These being slow days, and out cold civil war heating up by degree, especially with the deep state faux impeachment, it seems proper to revisit the idea of a coup, and how it might come about. Part I was yesterday. This originally ran 2 August 2017.
Review Part I first.
Face of the coup
There is a reaction against the spreading decadence. Two groups are better known, the so-called Alt-Lite and Alt-Right. The Alt-Lite are tomorrow’s progressives today, and include libertarians, NRO readers, and folks who want to “uphold” the Constitution. The Alt-Right contains angrier and (in some cases) more realistic people whose focus is one or another aspect of the decadence, and who believe they have discovered the one thing that will restore Reality (there are thus several “one things”).
These groups have even taken to forming militias of a sort (Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Michigan Militia, etc.), at least in the vague hope these militias will become politically important. They are nascent, but interest in them is growing. Yet Luttwak reminds us, “In spite of their military bearing, uniforms, and often expensive weaponry, in almost every instance of confrontation between such militias and the forces of the state, the former were defeated.” Yes, in Germany and Italy in the mid-Twentieth Century, too. Weapons aren’t even necessary (so far). It didn’t take more being noticed by a far-left organization to cause a purge of right wingers from the Proud Boys.
This is not an argument against forming these militias, which are not without use, but a demonstration that regime change will come about by a coup, in the way discussed in Part I. Expecting Trump to declare himself First Consul of the United States of America, as the Left frets and as Putin might label himself in Russia, is bound to lead to disappointment. Still, miracles happen.
Who will lead the coup? Look for somebody in the upper—but not top—echelons of the military. An ambitious and connected major or lieutenant colonel, perhaps: generals aren’t as likely because they largely have all they want from the current regime, as discussed. If (or when) the dreaded Leftist singularity arrives, it will not do not by coup, but by and within the current system, because though the Left loses some battles, they are winning the war using the system. So a coup will almost certainly come from the right.
Who should we recruit? “Technicians”, not “leaders”, Luttwak says, people who know how to work in the system, but who aren’t directing it; the latter obviously rely for their livings on the regime, while the former want to be leaders but have been stymied. We need to watch for plants from security forces. They will be on to us. To mitigate against plants we should seek those of our own “tribe”.
African tribalism is merely an extreme case of a very general phenomenon—for example, sophisticated and utterly unreligious Jews will ‘happen’ to marry other Jews, though they may regard themselves as thoroughly assimilated.
Recruiters themselves must not be told much about coup plans but “must be both valuable and expendable”. Difficult slots to fill.
The real danger is recruiting somebody a mite too ambitious or extreme: “in the confused and dramatic situation of the coup, the extremists could gain in power and political support, and it is possible that the time we have allowed them to discredit the opposition will work in their favor.” This is why a coup, if it were to happen in the USA, would be a long time brewing. Assuring loyalty among core coup will be a slow, painful process.
The coup must come from the military, or be constituted of a substantial portion of soldiers (or sailors etc.). Only the threat and use of actual violence carries weight. Recall that the real threat of violence is what keeps you from many misdeeds.
Luttwak says “the intelligence community has grown enormously into a many-headed bureaucratic monster, largely because each intelligence failure caused by gross errors induces Congress to give even more money to those who fail, instead of the opposite.” Department of Homeland Security and the TSA, anybody?
As said last time, there are at least nineteen national intelligence agencies in the USA, and many other local ones, like those associated with the metropolitan police forces. Their scope and sweep is astonishing. Don’t be distracted by media reports and rumors of intelligence agencies scaling back. The NSA, who is reading these very words, and “whose ambition to intercept any and every electromagnetic transmission, including idle chatter of infants with cell phones, was merely dented by the revelations of Edward Snowden, the most patriotic of traitors.”
Yet we shouldn’t be overly concerned, either. We will be known at some point to some intelligence groups. But “Even if the security agencies could isolate the real data from the ‘noise,’ they will not usually take immediate action. Their professional instinct will be to try to uncover all the ramifications of the plot so as to be able to arrest all its participants.” Luttwak shows this scholarly inertia almost always gives the careful coup time to occur. Of course, the “noise” should be augmented with false rumors.
When to strike? “The timing of the coup will therefore be dictated by the progress of our infiltration of the armed forces and police; as soon as a satisfactory degree of penetration is achieved, the coup must be executed.” Wait too long and fear and fatigue set in. That’s when the arrests of coup brass happens.
The device has done its work. We are in position. Now what?
“Our first objective will be achieved by conveying the reality and strength of the coup instead of trying to justify it; this will be done by listing the controls we have imposed, by emphasizing that law and order have been fully restored, and by stating that all resistance has ceased”.
We have to switch off or control as much media as possible. Major newsrooms can be occupied. Disrupt the Internet, or at least kill social media sites temporarily. This will require recruitment of genuine technicians. We’d want the NRA on our side and those parts of the Church that amenable. Other groups will suggest themselves. Liaisons will be needed. As will be a good spokesman.
Control of information is key. After the deed is done and we have told the media and people we are in charge, we need to issue vague (but real) threats to those would challenge us. “We should avoid taking any action that will clarify the nature of the threat and thus reduce the confusion that is left in the defensive apparatus of [whatever is left of the old] regime”.
As quickly as possible those elements of the military who were not with us need to be issued orders to stand down or to reinforce troublesome areas.
Luttwak shows that great majority in the old regime during a coup take a “wait and see” approach. Only the most dedicated (or confused) of the old regime will stand against us. The others will watch which way the wind blows. Think about this. How many in power now love the system so much that they would die for it? Not the country or some other idea. But the system itself. The question answers itself.
In the days that follow the coup, we need to seek out “recognition of foreign powers”. This is what the Left fears Trump is doing now. We need to recruit at least some seasoned diplomats. But to let any foreigner know in advance of our plans is sheer folly. The leaders of other governments either reflexively protect the status quo, or they would fear our rule. Since the coup will be right wing, we can somewhat assure other countries our designs are not on Empire. Still, we need to watch for tests our of strength outside the country. Withdraw is good, retreat is not. Again, the reassurance that All Is Well needs to be put out to all.
A commenter on Part I said that the governors of the States would appoint new Senators to replace the dead ones. This is very true. But (as I said) all of these folks can be waved aside. They won’t be appointed instantly. We’ll be long ensconced by the time they arrive. 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.
The coup is over. The power is ours. What do we do with it? How do we hold it? Will States want to break off and should we let them? What system of government will we institute? How long will martial law last? Do you cut off all “entitlements”? What about a revolt?
What would you do? Luttwak is silent on this point. As he should be. He only tells how to snatch a kingdom, not how to rule it.