Is There An American ‘Deep State’?

23 Jan

Is There An American ‘Deep State’?

When a society is deeply troubled, and governed in ways that seem under the influenceof dark forces and disinformation becomes part of everyday life, it seems natural that all sorts of explanations will flourish. Few of us can handle uncertainty, and so many affirm falsehoods for thesake of achieving a specious clarity about the unknowable, or at least convert uncertainty into congenial forms of certainty, a dynamic that explains the rise of cultic thinking in our time and the spread of extremist versions of religious teachings. One variant of this phenomenon that has gained salience during the Trump presidency was supposedly pernicious role of the American ‘deep state.’ Trumpists complaining that unelected bureaucrats were subverting the great leader’s agenda while anti-Trumpists were disappointed that this source of influence didn’t find ways to remove such a political imposter given the damage he was doing national self-confidence and to the international rendering of the previously high end American brand. Some asked in exasperated tones ‘why is the deep state asleep?’  

The sharp divisions of race, class, and ethnicity in American society explain much of the confusion surrounding this dangerously imprecise terminology of ‘deep state.’ It is crudely used by polarized adversaries to identify hidden forces that are regarded as the marionettes manipulating the puppets, we the people. And these marionettes in their turn, when they don’t like what they hear from deep staters, insult their accusers by dismissing their allegations as the work of ‘conspiracy theorists,’ which is a way of discrediting explanations they do not like, and in the process dispensing with any need for a well-reasoned and serious response. Those who challenged the official version of the 9/11 attacks were quick to be defamed by the mainstream media, derided as ‘truthers,’ without even a glance at the evidence that led many responsible political observers to harbor many suspicions from day one.

More sophisticated academic commentators on U.S. foreign policy, especially progressive critics on the left, have recourse to a deep state hypothesis to account for the absence of significant debate on core national and global security issues throughout the more than four decades of Cold War. A typical definition of the deep state—‘a hidden government within the legitimate government’—creates a convenient shorthand, but seems too concrete to capture the reality. The word ‘government,’ an abstraction never easy to tie down with specific attributes, and unlike the open state is amorphous without even buildings, documents, briefings, and visible leaders. The terminology seems derived from some special features of the Turkish experience during the 1990s. The Turkish deep state refers to undisclosed anonymous high-level permanent bureaucrats in the intelligence and military sectors of government who act in concert to uphold their views of legitimate government, and step in when red lines are crossed. Such a process made no attempt vaguer to portray itself as ‘a hidden government.’ I believe the spread of the deep state rhetoric can be explained as an instructive way to take note of elites acting together in private to achieve informal agreements on crucial aspects of national security policy. The consensus reached is then loosely formulated to exert influence on the elected government to keep policies and practices within its boundaries. This dynamic gives rise to a certain atmosphere of ‘group think’ that discourages policy divergencies and proceeds without much relationship to partisan and overt party differences. [See Irving L. Janis, Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascos, Boston, Wadsworth Learning, 1982]

The more emotive political uses of ‘deep state’ are associated with conspiratorial beliefs of individuals or groups in society that attribute official behavior to the sinister power and influences, attributions with little or no credibleevidence, e.g.QAnon! Such deep states are usually connected by sensation-seeking or culturally paranoid observers. Often such explanations of public behavior is blamed on the opinions of entrenched elite that are vehicles for a range of dark forces, including CIA, Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller family, Goldman Sachs, Silicon Valley, Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, or even such secretive foreign entities as Mossad, the Bilderberg Group, World Economic Forum working either independently or collaboratively. The basic idea behind such assertions is that the will of the people or citizenry is being secretly and effectively perverted and exploited by anti-democratic elements that do not operate openly.  

Conjectures about the deep state have been more responsibly used to explain the behavior of many governments around the world, including Turkey, Colombia, Italy, Egypt, and others, and in each national situation particular characteristics of the phenomenon have been stressed. In recent times, a left version of such an outlook were given prominence in the U.S. by the constant drumbeat of Bernie Sanders’ denunciations of the tyranny of the 1%. The main reference here is a Wall Street financial and corporate elite that has manipulated the U.S. government into becoming a vehicle for perpetuating and extending the grossest forms of wealth inequality. It also propagates a public policy biased toward the rich, swayed by money in disregard of the collective will or overall wellbeing of the citizenry, and makes a shambles of Main Street.

