William Lind: the Deep State reveals itself

Summary: William Lind gives us the bottom line about the Deep State. Long denied by its members, now they have grown powerful enough to go public. Our response might determine the course of American history. They are betting on our apathy.

“This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.”

You say potato, I say patahto.

Deep State

The Deep State Speaks

By William S. Lind.
From Traditional Right • 15 September 2018.
Posted with his generous permission.

About “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.
an Op-ed in the NYT by a “senior official in the Trump administration.”

In the instantly infamous anonymous op-ed published in the September 6 New York Times, “The Quiet Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”, the Deep State found its voice. Anyone who doubted its existence can set their doubts aside. The op-ed is the Deep State’s equivalent of the burning bush and the voice proclaiming, “I am.”

The core of the op ed is found in its first and second paragraphs:

“…many of the senior officials in his own (President Trump’s) administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda. …I would know. I am one of them.”

The op-ed contains both less and more than meets the eye. It may shock the average American to think that members of a President’s own administration would work against his agenda, but anyone who has served in Washington knows it happens all the time. And not only to Presidents; Senators, Congressmen, Cabinet members, military commanders, anyone senior enough to have a staff also has staffers with their own agendas. They push those agendas when and as they can, including when they conflict with the agenda of the person they serve. It is so common it has become a rule of institutional behavior, known as Rankovic’s Law: It is easier for the subordinate to control the superior than for the superior to control the subordinate.

Deep State logo

The op-ed’s boast that there is an organized faction in President Trump’s administration working against parts of his agenda goes a bit beyond the norm, but it has certainly been seen before.

Also unsurprising is the op-ed’s revelation that this faction is attempting to promote orthodox Republican Establishment policies such as deregulation, tax cuts, and more money for the Pentagon as opposed to the populist policies that got President Trump elected. Much of what goes on in Washington is an effort to subvert the popular will. Those who can do so successfully on behalf of monied interests often get very rich.

This brings us to what the op-ed reveals that is surprising; surprising not because we have not previously suspected it but because the Deep State now feels confident enough to say it openly: the Deep State wants international conflict. The op-ed includes a bald-faced declaration to that effect.

“Take foreign policy: in public and private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un …Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly.”

The op-ed goes on to talk approvingly about how the Deep State has punished Russia against the President’s wishes, to the point of boasting about it.

“He (President Trump) complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country .…But his national security team knew better – such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.”

Here is the significance of the op-ed, not in what it reveals about President Trump but what it says about the Deep State itself, namely that it thrives on unnecessary and strategically counterproductive international conflicts. Those conflicts justify the trillion dollar “national security” budget off which the Deep State feeds, they provide the arenas in which the “national security team” builds its careers and power and they distract the public from our sorry military performance against the real threat, the threat of Fourth Generation war and the entities that wage it. They are, in short, bread for the Establishment and circuses for the citizens.

The op-ed seeks to paint a picture of a valiant band of prudent senior officials holding a dangerous, half-mad President in check. What it actually portrays is a corrupt bunch of interests that feed off the status quo sabotaging a President who seeks to improve relations with Russia and North Korea, avoid unnecessary wars (except possibly with Iran), and put America first. The op-ed should, as it intends, leave Americans scared – scared not of a maniac in the White House, but of a Deep State so confident of its own power and invulnerability that it can go public with the truth it has previously tried to hide: the Deep State, not the people elected to the office, runs the country.


William Lind

About the author

William S. Lind’s director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation. He has a Master’s Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 to1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 to 1986. See his bio at Wikipedia

Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook (1985), co-author with Gary Hart of America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (1986), and co-author with William H. Marshner of Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda (1987).

He’s perhaps best known for his articles about the long war, now published as On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009. See his other articles about a broad range of subjects…

  1. Posts at TraditionalRight.
  2. His articles about geopolitics at The American Conservative.
  3. His articles about transportation at The American Conservative.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you found this post of use, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about William Lind’s workabout RussiaGate, and especially these…

  1. The good news: America’s politics are neither polarized nor dysfunctional. That’s also the bad news.
  2. The secret reason for America’s white-hot political rhetoric.
  3. Democrats betray their principles & embrace the Deep State.
  4. The campaign to destroy Trump takes 2 steps forward.

Books revealing the Deep State

I strongly recommend reading The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government by Mike Lofgren (2016). See the Forward to it. See my review of it.

