Last week, I presented a story on how the intelligence community is far more concerned with staying employed than protecting the country. Its members will go to ludicrous lengths toward that end, even to the point of starting wars and staging coups. Last week, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sent out a tweet claiming that a pair of intelligence community operatives “close to Pence” have “stated privately this month that they are planning on a Pence takeover.”

Assuming this is true, what would be in it for the intelligence community? Consider Trump’s conciliatory stance on Russia. Trump has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin, and has gone so far as to say that the U.S. and Russia are “morally equivalent.” Such statements are not sitting well with mainstream Republicans, such as Arizona Senator John McCain. Then, there is the ouster of Trump’s former security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was looking for a way to lift economic sanctions and normalize relations with Russia. Flynn has since been replaced with a hardliner, Lt. General H.R. McMaster. His views on Russia recall those of General George Patton – who World War II history buffs may recall was ready to start a war with the Soviet Union almost the moment Nazi Germany surrendered.

There was in fact an Allied plan for war with Soviet Russia after Hitler’s defeat, known as “Operation Unthinkable.”  That plan, which was classified until 1998, was never carried out – but it shaped foreign policy and fueled the Cold War for decades.It also justified the bloated U.S. military budget, and kept the CIA doing a brisk business.

The Obama Administration maintained a hawkish stance toward Russia, and a Clinton II Administration would not have been any different. That was fine and dandy with the intelligence community – but now, Trump’s more conciliatory approach to Russia is threatening their jobs. There is a ray of hope for the IC, however – and that’s Vice President Mike Pence. In a Washington Post editorial published on March 5th,  Josh Rogin wrote that Pence is “a traditional hawk influenced heavily by his Christian faith.” Although he is “carefully and deliberately assuming a stance that fits within the president’s agenda,” Pence is also “seen by many in Washington as a figure who might stand up for the traditionally hawkish views he espoused while in Congress, a proxy of sorts for the GOP national security establishment.”

Pence also brought up the idea of firing Flynn after he lied about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.

As it is, Pence is working quietly to bring more hardliners into the Trump Administration’s national security team. They include Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who once served on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committee, current U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley who criticized Russia and China for voting against a resolution condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and none other than CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

It is apparent that all of this is having an effect on Trump, who appears to be changing his tune slightly in regard to Russia – as witnessed by his recent decision to deploy additional U.S. troops to Syria (one of Russia’s allies) in support of the rebels. However, if this does not bring about the desired result – a restart of the Cold War –  we may be looking at Trump’s impeachment sooner rather than later. This would put war-hawk Pence in the Oval Office – and Pence Administration policies would keep the intelligence community and the military-industrial complex happily and profitably busy for years, perhaps decades to come.

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.