Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Deep State and the Boomerang Effect

Academic psychology does not rank high on solutions to international crises, but it does have a concept worthy of our attention, “reactance” or the boomerang effect.

It means that the more you push in one direction, the more the opposite result occurs as a powerful form blowback. The greater the sanctions on North Korea to stop its nuclear program, for example, the more rapidly it develops its weapons, and the further grows the range of its ballistic missiles. The more the U.S. tries to decapitate Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the more Al-Qaeda storefronts open for business now in over 14 countries from Uganda to Uzbekistan. (1)

Before we explore this boomerang-blowback idea, let us pause to examine the conspiracy theory of the “deep state” and the so-called military-intelligence axis we hear so much about.

The New York Times and The New Yorker recently sermonized that the “Deep State” is nothing but a fiction. (2) It is all a “trumped” up conspiracy. “The problem in Washington is not a conspiracy against the President, it’s the President himself,” so opines David Remnick in his piece “There is no deep state!” The Atlantic similarly scolds, “There is no American deep state!” (3) Denials are all over the corporate media.

But the Donald insists he was bugged, that his conversations with the Australian prime minister and others were tapped and then released to the press. (4) The substance of those conversations could only have come from FBI, NSA, or CIA counterintelligence sources, he says, along with leaks to the press. So is this a wild conspiracy theory or an inconvenient truth? The mainstream media rejoinder is that it is all just unpresidential, paranoiac, early-morning tweeting, nothing more— “President Trump has offered no evidence backing his claims.” (5) So echoes the New York Times, the New York Daily News, spokespersons for the House Intelligence Chairman, et. al., But lefties like Dennis Kucinich surprisingly believe the deep state not only exists, but that Trump’s wiretapping assertions are not all the crazy. (6) NSA whistleblower William Binney says “Trump is actually right. Everything was being monitored.”(7) Two separate sources “with links to the counter-intelligence community” have confirmed it and that a FISA court warrant was issued to surveille Trump as far back as October, concluding “Obama’s fingerprints are all over this.” (8) More intrigue comes from Evelyn Farkas, assistant secretary of defense under Obama, who alleged “that not only was the previous administration collecting intelligence on the Trump team, it was attempting to share it as far and wide as possible.” (9) [Under scrutiny, though, she walked back those assertions.] (10)

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey thinks Trump was bugged. (11) And Obama’s national security counsel, Susan Rice, admitted that some wiretaps of Trump officials were “inadvertently” made and later “unmasked.”(12) Mark Levin, a former Reagan official, concludes this side of the argument: “The Obama administration’s targeting of the Trump organization, in the middle of a presidential campaign, was a more egregious abuse of executive power than Nixon exercised with the Watergate break in. . . an attempted coup to prevent Trump from assuming office.” (13) If there is a deep state plying these clandestine waters, who are they? Those on the left wag their fingers, at least on the political front, at Diane Feinstein, (14) Adam Schiff, other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Lindsey Graham—who wants boots on the ground in Syria now— along with noted war-hawk John McCain. Perhaps Chuck Shumer, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Cotton could be considered persons of interest too. (15, 16) But there is also a possibility that a corps of hidden, entrenched bureaucrats, embedded anonymously inside the NSA, CIA, and FBI, populate a putative shadow government along with what others call so-called Wall Street cohorts. (17, 18)

Curiously, Trump first appeared to the American electorate dressed in the garb of a resolute isolationist who questioned the relevance of NATO, thought the Iraq war was a mistake, and wanted to get comfy with Russia. Fast forward 100 days, and his wardrobe change is breathtaking. It boasts a number of new deep-state insignias: He let Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself in the Russia investigation; he stayed silent as favorite Michael Flynn left in disgrace; he withheld support as Steve Bannon got booted out of the National Security Council; he sent an ominous flotilla to North Korean shores saying “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will!” (19) And then he added a touch of bravado by sending 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, all to the applause of his critics.

Quite a turn around. Left face! Right face! About face, Mr. President!

It looks like Donald has embarked on John McCain’s doomsday train dragging the rest of us with him. All aboard!

