I recently wrote about the potential number of Black Swans waiting to swoop in on us. Would a Second US Civil War count as one? Very likely I guess.
I don’t think the US has been so divided since the US Civil War, arguably anyway. Sadly, one of the causes of that war is still the same, namely racial. But of course, there are others. The intensity of the feelings on both sides probably is at the same fever pitch. The divisions are at all levels, social, economic, racial, cultural and emotional. Even families are in many cases equally divided pitting parents against children, wives versus husbands.
These divisions are being reflected in all walks of life. They are reflected in the use of flags, statues, historical monuments, academic teaching, business practices, religion, morals and values. Sadly, it’s difficult to point to any sphere of American life that hasn’t been affected.
Our allies and friends globally have all been drawn into the schism, just as they were in the earlier Civil War. Most of them are steering clear; some of them are being drawn in, like it or not. Some are fomenting the divisions, and some maybe even actively leveraging them for their own ends.
There’s a good case for saying that we are already in the Civil War, but it hasn’t yet been elevated to a shooting war. But as we can see the social media are already key battlegrounds and are being weaponized further as we speak. Others who haven’t been yet are starting to prepare.
There are groups on both sides of the divide who are also no doubt preparing. They have started to show themselves more openly as the friction becomes more serious, and the divisions become sharper.
Will this become a true Civil War, with shooting and the rest? Who knows? But it isn’t hard to see how it could get started. A contested election in November. An external attempt to derail the election beforehand. The death of someone important like Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria leading to World War I. The death of someone previously unknown like George Floyd. A deliberate provocation. A revolt against lockdowns.
Maybe a Presidential resignation before the election.
The US has already lost its mantle of global leader, so that’s not up for grabs. But it can still be diminished even further. A US Civil War would crystallize the damage. That in turn would foment further division within the US. There’s a lot of countries and people globally who would like to see that. There’s no shortage of bad actors who will work assiduously towards that, maybe some already.
Hopefully this is just tilting at windmills. But much of the mud is already on the wall. Our leaders need to get in front of the threat before it becomes too realistic, and even real.
We’ve already got enough Black Swans to deal with. This is one we absolutely don’t want.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.