A second left variant, which assumed prominence during the Cold War, blames the national security state for working behind the scenes to keep American global militarism and worldwide alliance networks as the apolitical centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy no matter what the real security needs of the nation or the case for allocating more resources to social protection goals. This kind of deep state elite seems guilty of grossly exaggerating and militaryzing international security threats to the U.S. homeland and global economic and diplomatic interests. The underlying materialist motivations for a critique of such policies is the allegation that these bureaucratic operatives are dedicated to maintaining support for a very high peacetime military budget and a robust private sector flourishing arms industry that captures resources from other uses and securitizes the federal bureaucracy. [For effective documentation and analysis see Christian Sorensen, Understanding the Arms Industry (Clarity Press, 2020)]

During the Cold War there emerged agreement among the leadership of both political parties that the Soviet Union was a dangerous ideological and geopolitical rival that threatened American global leadership, its economic and diplomatic interests around the world, as well as its ideological leadership. Such an agreement within the country became widely known as a ‘bipartisan consensus,’ which mysteriously survived even the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had been its animating rationale in the late 1940s. There was an immediate search for new enemies that posed threats, allowing new prospects of warfare to emerge that reflected clashes of interests, ideas, and values. After the Cold War, Japan was posited as outperforming the U.S. economically in ways that supposedly threatened its primacy in the Pacific. Then the Iranian Revolution turned attention to Islam notoriously depicted by Samuel Huntington as generating a formidable challenge as ‘the clash of civilizations,’ given its time in the sun after the 9/11 attacks, the provocation that launched the notorious worldwide ‘war on terror’ that also posed unprecedented threats to homeland security. Now there is reemerging hostility toward Russia based on its reabsorbing of the Crimea and interference in the Ukraine, and it is being superseded by magnifying a series of grievances involving China. The purveyors of such militarized views of security are coming to the rescue of would be warriors occupying the many Washington office buildings and Beltway think tanks where its mostly anonymous occupants spend their working days validating the need to maintain American military dominance in all regions of the world or otherwise Americans will have to learn to live with the misfortunes of systemic decline. Leading academic experts on foreign policy and world politics, to varying degrees, endorse this continuing bipartisanship as the only game worth playing in international arenas, thereby situating views favoring a peacetime budget and domestic priorities as falling outside the boundaries of responsible debate in mainstream venues. When you find conservative and liberal voices raised on behalf of the plight of the Uighors, while being silent about the Palestinians it should be obvious that something is fishy. 

Among the most intelligent non-governmental participants in these circles of geopolitical consensus formation, Stephen Walt denies the fact that such bipartisanship is the work of a ‘secret conspiracy.’ In Walt’s words, “ the extent that there is a bipartisan foreign policy elite, it is hiding in plain sight.” In other words, the bipartisan consensus, endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans, does not reflect the nefarious priorities of the deep state, but is the considered judgment of objective specialists, politicians, media, and the most informed and influential segments of the citizenry in and out of government. Such a view does not dispose of the deep state role in shaping and sustaining the bipartisan consensus for several reasons that can be summarized. The absence of a downward shift in military expenditures after the Cold War; the continued refusal to learn lessons of military frustration in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya; the exaggeration of international terrorist threats as acts of war; and the refusal of mainstream media venues to include anti-militarist commentary that suggest alternatives to or weaknesses of the bipartisan consensus. Incidentally, if some peace minded Democratic Party candidate were to emerge who advocated deep cuts in the military budget, geopolitical reconciliation with Russia and China, nuclear disarmament, and the closing of foreign military bases, there is little doubt in my mind that an equivalent group of former national security officials who had been lifelong Democrats would quickly form to explain in a public forum why they could never vote for such a candidate. It is this likely symmetry of outlook, reinforced by mainstream media, that makes the bipartisan consensus more than the figment of a disenchanted imagination, but what Noam Chomsky christened long ago as ‘indoctrination in a liberal society.’