As this transition is happening The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock forward to 2 ½ minutes before midnight. It hasn’t been that close in 58 years. (20)

Princeton professor Steven Cohen says this is the most dangerous moment in U.S. history since the Cuban Missile Crisis, (21) and Michael Moore tweets that “Donald Trump is going to get us killed.” (22)

An amazing conversion for an America-first isolationist. His come-to-Jesus baptism by the deep state also reversed his comments about NATO: “I said it was obsolete. . . It’s no longer obsolete.” (23) As for NAFTA, he flips again with “I was psyched to terminate NAFTA but reconsidered.” (24)

Is this a personality disorder with a dollop of bipolarity, or are we witnessing the stealthy tentacles of the deep state enveloping its prey?

From sea to shining sea

We don’t know quite how our shadow government works, but it does tilt to the aggressive. It sends a flotilla into the Black Sea, and when Russia feels uncomfortable, it accuses the Russians of harassment. (25) Far to the north, it patrols the waters of the Baltic brazenly parking off the coast of Russia’s enclave in Kaliningrad. When the Russians get rattled, the headline reads “Why the Russians decided to harass that U.S. Navy destroyer this week.” (26) Our poor flotillas, just 7,000 miles from home, seem perpetually harassed by Putin goons.

On the other side of the world in the South China Sea, the U.S. routinely flies spy missions 12 miles off China’s shores, (27) more than once a day. (28) Ah, if only China performed similar feats in LA and San Francisco.

In addition, though, we are building a $10 billion base in South Korea called Camp Humphreys only 150 miles from China’s borders. (29) Most Americans never even heard of it, much less than the cost for this single installation is 20 times larger than the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arts, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting combined. (30)

Can you imagine China building a $10 billion base in the Bahamas where 36,000 Chinese military personnel would be permanently stationed?

When China bristles at all this intrusiveness—and it does—the corporate media obediently bellows how “aggressive” the Chinese are becoming, and The Atlantic calls their behavior a “dangerous game.” (31)

Indeed, if there is a deep state, it seems resolute, undeterred, and incredibly unflappable. While Russia and China together have only 2 overseas military bases, the U.S. boasts 1,000, with even more lily pad installations built under Obama. (32) This morbid obesity just keeps growing regardless of administrations from the Ukraine to Latvia, central Africa, all the way to the Polish border, where we recently installed a brigade. (33)

There is a certain macho to this too: The U.S. actually deployed troops a mere 300 meters from the Russian border, as if to say “So what are you gonna do about that buddy!” (34)

According to Jill Stein, under Trump and Obama, the US is fighting and killing people in seven countries: (35) Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Sudan, and Libya, and Special Forces are now deployed in 138 nations. (36)

Imagine that, seven ongoing war fronts in the spring of 2017.

While the deep state continues to broaden its expansive footprint, it does so quite indifferent to what the American people want: 70 percent of Americans are against military intervention in the Ukraine; 80 percent oppose troops on the ground in Syria (sorry Sen. Graham); 75 percent oppose aiding Syrian rebels at all, and 67 percent are fed up with Afghanistan too. (37)

Majority rule and the deep state mix like oil and water.

Back to boomerangs:

Returning to psychology’s “reactance:” If we assume that the more you push, the greater the pushback, the boomerang effect, then, let us think through some scenarios that fit.

Here are a few guesses of what that might look like:

Boomerang 1: North Korea, pushed to the brink by American encroachment, exercises, flotillas, asset freezes, and newly installed missile batteries in South Korea, rather than succumbing to such pressure, decides to sell dirty bombs on the black market as Hezbollah and ISIS stand in line with cash for any such purchases. A dirty bomb detonated in Haifa, Israel would make a 36 square block area virtually uninhabitable with clean up costs close to a trillion dollars as huge numbers of Israelis skedaddled out of the country. (38) Is that storyline impossible? The tunnels are already dug; only the package needs delivering.

