If Donald Trump won’t knuckle under, could he face an American ‘Colour Revolution’?

Posted on November 17, 2016, 1:48 am
9 mins

PHOTOS: One of many anti-Trump rallies in the United States in the past few days (from Facebook). Below: U.S. President Elect Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, U.S. Senator John McCain and Julius Caesar.

It would be an irony if the troubles the United States has visited on much of the earth were now visited upon the United States – and, lest you’re feeling smug about that possibility, it’s not likely to be a happy irony if you happen to be a citizen of that country’s next-door neighbour.

Still, filmmaker Michael Moore probably has it right when he predicts Donald Trump will not serve out his full term as president.

trumpmugMr. Moore, well known as a maker of documentaries with a distinctly progressive point of view, argues that the U.S. President Elect is simply too self-centred not to break the law in his own interests, political or otherwise.

We are advised to pay attention to Mr. Moore’s prognostications because, after all, he famously predicted Mr. Trump’s election while all the other pundits were still chortling at the Republican candidate’s preposterous antics.

But if Mr. Trump, dangerously unpredictable buffoon though he may be, gets into trouble sufficient to see him impeached by the U.S. Congress or removed from office in some other way, it won’t simply be because he breaks a law. That would merely provide an excuse. It will be because he goes ahead and enacts policies that offend what it’s nowadays fashionable to call “the Deep State,” that is, the governing apparatus of the ruling class.

Mr. Trump’s open racism and his narcissism may offend many, but are less likely to be deal breakers for the people with real power.

On a range of issues, however, Mr. Trump’s campaign policy positions were anathema to the American (and by extension, the world) ruling class, also known nowadays as “the 1%” – the one powerful trope bequeathed to us by the otherwise evanescent Occupy Movement.

putinThese include, for example, his promises to tear up trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership that are really corporate-rights treaties generally harmful to ordinary citizens in signatory countries.

Another example was his position on North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s mostly aspirational military budget guidelines for member states. A NATO tax of 2 per cent of GDP makes a convenient and generous subsidy for the U.S.-dominated military-industrial complex, but shouldn’t distract us from the real purpose of the alliance in the post-Soviet era, to enforce American economic dominance on the world.

When Mr. Trump tells NATO members to pay up or get out, that is exactly what the U.S. Deep State does not want to happen.

Closely related to Mr. Trump’s skepticism about NATO is his apparent lack of enthusiasm for the New Cold War against Russia – one of two nuclear-armed states that are resistant to U.S. economic dominance. The other is China. A key part of the renewed Cold War has been the constant demonization by Western media of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, now emerging as the other half of the first bromance of the Trump Era.

mccainSo on these issues and others, Mr. Trump’s survival in office likely depends on his willingness to knuckle under to the demands of the Deep State – not so different, in that regard, from the long list of leaders of other countries who hesitated to obey their marching orders from Washington.

As far as we know, there hasn’t been an actual plot to overthrow the president of the United States through coup d’état since 1933, although there are those in the tinfoil hat brigade who darkly see such plots behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the forced resignation of Richard M. Nixon in 1974.

Be that as it may, just because Mr. Trump becomes president of the United States doesn’t mean he’ll be immune to such threats. His supporters see him as a revolutionary battering ram against “the elites,” real and imagined, and all through history the economic elite has struck back if its interests are truly threatened.

There’s even a case to be made that Rome’s conservatives murdered Julius Caesar because he was a reformer with a disturbing tendency toward democracy, not because he was an odious tyrant who dared to cross the Rubicon with his army.

In places where for one reason or another the direct force of Western arms could not be used to remove an inconvenient leader, the favoured mechanism of the West’s intelligence agencies has come to be the so-called “Colour Revolution,” of which there have been several, not all named after colours.

caesar2Colour Revolutions are inevitably portrayed by Western media as the work of idealistic reformers – and sometimes they are. They are viewed in many corners of the world, though, as a form of asymmetrical warfare practiced by the United States and other Western powers to effect regime change.

Usually Colour Revolutions begin with mass demonstrations by opponents of the regime, who often identify themselves with a particular colour or symbol – orange in Ukraine, green in Iran, yellow in the Philippines.

Indeed, Mr. Putin’s government has taken specific measures against Colour Revolutions, including a ban passed last year on U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations and the creation this year of a Russian National Guard equipped for decisive action against such disturbances.