And then came Trump. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he was initially perceived as an opportunistic and comedic business billionaire and TV reality show personality (‘The Apprentice”), but as he began putting himself forward as an outsider with the intention and talent to become a populist leader. When Trump began pledging his raucous rallies that he would ‘to drain the swamp,’ he began to be seen as what he was, a potent ideological threat to the bipartisan consensus. Such a perception led many visible members of the national security component of the Republican elite to break ranks during the 2016 campaign to publicize their worries about Trump and explain to the citizenry their decision not to vote for Trump although it meant breaking ranks with their lifelong Republican allegiance. They did the unthinkable, indirectly throwing support to that nemesis of most Republicans, Hillary Clinton. This unusual rejection of the Republican candidate from within was given great attention by the mainstream media when expressed through the release of an Open Letter to the American People in 2016. Trump’s strategic consultants were seen as dangerous adversaries of the deep state of unelected bureaucrats who had held government positions that exerted influence in government and had enjoyed widespread outside support from mainstream media, Washington think tanks, and the academic establishment. What worried these Republican former bureaucrats who made a point of highlighting their past consistent support of Republican candidates were the hints that Trump would seek some sort of geopolitical realignment bypassing the Atlanticist alliance that had been the centerpiece of American foreign policy ever since the end of World War II. Trump was also critical of regime-changing interventions of the sort that led to ‘forever wars’ with no discernable benefit to U.S. interests, but helpful in inflating military expenditures. Trump was also unfavorably seen by this group as an opponent of global cooperation and neoliberal globalization, which they regarded as a key element in America’s worldwide success after 1945. Trump’s formula for making America great again involved a transactional and ultra-nationalist approach to trade, investment, and immigration, with a decidedly pointed withdrawal from foreign entanglements, cooperative frameworks, and global leadership. Although it was this challenge to the Cold War enactment of global militarism and alliance diplomacy, the Open Letter rested its disapproval mainly on Trump’s lack of experience and impulsive temperament than on the more arcane issues of global policy. As his years in the White House have demonstrated, these fears of former Republican officials were not misplaced. If anything, Trump’s repudiation of guidance from the intelligence services and controversial connections with Putin’s Russia went beyond these 2016 fears, and led to a second Open Letter by discontented former Republican national security officials during the 2020 campaign, including cabinet level figures such as Colin Powell and former directors of the CIA and FBI. [For texts see [“Open Letter to Donald Trump from GOP National Security Leaders,” Texas National Security Review, March 2, 2016; “More than 70 former GOP National Security Officials wrote an Open Letter backing Biden, calling Trump corrupt and unfit to lead,” Business Insider, August 21, 2020.]  

Despite these concerns about Trump wandering off the reservation, many deep state priorities were actually upheld: the military budget was sustained, geopolitical confrontation with China was endorsed, special relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia were pushed further than ever, relations with Iran were stressed in ways that reverted to the pre-Obama Bush years of hostility and sanctions. Even U.S. military disengagements from overseas arenas such as Iraq and Afghanistan were slowed, and Trump momentarily pleased the old consensus when he retaliated with a military strike against the Syrian government after what appears to be a fabricated claim that Damascus was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Douma in April 2018. Yet his Lone Ranger style of diplomacy continued to worry the overseers of a governing process that became deeply troubled by Trump’s highly erratic one man’s show, which did collateral damage by depriving the ‘permanent government’ of its policy roles. In addition to these matters of style and procedure, the Open Letter signatories were opposed to the implications of downgrading NATO, Atlanticism, and Europe generally, especially the seeming soft, even deferential, approach taken toward Putin’s Russia, and the unseemly withdrawal by such breakthrough global agreements in 2015 as the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that addressed the Iranian nuclear programs, enjoying the blessings of all five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. 

Trump was unintimidated, mounting a populist pushback against these deep state outbursts. The Trump worldview was initially most coherently articulated by Steve Bannon, and transmitted to the grassroots by Trump’s rally rants and nighttime tweets. The pro-Trump counterattack alleged that within the government itself are a Euro-centric gang of unelected bureaucratic operatives that had been calling the shots, especially on foreign policy, ever since 1945. This cabal was also held responsible by Trumpists for embracing ‘forever wars,’ not charging allies for military protection in the form of military bases, deployed troops and weapons, and a total securitization of foreign policy, subverting the true interests of the American people, and abetted by the Wall Street crowd that sent millions of manufacturing jobs abroad and in the process alienating much of the American working class. This rightest version of populism subscribes to the litany of anti-liberal scapegoats ranging from alarmist environmentalist to asylum seekers from South of the border, a variety of hidden forces within the government that are conspiring with the cancel culture to destroy the once virtuous white America.

As suggested at the outset allegations of a deep state can serve contradictory ideological perspectives. Some versions are highly speculative, even paranoid, others seem grounded in reality and substantiated by convincing evidence, backed up by open avowal and careful analysis. The core idea of the deep state as a hidden government is far too concrete in its imagery. I prefer to think of a preferred delineation of the deep state in America as a metaphor that encompasses both the internal agreements prevailing among career and appointed national security officials who exert great influence with public opinion due to their media credibility. This type of deep state is a confluence of influential persons who owe allegiance to shared ideas about the role of military and diplomatic capabilities that emerged out of World War II, persisted throughout the Cold War, and managed to dominate the formation of foreign policy despite repeated performance failures that badly tarnished the U.S. reputation and imposed heavy costs without achieving any of its proclaimed goals. In effect, Trump’s foreign policy was indeed disastrous, but it did somewhat illuminate the anachronistic character of the zombie like ‘bipartisan consensus’ that yet be revived in the course of reaffirming the old Cold War/neoliberal globalization orthodoxy of pre-Trump America.   

32 Responses to “Is There An American ‘Deep State’?”

  1. Schlüter January 23, 2021 at 6:31 am #

    I fear in the end we have to admit, there is a Deep State!
    „Deep State USA: Dulles, Dallas and Devilish Games“:
    Cordial regards

    • Beau Oolayforos January 23, 2021 at 6:34 pm #

      Geehrte Schluter,

      Fine, but I see no mention of MLK (“An Affair of State” is a good book), nor of Jorge Gaitan, whose (plausibly deniable) murder plunged Colombia into its decades-long hell-hole. Many other examples, of course.

