It is becoming alarmingly apparent to those who are awake that the most serious threat to the United States is not Trump – nor is it Russia or China. It is a coup d’etat by what is known as the “Deep State,” which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “A body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.”

These are government agencies and corporate interests that maintain a permanent existence as one Administration replaces the one before it – and they wield considerable (as well as dangerous) power.

They are organizations such as the CIA and the NSA, and can include major corporations with vested interests in influencing and shaping government policies (i.e., ones with government contracts). It is made up of bureaucrats who are appointed, not elected – and are accountable to no one. Presidents and Congresses and even judiciaries may come and go, but these members of the “Deep State” remain.

This is exactly what is going on in Washington today. The intelligence community has been withholding vital information from the White House on one side while leaking other kinds of information to the public. At the same time, Trump is accused of being in bed with Putin and working with and for the Kremlin, or is being blackmailed by Russia  – although irrefutable proof of these allegations is lacking.

Think about it: why was former CIA director Michael Morell so supportive of Hillary Clinton while accusing Trump of being a Russian operative? Why did Michael Hayden, another CIA and NSA head under Bush II, go to the Washington Post (the owner of which has his own agenda) just before the election and refer to Trump as “Russia’s useful fool”? Could it be because the CIA has been wanting to ramp up the proxy war in Syria – as Clinton wanted to do, escalating tensions with Russia while Trump’s proposal was to put pressure on Moscow and Tehran to come up with a diplomatic resolution?

It’s much easier to establish a police state and control the population when the nation is at war. There is also a great deal of money to be made from the sale of weapons and technology to a government at war.

This coup of democratic government did not start with the Trump Administration. It has been years in the making, arguably dating back to the Kennedy Administration. Since the days of the OSS during World War 2, “spy-military-industrial complex” is well aware that peace and prosperity threaten the existence of their jobs.

We at The Ring of Fire are not defending Trump. He is incompetent and unqualified to govern, and has surrounded himself with some of the worst Cabinet members and advisers since Warren G. Harding while being enabled by a Congress of lickspittles and sycophants motivated only by their own self-interest.

That said, all of us – Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal, Progressive and Libertarian – face a far greater threat than a narcissistic man-child in the Oval Office.

Former Air America host Randi Rhodes said it frequently, but it bears repeating: America can never fall to a foreign power – it can only be destroyed from within. It’s been happening, folks – right under our collective noses. The only question now is – what are we prepared to do about it?

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.