Is the US moving towards civil conflict?
by Veniamin Popov on 04 Apr 2024 0 Comment

Recent polls show that the majority of Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track. On 18 March, US Senator Bernie Sanders (who has been in the Senate since 2007) published an article in Foreign Affairs on the need for a radical change in American foreign policy, which, according to him, “requires a rejection of greed, militarism and hypocrisy”.


Harshly criticising American adventures in Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., the senator points out that in the last few decades alone the US has been involved in military operations in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tunisia and Yemen; the US military has around 750 military bases in 80 countries and is increasing its presence abroad as Washington increases tensions with Beijing.


Meanwhile, the US provides Netanyahu’s Israel with billions of dollars while it destroys Gaza. According to Sanders, not only has US military adventurism and hypocritical support for tyrants proven counterproductive, so have the international agreements Washington has made in recent decades: “As long as wealthy corporations and billionaires keep our economic and political system in a deadlock, foreign policy decisions will be guided by their material interests rather than the interests of the vast majority of the population. This will continue as the richest 1% of the world’s population owns more wealth than the poorest 99% – an inequality that allows some people to own dozens of homes, private jets and even entire islands, while millions of children starve or die of easily preventable diseases. Today, between $21 trillion and $32 trillion of financial wealth is held offshore, in tax havens. This wealth does not benefit society. It is not taxed or even spent – it simply ensures that the rich get richer.”


George Friedman, an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster, recently concluded in a book that the American people have changed and are dissatisfied with their country’s role as the world’s “policeman and instigator of endless wars”.


The Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah argues that the United States can no longer be considered a reliable ally. According to the International Monetary Fund, since 2001, when US administrations dramatically expanded the use of economic sanctions, the dollar’s share of global central bank reserves has fallen from 73 per cent to 59 per cent. The Gulf states are beginning to settle oil trade payments in Chinese yuan, and other commodity producers are considering similar changes.


The polarisation of US domestic politics has now increased dramatically. This is particularly evident in the election campaign, with the vote still seven months away. The level of rudeness in the mutual accusations between the presidential candidates is rising noticeably.


(According to the American press, voters in seven swing states say the most important factor in deciding who to vote for in November will be the fight against the abuse of fentanyl, a synthetic drug that kills 80,000 people a year from overdoses).


Even Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the unprecedented use of administrative resources and court hearings during the American presidential campaign.


Donald Trump recently spoke of the possibility of a “bloodbath” if he does not win the election. Some American observers do not rule out the possibility that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will accept the outcome of the election.


Various American publications openly raise the question of the possibility of worsening contradictions and a serious civil conflict. On 16 March, Bloomberg wondered whether the United States was on the verge of a new civil war. At the same time, the authors of this article referred to a book by Canadian journalist Stephen Marche, who argued that “a new civil war in America is inevitable, the United States is coming to an end, the question is how?”.


The same observers remind us that the US leads the world by a wide margin in the number of firearms in private hands: the US has only 4% of the world’s population, but accounts for 40% of the world’s firearms stockpile. A poll conducted by the University of Maryland Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement and the Washington Post in 2021 found that a quarter of Democrats and 40% of Republicans believe the use of violence against the government is, to some extent, “justified.”


Grim scenarios describing a range of possibilities for political violence that would destabilise the country further exacerbate existing divisions. On the erosion of democratic norms in America, Richard Haass, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in 2023.


The authors of the afore-mentioned Bloomberg article believe that the continued proliferation of conspiracy theories, the growing racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia that have entered the mainstream of political and social discourse in the United States, along with readily available weapons, the potential for new acts of politically motivated domestic violence, including mass shootings, attacks on critical infrastructure, bombings and other attacks, cannot be discounted or ignored.


The growing tensions between the four major ethnic groups – whites, African Americans, Latinos (Hispanics) and Asians – are increasingly highlighted in the US media. There are many examples of friction between these communities. At present, with all the presidential candidates (and not just the Republicans and Democrats) locked in a fierce contest, winning the votes of these ethnic groups is becoming a crucial element in the entire domestic political life of the United States and is seriously dividing the country.


Veniamin POPOV, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Candidate of Historical Sciences, especially for online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Courtesy 

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