      • Schlüter January 23, 2021 at 11:24 pm #

        Oh, I´m well aware that MLK was murdered by the US Deep State. The list of murders is very, very long!

    • Beau Oolayforos January 23, 2021 at 6:40 pm #

      sorry, “An ACT of State”

  2. Ray Joseph Cormier February 1, 2021 at 5:02 am #

    Richard, I made this comment in W.J.Astore’s Blog article,

    The Israeli Star of David is on the back of EVERY American Dollar.

    The Bible warns, ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.’

    I was BORN AGAIN February 1, 1975, making me 77 going on 46. I have all the Time in this World, and the Next, to read and think on what I’m reading.

    Is there is any significance to the fact, Jews hold all the Top National Security Positions in the Biden Cabinet?
    My Faith in Jesus, King of the Jews, makes me a Jew.
    Still, I have to be mindful of Revelation 2:9 & 3:9.

    This is at a Time when Israel wants the US to fight it’s War with Iran, and told Biden, if he returns to the Iran Nuclear Deal, Israel will attack Iran without the US, blowing up the recent Trump-Arab-Israeli Peace Treaties/Arms Deals, and the entire Middle East, as the Revelation of Jesus Christ says will happen during the Revelation, ‘And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.’

    Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo located in Occupied Palestine when Jesus walked throughout the Land.
    Israel disappeared as a kingdom some 700 years earlier.

    Armageddon/Har Megiddo still exists but is now under the control of Israel re-created from the Bible, and 2000 years later, the Occupation of Palestine is still an unresolved open wound in the ME.

    The Husband of the Vice-President is Jewish as are these People,
    Secretary of the Treasury
    Attorney General
    Secretary of Homeland Security
    Director of National Intelligence
    White House Chief of Staff
    Secretary of State
    Deputy Secretary of State
    Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
    The Office of Science and Technology Policy

    I just read about this 2nd tier staffing,
    On Wednesday, Mother Jones and NBC News reported that a top Biden national security aide who is an expert on Russian cyber had given over half a million dollars to AIPAC in recent years through a family foundation. And the aide’s husband is on the AIPAC executive council in Baltimore.

    AIPAC is of course the leading Israel lobby group, which supports everything the right wing Israeli government does, from persecuting Palestinians to threatening Iran.

    Another poster wrote,
    I’d love to know what Chomsky thinks of this. He’s probably the most well-known and respected Jewish American to those outside of America.
    Is there any way we can bring it to his attention for comment if he hasn’t done so already?

    That prompted me to reply with,
    Jewish International Law Scholar Professor Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Rights under the Israeli Occupation, is right up there with Chomsky.
    The 1st Time I heard of him was when Israel, the US and the Secretary-General of the UN, were calling for his resignation. Not knowing any details, my 1st thought was ‘he must be doing something right’

    I posted this to my Public FaceBook page a week ago.
    Noam Chomsky appears to be aging fast, but I agree with this recent analysis of US Power and WAR in this Finite World.
    This will interest The Thinker, not the Superficial.

    That prompted another person to reply,
    richard falk at the venerable age of 90 remains an unsung hero, mentor, and humanitarian scholar that we donnards can only aspire to emulate. his own mentors, whether vicarious through their writings or tête à tête, were karl marx, mills, and herbert marcuse. may falk persist through his own writings for millennia.

    With Love and Respect,

    • Richard Falk February 1, 2021 at 10:40 pm #

      Thanks so much for your affirming words, Ray. I am sure that Chomsky
      would find this array of Biden appointments disturbing, yet predictable,
      reflecting as you suggest the power of AIPAC and of money, although in recent years he has focused on other issues. Yesterday my political memoir was published, which might
      interest you because it explores some of these themes. Its title is Public
      Intellectual: The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim. The pilgrim part is borrowed
      in spirit and substance from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews.

      In appreciation,


      • Ray Joseph Cormier February 2, 2021 at 5:51 am #

        I’ll buy your Memoir, Richard.

        Being published only yesterday, ‘Public Intellectual: The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim’ already takes up many pages of Google results, including this Forward by Chomsky,
        “This intimate and penetrating account of a remarkable life is rich in insights about topics ranging from the academic world to global affairs to prospects for a livable society. A gripping story, with many lessons for a troubled world.”

