Large standing military and security forces have troubled ruling regimes from the dimmest tribal pasts down to today. Governing ideology doesn’t matter: totalitarian, Marxist-Leninist, Mao-ist or American corporatist democracy/demotic – all rely on and are often threatened by these – in political science terms – ‘power institutions.’
Adroit political leadership focuses their attention and mission abroad. Oceania always at war with Eurasia. Islamo-fascism threatens Kansas City.
In extreme cases, a regime feeling threatened by power ministries will use one against the other, e.g., NKVD and the Red Army. And then vice versa. Lin Bao an example in China, too. Coups or attempted coups occur when the civil regime miscalculates or is perceived as feeble. .
Unsurprisingly, power institutions, all things being equal, usually can be sated with status and legitimacy via external threat projection. The U-S-A! U-S-A! stuff we saw 2001-2011.
What happens when foreign threats evaporate and power institutions lose their priority claim on budgetary resources and mindshare? They usually will first try to manufacture new ones. Failing that, they will turn internally as predators.
For us, we’ve got Iran and China dragged across the stage. Enthusiasm for killing hundreds of thousands of brown people wanes (Johns Hopkins estimates). Obama’s new ‘strategy’ envisions a much less satisfying secondary, supporting roles reprising Libya.
As so often before, Israel serves as a proxy. When USA Today puts a “How Israel Will Attack Iran” on the front page, the meme’s got penetration.
“It really ought to be the golden age of intelligence collection in that you’ve got people falling all over themselves trying to express who they are,” said Ross Stapleton-Gray, a former CIA analyst and now a technology consultant who advises companies on security, surveillance and privacy issues.
The civil government’s feabless we spoke of earlier? On full display.
the Justice Department was not following the law and had not provided Congress with the material at least for years 2004 to 2008. On the flip side, Congress was not exercising its watchdog role, thus enabling the Justice Department to skirt any oversight whatsoever on an increasingly used surveillance method that does not require court warrants, according to Justice Department documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
The mishap is just one piece of an ever-growing disconnect between Americans’ privacy interests, and a Congress seemingly uncommitted to protecting those interests.
Congress isn’t alone in blame when an Executive is equally contemptuous of at least going through the motions. As we’ve said before, we know of no historical instance of a republic recovering from demotic oligarchical decadence and inevitable formless incoherence.