CIA Consultant: US 'Closer to Civil War' Than Most People Would Like to Believe
Last month, the United States was estimated by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance as being among the "backsliding democracies", with the think tank noting that Washington has fallen "victim to authoritarian tendencies itself".
The US is on the verge of a civil war, having already passed the so-called phases of "pre-insurgency" and "incipient conflict", argues Barbara F Walter, a member of a CIA task force advisory panel designed to assess political instability in the world, according to several excerpts from her book cited by The Washington Post.
"We are closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe", the bottom line of the book says, per The Washington Post. "No one wants to believe that their beloved democracy is in decline, or headed toward war. [...] If you were an analyst in a foreign country looking at events in America — the same way you'd look at events in Ukraine or the Ivory Coast or Venezuela — you would go down a checklist, assessing each of the conditions that make civil war likely".
According to Walter, the US has entered "very dangerous territory", especially following the deadly Capitol riots that took place in January 2021. The analyst voiced fears that this event could have triggered a path for the US to slip into the third phase - "open insurgency".
Walter goes on to suggest that Trump's tenure in the White House has resulted in the US no longer technically qualifying as a democracy. She asserts that the country is now an "anocracy" - something in between an autocratic state and a democracy, citing the Centre for Systemic Peace's "Polity" data set
According to the "Polity" index, Trump's tenure cost the US five points, taking the nation down from the top score of 10 - something that, Walter writes, has made the country a partial democracy for the first time since 1800.
"We are no longer the world's oldest continuous democracy", Walter's book reads. "That honour is now held by Switzerland, followed by New Zealand, and then Canada. We are no longer a peer to nations like Canada, Costa Rica, and Japan, which are all rated a +10 on the Polity index".
Six points in three years would qualify as "high risk" of civil war. The one and only civil war in the US took place from 1861 to 1865, with the sides - widely known as "the North" and "the South" - mainly clashing over the status of slavery in the country.
Such a depressing "Polity" index could mean the United States easily being "pushed toward conflict through a combination of bad governance and increasingly undemocratic measures that further weaken its institutions".
According to Walter, the blame should be put on Donald Trump and his Republicans, who, she says, led the country into the "abyss". The analyst found that this "abyss" is one of the main factors contributing to the Democratic Party now apparently stepping away from President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan - a sweeping spending agenda envisaging trillions of dollars poured into social benefits, climate change, and infrastructure.
19 December 2021, 14:58 GMT
Biden and his team campaigned and have been trying to govern with the goal of "uniting" and "healing" a country rattled by the coronavirus pandemic and acute issues of racial justice that intensified after George Floyd's death in police custody in 2020. Aside from this, the new administration pledged a "plan" to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, promising to "restore trust, credibility, and common purpose", with the then-Democratic candidate blasting Trump for fostering division and calling his pandemic response a collossal failure.
Still, Biden continues to suffer from low approval ratings amid several foreign policy misfortunes, soaring inflation, migrant crisis, and other domestic issues. His massive spending bill appears to be on the verge of failure due to opposition from Senator Joe Manchin
(D-WV), and some polls have already suggested that his embattled predecessor Trump would beat him
should an election rematch take place now.