“Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est.“
General Flynn is gone, and good riddance. But don’t bother to celebrate. There are bigger fish to fry. If the fate of the Western World was not at stake, now would be a fascinating time to be a fly on the wall in the White House. Here’s why.
Trump’s power structure is cobbled together from three distinct factions. Each faction is caught in an uneasy alliance of convenience with the other two, they all have separate agendas, and none of them can be trusted. The three factions break out as follows:
The Nazis: This is the alt-right Breitbart group led by Steve Bannon and financed by Robert Mercer. See my blog Darth Bannon. Bannon, who has a self-declared fascination with the dark side, believes we are engaged in an apocalyptic war with Islam, has predicted, with relish war both in the Middle East and with China, and believes that our existing institutions need to be totally destroyed to allow our resurrection in a properly ordered society. In addition to the financier Robert Mercer, he is allied with other Breitbarters, as well as the alt-fact media gang of Kellyanne Conway, and Steve Miller. Reportedly, Mercer financed Trump in exchange for bringing Bannon on board. This group has an utter contempt for our existing institutions and a total lack of empathy for the poor and vulnerable that they intend to steamroll. Bannon views himself as using Trump, “a blunt instrument”, to effect his aims.
The Right-Wing establishment: Think Mike Pence (and Paul Ryan). This coalition, broadly speaking the old far right, consists of the evangelicals, the traditional conservative corporate types, and the anti-fed, low-tax/low spenders. Once Trump had smashed this group in the primaries, he gave them Pence as a peace-offering to get them on board for the regular election. Reince Preibus, Trump’s theoretical Chief of Staff, was formerly Chairman of the Republican National Committee and is intended to represent their interests. They were greedy enough to take the bait and are now salivating over the payoff of a compliant Supreme Court and destruction of the EPA and other regulatory agencies.
The Trumps: Donald Trump is best described in Sidney Blumenthal’s Short History of the Trump Family. He is a classic huckster, self-interested con man, and businessman. Analytically, he is most like an old time mob boss, totally lacking in ideology, surrounding himself with family and loyalists, and managing a vast web of family interests. As such, his group includes “the Russians” such as Paul Manafort, Rex Tillerson, and Mike Flynn, and the other family business interests, Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and the Trump sons, for example. Trump’s interests have been significantly financed by the real Russians. Moreover, Tillerson, and probably Trump, are entangled with Russian oil deals and other financial businesses. As such, Trump has had long-standing and ongoing dealings with the Russians, including Vladimir Putin, dealings that he was not going to jettison just because he ran for President. Trump sees Putin as a fellow strongman and they have been coordinating efforts on behalf of their respective interests – hence the Russian hacking during the election on behalf of Trump and Trump’s vocal acceptance of the annexation of Crimea.
What is interesting about Flynn being caught talking to the Russian ambassador is that Mike Pence was blindsided. Pence, of course, is not a confidant of the inner “Russian” circle and, I expect, was being confidently candid in denying that Flynn had a Russian backdoor. Now the egg is on his face. One can further speculate that the Republican right is feeling they have had about enough of the Russian dealing – a clear ideological no-no in their world which they have had to swallow with a straight face. Can you see the steam rising in that quarter? Is there a potential split in the troika?
How about the recent over-the-top performances of Bannon, Conway, and Miller? Bowling Green Massacree anyone? How does that play with group two – the regular Republicans? More of an embarrassment. How about with Trump? Well Trump doesn’t care – it’s all good theater and we are all stupid – but not if Bannon oversteps. How do you suppose Bannon, Kushner, and Reince Preibus are getting along? Since they have made every effort to say they are good friends, one can only speculate that the knives are out.
How does it play out? My hope is that they come under enough pressure that this inherently unstable coalition implodes. Fingers crossed.