So, could the United States be the next target of a Colour Revolution?

On the face of it, this seems as unlikely as, say, a Trump victory in the presidential election.

Yet we know that there have already been several days of mass demonstrations all over the United States by opponents of Mr. Trump – so far focusing on his racism. For the moment, those demonstrations seem to be waning, but organizers promise more and bigger to come.

We know that American security agencies – specialists in organizing and assisting Colour Revolutions abroad – have been very unhappy at the prospect of having to tell President Trump their secrets. Speaking through a former Central Intelligence Agency director, the intelligence community recently signalled its deep unease at the idea of a Trump presidency.

We know that the Trump transition team has been leaking like a sieve, with stories of firings, deep policy disagreements and increasing attacks on the President Elect by members of the Republican Party’s own establishment.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that another former CIA director had been purged from the presidential transition team, and Sen. John McCain, the party’s standard-bearer in 2008, assailed Mr. Trump’s relationship with Mr. Putin as “an unacceptable price for a great nation.”

These are all warning shots across the bow of the Trump presidency. Is it possible that Mr. Trump, a political dilettante, does not understand how serious a predicament how could soon find himself in?

If he does recognize he has a problem, perhaps Mr. Putin, who has faced and survived a similar challenge, can advise him.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

23 Comments to: If Donald Trump won’t knuckle under, could he face an American ‘Colour Revolution’?

  1. Keith McClary

    November 17th, 2016

    “His supporters see him as a revolutionary battering ram against ‘the elites,’ ”

    I’ve been looking for any economic analysis of how his policies (whatever they are) will actually help his supporters more than the “elites”. How long will it take his supporters to figure out they’ve been suckered?

    Reply
  2. Anne Peterson

    November 17th, 2016

    We need to teach children in schools a lot about propaganda and also teach them the real history of the world and of the adventures of the US. I didn’t know about the real history of DRC until I read a novel because I wasn’t of an age to pay attention when it all happened. And the truth about it isn’t in the history books. And I didn’t understand what was happening really about the Mau Mau situation until lately when I read about it and I remembered the hysteria. Education, education, education!!! More honest voices like yours are needed.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      November 17th, 2016

      Yes, I recall open, vicious, racist propaganda against the Mau Mau – transparent now – as assigned school reading in Grade 5 or 6. DJC

      Reply
      • St Albertan

        November 17th, 2016

        Wasn’t the Mau Mau, the name adopted by the anti colonial revolutionaries in Kenya? What does the Democratic Republic of Congo have to do with anything anyway? Isn’t it a faux colonialist construct?

        Reply
        • David Climenhaga

          November 17th, 2016

          I was referring to the Kenyan rebels, as the reference to my personal time frame should have given away. I may have misunderstood a misunderstanding by a commenter. Or not. Not sure now.

          Reply
          • St Albertan

            November 18th, 2016

            Not to worry. History has been the passive victim of many, and like our planet, it doesn’t fight back.

          • St Albertan

            November 18th, 2016

            Yet

  3. TENET

    November 17th, 2016

    I am a coward because I have retreated from the Trump debate. It is so troubling to folow him and his group, I deliberately avoid watching any U.S. news. The Americans got what they deserve. Buffoons do not manifest out of thin air.

    We have our own menacing people right at our back door: Kenney, and if he is not enough to invoke the gag reflex, ponder O’Leary.

    Reply
    • Filostrato

      November 17th, 2016

      I second both those emotions.

      Reply
  4. Addn

    November 17th, 2016

    I find your commentary on Alberta politics to be rather more convincing than your interpretation of international affairs.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      November 17th, 2016

      Well, continue to enjoy the Alberta commentaries then and make a mental note of my geopolitical predictions until about, say, mid-2019. Then see if you still feel the same way.

      Reply
    • TC

      November 21st, 2016

      I agree with the writer’s conclusion, even if I may not agree with the arguments leading up to it

      Reply
  5. J.E. Molnar

    November 17th, 2016

    Another area of concern is Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington elites. It appears, according to a recent missive to Trump by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, that Trump is in fact “filling the swamp”. Read the attached letter below. This may prove to be even more problematic for the president-elect in the coming days.

    http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-11-15-Trump_Letter.pdf

    Reply
  6. Ron

    November 17th, 2016

    OK
    I think M. Moore’s take on the US electorate is better than his grasp of Trump himself.

