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Old 11-25-2012, 04:01 PM
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Default Civil War II?

Could there be another Civil War?

Most of me says no. That could never happen again.

There's a little part of me that finds quite a few similarities that led US to one civil war and now.

I'd like to know what others think of this possibility. If there is another civil war, how and why?
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:16 AM
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I don't really think so, at least not in the immediate future. I do see the similarities which have been around for probably a good decade or more. Even in the years immediately following the Civil War there were very bitter elections and political discord. The end of the Civil War didn't bring an end to the political animosity and the Southern Democrats were not very cooperative with facilitating reconstruction. Ironically the major advocates from the south for trying to make as seamless a transition as possible back into the Union were Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet. The Civil War did not start with the secession of the southern states and I'm assuming part of your concern is with the news from Texas of its petition to leave the union. In truth these kind of petitions happen frequently it's just that this recent one from Texas is the first time such a petition has received the requisite number of signatures which is only on the order of something like 27,000 if I remember correctly and I have no clue if there's even enough of a backing within Texas to even make it go any further than that. Basically what caused the Civil War in terms of actually getting the shooting going is a boil over of military tensions. You have the South declaring independence. You have President Lincoln challenging the legality of the South breaking away. The South, viewing itself as independent is now going to mobilize to defend what it believes to be its sovereignty. At the same time, you have assets such as Fort Sumter in the south that are still technically Federal property under the US War Department and now Lincoln has to start mobilizing the US military to protect those Federal assets. The South is going to view those assets such as Fort Sumter as either rightfully belonging to the south, or at the very least they will view the presence of those Federal assets as a threat to their own sovereignty and security. In fact the South tried to not only negotiate the withdrawal of Federal forces from those areas, but also offered to buy those facilities as part of a peaceful resolution, but for Lincoln to do so would essentially be recognizing the sovereignty of the Confederacy which was something he wasn't willing to do. So literally what you have is a military standoff with both sides mobilized on a heightened state of alert. The only thing that's needed is for someone to decide to open fire. It literally was a game of chicken between Lincoln and the Confederate government over of the legitimacy of secession. And before someone flies off the handle accusing me of rewriting history and that I'm some post Civil War racist saying it was all state's rights and all that utter nonsense (there's always some mouth breathing Philistine that always does) as if I'm not capable of listening to a composed articulate opposing argument, the whole issue of slavery was one of a number of issues (and a pretty big one at that) that created the political impasse leading to the secession of the south which then leads to yet another political impasse over the legality of secession which leads to the actual shooting. Lincoln wasn't just a politician, he was a very shrewd statesman. I mean if you take a close look at the Emancipation Proclamation, it is a work of art in terms of what it does and the legal and political basis for how it works.

Also keep in mind that America is culturally very different than it was back then. There was a much more independent spirit in America back then. Not only was industrialization taking root, but there was literally more than half a continent worth of frontier to the west that the nation was expanding into. The nation wasn't as heavily interconnected as it is today both socially and in terms of infrastructure although geographically the nation is still large enough to support regional cultural differences.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MigueldaRican View Post
Could there be another Civil War?

Most of me says no. That could never happen again.

There's a little part of me that finds quite a few similarities that led US to one civil war and now.

I'd like to know what others think of this possibility. If there is another civil war, how and why?
Just because there are some racist right-wing halfwits running around with Confederation flags and pretending that slavery didn't exist and that states should be virtually independent from "evil DC" doesn't imply that they actually gain any political power.
So if you refer to a secessionist movement resembling the one of the American Civil War the answer is no. But civil war in general is quite possible. Obviously not in the near future but the American Empire is in decline (you can e.g. hardly provide a decent reading of neoconservatism without taking this into account) which might imply some social upheaval in this century and due to climate chance, overpopulation and resources shortages, problems that reinforce each other, this century might be even more violent than the last one.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:15 AM
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Just because there are some racist right-wing halfwits running around with Confederation flags and pretending that slavery didn't exist and that states should be virtually independent from "evil DC" doesn't imply that they actually gain any political power.
So if you refer to a secessionist movement resembling the one of the American Civil War the answer is no. But civil war in general is quite possible. Obviously not in the near future but the American Empire is in decline (you can e.g. hardly provide a decent reading of neoconservatism without taking this into account) which might imply some social upheaval in this century and due to climate chance, overpopulation and resources shortages, problems that reinforce each other, this century might be even more violent than the last one.
To quote Mark Twain, "History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme."

