Comey Fired: US a “Failing State”

by John Reimann, North Star editorial board member on May 14, 2017

President Trump and James Comey in happier times.
Since then Trump has complained about Comey, “he’s more famous than me.” The Narcissist-in-Chief is partly out of control.

President Trump’s firing of FBI director Comey represents a political crisis for US, and therefore for world, capitalism.

“Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election,” reports the NY TimesBut it is not just alleged “Russian meddling” in US elections that worries Trump; any investigation into this would inevitably flow over to the ties of many Trump associates with the Putin regime (as reported here) and, in fact, between Trump himself and Russian financiers/outright mobsters (as explained here).

An Unacceptable Level of Corruption
The Trump administration has made it clear that they will continue to use their control of the high office for direct, personal enrichment. The latest example was the sales pitch of the sister of Trump’s “senior advisor”, son-in-law Jared Kushner, to a group of potential Chinese investors in early May. The sales pitch by Nicole Kushner Meyer included pictures and video of President Trump and mention that her brother, Jared Kushner, was a member of the Trump administration. The investment conference was based on the pitch “invest $150,000 and get a US visa.” Investors were told to act quickly because the rules might change regarding this visa for cash program, known as the EB-5 program.

A certain amount of such self-advancement is normal under capitalism. Why else, after all, would any capitalist politician seek office? What is impermissible is to allow this personal gain to severely cripple advancing the global interests of the US capitalist class. The concern was expressed by David Rothkopf, a senior strategist for US capitalism, who wrote that the firing of Trump, if allowed to stand, will cause “the world (to) see the United States as a failing state.” In other words, it will severely weaken the ability of US capitalism to dominate the planet. There are two questions:

  • The first question is whether the mainstream of the US capitalist class will be able to regain complete control over its government, especially the executive branch.

This is complicated by the fact that the party that is traditionally its most reliable base, the Republicans (who, unlike their other main party, the Democrats, are not so subject to left populist pressures) are largely ruderless. As Rothkopf puts it, “Party politics and gross self-interest has rendered the majority party oblivious to its responsibilities to its constituents and the Constitution of the United State. On a daily basis, the Republicans… enable (Trump) to personally profit from the presidency.”

David Rothkopf

Rothkopf wrote in Foreign Policy:

“We have the tin-pot leader whose vanity knows no bounds. We have the rapacious family feathering their nests without regard for the law or common decency. We have utter disregard for values at home and abroad, the disdain for democracy, the hunger for constraining a free press, the admiration for thugs and strongmen worldwide…
“We have all the makings of a banana republic. But worse, we are showing the telltale signs of a failing state. Our government has ceased to function. Party politics and gross self-interest has rendered the majority party oblivious to its responsibilities to its constituents and the Constitution of the United States. On a daily basis, Republicans watch their leader violate not only the traditions and standards of the high office he occupies, but through inaction they enable him to personally profit from the presidency….

“We have reached a moment of crisis in the history of American democracy…. Trump is acting more brazenly and desperately…. Trump is acting like a desperate man, not to mention a guilty one….

“Said one diplomat from a close ally in this hemisphere, “We often have discussions at home as to whether Trump is crazy. We think he is. We have had experience with leaders like this in South America. But I never expected to see it in Washington.

“Trump is a laughingstock in the best of circumstances, a disgrace based on his known behavior to date, and a threat to global order and security.”

Despite this, it seems unimaginable that without a major crisis in US society the US capitalist class would be unable to bring their executive branch under control. Already, through their media they have caused Trump’s support to plummet to levels not seen since the time that Nixon was impeached. This has been done mainly through the mainstream capitalist media. However, as a reflection of the weakening influence of the capitalist class as a whole, this media has less credibility than it did in the Nixon years, and it’s not certain they can build the mass opposition to Trump they would need to either pressure the Republican politicians enough or produce a Democratic majority in 2018. And even if they can get him impeached, they would face mass fury from Trump’s die-hard supporters. In any case, it is not certain they could wait until 2018.

The US capitalist class also has other options, including the “JFK solution”. (Note: We are not advocating this, we are simply pointing out that possibility.) However, a “JFK solution” would be extremely risky, including the possibility of a mass revolt from the Trump supporters, who no matter what the circumstances, would be convinced that even if he died of “natural causes” it was not natural causes.

  • The other question is even if US capitalism does recapture the executive branch, whether this would be a solution for the US and the world working class.

From the predatory and parasitic nature of capitalism in this stage (a stage in which capitalism is incapable of really advancing world society) to the collapse of the world capitalist “order” (and the fact that a new  order can only be worked out through a new world war) to the growing environmental disaster, capitalism is increasingly threatening human existence on this planet. Their recapture of the White House might postpone a massive crisis, but it is no solution. If allowed to continue indefinitely we will be crushed in the ruins of this system.

“History says to the working class ‘You must know that unless you cast down the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class), you will perish beneath the ruins of the capitalist civilization. Try, solve this task!” Leon Trotsky.

Never has this been more true.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred Murphy May 14, 2017 at 9:34 pm

The Whiskey Rebellion, Political Crisis, and the Sociology of Elite Interpretation

“What happens during a crisis is that elites whose power before a crisis rested on their structural position do not lose power, but the nature of their power changes — it comes to have less to do with where they are in the social order, and becomes more about winning battles of interpretation and performing successfully. Sometimes we talk about crises as a power vacuum, but this is the wrong metaphor. A crisis is not a vacuum, but rather a prism which distorts existing power structures as it projects them into a new time, the “troubled times” of crisis….

“During a crisis, the usual taken-for-granted distinction between legislators and interpreters, between political action and political commentary, breaks down in a way that makes government actors into interpreters of the government (or perhaps reveals that they always were such, but in a more “habitual” way, even before the crisis was upon them). In short, a crisis transforms every person in a position of power, whether they like it or not, into a political philosopher….

“This means that those who, in stable times, specialize in interpretation no longer have the field of interpretive struggle to themselves. No longer can the illusion hold that there is a machine-like state, and it is those outside the state who interpret its action.”


SocraticGadfly May 15, 2017 at 12:38 am

Please tell me this post does NOT indicate the North Star is falling lock, stock and barrel for “Putin Did It” ideas.

You all need to read the likes of Mark Ames and Yasha Levine more, among others.


Yo May 15, 2017 at 2:37 am

Calm down, Steve. They author didn’t say that.


SocraticGadfly May 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Oh, but it did, IMO, Yo, in implying that Trump, vs. Clinton, or Clinton, or Obama, is particularly nefarious about this. He’s not: socraticgadfly DOT blogspot DOT com/2017/05/the-edited-nyts-duopoly-guide-to DOT html (written this way as North Star thinks I’m posting spam.


John Reimann May 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Well, as the author of the piece, I’m curious where I wrote that “Putin did it”, assuming this means that Putin put Trump in office. (Maybe it’s written in invisible ink?)

But I will say this: Many on the “left” tend to defend all things Putin. Is that what this criticism really is all about?


SocraticGadfly May 15, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Better yet, try reading some Counterpunch;


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