Boomerang 2: ISIS momentarily suspends its erstwhile genocide to enlist 20 martyrs who still possess valid international passports. They volunteer to become infected with Ebola and board planes to the U.S. early in their infection. They will not be contagious for another 4-10 days. (39) Those who can’t make it through passport control enlist Mexican cartels to get smuggled into the U.S. through one of over 80 tunnels dug under the border. (40) The cartels gladly accept cash in return for safe passage. ISIS martyrs spread out across the country, and when they are properly contagious, they sneeze their way through every bus stop, train station, airport, homeless shelter, and football stadium they can find. The mortality rate for Ebola is 30 percent: that’s 100 million Americans. And there are other brews too, biological weapons and synthetic super pathogens, that can exact even heavier tolls. (41)

Boomerang 3: The film Fahrenheit 451 showed that the U.S. had only two border patrol officers covering over 50 miles of Oregon coastline. This vast “landing zone” from Seattle to Northern California could host a hostile drop of a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb smuggled quite easily into the West Coast. (42) Ditto for the porous Canadian border. Some suitcase nuclear weapons can be as small as a backpack.

There are allegedly 84 “missing” Russian suitcase bombs that cannot be accounted for, (43) and in 2015 there had been a total of “four attempts by Moldovan residents to smuggle nuclear materials into the hands of unscrupulous buyers.” (44)

The Nuclear Threat Initiative warned about the lack of controls on highly enriched uranium saying “an amount small enough to fit in a 5-pound bag of sugar could be used to build a nuclear device with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people.” (45) And just how many return addresses do we now have to keep track of? Al Qaeda, North Korea, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Al Nusra Front, Ansar al-Sharia, the Taliban, Abu Sayyaf ? (46)

Boomerang 4: If that isn’t enough darkness for your morning coffee, flash to Pakistan which has been experimenting with “tiny” nuclear bombs, the smallest tactical nuclear weapons known. (47) The U.S. has some too like “Little John” which is so small it can be fired as an artillery shell. (48) France has the Pluton that can fly 120 km and a deliver a Hiroshima-sized warhead. Pakistan is joining this club if it hasn’t already.

Over 66 percent of Pakistanis oppose U.S. drone strikes on their territory, so their motivation for the boomerang effect is certainly strong. (49) But in addition, they maintain a dubious control over their nuclear arsenal in the first place, so through theft, or by way of black market dealings, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or ISIS, could obtain a nuclear device. Smuggled into Lebanon, it is either carried through Hezbollah tunnels to Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, launched with an Iranian Fateh short-range missile, or perhaps delivered as an artillery shell. (50) It only has 90 miles to travel to hit its target. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system might shoot it down, but it also could be overwhelmed by a fusillade of decoy missiles. Hezbollah has 150,000. (51) If successful, thousands of Haifa residents would be killed and a mass exodus of Israelis begun. In the meantime, once Israel found the correct source of the bomb, it would use its own nuclear arsenal to obliterate the sender.

But stateless actors tend not to be deterred by such retaliatory threats, because they are spread thin, found all over the place, and quite fully prepped for martyrdom anyway. (52, 53)

The more you push forward, the greater the pushback. It is curious how mainstream media wonks on Meet the Press or Face The Nation never venture into this terrain.

Kim Jon-un is very young for a world leader, only 33, deeply paranoid, recently had his stepbrother whacked, and, to make a point, shot an artillery shell into his defense minister. (54) He is obsessed with incinerating America: “Our super-might preemptive strike will reduce America’s military to ashes.” (55) All the while Kim does not bend or capitulate to flotillas, exercises, $10 billion bases, or American sanctions. His missiles get larger, and his nuclear weapons cache grows by the day—estimated at more than 20 at this writing.

The question to consider is this: Do John McCain and America’s deep state gurus have sufficient perspicacity to psychoanalyze Kim and know he will eventually cave into pressures and succumb to America’s might instead of directing a boomerang back to us?

And if you aren’t that impressed with McCain’s depth and acumen, we might redirect the question and try to end this article on a more positive note: Does psychology have any remedy for any or all these horrific scenarios?

The answer is probably yes:

To avoid pushback, stop pushing!

Jerry Kroth, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor Emeritus from Santa Clara University in California and may be reached through his website, 






















[21] Democracy Now, April 13, 2017



































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