On another note, it does seem that when we look at not just here in the US but also across the pond over in your neighborhood as well as in Asia where my extended family is, just to name a few regions, the positioning is starting to take place. I don't know who the major players will be in whatever is coming in the next 50 years but I'm pretty certain the US will be much less influential on the world stage. I don't see the US going into obscurity but it will no longer be dominant, not that I think the US is still dominant but I believe it will continue to lose influence for the time being. I suspect to see at least 3 major players in the world. Europe, the US, and China being the new big kid not just economically but also militarily. They just got their first carrier running and just did the first carrier landing. The fact that the Chinese are looking at catapults for their domestically designed and built carriers tells me they're looking at building carriers of similar capabilities as US carriers.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:15 AM
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Indeed. For me China is interesting in two 'it could go either way' respects:
First, I think it is safe to exclude the possibility of China aspiring to become an empire comparable to the British or American one. The country rather engages in soft imperialism which you witness e.g. in how it silently gained control over natural resources in Africa, in its currency manipulation or its systemic copyright violations. The latter two are about on the one hand not playing according to international rules but on the other hand not grossly violating them via e.g. killing people.
Second, the country might either go down the 'democracy as a luxury good', i.e. once the population is moderately well off it starts to demand political freedoms, which many countries have gone down before or its model of the worst of both worlds, exploitation & sweat shop labour from capitalism and authoritarian one party rule from communism, might actually spread. Recent authoritarian trends in the West make this a distinct possibility.

This makes it hard to predict ideological changes and future conflicts. Unlike the Cold War and unlike the Fu*uyamaesque end of history dream of the nineties one could call the beginning of the century an age of confusion and uncertainty.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:55 AM
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Do you think China's military leadership also might be a little bit of a wild card on the side? My understanding is that not all of the funding the PLA gets is from the civilian government. Apparently the Chinese military also owns a number of private business which theoretically would give their military a certain degree of financial autonomy.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:08 PM
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My philosophy is: The world is a crazy place and anything can happen. Another American Civil War? Very possible indeed. On a global scale… another world war is not that far away… especially as the world's resources dry up. The big three powers will definitely come to blows over what's left.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akula2ssn View Post
Do you think China's military leadership also might be a little bit of a wild card on the side? My understanding is that not all of the funding the PLA gets is from the civilian government. Apparently the Chinese military also owns a number of private business which theoretically would give their military a certain degree of financial autonomy.
I have no idea at all. Economic interests always merge with military ones but if we take Chinese history as a benchmark it is unlikely that the country will expand worldwide and e.g. conquer Africa like Europe did or maintain worldwide military bases like the US does. But the country definitely has an interest in gaining at least regional power and East Asia is not a tension-free area.

So my fairly uninformed guess is that their military engagement will be limited to the region for the near future. It is not a peaceful power that merely maintains a military to deter and defend but it is not a country eager to operate on the other side of the world either.
Let's also not forget former Western strategic mistakes like trying to get Georgia, a country next to Russia, into the NATO. Nobody would have come up with such a dumb idea during the Cold War. Same applies for East Asia, if we think that we can maintain a military presence on the doorstep of a new superpower we are obviously braindead.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatio View Post
I have no idea at all. Economic interests always merge with military ones but if we take Chinese history as a benchmark it is unlikely that the country will expand worldwide and e.g. conquer Africa like Europe did or maintain worldwide military bases like the US does. But the country definitely has an interest in gaining at least regional power and East Asia is not a tension-free area.

