Trump’s style when dealing with corporations triggered a sense of “urgent need to restore faith in our vital economic and government institutions”. While in a previous post it was explained what this means with regard to state-capital relations, this post focuses on Trump’s relations with the politico-military establishment.
While Trump’s rhetoric is not anti-capitalist, his ideological positions and unpredictable attitude represent an obstacle to the objectives embedded in a US grand strategy which for decades was formulated and maintained by a globalist bureaucracy.
The main evidence of this tension is reflected in the reaction of the “Deep State” against Trump since he was elected. While bureaucrats understand that Trump is not a revolutionary, they see him as a threat to their sectional interests and decisional power, and above all to the pillars of post-WWII grand strategy – not everyone agrees on this argument about the arbitrary measures taken by the Deep State and it has been argued that the latter functioned as it was supposed to do. The New York Times was right in commenting that “Mr. Trump has put institutions under enormous stress. […] That has forced civil servants into an impossible dilemma: acquiesce, allowing their institution to be sidelined, or mount a defense, for example through leaks that counter Mr. Trump’s accusations or pressure him into restoring normal policy-maker practices”. This statements explains how Trump’s personality and attitude is perceived as an attack to the power of bureaucrats. But more interesting in terms of relations between the president and the establishment are the words of an Obama’s adviser.
In addition to the Deep State, he portrayed the opposition to Trump as a front formed by “The Blob”, which Ben Rhodes described as “the bipartisan class of foreign policy elites—Washington swamp dwellers like Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates and their assorted Ivy League hangers-on […]”. “Trump managed—or threatened—to blow up many of “The Blob”’s most cherished beliefs about American power. In doing so, he finally united Democrats and many Republicans, hawks and doves, neocons and Obamians, in a frenzy of worry” (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/trump-foreign-policy-elites-insiders-experts-international-relations-214846). If anything this demonstrates that Trump is an atypical member of the elite – the ugly duckling in Washington, D.C. – and that the politicization of certain issues does complicate the plans of capitalist ruling classes and their political and military representatives. Pressures on American governments are shaped by internal struggles for power. Trump’s fight with the FBI is very indicative of the conflict between the presidency and “The Blob”. The firing of Comey was the culmination of this tension begun when the first news on Trump’s relation with Russia emerged. But this could also be seen with regard to the lack of candidates for the position of National Security Adviser. This was also confirmed in Walter R. Mead’s portrait of Jackson. The conservative scholar highlighted that “the establishment always has an uncomfortable relationship with Jacksonians” (https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/01/19/the-winners-of-2016/). Rhodes and Mead are right. The struggle of power does not involve only the security apparatus but also the Republican Party which is increasingly divided.
On the one hand it lies Trump with people such as Peter Navarro, Robert Lighthizer, Wilbur Ross and Steve Bannon. On the other side there are Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin representing globaloney. However this portrait is more representative of the first 100 days of government rather than recent weeks. Since the launch of missiles in Syria there seems to have been some normalisation as Trump ceded to the globalists, even though Comey’s case has revived the institutional-political conflict.
It is still too early to provide a comprehensive and coherent portrait of Trump’s relations with the establishment.