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Are We Living Under a Military Coup?

An Ironically Patriotic Essay

Gessen was raised in Russia and fled to the US for political reasons. As editor of a Russian magazine, she called attention to herself by refusing to send a photographer and reporter to cover Vladimir Putin flying in a light aircraft with cranes. Gessen is provocative. She’s a masculine-looking lesbian with children who is opposed to marriage of any kind. She writes about being indoctrinated to worship the Russian military. “All of us children had to aspire to the feat of martyrdom,” she says. Given the much-talked-about rise of authoritarianism around the world and the narcissist Trump’s inclinations in this area, the failure of democracy has become part of our reality. Military elitism and martyrdom go hand-in-hand with such inclinations. Consider a recent video from Russia’s RT showing Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan identifying a little girl in uniform as a future martyr. Gessen is like Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the sense she was a critic of Russian political culture who emigrated to the US, where she became critical of US politics and culture. She was awarded the 2017 National Book Award for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and writer/editor Masha GessenDonald Trump, Vladimir Putin and writer/editor Masha Gessen

Gessen obviously generates criticism. The editors of a pro-military website called This Ain’t Hell (but you can see it from here), which features a large “Stolen Valor” section devoted to “outing” phony veterans, ridiculed Gessen’s use of the term coup by citing the fact civilian rule is clearly set out in the US Constitution. “[A] military coup would violate the tenets of the Constitution,” they wrote. “[B]ut media goofballs like Gessen haven’t read the Constitution, so they wouldn’t know that. If ever there is going to be coup, it would have happened while President Obama was dismantling the Defense Department.” Beyond the dumb Obama crack, it’s hard to disagree with this statement. A military coup would be a violation of the US Constitution. That was Gessen’s implied point.

Coup is defined in my dictionary as, one, coup d’etat, “an illegal seizure of power”; two, “a successful stroke or move”; and three, a Native American term for “touching an armed enemy in battle as a deed of bravery.” Gessen’s piece emphasized the “language of the military coup.” She’s not saying a coup has occurred; just that, in this millennial moment of encroaching authoritarianism, the mindset and language of the coup is, here, being employed from inside the White House in response to questions about an embarrassing and still unexplained debacle in Niger. US military involvement in Africa-- at a time the Chinese are virtually colonizing areas in Africa -- is currently a major National Security State issue. As with much of our Pentagon’s activities over the past 70 years, secrecy rules and satisfying explanations are rare.

story | by Dr. Radut