How Do We Stage A Coup In The USA? Part II

How Do We Stage A Coup In The USA? Part II

These being slow days, and out cold civil war heating up by degree, especially with the deep state faux impeachment, it seems proper to revisit the idea of a coup, and how it might come about. Part I was yesterday. This originally ran 2 August 2017.

Review Part I first.

Face of the coup

There is a reaction against the spreading decadence. Two groups are better known, the so-called Alt-Lite and Alt-Right. The Alt-Lite are tomorrow’s progressives today, and include libertarians, NRO readers, and folks who want to “uphold” the Constitution. The Alt-Right contains angrier and (in some cases) more realistic people whose focus is one or another aspect of the decadence, and who believe they have discovered the one thing that will restore Reality (there are thus several “one things”).

These groups have even taken to forming militias of a sort (Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Michigan Militia, etc.), at least in the vague hope these militias will become politically important. They are nascent, but interest in them is growing. Yet Luttwak reminds us, “In spite of their military bearing, uniforms, and often expensive weaponry, in almost every instance of confrontation between such militias and the forces of the state, the former were defeated.” Yes, in Germany and Italy in the mid-Twentieth Century, too. Weapons aren’t even necessary (so far). It didn’t take more being noticed by a far-left organization to cause a purge of right wingers from the Proud Boys.

This is not an argument against forming these militias, which are not without use, but a demonstration that regime change will come about by a coup, in the way discussed in Part I. Expecting Trump to declare himself First Consul of the United States of America, as the Left frets and as Putin might label himself in Russia, is bound to lead to disappointment. Still, miracles happen.

Who will lead the coup? Look for somebody in the upper—but not top—echelons of the military. An ambitious and connected major or lieutenant colonel, perhaps: generals aren’t as likely because they largely have all they want from the current regime, as discussed. If (or when) the dreaded Leftist singularity arrives, it will not do not by coup, but by and within the current system, because though the Left loses some battles, they are winning the war using the system. So a coup will almost certainly come from the right.


Who should we recruit? “Technicians”, not “leaders”, Luttwak says, people who know how to work in the system, but who aren’t directing it; the latter obviously rely for their livings on the regime, while the former want to be leaders but have been stymied. We need to watch for plants from security forces. They will be on to us. To mitigate against plants we should seek those of our own “tribe”.

African tribalism is merely an extreme case of a very general phenomenon—for example, sophisticated and utterly unreligious Jews will ‘happen’ to marry other Jews, though they may regard themselves as thoroughly assimilated.

Recruiters themselves must not be told much about coup plans but “must be both valuable and expendable”. Difficult slots to fill.

The real danger is recruiting somebody a mite too ambitious or extreme: “in the confused and dramatic situation of the coup, the extremists could gain in power and political support, and it is possible that the time we have allowed them to discredit the opposition will work in their favor.” This is why a coup, if it were to happen in the USA, would be a long time brewing. Assuring loyalty among core coup will be a slow, painful process.

The coup must come from the military, or be constituted of a substantial portion of soldiers (or sailors etc.). Only the threat and use of actual violence carries weight. Recall that the real threat of violence is what keeps you from many misdeeds.


Luttwak says “the intelligence community has grown enormously into a many-headed bureaucratic monster, largely because each intelligence failure caused by gross errors induces Congress to give even more money to those who fail, instead of the opposite.” Department of Homeland Security and the TSA, anybody?

As said last time, there are at least nineteen national intelligence agencies in the USA, and many other local ones, like those associated with the metropolitan police forces. Their scope and sweep is astonishing. Don’t be distracted by media reports and rumors of intelligence agencies scaling back. The NSA, who is reading these very words, and “whose ambition to intercept any and every electromagnetic transmission, including idle chatter of infants with cell phones, was merely dented by the revelations of Edward Snowden, the most patriotic of traitors.”

