US “Closer to Civil War” Than Most Would Like, New Book Says | american politics



The United States is “closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe,” said a member of a key CIA advisory group.

The analysis by Barbara F Walter, professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego who sits on the Working Group on Political Instability, is contained in a book due out next year and reported for the first time. by the Washington Post.

It comes amid growing concern over torn political divisions, compounded by former President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in the 2020 election.

Trump’s lie that his loss to Joe Biden was caused by massive electoral fraud fueled the deadly attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, for which Trump was impeached and acquitted a second time, leaving him free to present themselves again.

The “big lie” is also fueling Republican movements to restrict voting by groups that lean toward Democrats and to facilitate the overturning of election results.

Such measures remain flawless on the part of Democrats seeking a federal response, but thwarted by filibuster, the Senate rule that requires qualified majorities for most laws.

Moreover, although the Republican presidential candidates have won the popular vote only once since 1988, the GOP has, by playing tough politics, filled the Supreme Court with conservatives, who outnumber the liberals. 6-3.

All of these factors and more – including a pandemic that fueled resistance to the government – contributed to the divide that Walter investigated.

Last month she tweeted: “The CIA actually has a task force designed to try to predict where and when political instability and conflict are likely to erupt in the world. It is just not legally allowed to watch the United States. This means that we are blind to the risk factors that are rapidly emerging here. “

Walter’s book, How Civil Wars Start, in which Walter examines these risk factors in the United States, will be published in January. According to the Post, Walter writes: “No one wants to believe that their beloved democracy is in decline or is headed for war.

But “if you were an analyst in a foreign country studying events in America – the same way you would look at events in Ukraine, Cote d’Ivoire, or Venezuela – you would make a checklist, assessing each of the conditions that make civil war. likely”.

“And what you would find is that the United States, a democracy founded over two centuries ago, has entered very dangerous territory.”

Walter, the Post said, concludes that the United States has gone through “pre-insurgency” and “nascent conflict” stages and may now be in “open conflict,” starting with the Capitol Riot.

Citing analyzes used by the Center for Systemic Peace, Walter also says that the United States has become an “anocracy” – “somewhere between a democracy and an autocratic state”.

The United States fought a civil war, from 1861 to 1865, and against states that seceded in an attempt to maintain slavery.

Estimates of the death toll vary. The American Battlefield Trust puts it at 620,000 and says, “As a percentage of the current population, the toll would have reached 6 million souls.

On Sunday, Sidney Blumenthal, a former Clinton adviser turned Abraham Lincoln biographer and Guardian contributor, said: “The secessionists of 1861 accepted Lincoln’s election as just and legitimate.

The current situation, he said, “is the opposite. Trump’s questioning of the election, which was initially rejected by Republican leaders after the Capitol bombing, has led to a crisis, a real crisis of legitimacy.

The Republicans’ grip on the levers of power while the electoral minority is a contributing factor, said Blumenthal: “This crisis is metastasizing, throughout the system over time, so it’s possible that any close election is allegedly false and fraudulent.

Blumenthal said he did not expect the United States to embark on an outright, “section against section” civil war involving fielding armies.

If right-wing militia groups sought to emulate the secessionists of the 1860s and attempted to “take over federal forts and offices by force,” he said: “I think you would have every confidence that this would be finished very, very quickly. [given] a very strong and firm sense at the top of the US military of its constitutional and non-political role.

“… But given the proliferation of guns, there could be a number of seemingly random acts of violence coming from these organized militias, who are truly vigilantes and with partisan agendas, and we haven’t gone into it. this phase.

“The real nightmare would be this kind of low-intensity conflict.”

Members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group, on the Eastern Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Photography: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Among academics, Walter is not alone in diagnosing serious problems with American democracy. In November, Sweden-based think tank International IDEA added the United States to a list of “backward” democracies, thanks to “visible deterioration” it dated back to 2019.

He also identified “a historic turning point … in 2020-21 when former President Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results.”

The polls revealed similar concerns and warnings. In November, the Public Religion Research Institute asked voters if they agreed with a statement: “Because things have gotten so far away, true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country.”

The poll found that 18% of respondents agreed. Among Republicans, however, the figure was 30%.

On Twitter, Walter thanked The Post for covering his book. Her too noted: “I wish I had better news for the world but I couldn’t stay silent knowing what I know.”



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