When inaction is action

Foreign Policy posted an interesting conversation during the insurrection, about what exactly the name for it should be.

Naunihal Singh: This is not a military coup because that would involve the president using the military or the Secret Service or some armed branch of the government to get his way. Nor would I argue that it is what some people have called a civilian coup or an executive coup. Even autogolpes involve the threat of military force.

In a sense he was using them if he had arranged for them to do nothing.

JT: Let’s talk about that for a second. What we did have is the president inciting protesters, who then went to the Capitol to interfere with a constitutionally established process to democratically transfer power to his successor. What should we call that?

NS: I’m not a lawyer, but we have to look and see whether it satisfies the requirements of sedition—and if the shoe fits, we should call it that. This is a violation both of principles and of law, being incited deliberately.

I get why people call it a coup: It’s because they want to say it’s an illegitimate power grab. The problem is that then they end up looking at the military as the actors who are engaged in this power grab. Whereas, in fact, what you have is Trump and all the people who are enabling Trump.

Some of whom are in the military or in charge of the military. In this instance doing nothing was doing something. It’s not clear, at least to me, how systematic all this was, but if military brass did stand by because Trump told them to, I call that the military doing something.

I see they got there too.

JT: Does it change the equation or the terminology if, for example, the stories about the civilian leadership of the Defense Department initially refusing to help the D.C. police are confirmed?

NS: Maybe, yes. If, in fact, what we are seeing here is not just an unwillingness to adequately police but a tacit cooperation with the protesters, then yes.

Ok then.

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