hasn’t been an actual plot to overthrow the president of the United States through coup d’état since 1933, although there are those in the tinfoil hat brigade who darkly see such plots behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the forced resignation of Richard M. Nixon in 1974.
Be that as it may, just because Trump becomes president of the United States doesn’t mean he’ll be immune to such threats. His supporters see him as a revolutionary battering ram against “the elites,” real and imagined, and all through history the economic elite has struck back if its interests are truly threatened.
There’s even a case to be made that Rome’s conservatives murdered Julius Caesar because he was a reformer with a disturbing tendency toward democracy, not because he was an odious tyrant who dared to cross the Rubicon with his army.
In places where for one reason or another the direct force of Western arms could not be used to remove an inconvenient leader, the favoured mechanism of the West’s intelligence agencies has come to be the so-called “Colour Revolution,” of which there have been several, not all named after colours.
Colour Revolutions are inevitably portrayed by Western media as the work of idealistic reformers — and sometimes they are. They are viewed in many corners of the world, though, as a form of asymmetrical warfare practiced by the United States and other Western powers to effect regime change.
Usually Colour Revolutions begin with mass demonstrations by opponents of the regime, who often identify themselves with a particular colour or symbol — orange in Ukraine, green in Iran, yellow in the Philippines.
Indeed, Putin’s government has taken specific measures against Colour Revolutions, including a ban passed last year on U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations and the creation this year of a Russian National Guard equipped for decisive action against such disturbances.
So, could the United States be the next target of a Colour Revolution?
On the face of it, this seems as unlikely as, say, a Trump victory in the presidential election.
Yet we know that there have already been several days of mass demonstrations all over the United States by opponents of Trump — so far focusing on his racism. For the moment, those demonstrations seem to be waning, but organizers promise more and bigger to come.
We know that American security agencies — specialists in organizing and assisting Colour Revolutions abroad — have been very unhappy at the prospect of having to tell President Trump their secrets. Speaking through a former Central Intelligence Agency director, the intelligence community recently signalled its deep unease at the idea of a Trump presidency.
We know that the Trump transition team has been leaking like a sieve, with stories of firings, deep policy disagreements and increasing attacks on the President Elect by members of the Republican Party’s own establishment.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that another former CIA director had been purged from the presidential transition team, and Sen. John McCain, the party’s standard-bearer in 2008, assailed Trump’s relationship with Putin as “an unacceptable price for a great nation.”
These are all warning shots across the bow of the Trump presidency. Is it possible that Trump, a political dilettante, does not understand how serious a predicament how could soon find himself in?
If he does recognize he has a problem, perhaps Putin, who has faced and survived a similar challenge, can advise him.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.
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