It started with peaceful protests. It always does. Oppressed, poor or otherwise desperate people take to the streets because they don’t know what else to do. Because their neighbours are doing it. Because the world is unfair to so many people. Because attention should be paid.
The reasons don’t matter. The peacefulness does.
Nobody who is marching for justice and change really wants to burn down a bakery or steal some trainers from a Nike store.
But then it starts happening.
Windows are broken. Bricks are thrown. Civilians are sprayed with mace. Bystanders are caught up in the throng. People get hurt.
It doesn’t need to happen, but it does.
Sometimes police panic in the face of intimidating crowds. Sometimes protesters let their anger boil over. A small minority of people just enjoy violence and chaos. Others stand to benefit from it, they stoke conflict and spread blame.
Then the molotov cocktails are flying and the snipers are shooting people on both sides. There’s blood in the streets and barricades are going up and the whole thing has its own momentum.
And, through all this, the media is churning out the noise. Partisan and dehumanising. “criminals” on one side “Fascists” on the other. Both sides are called thugs. Fox News and CNN tell the same stories with reversed points of view, slashing society down the centre.
And the chaos builds. The President has to do something, so he calls in the army.
Now the press are calling him a fascist and a dictator. They say he’s violated his office and he has to resign or be removed or be arrested.
I’m not talking about the United States.
I’m talking about Ukraine in 2014. Or Egypt and Syria in 2011. Or Libya in 2010. Or Bolivia just last winter. Or Venezuela every year for decades.
If the events currently unfolding in cities across the United States were happening in any other country in the world, a lot of us would already have said that the US Deep State was behind it. All the hallmarks are there.
The constructed narratives. The handy props. The agents provocateur. The hysterical media. The stench of agenda.
Consider, for a moment, that what is happening in Minneapolis and New York and Los Angeles has been happening in Paris and a host of other French cities for nearly two years.
The Guardian never called Macron a fascist. CNN never had a live stream about that.
Compare the coverage of the Gilets Jaunes to Black Lives Matter, and then to the Maidan protests.
The rubber bullets and tear gas are the same. The headlines are not.
[Trump] is no longer president. The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better.
The Washington Post has an op-ed headlined:
Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers.
Remove Trump Now
The corporations are all on board. Every one of them releasing statements of solidarity and heartfelt Instagram posts and sending money to all the right places. Nike had their famous ad.
Because the same companies paying slave-wages to 10-year-old Indonesian kids in vast sweatshops just hate racism and inequality, honest.
We’ve seen this before, haven’t we? Doesn’t this look like a play for an exchange of power? A colour revolution in the offing?
I suppose we should ask “why now?” Trump is up for re-election in just five months after all. Biden doesn’t really stand a chance, but they could have him suffer “ill health” and pull out, replace him with a Harris or a Warren or Michelle Obama. Hell, they could just rig it. They’ve done it before.
But then maybe it’s not about Trump per se, maybe it’s about the process of elections and the office of President in general. Maybe it’s about getting martial law in place well before the Covid19 backlash kicks in. Maybe there’s something else coming down the pipe that will make it clearer.
Supposing the plan is to get rid of Trump, what happens next?
Well, maybe one of a few things.
Firstly, it’s possible it all just dies down. But if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the Deep State doesn’t fold a bad hand, they just up the ante and hope to bluff it out.
Second, there’s the possibility Trump introduces full-on martial law and becomes a quasi-dictator. While I’m sure he has no moral compunctions about that, it’s hard to see he would have the (vital) support of the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies in that endeavour. They’ve shown their colours throughout the last four years. However useful Trump has been, he is not an insider and he is entirely disposable.
Third, and final, Trump goes. Whether there’s an impeachment or a trial or an early election or a civil war…I don’t know. But it’s hard to see Trump weathering this storm.
If I had to guess, I’d say the protests and pressures mount until Trump does something stupid. If he makes any Yanukovych-style attempts at appeasement (he probably won’t), they will be ignored or minimised or the goalposts will be moved (we already saw that, when the arrest of Derek Chauvin went almost totally unnoticed).
If soldiers fire on civilians – whether Trump orders it or not, or whether mercenaries frame the army (like in Ukraine) – that will be it. The military will resign en masse, turn on Trump and he will be ousted.
From there could emerge an appointed “temporary” President, a middle-of-the-road type with support from both parties, whose job is to “unify the country” and “heal the divides”.
The emergence of a totally unelected President will, of course, be called something like “a triumph of the democratic spirit” in The Guardian.
The riots will be blamed for a constructed “second wave” of Covid19. Just in time for one of the new POTUS’ first announcements to be that “America will start taking Covid19 seriously”. Stronger lockdown rules, mandatory track-and-trace…the full Monty.
This will naturally earn him/her good-boy points all across the mainstream media, with the (totally accidental) bonus that anyone who dares protest the coup will be breaking the law, being selfish and risking lives (and probably a racist).
This is all just my supposition. I could be wrong, I hope I’m wrong. But I can see it heading in that direction. And the idea should worry everyone. Not out of any latent concern for Donald Trump, obviously. Just for the stability of the world. Coups or impeachments or other non-democratic power-changes are not good. They don’t end well.
They don’t end well for the leaders being removed, who almost universally end up exiled or hanged or poisoned or shot. Sometimes worse.
More importantly, they don’t end well for the ordinary people, who always suffer when the Deep State turns society on its head.
And, in this instance, it may not end well for the world, which suddenly has a nuclear-armed superpower in a severe state of flux to worry about.
We should all be concerned.
There’s an old joke:
Q: Why has there never been a military coup in the United States?
A: Because there’s no American Embassy there.
It looks like maybe that no longer applies.