How Do We Stage A Coup In The USA? Part I

I ask the titular question in the same spirit as that posed in Edward N Luttwak’s Coup D’État: A Practical Handbook, a classic which was revamped and reissued last year, a book packed with dry humor and good advice on how to throw off the shackles of tyranny. Update If you find yourself “troubled” by this article, ask yourself: should Luttwak withdraw his book?

Reactionaries of all stripes ought to pay the closest attention to this book. These folks are full of thoughts and words most glorious describing the ills which plague us and of which of all forms of government is best. But they are relatively, or even wholly, silent on how to get from here, from the Hell to which we are descending, to the sunny uplands of monarchy.

Well, you can’t fault them. Nobody really knows how. Or rather, we do know how, we just don’t know the details.

Here, then, is a sketch—a prediction—of how such a change might be brought about; or may be brought about by forces who are as yet unknown to us. These “forces” probably won’t be anybody we’ve heard of. Men at the top of the current regime’s hierarchy won’t be too interested in toppling it, unless their love of God and Reality is overwhelmingly strong. And if it was, they’d scarcely have reached the top of system, unless they were heroically and exceptionally devious and patient. No, look for somebody like an Army major, a Southerner with a strong network of brother soldiers who, say, snaps after being ordered to treat a tranny as if the tranny was sane.

Take this article as an outline of what might happen. Except for the form of the main strike, which I insist is the only workable mechanism, I emphasize sketch, because much of the plan lacks flesh. Readers are invited to supply this flesh.

First strike

We speak of a coup and not a revolution or civil war. We’re discussing a direct seizure of power by elements either in or close to government. The techniques for this move vary, as the Handbook details, but I’ll be blunt and suggest that while there are many paths to revolution or civil strife, there is only one clear possibility for a successful coup in the USA.

We must clancy the government.

In his 1994 Debt of Honor, Tom Clancy has a rogue pilot crash a 747 into the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress. Everybody in the building, including the Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet, and Joint Chiefs, was killed. Clancy’s hero, Jack Ryan, who is Vice President, happened to be absent and so became President.

To clancy, then, is to kill all potential enemies at once, a true decapitation, thus creating a clear path for our ascension. I say “kill”, because this is war and there is no point to squeamish euphemisms between we compatriots, and also because that is the sole solution. (It is also Luttwak’s word.)

Nothing less than killing every Senator, Representative, Cabinet member and a few token military leaders like the for-show Joint Chiefs (the theater commanders have the real power) would work, and the reason is simple. If any group, comprised of members in or out of the current government, were to seize, say, the White House and declare itself in charge, the entire media, people and military outside that group’s control would fall in behind the highest ranking Federal politician who has escaped that group’s knives.

Say we waited until the President was undergoing surgery and we incapacitated or isolated the Vice President and Secretary of State, while simultaneously barricading ourselves in the White House supported by whatever local brigade we have backing us. Everybody would watch television for the spectacle, waiting to see how we were destroyed, and absolutely nobody would take our claim seriously.

Even if we killed the President, VP, and the Cabinet, say by sneaking a device into Camp David during some important retreat, the Speaker of the House would assert his right and we again would not be taken seriously. Of, supposing we had the Speaker killed, too, then some Senator or Representative would say he rightfully holds power and he would be believed, even though the right of succession only officially runs through the Cabinet.

It has to be everybody, all at once. The people and media know who the government is, which is why everybody in it not with us must be killed. The government that people know must be rubbed out in its entirety, because the form and structure of the current government is too ingrained in the thoughts of minds of citizens, who would latch onto and support any remnant of the old regime that slipped past our dragnet.

It would be best, for the “optics”, if we could have as a leader or a front some current high-ranking official with us as part of the coup. We could trot him out in front of the smoldering ruins of the Capitol and his claims of succession would be embraced by most. (This is clearly not the current VP; but perhaps General Mattis sees himself in this role; or perhaps President Trump himself, though this is extraordinarily doubtful, because these men were promoted within the current system.) There would probably be other minor officials making or disputing our claim of succession, but these people can be quickly arrested or otherwise dissuaded.

