The recent chronology of events with regards to the current regime underscores the degree of dysfunction which exists in the Nation’s capital. The office of Chief Executive is being neutered to the extent that the boisterous land-developer from Queens is being reduced to little better than a stooge for the Military-Industrial Complex. Following the incident at Charlottesville and the purge of Steve Bannon as White House strategist, influence in the Oval Office seems to have swung towards Generals Kelly, McMasters and Mattis.
Imperial Germany 1916, provides an historical parallel. Germany’s plight in the European civil war–or, World War I if you prefer to be conventional–was worsening. The Royal Navy blockade was biting, and biting hard, with trade with the outside world sharply curtailed; resulting in food riots, a worsening economy, a leftist backlash in the Reichstag, combined with a growing casualty list in an industrialized war that was squeezing the German Army on two-fronts . . . prompting a military coup. Under the German Constitution, Emperor Wilhelm II was the supreme warlord. But as the war proceeded apace, the vaunted German General Staff neither regarded nor solicited the monarch’s input. On August 29, 1916, General Paul von Hindenburg became Chief of the General Staff. He brought with him from the Russian Front, General Erich Ludendorff, who was appointed chief-quarter-master general and assumed, with Hindenburg, the conduct of operations.
Kaiser Wilhelm II was relegated to sawing wood and tending the garden on his estate. Suborned as well was Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg. Years earlier, Otto von Bismarck had warned that the Chief of the General Staff should not have equal status with the Chancellor. In other words, the Emperor and Chancellor would affect civilian control of the government and policy. After August 29, 1916, the Imperial German Constitution had been superseded by the military dictatorship of the General Staff, in the guise of Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. And with Ludendorff’s brusque nature and energy, Hindenburg wound up siding with him in effecting the military control of Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II, then, mirrored the status of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, to be followed later by Emperor Hirohito in militarist Japan . . . silent partners in a military dictatorship.
Today in the United States the unbridled hegemony of the Military-Industrial Complex has been on prominent display. Steve Bannon, Trump’s ardent nationalist adviser and perspective architect of government deconstruction, was given his walking papers. General Kelly was asserting control by purging the former editor of Breitbart News as the Corporate State continues to wield its power to extricate Pax Americana from that embarrassing exercise in buffoonery known as the Trump Administration. Prior remonstrances against the Afghan venture have given way to the former land developer finally understanding the error of his ways and acceding to the desired course, maintaining Pax Americana and continued profits for the Military-Industrial Complex.
Besides Kelly and McMasters, another general assuming a position of political importance is James N. Mattis, Secretary of Defense. This appointment required a waiver from Congress, since in 2013, Mattis retired from his post as Chief of U.S. Central Command (another general who required a Congressional waiver was George C. Marshall, 1950). However, a sojourn into my archives has produced a volume which makes for interesting reading when looking into the origins of the Secretary of Defense. The book in question is, The Department of Defense, 1944-1978, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Historical Office, Washington, D.C., 1978. The office of Secretary of Defense is an aspect of the National Security Act of 1947. This Act saw to the refashioning of the American defense establishment for the coming Cold War. It was also a recognition of the new American reality in 1945, that this Nation was no longer a Global Power but a Superpower. NSA 47 saw to the divorce of the Air Force from the Army; the advent of the CIA; the NSC or National Security Council, which would advise the president on national security issues. . . These were among the aspects enacted for the post-1945 American defense establishment.
On page 40, “Secretary of Defense,” Sec. 202 (a), reads as follows: There shall be a Secretary of Defense, who shall be appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate: PROVIDED, That a person who has within ten years been on active duty as a commissioned officer in a Regular component of the armed services shall not be eligible for appointment as Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense shall be the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the national security. Under the direction of the President and subject to the provisions of this Act he shall perform the following duties. . . and his duties are chronicled from this point. But it was quite obvious that a stress was placed on civilian control of the military here. This has been eviscerated, and Trump’s capitulation is emblematic of the growing perpetual power of the Military-Industrial Complex, since the defense establishment is, for all intents and purposes, a Shadow Government. Again, the power of this monolithic institution can be seen with the revelation back in August of 2016, where the Pentagon reported an “Army oversight” to tune of $6.5 trillion. This should have been front page news . . . but was not. And only one presidential candidate would touch it . . . and it wasn’t Trump, not Hillary, not Sanders . . . Jill Stein did. Of course, corporate-controlled media circumvented this issue, one of grave concern to the taxpayer, indeed. But, of course, Americans, as usual, are easily channeled and so it became a non-issue.
Trump has assisted the power of the Defense Establishment with his marginalization of the State Department. Reported budget cuts at America’s arm of diplomacy range from 25 to 40 percent; and, many positions remain unfilled. Among the vacant ambassadorships are Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Korea. . . There is no secretary for Asian Affairs; no secretary for Far Eastern Affairs. By surrounding himself with military types, Trump has accentuated the power of the Military-Industrial Complex which will only continue to foster Pax Americana. And for those Hillary fans, she, too, would have maintained Pax Americana, since the presidency is now wedded to war.
Yet the Bannon-like deconstruction of government would have, in the end, adversely impacted the Military-Industrial Complex. For the meal-ticket of the unholy alliance of defense contractors, monolithic finance and colluding elected officials from Big Government provides that mechanism from which the cycle of serial wars are being waged to maintain Pax Americana. Charlottesville, then, could be the harbinger of a trend. The Perverted Populism of the current regime has emboldened ultra-nationalists, racists and assorted sympathizers. Counter actions by opponents are to be expected; and have resulted, in Charlottesville, with one participant being killed. In response, General Kelly sought to bring order by purging Trump’s high priest of ultra-nationalism, Steve Bannon. It took street action to impress upon elements of the current regime to circumvent the unpleasantness from below. America’s Royalty has come a long way since the Lewis Powell Memo in organizing and implementing the Corporate State. It cannot afford to tolerate threats to its evolving corporate-socialist structure from upstarts from either the Left or the Right.
Donald Trump’s promise of a rampart along America’s southern border is a campaign promise he may have a tough time keeping. But even if he succeeds, by comparison to the wall already erected by the Corporate State to shield itself from the citizenry so as to maintain its privileged position, Trump’s barrier will be little better than a fence. Americans have paid and continue to pay for the Great Wall of America that is the Corporate State. Remains to be seen whether they will now pay for the barrier Trump has proposed.
Mark Albertson, Norwalk