        Here are some excerpts, Intellectual%3A The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim.&f=false,

      • Ray Joseph Cormier February 2, 2021 at 6:26 am #

        The Link changed after I posted it. This one leads to the excerpts from your book.,

      • Ira Youdovin February 3, 2021 at 4:49 pm #


        You’ve gone crossed the line. Not for the first time, but it’s been a while since overt anti-Semites flourished on your blog. But the Age of Civility appears to have ended. How else can one take opening sentence of Ray Cormier’s post: “The Israeli Star of David is one the back of EVERY American dollar”. This is nothing other than a staple of the age-old slander that Jewish money controls everything.

        Then he counts the number of Jews in the Biden administration, implying an accusation of dual loyalties, which is another anti-Semitic canard. Lacking any evidence to support his innuendo, he resorts to the all-too-familiar tactic of weaving a bogus conspiracy theory: The magazine Mother Jones and NBC reported that a top Biden National Security aide, who is an expert on Russian cyber, had given over a half million dollars to AIPAC and that her husband is on the AIPAC executive council”. He goes on to characterize AIPAC as supporting everything the right wing Israeli government does, from persecuting Palestinians to threatening Iran.

        In fact, AIPAC is not a rubber stamp for the Israeli government. It has taken no position on West Bank settlements, asserting that the issue must be resolved by parties on the ground. And it recently contacted members of Congress assuring them that there would be no push-back for supporting an American return to the Nuclear Arms Agreement.

        As regards the Mother Jones/NBC report, all it said was that the family’s ties to AIPAC might give an appearance of impropriety. When anti-Israel ignored that nuance, NBC deleted the story. As regards “Israel wanting the US to fight its war with Iran”, I invite Mr. Commier to produce evidence.

        Feels a lot like Donald Trump’s flexible relationship with the truth. One expects this kind of malarkey from Ray Cormier, who’s been spewing anti-Semitism for decades. He’s in lockstep with the mob in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us” poorly camouflaged by a veneer of faux Christian piety,

        But et tu Richard? You not only welcome him but endorse his defamatory ideas, suggesting that the Biden appointees got their jobs not by dint of their qualifications, which are widely regarded as being exemplary, but because of “the power of AIPAC and of money”. For shame! And please don’t try to assured me or anyone that you animus toward Israel is not driven by anti-Semitism.

        Btw Mr. Cormier, whatever his achievements and stature might be, Prof. Chomsky is by no means the mostly well-known and widely respected Jew to those outside North America. Huh? He may be known and respected to a small circle of supporters, but more known and respected than the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Steven Spielberg or a long list of others?????

      • Richard Falk February 3, 2021 at 11:13 pm #

        Ira: I am saddened that we see the world so differently, but I suppose it is revealing.

        Your defense of the Zionist Project seems as unconditional as ever. Not a word about the B’Tselem Report about Israeli apartheid or even the 2018 Basic Law or the Netanyahu/Kushner/Adelson solution by way of Palestinian surrender of fundamental rights. And from the U.S. side, ready to attack Iran for daring to become ‘a threshold nuclear power’ while refusing even to discuss a nuclear free Middle East because it would involve eliminating Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Denuclearization of the region would solve the proliferation problem overnight and produce a surge of support for regional stability and accommodation, and in the process move one step closer to ending the Palestinian ordeal of being victimized for over a century, becoming strangers prohibited from returning to their own homeland (even for a visit) by Israeli law and practice, and even if Israel, while still Palestine, had been the birthplace of their parents and grandparents.

        My experience does suggest the accuracy of the comment about Chomsky, especially if the context involves intellectual and political subject-matter. RBG is hardly known beyond the borders of the USA, and Spielberg is a famous filmmaker, but hardly a sage.
        Perhaps, Philip Roth and Norman Mailer, both of whom I knew, are better challengers to the preeminence accorded Chomsky.

        Maybe we should commit ourselves to finding common ground. It might be more rewarding and certainly more challenging than dwelling on our differences.

        Greetings from Yalkavak,


      • Ray Joseph Cormier February 4, 2021 at 5:58 am #

        Ira, are you so adverse to dealing with FACTS and REALITY?

        The Israeli Star of David is on the backside of every American Dollar Bill, I believe is the “Image of the Beast” described in Revelation 19.

        Semetic describes Middle East Language Jews have appropriated to apply to Jews only. I am not anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish.
        I am anti-Apartheid Israeli practices having shades of Neo-Nazism vis a vis indigenous Semetic speaking Palestinians.

        You wrote, “As regards “Israel wanting the US to fight its war with Iran”, I invite Mr. Commier to produce evidence.”
        Search Google with these search terms, “israel wants the us to fight it’s war with iran” and there are many pages of results all pointing to the same conclusion.
        Obviously you forgot Netanyahu told the US Congress, September 12, 2002 ” If YOU take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I GUARANTEE YOU that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region, The reverberations of what will happen with the collapse of Saddam’s regime, could very well cause an implosion in a neighbour regime like Iran”
        Netanyahu was so wrong, and no one can make a claim on his Guarantee.