The Mechanism

Now it does not have to be a plane that does the clancy, but the coup has to begin at the State of the Union address. Nothing else is as big a draw, nothing else gathers the government in one spot. This makes planning easy and difficult. Easy, because the dates and many of the details are known in advance; difficult, because when the word of a potential coup leaks, which it will, the annual address will fall under the hazy gaze of the intelligence services. Of which there are at least nineteen and growing. (Luttwak lists them: “That more is less when it comes to intelligence will no doubt be recognized one day.”) More on them later.

We might try to make the incident appear as an accident, but nobody will buy a “gas explosion” or “electrical fire” or whatever; besides, people will ask how come some people did not escape a simple fire? No, we need either an aircraft laden with explosives, a missile, an in-place explosive device, or something equally devastating (biological weapons are far too iffy).

A plane or missile requires extensive planning and cooperation with either the Navy or Air Force, and for a device probably the Army. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. We only need those men in charge of the particular weapons, men who can ensure they have loyal soldiers, sailors, or airmen under them. A device is best, because its origin has the best chance not to be positively identified quickly (don’t forget the military will be under our control at this point). Long after we seized power, it doesn’t matter much that people figure out we planted it, and indeed this could work in our favor. A missile or a plane will be seen (as in tracked), and their origin can be identified easily. We wouldn’t want it known that the missile was shot from a Navy ship, for instance. A true clancy with a civilian aircraft is workable only if the Air Force commander in charge of the planes protecting the Capitol airspace is with us.

Getting the device inside the Capitol won’t be too hard. Not if we have at least some of the security forces working for us. Since we will have planting rumors of potential attacks by foreign entities (Muslims), we can call the device “protective electronics” or whatever. The real work will be in co-opting the normal security procedures and radiation sniffers (we can admit our device has radioactive material; science demands it, or whatever). You can see how quickly membership in the coup must grow. (We don’t want too strong a radioactive device, anyway, because we must occupy the White House for the symbolism.)

The Event

We’ll have to ensure that the particular Address we pick packs them in. We will have planted various rumors, and caused some small incidents not too far in advance that will heighten the interest of government to be there, either to hear something “important”, or to be seen. We won’t get everybody. Somebody always has a reason they cannot attend. That means the closer we get to the coup, the more we have to pay attention to attendees. We will have to have enough members in our team that we have sufficient manpower to go after whoever does not attend—but we must remain small enough so that we are not exposed.

For instance, a politician could be back in his home state for some reason and miss the Address. So we’ll have to have in our bag flexible plans to arrest these members after the coup. This will require a lot of thought since the places the absentees can be are various.

Arrest, not kill. Why? Because the incident we stage which takes out the Capitol must be made to look like it was carried out by an external or internal enemy that is not us. We need to act in the controlled media blitz aftermath as bewildered as anybody else about the cause (about that control, more later). How could this unknown enemy attack the Capitol and the stragglers? We would fall under suspicion too soon. Of course, if we can get to the absentees before they can make public statements, then they can be killed.

Those arrested must be watched by especially zealous or loyal troops working for us. By definition these men will be leaders, well used to commanding and “bending people to their will.” Luttwak has great insight to the psychology of these men, and shows how often coups are lost by careless guarding of them.

On that same line, we must be most suspicious after the coup of the members we recruited from the current regime, because, of course, “it would be unusual to have the complete loyalty of those who (since they joined our coup in the first place) must be to some extent inherently disloyal”. And somebody has to be boss. As the movie said: there can be only one. Kerensky should have killed Lenin on Day Two. “Assertions of loyalty will usually be worthless because they are made by men who have just abandoned their previous…masters.” This is the most dangerous time.

In Part II, we discuss recruitment, various technical details necessary for implementing the coup, the media, what to do about foreign powers, and more.

30 Thoughts

  1. Sorry Dr. Briggs. I love following your blog but I’m with Kirk Douglas on this one, and not with Bert Lancaster.

  2. I have followed your blog for a few years now and believe you to be an intelligent man. Recently though your inherent dislike of yourself is inherent in all of your articles. Additionally the material is approaching the old stressed regime of dissidence.