    My bet is Trump becomes a patsy for the neocons, hence he faces a glorious Ronald-Reagan-like future. (Based on his post-election moves to date.)

    Trump is America’s’ answer to climate change and the coming apocalypse.
    We will not learn to work together to share what’s left – rather we’ll see a Mad-Max style race to the bottom.

    Reply
  7. David

    November 17th, 2016

    So many unexpected and unprecedented things have already happened plus Mr. Trump is nothing if unpredictable. It is quite plausible that he will not serve out his term, as the Republicans in Congress and the Senate are at best wary of him. However, I would also not underestimate Trump, which is what everyone seems to keep on doing and at least so far they have been proven wrong.

    I think it is true that Mr. Trump is flawed so he may give his opponents the ammunition to end his presidency – impeachment in a few years is a good possibility. However, the Republicans need him to do some things for first and there could be a big backlash against them if they tried to dispose of Trump. Therefore, it might be easier for them to give Trump a couple of years to govern, get him to implement the things they want and then if they do badly in the mid term Congress and Senate election, let the Democrats take charge of the dirty business of impeachment. No coup, no colours, no blood on the Republicans hands and it all appears so nice and democratic.

    Reply
  8. Jim

    November 17th, 2016

    Trump starts talking about silver certificates and it will end sooner rather than later. If I remember correctly that executive order is still around.
    On coloured revolutions one of Hillary’s biggest backers seems to be behind a few of those lately.

    Reply
  9. John Clark

    November 18th, 2016

    I’m old’ plainly. We have not seen a configuration of world recession and its fostering of mob unrest across the globe at one time since prior to the Second world war. And, if rhetoric is an indication, all the players are in place to reach hell itself.

    The main difference is the change in banking rules and a computerized stock exchange and a generally better advised general public world wide. Nevertheless there is a lively hunt out for scapegoats.

    Reply
  10. Bob Raynard

    November 18th, 2016

    In the days leading up to the election I expect almost all Republicans must have wished they had a better candidate, because it was clear the election was about which candidate was worse, not who was better. I imagine most Democrats felt the same way about Ms. Clinton.

    So here is my question, if anyone knows: Assuming Donald Trump does manage to avoid impeachment for 4 years, is he automatically the Republican candidate in 2020, or is there a process where the Republican party can nominate someone else? If there is such a process, have there been many instances where either party has essentially dumped a sitting president rather than let a weak candidate run for a second term?

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      November 20th, 2016

      I don’t think, since the Second World War, there has been a successful challenge to a sitting President for his party’s nomination. The closest I can think of, which isn’t really all that close, was when LBJ, who ascended to the Presidency in 1963 upon the assassination of JFK, and was elected to a full term in his own right in 1964, decided in the wake of the Tet offensive (Vietnam) of 1968, not to run for re-election. His Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey, was challenged for the Democratic nomination that year by Eugene McCarthy, running on an anti-war platform, and Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated during the primary campaign (if he hadn’t been, he might very well have won the nomination).

      Sitting Presidents do get denied a second term in the general election from time to time; Jimmy Carter and George Bush the Elder come to mind.

      Reply
  11. jerrymacgp

    November 18th, 2016

    Oh, dear, David, I fear you may have been shopping in the aluminum headgear section yourself… in the international affairs aisle. I think the GOP is, like, OMG, we should have been careful what we wished for. Trump is an odious character with no verbal filter, but the scenario you posit here is pretty far-fetched, IMHO. His ranting against “elites” is just so much bovine excrement, given he himself is one of them.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      November 18th, 2016

      I agree with you that the likelihood is that Mr. Trump’s ranting is “just so much bovine excrement,” as you put it. The point is that, if it isn’t, he will be in trouble with the ruling class, the Deep State or the 0.01%, whatever you want to call them. We shall see soon enough, I suppose. DJC

      Reply
      • tom in ontario

        November 19th, 2016

        So far the 0.01% should be giddy with joy at what they see. He’s promised to cut income taxes for millionaires, reduce corporate taxes to be offset by closing the loopholes which never happens, and increase military spending to the delight of the war machine. His new Republican buddies in Congress will make it work.

        The icing on the cake will be the appointment of Antonin Scalia Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court.

        What’s not to like?

        Reply

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