It turns out that the president of the US is not that powerful when it comes to dealing with the deep state. The deep state can be thought of as a permanent, entrenched bureaucracy representing the military/industrial/complex, the alphabet intelligence agencies, Silicon Valley and Wall Street. This amalgamation’s objective is to perpetuate the American empire irregardless of which political party controls the presidency.
This picture, where the older brothers hand their kid brother a game console that isn’t plugged in is a good representation of how the deep state has treated Trump during his tenure. They have been amazingly successful because Trump has the attention span of a gnat but any president who complained too much could be shown the Zapruder Film again, although the deep state actors probably wouldn’t have to even bother. All presidents are extreme narcissists and the last thing they would want known is that they are merely a figurehead who lacks power.
And Trump is hardly the first president to be told what to do. If you’ll recall from the way-back machine–Citigroup chose Obama’s cabinet.
The latest evidence of the president’s irrelevance comes from US envoy Jim Jeffrey, who has been particularly noxious in his support of Sunni jihadists in the attempt by Washington to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.
In an interview, Jeffrey said: “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there.” The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the two hundred troops Trump agreed to leave there in 2019.
“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” Jeffrey said. “When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story.”
Officially, Trump last year agreed to keep about 200 U.S. troops stationed in northeast Syria to “secure” oil fields held by the United States’ Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS. It is generally accepted that the actual number is now higher than that — anonymous officials put the number at about 900 today — but the precise figure is classified and remains unknown even, it appears, to members of Trump’s administration keen to end the so-called “forever wars.”
So even as Jeffery’s praises the president’s support of what he describes as a successful “realpolitik” approach to the region, he acknowledges that his team routinely misled Trump about troop levels in Syria, demonstrating, once again, that the deep state is a autonomous entity with its own permanent objectives and agendas, independent of the White House. No matter that Trump expressed a desire to remove US troops from the Middle-East, the so-called “Blob” had their own plans irrespective of the president.
We can observe the same dynamic in regards to Trump’s desire to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, where the Pentagon and CIA had other ideas. Trump didn’t persevere and he was never hands-on when it came to the Afghan war. The military commanders could string him along with their dog and pony show. Finally, they simply exhausted him in a waiting game right up to the home stretch of his 4-year term.
That the Pentagon, the State Department and the various secret services were and are lying to Trump is not new. That one of their guys now openly admits this is illuminating.
The depressing reality is that whether there is a Republican or Democrat as president, American foreign policy remains constantly aggressive and militarist. After the last 4 years it’s abundantly clear that the American presidency exists as a figurehead to conceal the machinery of empire and endless war. The only changes are rhetoric and personal style.