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Could the US be on the brink of a civil war?

The gap between the richest and the poorest in society has grown fast over the past decades. I remember traveling in the south of France in the early 2000s and when you would see a superyacht at anchor you would point it out. But when I was on the French Riviera last week I saw superyachts literally everywhere. And not just ’smaller’ ones of 30-40 meters, but also many with a length above 100 meters and a helicopters on deck. Maybe it was partially due to the Monaco Yacht Show, but to me this is a clear sign that the super rich have gotten a lot richer over the past decades, while incomes for the bottom 50% have only gone down in real terms.

This is a scary development that can’t continue like this. Why? When people need to have 2 jobs just to survive (unusual in Europe, but not uncommon in the US) and feel left behind, they will eventually revolt against this. That can take a long time because someone needs to take the lead in that revolution, but that person may actually be Trump.

For a long time my thinking was that if Trump would not get reelected in 2020 he would fight it, because he needs it to be reelected to stay out of jail. The most likely scenario would be that he would accuse the ‘deep state’ of rigging the election and then using Fox News and Twitter to stir the masses to fight for him. Trump would make his supporters feel wronged by the liberals, telling them they are trying to ‘take their freedoms away’ just like he is now already doing day in and day out on Twitter.

Many of the gun carriers in the US are Trump supporters and the situation could very quickly get out of hand. And if it would not get out of hand by itself, Trump’s enablers like Steve Bannon might not mind helping to get the situation to get out of control. Remember Steve Bannon and his obsession with the Fourth Turning? That’s not a coincidence of course. If Trump would not be reelected, this could literally go from a war of words to an emerging civil war in a matter of weeks.

The election is still over a year from now and a lot could happen in that time, so I did not give it too much thought so far. However, the fact that Trump might (finally) be impeached could accelerate these events. Trump is now already fighting it and using ‘his’ media to fight for him and accuse the Democrats of anything he can think of. And worse, he indicated on Twitter that if he gets impeached this could lead to a civil war. The fact that a sitting president says that is a very scary thing and it shows it is on his mind. Suddenly a potential civil war could be much closer than many believe.

You may think that everything is fine in your life, so it won’t affect you. You may go for a walk in the park, in the woods or just on a quiet street in your town and believe that a civil war would never happen where you live. But don’t underestimate how quickly things can change. Lots of people are fed up with the situation in the world and hope that chaos might be a good thing to give them a better life. Farfetched? Read this article about populism and you may change your opinion.

I see it on Twitter, the discussions seem to have become a lot more heated there. Not just about Trump, but also about climate change, and about the financial system (printing money to save the current system, bashing Bitcoin etc.). I personally feel things are getting out of hand and Trump is only pushing that. The USA seems to be more divisive than ever and I am genuinely worried that if an impeachment would be successful Trump would use his populist skills to start a civil war.

I hope I am wrong, but I just can’t imagine that Trump would quietly go away and risk ending up in jail after he left the Presidency. Maybe it can be avoided if he gets a non-prosecution deal, but I have my doubts. He and his enablers may have a lot more to gain from chaos than from keeping the status quo. Like I said in a recent post, be prepared.

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  1. Hi Marc,

    I think you would enjoy listening to the “It could happen here” podcast by Robert Evans. This podcast explores the idea of a new civil war in the USA, and what that could look like. I have listened to all episodes, and by doing so learned some things about the USA that I was not aware of. Main thing that made me understand better what is going on is the difference between rural and city people. I have lived in Europe my whole live, and rural USA has not been on my radar that much. I also think that the USA will see some form of civil war, unfortunately.

  2. Yes, someone else also recommended the podcast recently and I listened to the first couple of episodes already. It feels very realistic and it partly inspired me to write this post. I lived in rural US (South Georgia) for a year, so I know a bit about how people there think different from the coastal elites. They are very warm and friendly people if you know them personally, but Trump is setting them up against their fellow countrymen and they don’t seem to realize it. This might not end well, that’s not only scary but also very sad.

  3. Unfortunately you may be right. I’m more concerned about the scenario of a third world war involving China and the US. It looks like that’s a real possibility too given Trump’s recklessness and his tendency to escalate tensions and the irreconcilable fundamental differences between the two countries. And he’s simply too eager to use China as the scapegoat for the many troubles the US is having. A war with a foreign nation is a great way to divert public attention and keep him staying out of impeachment and getting jailed. It may start with Iran.. in any case Trump will be desperate, he will do whatever to cling onto his power! I feel fortunate to be living in China actually, it’s one of few countries that feels really safe and stable amidst all the chaos in the world. But that may not be for long!

  4. Not sure if China would let itself get dragged into a real war, I believe they are smarter than that. But then again, they could be forced into a war, although to me that still seems unlikely.

  5. I watched with great interest how the Chinese government dealt with Trump. Every time the Chinese side went to the US for trade negotiation they would bring along a very flattering letter from the Chinese president praising Trump and his great friendship with him.. The Chinese side can bend but Trump can’t. So far China seems to have played Trump quite well. But the US is very determined to suppress China’s rise. That’s a real problem because that means the tensions is set to only escalate! Miscalculations can happen and things can quickly get out of hands in a bad economic condition such as a global depression, the underlying conflicts will only become magnified and they are fundamentally unsolvable unless the US is willing to allow its global order to collapse and let China be the number 1 power. Quite unlikely really..