NEW YORK — The concept “deep state” emerged in the 1990’s as a description of the groups in both military and civilian apparatus of power that govern in secret.
It is today used as a criticism, primarily by conservative and alt-right advocates, against the forces of the intelligence services and the bureaucracy that is allegedly hurting President Donald Trump.
The other day, an alternative news site cabled the following headline in its newsletter: “The First Casualty in the Deep State’s Coup Against President Trump.”
The victim’s name was Mike Flynn, the decorated general who Trump appointed security adviser and then fired for reasons that are not entirely understood (but which, as well as contacts with Russia, are likely to be examined in congressional investigations).
Sources point out that Flynn himself entered into the “deep state” in his role as including deputy intelligence chief. He disagreed with the ex-president Barack Obama’s lax policy against “militant Islam” and is now on his way out before he got the chance to change courses.
At a press conference the other day, Trump expressed surprise at the contents of the secret talks and other leaks in the media. Trump had a different view on leaks and called for more investigations – again mentioning Hillary Clinton’s email. He announced that he had given the Justice Department the task to chase these “criminal leaks.” According to senior analysts, this is an unusual move, akin to Nixon’s infamous search for enemies, because the administration should in principle be non-political.
There is anger at Trump’s clumsy comparisons with Nazi Germany and Russia. One review in the New York Times noted that the United States is very far from countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan where hidden networks undermine the elected representatives.
However, experts point out that the leaks were extraordinarily many, and that cracks have arisen between Trump and parts of the large federal administration, with its two million employees. Part of this discontent has already led to a storm of protests in the State Department and the EPA, in which staff communicates with each other via encrypted messages.
It is not surprising that federal officials are cynical towards the Republican presidents, especially not one that depicted them as creatures in a muddy swamp and appointed cabinet members who want to tear up established routines.
“Deep state” should not have as much to do with all the other leaks that keep journalists, pundits and political scientists employed. Much of the information on the mess in the White House originates from inside, as part of one or more parallel power struggles. Hundreds of vacancies are still unfilled, and it is unclear who give the orders of the White House. The former military man who declined to fill the vacancy after Flynn should have been discontent with not being allowed to appoint their staff on their own.
After the attacks during the mentioned above press conference, Trump filled in with a tweet in which he accused unnamed media of being “enemies of the American people” but had edited the first version ended with “sick.”
Denunciations came immediately from every possible direction. Furthermore, considering that it was a conscious move of Trump to get the media to bite raises serious questions as to what the long-term strategy truly is.