  3. In parts, sounds like some events that took place on a crisp and beautiful morning that is in recent memory.

  4. Briggs
    I respect you, and admire you, Hell, I even like you… But now I think you should step back a pace or two. What would old Bert have done? Well, in that film; “7 days in May”, I’d say he shot his bolt. Kirk; “Jiggs”, stopped him. Amen! I do not agree with Douglas’s real life politics by the way, but I consider him a great American.
    As a long time ex-pat I have often had to defend my love of country… What is it that I love?
    Is it the people? Those daytime TV addicted, addle pated melungeons? Hardly! Is it the “LAND”? Well, it’s a nice chunk of real estate, but dirt is dirt. No, what we Americans have is our Constitution. The Constitution is the core of American exceptionalism, and it is to that document I gladly swear fealty…

  5. …Americans will get what they deserve. Such must be the fate of a democratic republic. Right now, the mob seems to be in control. Will that be the end of us? I, for one, will not try to thwart this devine experiment.

  6. It seems far easier to move the existing mess towards a Trump family dynasty than do all that other crap. The Clintons and the deep state still have huge chunks of the government right now, and it is only the unique nature of Trump that led to his win.
    A middle-class guy from Peoria, for instance, would be sitting in jail right now, because he wouldn’t have enough money for the lawyers.
    Which is why all these talking heads who think Trump Jr. is stupid don’t know what they are talking about.
    Which is also why Trump Jr. is probably the best bet.
    Currently, they are locked in a fight just to be able to control the government at all. A multitude of criminal investigations need to happen, but the F.B.I. is busy ‘investigating’ the one they probably know they don’t need to, since Susan Rice and the Obama administration investigated the Trump campaign in real time.

    If the two parties get their way, Trump will have the Jesse Ventura experience, wherein little to nothing gets done because they won’t cooperate, and then one of these horrible politicians gets to be president again. Trump shows some signs of being smarter than Ventura, and the office of president has a bit more clout than the governorship of Minnesota.

    So, you really want monarchy, and Trump wins in 2020? You start working on Trump Jr. I know, you probably want some different family to work with, but start with what you’ve got. A properly orchestrated Constitution convention gets you where you want to go. Maybe that takes another generation.

    Of course, if you’ve got the ability to crown me now, by all means do so. But I suspect you’ll have to start somewhere, and get to what you want by improving the line.

  7. As the Pythons said, in my biography (?); “Only the true messiah would deny his own divinity”. I don’t know about Trump Jr. but for my part, “If elected, I will not serve!”

  8. Trust me on this, you don’t want royalty. And I know, because, in Holland, we still have royalty. Bunch of tossers.

    What you might want are kind of people that are able to become royalty because of them defending the people against tyranny.

  9. As Alice says,
    “Yes!! Your Majesty…”

    If you ask Trump nicely, I’m sure he’ll join in as king. I was only thinking this last night while watching him talking to the cubs. Trump’s doing a good job. These things take time.

    What you want is an Elizabeth. Preferably one with a two after her name. If I think of one I’ll write to her and tell her that an America is looking for a help. We haven’t decided yet wether you can have independence so it will help make the decision a bit less draconian. Wouldn’t do to be accused of a tyrannical takeover of part of the old colony.

    “The proper rights and powers of the king are as guarantor of the rights of everybody else and without the King’s rights, nothing and no one is safe.”…
    …”It offers liberty to tender consciences in religion.”
    (Charles II Letter to parliament in favour of monarchy. )

    “Everybody now drinks the king’s health without any fear whereas before it was very private that a man may do it:”
    Samuel Pepys. (Diary)

  10. Forgotten here is that the States are not all suzerainties, yet, though some clearly are such. Should you decapitate the current government, the States have the Right and the Power to form the next one.

    Besides, if you’re going to have a government, you’re going to have to have politicians. Better, in my mind, to have power dispersed and competing against each other most of the time. I rather like what our Founders gave us. They were not dumb or naive. They knew human nature. They even warned us.

  11. All,

    For those who cannot engage in the spirit of the thing, should we ask Luttwak to withdraw his book, too?


    Very true. But all of these folks can be waved aside. They will be seen as “newbies”. Anyway, they won’t be appointed instantly. We’ll already be there. We can even welcome them, as long as they abide by our martial law. They can be kept from meeting easily enough, at least in DC. If they are forced to congregate in small numbers in, say, Nebraska, they won’t be taken very seriously, especially as they won’t have military backing.


    Very true. But that’s because they see themselves as figureheads and not rule-givers.


    What the States do is Part II.

  12. Lee —

    Yet you understand exactly what Briggs is stating and can’t seem to get enough of his writing. Therefore, your statement is false due it being a performative contradiction.