Yet we shouldn’t be overly concerned, either. We will be known at some point to some intelligence groups. But “Even if the security agencies could isolate the real data from the ‘noise,’ they will not usually take immediate action. Their professional instinct will be to try to uncover all the ramifications of the plot so as to be able to arrest all its participants.” Luttwak shows this scholarly inertia almost always gives the careful coup time to occur. Of course, the “noise” should be augmented with false rumors.

When to strike? “The timing of the coup will therefore be dictated by the progress of our infiltration of the armed forces and police; as soon as a satisfactory degree of penetration is achieved, the coup must be executed.” Wait too long and fear and fatigue set in. That’s when the arrests of coup brass happens.

Post coup

The device has done its work. We are in position. Now what?

“Our first objective will be achieved by conveying the reality and strength of the coup instead of trying to justify it; this will be done by listing the controls we have imposed, by emphasizing that law and order have been fully restored, and by stating that all resistance has ceased”.

We have to switch off or control as much media as possible. Major newsrooms can be occupied. Disrupt the Internet, or at least kill social media sites temporarily. This will require recruitment of genuine technicians. We’d want the NRA on our side and those parts of the Church that amenable. Other groups will suggest themselves. Liaisons will be needed. As will be a good spokesman.

Control of information is key. After the deed is done and we have told the media and people we are in charge, we need to issue vague (but real) threats to those would challenge us. “We should avoid taking any action that will clarify the nature of the threat and thus reduce the confusion that is left in the defensive apparatus of [whatever is left of the old] regime”.

As quickly as possible those elements of the military who were not with us need to be issued orders to stand down or to reinforce troublesome areas.

Luttwak shows that great majority in the old regime during a coup take a “wait and see” approach. Only the most dedicated (or confused) of the old regime will stand against us. The others will watch which way the wind blows. Think about this. How many in power now love the system so much that they would die for it? Not the country or some other idea. But the system itself. The question answers itself.

In the days that follow the coup, we need to seek out “recognition of foreign powers”. This is what the Left fears Trump is doing now. We need to recruit at least some seasoned diplomats. But to let any foreigner know in advance of our plans is sheer folly. The leaders of other governments either reflexively protect the status quo, or they would fear our rule. Since the coup will be right wing, we can somewhat assure other countries our designs are not on Empire. Still, we need to watch for tests our of strength outside the country. Withdraw is good, retreat is not. Again, the reassurance that All Is Well needs to be put out to all.

A commenter on Part I said that the governors of the States would appoint new Senators to replace the dead ones. This is very true. But (as I said) all of these folks can be waved aside. They won’t be appointed instantly. We’ll be long ensconced by the time they arrive. We can even welcome them, as long as they abide by our martial law. They can be kept from meeting easily enough, at least in DC. If they are forced to congregate in small numbers in, say, Nebraska, they won’t be taken very seriously, especially as they won’t have military backing.

Now what?

The coup is over. The power is ours. What do we do with it? How do we hold it? Will States want to break off and should we let them? What system of government will we institute? How long will martial law last? Do you cut off all “entitlements”? What about a revolt?

What would you do? Luttwak is silent on this point. As he should be. He only tells how to snatch a kingdom, not how to rule it.


  1. I don’t think so, Dr. Briggs, nor should we so wave them aside. No, take control of them. Use the sympathizers to help recruit sympathizers in ‘ruined’ States. In a way, we don’t want the military to act in such a manner, but be ready to support those who act in such a manner.

    Remember, anyway, that the Army is term limited and drawn from the States. Put sympathizers in to the formal Guard and get sympathizers in the informal militias, which is, the able bodied productive men (for battle) and women that form each State. Indeed if Empire is not what you want, the structure created by the Founders provides the means and the institutions necessary.

    [Disclosure: my family is a military family, one that stretches over at least three generations. My youngest son is, or was, in the Navy’s OCS. He should be a full LT now. I need to ask him what his rank is.]