        Ira, as a Rabbi, you should know more than anyone, the Jewish Tanach/Old Testament, is replete with records of God bringing People who are not God’s “Chosen People” to chastise them for rebelling against God.

        Btw, my Landlord of the last 15 years is Jewish, and on meeting me, he promised he would not raise my rent as long as I lived in his building and he kept the promise. My rent is less than half what is being charged these days for smaller apartments.
        I thank the God of my Faith, the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, for blessing me through my Jewish Landlord.

      • Ray Joseph Cormier February 4, 2021 at 4:27 pm #

        Ira, in my reply to you, I made a typo that needs clarifying

        The Israeli Star of David is on the backside of every American Dollar Bill, I believe is the “Image of the Beast” described in Revelation 13, not Revelation 19.

      • Kata Fisher February 7, 2021 at 1:43 am #

        Mr Cormier – frightening confusions are difficult. And, you are explaining/giving reference about some occult. I see that. This is one example of frightening confusion – That video – just one example joe thing can turn to unbelievable. We live in time of strong delusions. Do you know that I refuse to go to Church, and have any associations with them because they have difficulty (Church in Rome) figuring out what they are all about. When they do that – I may find fit to visit local parish. I know what they are all about. I feel sorry for the priest that actually have a true calling from God. It’s really hard for them to go against those who are in calling with the devil — and not God. In Christ Jesus of Nazareth there is abundance of Joy – and no victims. Pray for those who are in Friendship with God – can not really hear what He is saying.

    • fgsjr2015 February 13, 2021 at 12:02 pm #

      I often say: remove the greatest difference among humans—race/color—and left are less obvious differences over which to clash, such as sub-racial identity (i.e. ethnicity), nationality, religion and so forth down that scale we tumble.

      (Add, say, a contemporary deadly disease to the ugly equation for a really hateful fire.)

      Therefore, what humankind may need to suffer in order to survive the long term—indeed from ourselves!—is an even greater nemesis (perhaps a multi-tentacled ET?) than our own politics of difference, against which we could all unite, attack and defeat—all during which we’d be forced to work closely side-by-side together and witness just how humanly similar we are to each other. (Albeit, I’ve been told that one or more human parties might actually attempt to forge an allegiance with the genocidal ETs, thus indicating that our wanting human condition may be even worse than I had thought.)

      Before people of colour became the primary source of immigration to North America — notwithstanding aboriginal peoples, who were treated by far the worst — thick-accented Eastern Europeans, although considered to be ‘white’, were the primary targets of mean-spirited Anglo bigotry.

      I’m no Stanley Milgram, but I hypothesize that if the U.S. and Canada, for example, were to revert back to a primarily white populace, the Eastern European newcomers with a stereotypically thick Slavic accent (and foremost if also brown-eyed) would eventually again become the main target of the dominant Euro-Canadian ethnicity.

      • Richard Falk February 15, 2021 at 11:19 pm #

        Your conjectures were anticipated almost a century ago in science fiction
        literature, especially a scenario in which the intelligence heads of leading
        countries conspired to unify the politics of the planet by inventing a threat
        from somewhere in the galaxy. As I recall, the tale ended with the earth firing
        a salvo at this distant enemy and experiencing a shock when missiles came raining
        down on the earth, a rather sublime double irony.

      • fgsjr2015 February 16, 2021 at 2:25 pm #

        I, an avid sci-fi show/movie consumer, didn’t know about such a story . Thanks for the reply.

      • Richard Falk February 16, 2021 at 10:21 pm #

        I will try to track down the title. I believe the author was French and the book
        written in the late 1920s, but I may be quite wrong as it was a long time ago..

      • fgsjr2015 February 17, 2021 at 3:15 pm #

        Thanks, nonetheless.

  3. Denise Donaldson February 2, 2021 at 10:46 am #

    You mention, sir, the possibility of the emergence of a peace-minded Dem candidate who would advocate deep cuts to the military budget, etc., and you predict what his/her fate would be. Dennis Kucinich was exactly such a candidate, running for President twice, and indeed, he was marginalized and subjected to a press black-out. His devotion to peace was labeled as crackpot theory, dangerous to the country’s wellbeing. No one since, with the minor exception of Marianne Williamson in 2016, has dared to espouse the cause of peace, thus proving your theory so far.

    • Richard Falk February 3, 2021 at 2:13 am #

      Thanks for this very helpful reminder. You are absolutely correct about this,
      and it deserves commentary and close analysis. I attended a reception in Santa
      Barbara at which Dennis Kucinich spoke to a small group of invited guests at
      a rich person’s home. He was, to borrow human rights language, ‘disappeared.’

