The Grand Old Banana Republic

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 April 4, 2017|
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Name the country that I am describing: A popular political figure rises to power in the midst of a contentious period of division. He espouses great aspirations and represents a break with a past mired in corruption, deceit, and war. Upon assuming power, this leader expands the size and scope of the government—aggregating ever greater power to himself—all in the name of “saving” the country. Meanwhile, the country’s debt is exploding on wasteful spending and its currency is increasingly devalued. Even still, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The middle-class, such as it was, contracts precipitously as citizens are increasingly forced to depend upon government handouts in a seemingly endless cycle.

The once popular leader is quickly beset by scandal. Soon, charges of corruption and cronyism are lobbed against the leader and his apparatchiks. The government is used to spy on its own citizens, targets political opponents, and bails out failing industries that are supportive of the leader and his political party. Oh, and the country engages in increasing levels of ill-conceived warfare abroad. Meanwhile, economic freedom in the country plummets to all-time lows. The government then misuses its power to enforce unpopular edicts that are anathema to the country’s constitution.

While I have just described what happens in every banana republic that populates the developing world, I have also just described the Obama administration. Barack Obama promised us he was a new kind of leader (despite having only ever worked as a political activist, itinerant academic, or a politician in his adult life). Looking back over his eight years in office, and fresh off the heels of what now appears to be a surveillance scandal beyond all imagined proportions, former President Obama then had the nerve to state that his was a “scandal free” administration.

Yet, from the start it was clear that Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress had little care for the constraints of constitutional governance. Rather, they cared mainly for acquiring and leveraging power for the purpose of advancing their progressive agenda. After all, these individuals are collectivists, but they are also statists. Just look at the type of scandals that characterized the Obama Administration. We had the illegal Department of Justice-sponsored gun-running scandal (Fast and Furious), the weaponizing of the IRS for the purpose of targeting conservative activist groups in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election, and then there was the unconstitutional Obama executive order granting amnesty to scores of illegal immigrants to the country.

Remember, Mr. Obama is the man who arrogantly promised to run the country with a “pen-and-phone” if the Republicans did not tow his line. This is the guy who had Susan Rice, his National Security Adviser, lie to the public numerous times about what happened during the Benghazi Attack of 2012 that claimed the lives of American personnel—including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. Rather than admit that it was a terrorist attack, the Obama Administration blamed it on an innocent American man in California who made a YouTube video that was “disrespectful” of the Prophet Muhammad. That poor man now sits in prison.

Now it has been revealed that President Donald J. Trump and his team were targeted by President Obama’s national security team almost from the start of their campaign. Recently, a former Obama Pentagon official, Dr. Evelyn Farkas, admitted that she was aware of an ongoing Obama Administration effort to collect as much intelligence on the Trump team as possible.

Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey told Newsweek that he wanted to release information about the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation on the Trump team as early as last summer. According to Comey, Mr. Obama ordered him to hold on to the information. The reason for that order should be obvious: 1) Mr. Obama and his national security team did not want his legacy tarnished by the fact that he was spying on his potential successor, 2) Mr. Obama knew that there was no actionable evidence linking either Mr. Trump or his senior advisers to Russia, and 3) Like everyone else, Mr. Obama assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win the presidency in a landslide…why obscure her message?

Now that the Democrats have lost and President Trump is set to undo most of Obama’s legacy, the Democrats and their allies in the national security bureaucracy, the Mainstream Media, and academia are on the warpath. It was also confirmed that the Obama Administration’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice (the woman who lied in public about the Benghazi attacks in 2012), had repeatedly demanded that she see the raw intelligence on the Trump team. Rice was given access to the names of American citizens who met with Russian officials—some of whom were Trump associates. It is this information that has been leaked to the press and that is aimed at delegitimizing the Trump victory. After all, as Evelyn Farkas conceded on Morning Joe, the Obama allies are trying their best to “preserve the sources and methods” that were used to surveil the Trump people (by leaking purportedly damning information to the press at politically inconvenient times for the Trump Administration).

So, in effect, the outgoing administration used state power to wage unremitting partisan warfare on its domestic political rivals. This is all aimed at neutering the Trump Administration’s ability to govern, thereby protecting many of the Obama era’s victories, and setting the stage for the DNC to defeat Trump and the GOP in the upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections. Using state power to undermine and defeat your political rivals is also another hallmark of a banana republic.