  2. I will also note, for those who may not be aware of it. This is exactly how the USA got into the mess it is today. A ‘coup’ that replaced people who were grounded in Reality with those who were grounded in “Progressive Socialism”.

  3. Sander van der Wal

    Apparently the Pre-revolutionary Russian Security Servuces actually *ran* quite a number of revolutionary groups. I cannot imagine that their US contemporaries will aspire to anything less.

    Therefore, be carefull about the group you join. One must know the people in real life, not just some people with blogs.

  4. Curmudgeon

    Why de Gaulle’s portrait? The “coup d’Etat juridique” was perpetrated by Pétain on July 11, 1940. He was the traitor, not de Gaulle, even though the Roosevelt administration retained diplomatic ties with the Vichy regime.

  5. fictitious commenter

    “Indeed if Empire is not what you want, the structure created by the Founders provides the means and the institutions necessary.”

    we had that. yet here we are. clearly the constitution and its institutions were a failure at preventing empire.

    pieces of paper will not save us.

  6. K

    Briggs: “…Edward Snowden, the most patriotic of traitors.”

    Hardly –

    “Evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin.”
    ? G.K. Chesterton

    “[T]he useful idiots, the leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of the Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system, when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made the point: never bother with leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher. […] They serve a purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in the United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power—obviously they get offended—they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.”
    – Yuri Bezmenov (aka Tomas Schuman), in 1970 defected from the KGB

  7. K

    In Part I of this series was the context for a coup:

    “Here, then, is a sketch—a prediction—of how such a change might be brought about; or may be brought about by forces who are as yet unknown to us.”

    “how such a change might be brought about” is intimately linked to ‘why’ some would resort to a coup — numerous reasons, all consistent with the theme, “a reaction against the spreading decadence” … a coup to make things morally right.

    Nice thought, conceptually, but it misses a key fact: Things are getting worse because someone else has their coup well underway & further along than any concerted counter-coup. Fortunately, coups take time to set up, especially when they’re still working within the existing system, the better course is to read the other side’s playbook and then implement offsetting tactics from within the same system.

    On the social evolution timescale the tactics are quite fresh and the decadent side’s playbook is well-known…expect that most now seem to have forgotten! Here’s a nice summary:

    Here’s an excerpt from that link, which summarizes the communist, KGB, playbook our modern Left has been following for generations:

    “The beauty of the best, most successful political/ economic system, created by the Fathers of America has nothing to do with LEGISLATED or enforced equality. The American Republic is based on the principle of EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES for UNEQUAL and very much DIFFERENT and diverse individuals to develop their abilities and to coexist in mutually beneficial cooperation. And that is entirely different story. That much I knew even from the Soviet textbooks of American history.

    “… People who have declared themselves to be equal will inevitably come to expect more for their individual needs, which sooner or later will tragically come to conflict with the “unequal” reality. That will automatically produce discontent.”

    Discontent is “demoralization” … reading on:

    “… the first stage of DEMORALIZATION. It takes about 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many (or few)? Simple: this is the minimum number of years needed to ‘educate’ ONE GENERATION of students in a target country (America, for example) and expose them to the ideology of the subverter. It is imperative that any sufficient challenge and counter-balance by the basic moral values and ideology of this country be eliminated. In absence of ANY cohesive and consistent national ideology, the task of the subverter becomes even easier.”

    The putsch to make “equality” of results — supplanting equality of opportunity — a fundamental value and a government-given right as a concerted effort by universities, etc., ought to be patently clear (as ought to be the impossibility of ever achieving that). Even some of the first batch of college grad “millennials” now exhibit this value system in the workplace! That’s a victim mindset now permeating our society, afflicting nearly half the voters (roughly a quarter of the voting eligible population, half-ish of which doesn’t vote).

