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Between Trump and the Deep State

In the political lexicon of the United States, since the presidency of Donald Trump, the mysterious concept of a “Deep State” has become fashionable. It’s understood as a kind of mystical adversary that the president’s cabinet must face.

The term has been used to refer to an allegedly secretly operating network of public officials working to prevent Trump from pursuing his policies. The expression is also used to allude to a de facto power of public employees whose stay in office is beyond the control of the president.

But its definition varies according to who uses it. It generally implies the existence of a secret and invisible nebula that operates from the bowels of government and that would be responsible for leaks of sensitive information from public offices, including those of intelligence and those of advisers and analysts directly subordinate to the President.

“The deep state has to stop with its shit,” Roger Stone, Trump’s old political adviser, told The New Yorker magazine on the eve of the president’s inauguration January 20.

He was referring to information published by The New York Times, citing U.S. officials, indicating that the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies were investigating Stone and other Trump collaborators for alleged links to Russia.

Stone denied having had such links, and blamed the “deep state” for the information disclosed.

Different media supporting the government have handled the concept, especially after it was revealed that the Micheal Flynn, Trump’s then- National Security Adviser, had withheld information about his contacts with Russia, which, according to the press, led to his having to resign shortly after taking office.

“The deep state never sleeps. It’s always doing something to undermine Trump’s administration,” said an article on Breitbart News, a right-wing Web site whose founder and former executive, Stephen Bannon, a controversial Trump trustee who was repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism and racism and who served as the White House’s chief strategist.

“The Deep State is here,” Ed Rogers, a Republican columnist in his Washington Post column, wrote a week earlier. “It is a worrying phenomenon to have the anti-Trump organizations and Democratic officials aligned conspiring to work actively against the government in office,” he said.

However, there is no shortage of analysts who reject the idea that in the US there can be a “deep state” acting in the shadows. “The term comes from a kind of conspiracy theory that does not capture what is a normal tension between bureaucrats who have been running political programs for years and who may want to change things themselves,” says Gordon Adams on BBC World.

According to many analysts, the “Deep State” actions that overwhelm Trump derive from the basic contradiction between the federal government and the invisible power of the military and corporations defined by former President Dwight Eisenhower as the Military-Industrial Complex. This tension is manifested, for the time being, as a confrontation between the White House and the intelligence community, in which the latter acts, by definition, in a reserved manner.

When he was Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon defined the government’s goal as the deconstruction of the administrative state, which he believed had been set up by the political left to defend its interests through bureaucratic regulations that must now be corrected.

“If you look at the cabinet appointments, you’ll see that they were made with a goal of deconstructing the administrative state,” Bannon said in a meeting with conservative politicians.

Proof of this is that many people chosen for Trump’s Cabinet have had conflicting positions with those traditionally assigned to the departments for which they were appointed.

For example, for the Environmental Protection Pgency, he chose someone with interests linked to the fossil fuel industry who doubts the existence of climate change. As Education Secretary, he selected a millionaire who is an enemy of public education and public schools. For the Health Department, he chose a doctor who believes that the problem is that “there is too much government involvement in health care.

There are those who appreciate that this conflict of interest between senior government officials and civil service officials supports the existence of a “deep state” operating against Trump as an unpredictable, ignorant person, one incapable of fulfilling the mandate of the dominant forces of the system… much less the mandate of the citizenry.

 

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Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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