Canada is Worried a U.S. Civil War Could Start Soon

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Canada is Worried a U.S. Civil War Could Start Soon

While the threat seems real due to political division and media portrayals, the likelihood of a full-scale civil war in the U.S. remains slim.


Summary and Key Points: While the threat seems real due to political division and media portrayals, the likelihood of a full-scale civil war in the U.S. remains slim.

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-Factors such as military loyalty to the Constitution, the logistical challenges of modern warfare, and the general public's lack of readiness make a civil war unlikely.

-Instead, the greater threat may come from external adversaries exploiting internal divisions through misinformation and disinformation.

Could a Second American Civil War Really Happen?

In 2002 episode of TV's Frasier, characters Niles and Daphne debate the topic of Civil Wars – with the pair debating the differences between the English and American Civil Wars. Niles then asks Frasier, "which was more interesting."

Frasier responds, "Spanish – but I haven't got time to prove it."

It was certainly a light-hearted take on the topic of wars that as history has proven are anything but civil. In fact, throughout history, civil wars tend to be the deadliest conflicts.

There were an estimated 1.5 million casualties reported during the American Civil War, with 618,222 killed. The Chinese Civil War saw more than 2 million soldiers killed while another 5 million civilians lost their lives – and that doesn't include the tens of millions more that the Communists killed after taking power. Likewise, as many as 12 million lives were lost in the Russian Civil War, and tens of millions more in the years that followed. What is worrisome is how a modern civil war, one that involves a nuclear power, could be even deadlier.

Canada is Actually Worried About an American Civil War

As reported, Canadian politicians are increasingly concerned about the possibility of another civil war in the United States – one that a decade ago might have seemed far-fetched, but as the political divide only widens, there is a concern that movies like the recent Civil War and TV shows like The Handmaid's Tale aren't that far from becoming reality. cited a 37-page document prepared by Policy Horizons Canada, which included an ominous 15 words: "U.S. ideological divisions, democratic erosion, and domestic unrest escalate, plunging the country into civil war." It was included among other threats facing Canada, including a Third World War.

There are plenty of other threats the report noted. From man-made climate change to unchecked artificial intelligence to an asteroid crashing into Earth, there is a lot to be worried about!

Could There be a Second American Civil War?

It would seem the threat of another American Civil War seems all too real, but that's largely because there have been countless novels, movies, TV shows, and video games centered on the idea of a Second American Civil War. Yet, as President Joe Biden quipped a year ago, and then again more recently, any would-be rebels seeking to take on the government would "need an F-15" not an AR15.

That's a point worth remembering. Our adversaries may want to see the country torn apart, but China and Russia aren't about to send arms to actively support one side in an American Civil War. Instead, those nations (and others) continue to hope that America will remain engaged in an "Uncivil War" where we remain divided over the direction of the country, where the battle lines are drawn based on our political leanings. 

Regardless of who wins the Presidential Election in November, there is a sad likelihood we could see protests that quickly turn violent because neither side seems ready to accept the outcome. It is true that some Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building on January 6 and supported his claims that the election was "rigged." But we need to remember that his victory in 2016 was met by protestors taking to the streets with chants of "Not my president."

Yet, both are still a far cry from a civil war.

The chances of escalation are slim. Military leaders swear allegiance to the Constitution, not a man or woman, so it is unlikely the U.S. military is about to rise up.

It would therefore require more than just an election outcome to break up the country. A point in fiction is a terrorist attack (staged or otherwise) that literally takes out the government leading to such a conflict. Yet, again such an event is easier to fictionalize than it is to carry it out – as noted by those who tried to blow up the English Parliament in the "Gunpowder Plot" on November 5, 1605.

Likewise, efforts to cripple the United States by killing President Abraham Lincoln and other U.S. leaders at the end of the American Civil War failed. Lincoln's assassination didn't save the Southern cause and arguably may have helped heal the country.

The final consideration is that we may be a deeply divided nation politically, but we're also a lazy nation of over-privileged citizens – and that's not just the "kids" today. Adult Americans love their big trucks and campers, their swimming pools, BBQs, and streaming services. Many Americans freaked out when toilet paper and frozen pizza were in short supply during the pandemic. They couldn't deal with the logistics involved in starting a civil war.

Can we really expect a civil war to occur when Americans need a GPS to drive further than the corner store, and a quarter of young people's passion is to be an influencer? Few Americans would be ready or able for the long haul that likely comes with it. There are no weekends and holidays in a civil war.

Likewise, the U.S. military has had to lower the requirements to fill its ranks – and that included the physical fitness standards. We may see the guys at the local gun show decked out in tactical gear, but that's hardly a substitute for Special Forces training.

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In other words, we should be fearful of fighting an enemy state, not fighting ourselves.

Yet, our adversaries continue to spread misinformation and disinformation to divide us internally. And those who claim they're ready to take up arms to defend democracy need to go play a video game instead. There are often no winners in a civil war, but in America, only losers would want to fight one.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].

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