      • Denise Donaldson February 3, 2021 at 11:32 am #

        I’m not surprised. Here in Cleveland, Dennis is a hero to many, and would never have had to fight for re-election to his Congressional seat. However, the establishment Dems saw to it that his district was gerrymandered out of existence when he wouldn’t toe the party line. He not only steadfastly refused to vote for any authorization of funds for the military, he spoke out against the MIC at every opportunity. When he wouldn’t back the ACA, saying—correctly—that it was a gift to insurance companies and not a sufficient safety net for the people, it was the last straw. Eventually, he was pressured (threatened?) Into capitulation directly by Obama (he was invited for a private trip on Air Force One), but by then, it was too late. He was effectively booted from the party.

      • Ira Youdovin February 4, 2021 at 10:57 am #


        Your response is a classic example of deflection.

        I wasn’t defending what you call the “Zionist Project”. (How about taking a first step toward finding common ground by calling it Israel and Zionism?). My sole focus was on Ray Cormier’s post, which reeks of anti-Semitism…something you obviously wish to avoid discussing.

        I stopped posting on your blog a while ago, intermittent periods of having my comments censored. As I have said many times, and repeat here: as the person who invests time and money to maintain the blog, you have the right to determine what’s posted and what’s not. I just decided not to waste my time writing comments that would never see the light of day. Besides, I didn’t much appreciate the insults, many of them defamatory, your followers flung at me and other Jewish posters.

        You speak of my “unconditional defense” of Israeli policy. That’s simply inaccurate. I am very critical of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians living in Israel and on the West Bank, the 2018 Basic Law and the one-sidedness of the Trump administration’s involvement. But after some years of trying, I’ve given up expressing these thoughts on your blog, as they invariably produce a floodtide of insults and your condemnation of moderate positions as being an “unconditional defense” of Israel. I’ve come to suspect that perhaps you don’t realize that your thinking is both extreme and non-negotiable.

        You write “Maybe we should commit ourselves to finding common ground. It might be more rewarding and certainly more challenging than dwelling on our differences.” The bitterly ironic thing about that statement is that I began posting in pursuit of common ground. I, too, am committed to building a better future for the Palestinians, as are my fellow liberal Zionists. Our mutual friend told me about your blog and suggested that you might be open to discussion. But when I posted, I quickly learned that you have no middle ground. Anything that differs from your extremist positions is rejected as an unconditional defense of Israel. You did the same thing with Fred Skolnick, a nice gentleman who identified himself as “a grandfather in Colorado” and others who were blown away.
        You’ve often told me that our positions are irreconcilable. I’ve come to accept that. My goal is to change Israel, making it adhere to the commitment to equality stated in its Declaration of Independence. Yours is to eliminate Israel, turning it into an inherently unstable bi-national state. Apparently, there’s no common ground here.

        I deeply regret this impasse. But as a thankfully former American president used to say, “it is what it is”.

        It’s springtime here in Santa Barbara. With the temperatures warming and Gov. Newsom lifting the lockdown, were able to enjoy eating at the outdoor tables set out on Main Street, which has been converted into a vehicle free pedestrian esplanade—a Las Ramblas to go with our local Riviera. I hope the blossoms in Yalkavak are as beautiful as they are along Coast Villlage Road and in the Douglas Family Pavilion.

        Stay well.


      • Richard Falk February 5, 2021 at 3:09 am #

        Dear Ira:

        I decided to stop filtering all unflattering and incomprehensible comments more than a year ago, and now
        block only outright hate messages whether directed at me or others.

        You may be right in the end. We are too far apart in our underlying perceptions to
        find common ground. I do not consider myself an extremist, and do take note of how
        someone like Peter Beinert who has shifted closer to my views in recent months, not to
        mention (again) the B’Tselem Report anticipated by my collaborative UN academic study
        released in 2017, and denounced unread by Nikki Halley at the UN and by the lobby.

        I would like to see both peoples living in peace and equality within the boundaries of Palestine as
        administered by the British in the inter-war period. Israel has deliberately situated the
        settlements deep in the West Bank signaling for years its unwillingness to allow a truly sovereign
        and viable Palestine state to emerge. In my view, the peace process, so-called, was never
        more than a PR cover to establish enough ‘facts on the ground’ to make the situation irreversible.

        You object to my use of the term ‘Zionist Project,’ preferring Zionism. The reason for this use is
        my sense that the diaspora version of Zionism was misleading in relation to the dominant Ben Gurion version
        that coveted ‘biblical Israel’ (his words despite not being personally religious: ‘the Bible is our mandate.’)
        Dispossession and erasure of the Palestinian people was embedded in this vision, as no people would be
        willing to become subordinated in their native land without resistance to foreign settlers (however motivated
        by persecution elsewhere, and by historic memories of attachment) intent on establishing a Jewish supremacy state.
        In this respect, I believe ‘liberal Zionists’ although
        sincerely hoping for a peaceful negotiated solution were neglectful of being out of step with the dominant, and
        increasing manifest, strain of Zionism. It is the strain epitomized by Dershowitz or Adelson, or for that matter,
        by Fred Skolnik. The two former being honored and celebrated in Israel unlike liberal Zionists who barely tolerated.