    Eight years, and more, of political leadership that implicitly and overtly endorsed that victim mindset and re-writing of “equality” made it seem like a foregone conclusion for things to come…

    …and along comes Trump [in response to that] endeavoring to “Make America Great Again!” (MAGA) — no victims here…and, while the vast majority will be better off for it, no equality of outcomes, or even the pretense of that in the ‘new order’ of things he’s bringing on (‘new order’ is really a back to basics, things as they were and intended to be by the founders of the USA kind of change).

    No wonder the Left media and public are waging a “Resistance” — Trump is staging a counter-coup to their would-be coup. And he may succeed … and if not, he’ll make a big dent in the progressive progress — eightish years or more of such progressivism down the drain (kind of like this:

    The rest of us can join in by phoning and writing our elected representatives where we stand on the issues. That’s how to stage a coup.

  8. Joy

    Learn history and stop thinking Russia is the Wizard (one z?) that it isn’t.
    Russia is how it is because of it’s geography and proximity to some very dodgy neighbours with cultures far sideways and in one case at least, lower than itself.

    There is a deep need in US politics to believe that Russia is the biggest enemy of the US. Which is helped by people like the commenter above. It is to feed the conspiracy nuts and the public who are sometimes easily alarmed by media hype and all the talk and chat on social media which spins off.

    This is a matter only for actual strategists, security agencies and then and only then, the politicians. It is not for politicians to invent their own theories like the one above. Politicians on matters of security, are reliant upon their military and intelligence services.

    As for the need for a coup, of course there is not. There is a toxic media which really runs the political show until people really do switch off or until alternative sources become more positive, entertaining and wholesome, in which case people will shift.

    Younger generations have always been ‘problematic’. The problem is the work ethic which is not in some younger generations. Life will simply teach them reality.

    It’s a decadence to ignore the Islamic extremist and supremacy movement and fret about peripheral matters. Nations, if they are rich, must remain strong. That is the mistake which the west has made and which America is also making.
    Worrying that everybody’s changing sex all around them, If your constitution can’t save you from this moral decay which the media serves up for you each day, it’s not much of a constitution. After such a short time, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
    We keep hearing how wonderful it is. I’ve heard it spoken of as a work of genius, although mostly from flatterers and again, media from diametrically opposed sides who both think it can save them! It is what it is. The US is demonstrating in real time what it is.

    You don’t need a coup, you need a Trump to stay in power long enough to put the pieces back together and then with the help of other authorities and experts and perhaps further down the line, a system which corrects the weaknesses which have shown themselves.
    GK Chesterton loved England. For some reason Catholic extremists think he was a traitor.
    Another lie.
    You can’t build a system or an idea, a theory or an anything on a lie and hope it will last.

  9. brian (bulaoren)

    Mao, in China still enjoys god-like status (like the Kim dynasty in N.Korea). Both of these deities can thank Japan for their divinity; Had Japan not invaded, Stalin would not have had an opportunity to install his incubae.
    China, in the 1920s – 30s was a patchwork of warlord mini-states. Japan disrupted that uneasy equilibrium and opened the door to Uncle joe and his ventriloquist dummy Mao.
    If we agree to consider this coup business seriously, shouldn’t we wonder about the warlord factions bound to crop up?… Or the foreign powers likely to make hay…? Do we really expect Raymond Massey and his airmen to swoop in and set us back on our feet?

  10. brian (bulaoren)

    …and you guys up in Canada, don’t get too smug. If the U.S. ever falls apart, your goose is cooked too, eh?

  11. I’d never heard of this Luttwak fellow, thank you for bringing him to my attention. I went to his Amazon page and found this sad review:

    1.0 out of 5 starsWaste of money
    Bymadisonianon April 27, 2017
    I bought this book, scrupulously followed its instructions to the letter — and here I am, rotting in a prison cell. Waste of money.

    Poor fellow. Make Coups Great Again!

  12. SA

    A wonderful satire Briggs showing revolutionary reactionaries are just liberals with different commitments planning another French Revolution and its wonderful results.

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