  13. Briggs, if men with black sunglasses start following you, there are funny beeps on your telephone conversations, you get parts of your emails blotted out by ***’s, don’t be surprised.

  14. Bob,

    Or you could say that I was an occult employee of one of our intelligence agencies, trying to ferret out potential traitors.

  15. Bob K,
    It’s when they start following him into coffee shops and watching for hours, he’ll know he’s hit the big time.

  16. Decapitating the government at a SOTU address is the premise of the Kiefer Sutherland TV series “Designated Survivor”. Sutherland’s character, a minor cabinet member, is the “designated survivor”, sequestered by the Secret Serivce safely away from the capitol during the speech as insurance against just such an event. It was immediately obvious that the series plotline was borrowed/stolen from Clancy’s novel. The series started out interesting. Unfortunately, the series producers opted to take it into fantasyland, blaming the decapitation on domestic “alt-righters” instead of the only logically-plausible radical ideology that would attempt such a decapitation in the real world.

  17. Jimmy:

    “your statement is false”


    “We can count ourselves unfortunate that this guy is no more conversant with military/political strategy than with science.”??

  18. Sorry, but I’m still a little steamed about this post. Just how would you plan an overthrow of the American government? It’s gotta’ remind you of the case against poor Richard Jewell, after the ’96 games in Atlanta. This is Leverenti Beria’s M.O.

  19. @Briggs

    They always start to see themselves as figure heads. That is as natural as getting wet walking in the rain.

    The William of Orange who later also became King of England was angry at him being just Stadhouder instead of a proper King. After all, if an Habsburg idiot cousin could be King, why not him?

  20. @brian,
    Why be steamed? Our Founders, it seems obvious to me, thought about this when they met in Philadelphia. Read some of James Madison’s notes and both the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist’s essays.

  21. Royalty, like most of humanity, is susceptible to poz. Holland is very left wing, and I am sure most of the royalty breathe the same air as our true enemies- the bureaucrats. The modern state has created an environment in which bureaucratic traits are selected for. Even the Emperor of Japan is not immune.

    So it is very important to create a different environment, one in which nobility is selected for.

  22. @August Hurtel

    They do have a knack for seeing which way the wind is blowing. People were amazed that the future queen was introduced into the Dutch way by the former political leader of the seriously left-wing PSP, the Pacifist Socialist Party, even though that part never managed to get more than 3 or 4 out of the 150 seats in Parliament, early this century.

  23. The important point is that the Monarch has ultimate say over parliament’s formation and dissolution. This is a buffer. It also requires trust on part of the people in the system of their country and not an attitude of jealousy, French style.

    The military has the Queens commission along with all commissioned officers.
    Whilst military structures have their own tiresome ways of functioning and invented, hierarchy and red tape, probably, they are all with the aim of protecting the interests of the queen and the country.

    If Monarchs elsewhere don’t have ultimate power they are just figureheads.
    It is said that the British one is unique.
    See our recent general election where the clown Jeremy Corbin, aided by the date of the election where students voted in university towns which are traditionally conservative (and often voted more than once,), thought he could, with the help of his new student friends change everything. The media had a very good try and is still doing so.

    The media is the font of lies that will drive people mad if they can.

    The Queen is the head of the Church of England too. There by the grace of God, and why people say God save the Queen.
    History has established that this form of government and constitution works. Recent years has seen a very real attempt to alter it and has come quite some way. The House of Lords invasion being on my mind in particular.

    In order for a country to remain in stable state, people must be of roughly similar world view in enough quantities. There can be freedom for people to hold whatever view they wish and express it but importing en mass, numbers of people with a different culture is to import a new country on to old soil. It will cause problems and fighting will ensue if all other ordinary routes fail and there is still unrest.

    In America, the problem is also their blessing. That of land area. It is large enough for people to move away from people of a different kind. For people to form the weirdest and whackiest systems in communities and for attitudes to be as different as Texas and San Fransisco. These are really different countries. America is turning into a Europe, where different distinct countries form. Europe WAS slowly turning into an America.

    The old model is the right one. States can’t be united when they are so different.

    As to a coup, Briggs just likes fireworks.

  24. Joy, America always *was* a Europe. A Europe as it used to be when America was settled, and also one where the people always knew that the ‘king’ was just a man temporarily placed in a position of authority and not really any more ‘noble’ than any other man, by nature of man.

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