        I am glad that springtime has come to SB and that Santa Barbara is beginning to seem like Barcelona! Here we have
        had glimpses of Spring, but more ofter experiences of wintery chill. Take care, and maybe history will overcome our
        differences, yet I doubt in my lifetime. Greetings, Richard

      • Ray Joseph Cormier February 5, 2021 at 5:41 am #

        Ira, when Richard extended his greetings to you from Yalkavak, I assumed it was in Turkey, and looking it up, I can’t imagine a more idyllic place to sojourn for a Winter, a Year, or a Lifetime and blossom.

  4. Kata Fisher February 4, 2021 at 1:17 am #

    Dear Professor Falk. When nothing will not and can not change – there is a collective punishment. Good things ahead – last night I saw sourdough bread in my dream. Lol, don’t be troubled – we are in the midst of of the diversified pandemics. Also, I am not laughing. Why should I? About Twelve months into the plague – there is more then 2 million lost souls, for good or bad – and this out of control plague is only one year this far. I should not because He is Wonderful Designer. It’s all about Holy and Unholy Altars. And, I do not have wicked and accursed lay-people to worry about! That’s real blessing in the midst of the plague. Life is great, and is protected in Peace times – when we are having deaths – we are in a one awful war – that’s for sure. War for what? For souls? Yah- right!

  5. fgsjr2015 February 13, 2021 at 11:56 am #

    Very informative post!

    A long, revelatory review (by Geoff Olson, for Common Ground magazine, 01/10/2018) of the book ‘The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy’ notes that the book’s author describes big oil CEOs and lobbyists in the U.S. as being a very large part of the American Deep State.

    Therefore, it would be a large part of the national Capitol’s ‘swamp’ that Trump and his fans claim has corrupted DC and ergo is after his presidency.

    So, considering the Trump administration’s kowtowing to big fossil fuel (mostly via the loosening of environmental protections), he, ironically, would be content with wallowing in it—far from genuinely wishing to “drain the swamp,” as he and his fans claim.

    (If president Biden’s current climate-change-concerned behavior continues long after he’s gone, big oil in the U.S. may lose its Deep State clout. But I’m definitely not holding my breath for such a permanently progressive long-term outcome.)

    If interested, the book review can be found at:

  6. American Exception February 21, 2021 at 6:41 am #

    Professor, I appreciate your post here. In the spring of 2020 I completed my dissertation at Temple which in a sense was on the deep state. This is the abstract: “This dissertation seeks to explain the uncanny continuity of hegemonic US foreign policy across presidential administrations and the breakdown of the rule of law as evidenced by unadjudicated state and elite criminality. It finds that a nebulous deep state predominates over politics and society. This deep state is comprised of institutions that advance the interests of the politico-economic elite through nexuses connecting the overworld of the corporate rich, the underworld of organized crime, and mediating national security organizations. To investigate the evolution of the state, the tripartite state construct is elucidated. It is a synthesis and expansion of three extant approaches—dual state theory, theories of the power elite, and the deep politics framework which explores the impactful forces and institutions whose influence is typically repressed rather than acknowledged in mainstream discourse. The tripartite state is comprised of the democratic or public state, the security state, and the deep state. A key contention herein is that the deep state developed alongside postwar US exceptionism—the institutionalized abrogation of the rule of law, ostensibly on the basis of “national security.” Theories of hegemony and empire are analyzed and critiqued and refined. To wit: the post-World War II US empire has been sustained by hegemonic institutions which rely on various degrees of consent and coercion—both in a dyadic sense but increasingly through structural dominance following the collapse of Bretton Woods. Rival hypotheses related to the state and US foreign policy are analyzed and critiqued. To explore the concept of a deep state within a nominal democracy, open democratic modes of power are contrasted with top-down or dark power. Through process tracing, the historical evolution of the US state is delineated, charting the means by which US imperial hegemony was reproduced. Presidential administrations and the Watergate scandal serve as case studies of sorts, illustrating the deep state’s role in the general thrust of postwar US politics—imperial hegemony over the international system. Finally, various deep state institutions are examined along with a discussion of generalizability, applications, and implications of the foregoing scholarship.”

    • Richard Falk February 21, 2021 at 6:50 am #

      I would strongly encourage you to revise for publication. The Biden presidency seems to be restoring the
      influence of the deep state along the lines you depict. Your sophisticated theorization of deep state
      realities could be a major contribution to foreign policy discourse here and elsewhere.


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