For President Trump to have a chance at effectively governing, he needs to start firing a large cohort of government employees and either shutting down or repurposing their agencies. He should also request significantly reduced budgets for most government departments. Meanwhile, if the press continues its disgusting and partisan attack, the Trump Administration should threaten to revoke their FCC licenses. The press and much of the bureaucracy has taken an unconstitutional stand. In the name of the Grand Old Republic, the Trump Administration must fight to preserve our institutions (and our constitutional government) from the excesses of totalitarian Statists run amok.

If the line is not drawn here; If drastic and long-lasting actions are not taken in defense of our republic, then the country will be relegated to simply being a giant banana republic.

About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a contributing editor to American Greatness. A former Republican congressional staffer and national security expert, he also runs "The Weichert Report" (www.theweichertreport.com), an online journal of geopolitics. He holds master's degree in statecraft and national security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an associate member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in political science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
  • William Westchester

    Let us review the events of the decade of the Sullan restoration. None of the external or internal developments during that period… necessarily constituted of itself a grave danger to the state; yet in all these struggles the nation had well-nigh fought for its very existence.

    The reason was that every task was left undone so long as it still might be done with ease. Neglect of the simplest precautions produced the most dreadful mischiefs and misfortunes, and transformed dependent classes and impotent kings into antagonists on a footing of equality….

    Little more than a century had elapsed since the Hannibalic war, and it must have brought a blush to the cheek of every honorable Roman when he reflected on the nation’s fearfully rapid decline since that great age…. Then every captain acted if need be like a general, and fought often unsuccessfully, but always honorably; now it was difficult to find even a tolerably efficient leader among all the officers of rank….

    The foreign wars had produced still less satisfactory results…. Once Rome, fully conscious of her irresistible power by land, had transferred her superiority also to the other element; now the mighty state was powerless at sea and apparently on the point of also losing its hegemony in Asia.

    All the material benefits which a state exists to confer – security of frontiers, undisturbed peaceful intercourse, legal protection, and regulated administration – began to vanish for all the nations united in the Roman state. The gods of blessing seemed all to have mounted to Olympus, leaving the miserable earth at the mercy of official or volunteer plunderers and tormentors. Nor was this decay felt merely by those possessing political rights and public spirit…

    It was instinctively felt that this misery, this disgrace, this disorder were too colossal to be the work of any one man. As the greatness of the Roman commonwealth was the work not of prominent individuals, but rather of a soundly organized body of citizens, so the decay of this mighty structure was not the work of some destructive genius but the result of a general disorganization. The great majority of the citizens were good for nothing, and every rotten stone helped to bring about the ruin of the whole structure. The whole nation suffered for what was the whole nation’s fault.

    It was unfair to hold the government, as the ultimate organ of the state, responsible for all the state’s curable and incurable diseases; but… never before had it shown at the same time such violence and such laxity, never before had it been so corrupt and so pernicious. When a government cannot govern it ceases to be legitimate; and whoever has the power has also the right to overthrow it.

    It is no doubt unhappily true that an incapable government may long trample underfoot a nation’s welfare and honor, before men are found who are able and willing to wield against that government its own formidable weapons, and to forge the justifiable revolution out of the moral revolt of the good and the distress of the many.

    Theodor Mommsen, The History of Rome, ed. Dero A. Saunders and John H. Collins (New York: Meridian Books, 1958), from Section VI, Rule of the Sullan Restoration, pp. 232-235.

  • jack dobson

    Some time ago I came across an apt term for the contemporary United States: “the Banana Empire.” It pains me to acknowledge it accurately describes current American domestic and foreign policy. The United States is domestically corrupt and lawless, and abroad it can be imperial with all the attendant violence. President Trump campaigned to restore the republic. Can he?

    Plato mapped the undeniable historic arc of republics. They begin in democracy and invariably end in tyranny. War is used to consolidate illegitimate power. Today we learned President Obama used the federal spy and police agencies as his personal Gestapo as he exited office. His inner circle apparently without question enabled this dangerous authoritarianism. We likely will learn senators and members of Congress knew what was afoot, possibly from both parties. President Trump pledged to drain the swamp. Can he?

    With Trump we were given a second chance to throw off the shackles of tyranny. Will we?

  • msher_1

    Everyone overlooks the biggest thing: the 2012 presidential and all other elections were illegitimate. A weaponized IRS had been developed dying tax exempt status to conservative groups, while granting them to liberal ones. That makes the election of every Dem illegitimate, as well as any primary victory of any RINO. We send observers to countries that use gov’t to rig elections or shut down opposition. We stopped having any pretense to being a democratic republic on Election Day 2012.

  • Ironwrkr

    That would be “toe the line”…..criminy