So my fairly uninformed guess is that their military engagement will be limited to the region for the near future. It is not a peaceful power that merely maintains a military to deter and defend but it is not a country eager to operate on the other side of the world either.
Let's also not forget former Western strategic mistakes like trying to get Georgia, a country next to Russia, into the NATO. Nobody would have come up with such a dumb idea during the Cold War. Same applies for East Asia, if we think that we can maintain a military presence on the doorstep of a new superpower we are obviously braindead.
That's pretty much what I've been thinking. It seems to me that while China has been vocal about territorial ambitions over the years. However, when you look at it, their interests are very much limited to that region albeit the west Pacific is a very large region an where conflict is likely to arise is from the fact that there are a lot of recognized sovereign nations in that region. China has been pretty vocal about not meddling in the internal affairs of other nations...Overtly anyway, such as direct military interventions. If China holds true to that then any military operations should be confined to that area. To those of us outside of Asia, we might look at what China did with Tibet as an overt military action of a sovereign nation, but for China that was an internal affair with a region it regarded as belonging to China. It may seem like a distinction of convenience to outsiders and I'm not at all disagreeing with that interpretation, but I think it does show a certain degree of consistency in how China approaches its immediate sphere of influence and what we might be able to expect.

Your very last statement is something I've been espousing and naturally falls mostly on deaf ears. A lot of people here in the US pretty much turn their noses up at the news of China's first carrier citing that the US has been using carriers since the 1930s and that we boast roughly a dozen carriers. Nevermind the fact that the US did not invent the carrier and much of its innovations. That was primarily pioneered by the Royal Navy. On top of that, the US having commitments world wide and the fact that not all carriers are ever deployed at once due to rotations for maintenance, upgrades, training, etc that pretty much means we can field maybe 2 carriers in a given theater. What the "We're Number One!" crowd completely ignores the fact that China doesn't have to match us carrier for carrier to meet their immediate strategic goals. Most Americans look at the Chinese naval development with contempt while I look at it with guarded admiration. In fact I'm pretty sure that Russia and the rest of Europe looked at Japan's emerging navy with contempt until the Strait of Tsushima.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:34 AM
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Well I wasn't just thinking of the new secessionist thing. Although that helped spark my interest here. There's just so much division. Either left and right, I think the division has gone to unnecessary lengths.

As bad as George Bush was, I don't think he was as bad as people say. But under him the division became more apparent. And I know there's always been a divide in this country, but the gap became more noticeable.

When Obama got elected it was like the right wing collectively started picking up their pitchforks. We witnessed the right go apesh*t crazy over the birther thing. It'd be one thing if it was just some fringe group feeding a crazy conspiracy theory. But it was all over the place. Fox News jumped on it like flies on crap. I don't know if the birther thing is racist, but I swear to God, I hear banjos everytime it's mentioned. "Wut! He ain't frum here!? Not 'Merican? Lit's go git 'im boys!" Which, I know, in itself might be a racist thing for me to say. So now I'm just adding to it. Good one, Miguel.

Then North Carolina bans gay marriage in direct response to Obama's words. The thing about gay marriage is that it's obvious the antigay movement is losing the battle. But they've changed methods. They're not arguing on whether or not it's morally wrong. They're arguing that it's actually invading THEIR rights as citizens who should be allowed to define marriage not the government.

And that fits in with their belief against "big government". I'm not sure how valid a belief that is. Are they really against big government, or just big LEFT government?

But as divided as this country is, I really don't think there's going to be another Civil War. For one it'll take a lot more than just the social issues. Plus even at that, nobody wants to wake up in the middle of a battlefield. Nobody wants to find out that their close friends and family is fighting for the other side, which did happen in the 1860's. I have trouble telling my own family how liberal I've become on all the social issues, pretty much all the issues that a conservative Christian is supposed to be conservative on, yep, I've gone to the "darkside". With all the modern war technology that the US possesses, no one really wants to see all that power turn against itself. Bayonets and single-shot weapons are one thing, drone strikes and nukes are another.
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