The concern of open conflict within the military and other police agencies and between them and the presidency has been sharply evident in this election | Voice of Revolution*
At the September 7 “Commander-in-Chief” forum broadcast from an aircraft carrier stationed in New York City, Donald Trump went out of his way to say he had secured the support of 88 generals and admirals. Clinton also often comments on the support she has in the military and intelligence agencies. This public display of contention within the military and between the military and presidency is indicative of the difficulties the rulers face in preserving the union and preventing a hot civil war. The old arrangements, where Congress and political parties functioned and served to help resolve conflicts, no longer exist.
The presidency, and its police powers, is increasingly the sole source of power. It is in part for this reason that there is so much emphasis on the president as Commander-in-Chief and not as civilian with social responsibility to the people.
Given this emphasis on the military, the rulers are also having difficulty using the elections to maintain the legitimacy of government. In voting, the people are supposed to authorize the government to govern. Instead, the campaigns have been revealing that the people do not consider the existing government legitimate. They do not support Congress and see it as dysfunctional, there is disgust with the negative campaigning and billions being spent, and a general view that the system is rigged against the people, something spoken to by Obama and Clinton and used as a main part of the Trump and Sanders campaigns. Objectively, when governing is no longer based on rule of law, as is currently the case with the president continually usurping power and acting with impunity in a lawless and criminal manner, it cannot be legitimated. Police powers do not serve to legitimate governance and that is what now remains of the public authority.
The old arrangements of two parties of the rich contending and colluding no longer exist. This is especially evident in this campaign where the destruction of both parties can be seen.
The old arrangements of two parties of the rich contending and colluding no longer exist. This is especially evident in this campaign where the destruction of both parties can be seen. Many Republicans, including the Bush family, have openly come out against Trump. Seventy leading Republicans, including top functionaries, have called on the Republican National Committee to stop funding Trump and instead fund those further down the ticket, in the House and Senate. Fifty top “national security” people have issued a letter opposing Trump while some also endorse Clinton. This is in addition to a previous letter signed by 100 “national security” people.
The Democrats are also splintering, as is evident in the continued rejection of Clinton by many Sanders supporters and opposition to Clinton seeking and securing endorsements from neo-conservatives. These endorsements include a number of foreign policy experts among the neo-conservatives, such as James Kirchick, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, all of the Foreign Policy Initiative and Max Boot, a self-described “American imperialist” who said Clinton was “a centrist Democrat who is more hawkish than President Obama.”
Support for Clinton as a “more hawkish centrist” comes not only from forces like Boot, but numerous other Bush forces, like Sally Bradshaw, Jeb Bush’s top adviser; John Negroponte, director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state under Bush; Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state and adviser to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; Brent Scowcroft, chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and adviser to three previous Republican presidents. This support is indicative of the fact that the Clinton and Bush families have long contended to represent the same pro-war militarist faction among the rulers, and Clinton won the race this time around. It also confirms that the new arrangements involve not political parties, but individuals selected for the presidency and a “public life” centred on the presidency and, if the rulers succeed, absent of politics and the political movements of the people for rights. This makes stepping up the building of a political movement capable of achieving an anti-war government and a new direction for political affairs all the more urgent.
These vying factions among the rulers are willing to use these authorities, such as that of the military, against the presidency.
Another problem for the rulers and one more directly contributing to a hot civil war scenario, is that the new arrangements have many contending authorities, all vying for the police powers concentrated in the presidency. These vying factions among the rulers are willing to use these authorities, such as that of the military, against the presidency. There are also possibilities for the regional break up of the country, with forces in both Texas and California, for example, calling for these states to secede and form their own independent countries.
The concern of open conflict within the military and other police agencies and between them and the presidency has been sharply evident in this election. General Hayden, George W. Bush’s NSA and CIA chief publicly stated that the military would not follow orders from Trump. At each convention retired military generals spoke. Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn backed Trump while retired Marine General John Allen insisted Hillary Clinton is the best leader. In an interview explaining why he spoke out, Allen specifically referred to comments by Trump that the military cannot win, “I decried these comments that put us on a potential track for a civil-military crisis, the likes of which we have never seen in this country.” Retired Army General Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a letter published in The Washington Post after the conventions, saying it is unacceptable for his fellow retired generals to get involved in a presidential election.
“As generals, they have an obligation to uphold our apolitical traditions,” Dempsey wrote. “It was a mistake for them to participate as they did. It was a mistake for our presidential candidates to ask them to do so.” He added, “The military is not a political prize.”
These public comments reflect a growing concern that the military will act against the president or not support commands by the president as various generals support other individual leaders.
These public comments reflect a growing concern that the military will act against the president or not support commands by the president as various generals support other individual leaders. This is taking place in conditions where the various authorities are vying for more power, including the Army, Navy and CIA. All have armed forces to make use of in support of private interests, like the military and energy monopolies. It is also occurring, as the forum indicated, in the context of the president being referred to less and less as a civilian leader and more and more as the Commander-in-Chief. The significance is that in conditions of war for empire and differences among the factions as to how to achieve world empire, these conflicts can give rise to open violent conflicts among the rulers, as General Allen warns.
At present, the endorsements and financial backing for Clinton indicate the ruling circles have rallied around her as a war president. Meanwhile, media continue efforts to discredit Trump.
There is also an attempt to further undermine the anti-war movement and fight for rights under the banner Make America Great. Trump says make it great again, while Clinton says it is already great and she will make it greater. This content was repeated in various ways at both conventions and since. So too is the notion that the U.S. is exceptional and the only one that can lead the world – this in a situation where U.S.-style democracy is in utter disrepute and is being rejected abroad and at home. The whole electoral process is being exposed as undemocratic yet it is supposedly the source of change.
The call to Make America Great is an effort to whip up U.S. chauvinism so as to disinform the anti-war movement and fight for rights. It is being promoted in a situation where Native Americans, who have long contended with U.S. genocide, are demanding their rights; where African Americans are being gunned down in the streets by police and people are so angered they are rightly refusing to stand for the national anthem, as members of sports teams from the NFL to Little League are doing. Make America Great is to counter this growing consciousness that so long as the monopoly rulers remain in power, genocide, state racism and government impunity will characterize the U.S.
There is also an effort to eliminate the consciousness that the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine and Yemen matter, that people-to-people relations of mutual respect and benefit matter and must be nurtured, as anti-war activists have been doing. This spirit of One Humanity, One Struggle for Our Rights, with people of the U.S. an integral part, is to be smashed – replaced with the notion that only the U.S. and its striving for empire matters and all must submit or face war and repression.
It is essential to escalate work to strengthen the political movement of the people for rights and an anti-war government. This can be done on the basis of opposing U.S. imperialist wars and aggression and all its striving for world domination along with escalation of a police state at home. An anti-war government is an aim the people can unite and rally around, contributing to blocking U.S. plans for broader war and contributing to world peace. The fight for a new direction for political affairs that empowers the people themselves to govern and decide is an integral part of this. Let all join in organizing for the anti-war, pro-social agenda of the people and do so on a pro-active independent basis, fighting for an anti-war government and our right to govern and decide.
*Newspaper of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization (USMLO)