AdvisorYom, Sean L.
Committee memberMucciaroni, Gary
Kuznick, Peter J.
National Security State
State Crimes Against Democracy
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/539
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AbstractThis dissertation seeks to explain the uncanny continuity of hegemonic US foreign policy across presidential administrations and the breakdown of the rule of law as evidenced by unadjudicated state and elite criminality. It finds that a nebulous deep state predominates over politics and society. This deep state is comprised of institutions that advance the interests of the politico-economic elite through nexuses connecting the overworld of the corporate rich, the underworld of organized crime, and mediating national security organizations. To investigate the evolution of the state, the tripartite state construct is elucidated. It is a synthesis and expansion of three extant approaches—dual state theory, theories of the power elite, and the deep politics framework which explores the impactful forces and institutions whose influence is typically repressed rather than acknowledged in mainstream discourse. The tripartite state is comprised of the democratic or public state, the security state, and the deep state. A key contention herein is that the deep state developed alongside postwar US exceptionism—the institutionalized abrogation of the rule of law, ostensibly on the basis of “national security.” Theories of hegemony and empire are analyzed and critiqued and refined. To wit: the post-World War II US empire has been sustained by hegemonic institutions which rely on various degrees of consent and coercion—both in a dyadic sense but increasingly through structural dominance following the collapse of Bretton Woods. Rival hypotheses related to the state and US foreign policy are analyzed and critiqued. To explore the concept of a deep state within a nominal democracy, open democratic modes of power are contrasted with top-down or dark power. Through process tracing, the historical evolution of the US state is delineated, charting the means by which US imperial hegemony was reproduced. Presidential administrations and the Watergate scandal serve as case studies of sorts, illustrating the deep state’s role in the general thrust of postwar US politics—imperial hegemony over the international system. Finally, various deep state institutions are examined along with a discussion of generalizability, applications, and implications of the foregoing scholarship.
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