Trump and the Praetorians

It is tempting to blame the President for all that’s wrong with the U.S. government, but let’s remember that the more an empire (any empire) devolves into madness and decay, the more its supposed “leader” becomes a mere figurehead with little or no actual power.

As empires rot from corruption and inequality, the real power increasingly lies with the bankers, the oligarchs, and the Deep State, which consists of the Military-Industrial Complex, plus the National Security State (i.e. Big Brother).

In ancient Rome the Deep State was a combination of the oligarchs (the Senate) and the Praetorian Guard, which assassinated and replaced at least 35 emperors (that we know of). Technically the Praetorians were the Emperor’s bodyguard, plus the secret police and “intelligence” complex all rolled into one, but they killed and replaced any emperor whose interests did not align with the Praetorians’ interests. This became more and more frequent as the Roman Empire aged. In 190 AD the Praetorians killed and replaced five different emperors in one year, sometimes with the consent of Rome’s oligarchs (i.e. the Senate). In 192 the Praetorians murdered Emperor Commodus, and replaced him with Emperor Pertinax. After two months the Praetorians killed Pertinax and put the crown up for auction.  One man, Didius Julianus, won by promising each Praetorian soldier a bribe of five years’ pay, but 66 days later the Praetorians murdered Didius when he could not deliver the promised bribe.  Emperor Pescennius Niger lasted less than a year.

All this this murdering and replacing of emperors caused great social and political instability, which in turn led to a series of civil wars as various generals in the regular military competed with the Praetorians and the oligarchs for the throne. Finally Septimius Severus seized the crown (193 AD) and ruled for 18 years before dying of illness, whereon his son Caracalla took the throne, and co-ruled with his brother Greta. When the two brothers had an argument, Caracalla had the Praetorians kill Greta, after which Caracalla became a cruel tyrant. This was fine with the Praetorians, as long as Caracalla took care of them before anyone else.

The point is that this is the nature of empires. These days the Praetorians and the oligarchs don’t openly assassinate U.S. presidents (at least, not since Kennedy) but when they are unhappy they do engage in “soft coups.” They force presidents to resign (Nixon) or they impeach presidents (Clinton) or they deny presidents second terms (Carter; Bush Senior).

Trump himself says he has given the Praetorians and the regular legions full discretion to do as they see fit. In other words Trump seems to have learned who’s the boss. Trump did not authorize the dropping of the MOAB bomb in Afghanistan, and he did not know that the phantom armada was not near North Korea, but was instead retreating 3,000 miles south to the coast of Australia. Trump probably did not know about the cruise missile attack on Syria until after the Deep State did it, and told him about it while Trump ate “beautiful chocolate cake.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All presidents break their promises the minute they take office, but presidents may not be entirely at fault for this. Once they get into the White House, they learn that the Presidency has very little power — or at least, they learn that they can be removed by the Deep State at any time.

Such is the nature of empires and large societies, and it becomes truer and truer as empires enter their twilight. And it’s all concealed by claims that the U.S. President is “the most powerful man in the world.” Nonsense.

This is not to excuse Trump’s lies. No one gets into the White House without being profoundly evil in the first place. I’m only trying to clarify what’s going on.

 

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