The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy by Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat and professor emeritus at Berkeley (2017). See his website.

The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
Available at Amazon.
The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy
Available at Amazon.

12 thoughts on “William Lind: the Deep State reveals itself”

  1. I see no evidence that either Putin or Kim Jong Un are interested in better relations for the sake of them. Indeed both are as much dependent their populace being aware of ‘external existential threats’ as any US deep state. Indeed, I don’t doubt that both countries have their own deep states pursuing similar goals.

    The main difference is, perhaps, that the US has a president who’s not a product of the deep state, while Russia and NK have leaders who could not have gained or will keep power without the approval or backing of their deep states.

    But then I could be a victim of deep state pravda, all the while sure I’m not.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Can you support your previous statements? If not, just admit you were wrong and move on. Ignoring rebuttals to make new confident statements is odd.

      “I see no evidence that either Putin or Kim Jong Un are interested in better relations for the sake of them.”

      Nor are we interested in “better relations for the sake of them.” Relations between states are instrumental, done to accomplish goals (for domestic or foreign policy).

      “But then I could be a victim of deep state pravda, all the while sure I’m not.”

      Perhaps you should focus on being well-informed. Having facts to support your beliefs, as discussed in previous comments.

  2. We need a little democratic centralism if we are to remain relevant beyond July 1, 2021. By then, every Chinese will have a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health and old age care.

    On that day there will be more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China. Not relatively or per capita, but in absolute numbers. 450,000,000 urban Chinese will be worth more and have higher disposable incomes than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of ours–and outlive ours.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “450,000,000 urban Chinese will be worth more and have higher disposable incomes than the average American”

      In 2016 the average per capita disposable income of urban Chinese was about $4,900 (see here and here). That number was $44,400 in the USA (for all, both urban and rural).

      What’s going to happen in the next 33 months to produce the astonishing change that you expect?

      Also note: many economists believe China’s economy is quite unstable. Massive imbalances have accumulated in the 20 years of rapid growth, including bizarrely large debt levels in some sectors.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        I agree. Pettis is one of the best in the West reporting about economic developments in China.

  3. I certainly understand and agree with the MIC’s, US intel, the Pentagon and political interventionalists motives for continued conflict around the world, however the don is a hopelessly flawed individual to oppose the Deep State, isn’t he? In fact, due his self-proclaimed sexual deviancy, attacks on POW’s, Gold Star Families, the military, the US IC, mocking of the disabled, abject Palin-like stupidity, pathological dishonesty/hyperbole and inability to keep his big mouth shut, he’s grist for the Deep State’s mill; without moral, ethical standing or intellectual credability he has delegitimized himself, no matter the righteousness of his cause. In fact, he is a made to order pinnatta to discredit opposition to the desires of the Deep State, isn’t he?

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Trump is a clown, certainly among the least qualified of US presidents. At least he hasn’t committed treason, as Buchannon did.

      Also, I don’t know the moral calculus to compare presidents. But are Trump’s weaknesses worse than JFK’s, LBJ’s, and Nixon’s?

      “I certainly understand and agree with the MIC’s, US intel, the Pentagon and political interventionalists motives for continued conflict around the world,”

      Perhaps the rivers of blood — with no gain to the US — will eventually convince you. Perhaps in the second decade of our mad wars. Or perhaps not.

    2. Personally, Lurker, I vote realistically rather than idealistically. All of the shortcomings you just mentioned are more true of Hillary than of Trump yet the Deep State loves Hillary. Also, what objective standard of morality are you using to judge Trump’s behavior? As Larry said, is he worse than LBJ? Is he worse than the previous guy? Here’s a book questioning the morality of George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor. The Left loves to impose their morality on the rest of us, yet its morality primarily consists in ensuring that abominations like abortion and sodomite marriage are “safe and legal.”


      What can we realistically do about the Deep State? I’ve been aware of it two years. Can it be voted out? Can I write my congressmen and ask them to scale it back? Can I rely less on it? I don’t want to be apathetic about it.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        “What can we realistically do about the Deep State?”

        The same things as have been done for every political reform movement since the Founding. See details in these 60 posts.

        “Any pamphleteer can show the way to better things, but when there is no will there is no way.”
        — GB Shaw in the preface to “Man and Superman.”

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