Posted tagged ‘weak state’


February 4, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


The month of February is the 2nd month of the year. 2 in numerology signifies change, whether this be change for the better or for worst. So let me take up with you the matter of change in states from legitimate to mafia regime.


The question worth reflecting is: is it possible for a mafia state to gel in the foreseeable future? We are witnessing today the rise to the executive department of a mafia power in Belarus, so let us continue to observe the events in that country.


By mafia state is meant the rise to power of a mafia group—a group engaged in organized crime—to state power and sustaining that power in the long run. Such a rise would then demolish the accepted rules of the game of governance, though the mafia regime may show semblance of legitimacy through electoral victories.


During the incumbency of any mafia regime, it is possible that mafia operations across the country concerned will become the norm more than the exception. Mafia groups will then declare cities and/or regions within the country as their enclave, and bless those elected and appointed officials there being the strategic powerbrokers.


From the advent of the Great Depression through the recovery era of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, around five (5) cities in the United States were reputedly under the control of mafia groups. Had such a trend gained momentum in the manner of a domino effect, city after city and then state after state in the USA could have fallen into mafia hands, and it would just be a matter of time before the federal government itself will become the enclave of the most powerful mafia godfather in America.


The scenario of a mafia USA didn’t take place as early enough the trend towards a domino effect was nipped in the bud. Humbled by the power of central government that jailed the topnotch mafia lords, the mafia then became subordinate operators that can be tapped by Establishment rouge elements for sabotage and assassination operations, e.g. the assassination of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert.


Fast forward to the year 1998, when the Philippines’ presidency of Joseph Estrada gelled. A scary regime it was, as Estrada himself was a growing mafia lord and his Mafiosi pals expropriated the presidential palace by night as a ‘midnight cabinet’. So corrupt was that regime, that the damage it had done to crime solution, fiscal balance, and good governance seem irreparable. It was overthrown in January 2001, and so the mafia state was nipped in the bud before it would calcify in the long run.


As the Philippine mafia was basking in power in 1998-2000, Colombia was showing a peculiar situation. Though its central government was no mafia at all, drug lords were literally the power brokers there. Drug lords were the real government in Colombia, while the central government was only the virtual government. It took about a decade for the legitimate state to re-assert its power and efface the power of the mafia lords who eventually faced squid tactics of elimination.


The situation of a mafia state almost calcified in Russia during Yeltsin’s incumbency as president. So sudden was the shift to capitalism then, as state enterprises were ordered privatized (from their original state-owned status). The only people with huge funds to buy state firms were the mafia families in Russia, so that before Yeltsin bowed out of power 80% of Russia’s corporate world was already in the hands of mafia lords.


That conundrum in Russia was reversed only with the ascent to power of Putin and the FSB (former KGB). The FSB knew that the emerging oligarchs of a capitalist Russia were actually mafia lords. It is within the context of dominating mafia power that the state sampled some oligarchs for jailing as a signal to all mafia groups that their powers are delimited. At a certain juncture, the mafia there knew that it cannot mutate to a political power broker without suffering the consequences.


Yet no matter what measures are done to clip mafia power, sooner or later there will be one state in the world where a long-term mafia state will succeed. It seems that Belarussia is the first such state to endure if ever. As of today though, forces in Germany and Poland are already working out to stamp out the Belorussian mafia from an enduring power entrenchment, and so the events there are worth watching.


A mafia state is like a ‘pacman fever’ (to recall that old video game), that once it is entrenched and endures through time, it can gobble up experientially other states as well. Those most contiguous to it could be the first to be infected. That is why Poland and Germany are bothered so badly, they are mobilizing resources for an overthrow of the mafia presidency in Belarussia.


[Philippines, 02 February 2011]




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December 1, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to all ye global citizens! Magandang araw sa mga kapamilyang global!

The Republicans have recently slam dunked the Democrats in the House electoral contest. This update event has put a closure to Democrat dominance in US governance, an event that will highlight brinkmanship of a dangerously destructive path.

News have been disseminated worldwide that Obama fired his highly trusted economic aides. With no team to recline on in the White House, Obama is compelled by the situation to rely more and more on the likes of Gates of the defense community, Clinton for foreign policy, and other powerful figures inside the cabinet and senate other than the economic aides.

The people whom he relies upon at this time represent distinct voices of diverse ideological persuasions. The defense Establishment is very strongly neo-conservative (read: fascist), the diplomatic community is Wilsonian liberal (center to Left), and the Senate Democrats are liberal obscurantists.

The nationalists, or those articulators of regulation and protection of American economic interests in domestic and foreign policies, have been marginalized all of a sudden. Perhaps their advocacies will be taken over by the more Rightwing Republicans in congress and the bureaucracy, Republicans whose protectionist mindsets translate to protectionism for Big Business and the oligarchy.

Obama’s feat has been to curb the ceaseless economic downspin via the stimulus program. However, unemployment and poverty incidence continue to rise, indicating the flaws in social policies. Health care and war commitments continue to generate rabid detraction.

The question we’re raising this time is: how far governable is the government of the United States? The potency of governance institutions is being weakened by the year, and the direction of that weakening is towards a fragmentation of governance altogether.

I do recall having endorsed Obama’s candidacy to Filipino-Americans and their compatriots there. The reason was that being unencumbered to oligarchic interests, Obama can make a change in policy directions both domestically and internationally. A re-institution of New Deal policies, hopefully, can be effected by his regime, an audacious act that can be emulated by the other countries.

I expected that the Obama regime will re-carve U.S. policy environment towards re-structuring the economy, reviving the physical economy, and quashing predatory finance. Alas! Signs are aplenty that the feats didn’t go that far as expected!

Now the Republicans are back in the legislature and local governments, and so observers better anticipate brinkmanship jettisoning to higher altitudes. The result would prove catastrophic to America altogether, as the exacerbation of lowly governable state surfaces.

A similar fragmentation is now happening among European states and Japan, a development that could prove to be frightening. The situation will also be enormously puzzling to political scientists and sociologists who are deeply mired in ‘re-inventing governance’ paradigm line, a paradigm that is replete with flaws and imprudent peddler of the illusion of ‘end of ideology’.  

Political scientists and sociologists hold a similar contention that America’s civil society had badly fragmented. Such a lamentable situation has eroded the ‘social capital’ of citizens and folks, thus disabling their capacity for leveraging the state and market for greater social goods and services.

With state institutions and governance further weakened and an economy that has deteriorated across the decades, a weak civic life for Americans means they have to anticipate the worst yet to come in their access to social, economic, and public goods.

Obama’s very own sanity or psychological health could be deteriorating now, a fact that will undermine his own capacity to grasp grassroots reality and facts-of-life. Such a deterioration of psychic ‘wealth’ is the least that Americans expect nor dream of, and bodes a dark age for the Saxon power up north.

[Philippines, 29 November 2010]