The term “deep state” is often used to describe the core historical institutions of a nation state, especially when they are known to act in their own best interests – or what they perceive as those of the country at large – regardless of the policies being pursued by the government in power. Wikipedia rather handily sums up the situation:
Although the state within the state can be conspiratorial in nature, the Deep State can also take the form of entrenched unelected career civil servants acting in a non-conspiratorial manner, to further their own interests (e.g., job security, enhanced power and authority, pursuit of ideological goals and objectives, and the general growth of their agency) and in opposition to the policies of elected officials, by obstructing, resisting, and subverting the policies and directives of elected officials.
It has long been argued that Ireland has its own “continuity state“. Those who rock the boat, as we have seen with the ongoing Maurice McCabe scandal, are given short thrift by the adherents of an institutional culture who believe that occasional transgressions are above accountability (or should be regarded as a perk of the job). The United States seems to be having its own “deep state” rumblings at the moment, though perhaps with far more cause as the eccentric presidency of Donald Trump continues to freewheel out of control. The left-leaning Nation magazine reports on the millionaire’s apparent CIA and NSA troubles:
Until recently, the phrase “deep state” had been mostly consigned to the bowels of the conspiratorial deep web, but over the past few weeks, since Donald Trump decided to take his fight with the intelligence community public, it has witnessed a remarkable florescence. The “deep state” apparently has Trump in its sights, at least according to former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler, who tweeted that a friend in the “intelligence community” told him that Trump “will die in jail.”
What is the “deep state”? The New York Times has given us an explainer on the concept, which doesn’t explain much. Things are bad, but not as bad as Turkey or Egypt, the Times says, which really do have deep states; and besides, leaks from the deep state will save us from the deep state.
There’s a fourth way the term is used, to refer to an almost hereditary covert caste, running from the men who in the early days of the Cold War set up the modern national security state to the elite who make up today’s “intelligence community.”
Read the whole thing, which raises some interesting points. A Trump administration may be a disaster in the making, and possibly heading for a Nixonian downfall in the near future, but one should always be wary of the self-appointed defenders of the imperium in imperio. Be they in the US or closer to home.