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What Would a Civil War Look Like Today?

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  • What Would a Civil War Look Like Today?

    Speaking with friends and adversaries (liberals) about what the US would look if a 21st-century civil war broke out, I thought it might be an interesting strategic topic to kick around.

    There is no North/South or even an East/West dividing line where populations are at odds. If there are physical borders at all, they appear to be along urban/non-urban boundaries; larger cities versus small cities, towns, suburbs and rural. So how would a war operate in such a divided way? War zones would look interesting, something like this:

    us.jpg

    Personally, I don't believe it would involve a lot of actual fighting, which would not create much opportunity for the US Armed Forces to get involved (perhaps limited bombing of infrastructure). It would mainly be a war of resources. What do cities have that non-cities need, and vice versa? Electrical power, fuel, food, drinking water, communications (i.e. telephone and Internet), transportation, supply lines, etc. In most cases, non-cities would have an advantage. But in population and actual numbers, non-cities are too spread out. Unless cities were under actual seige, concentrations of combatants could easily leave and secure some nearby resources, perhaps holding them with air power. Cities would rely heavily on air power and transportation since vehicle transportation would be too difficult, so non-cities would rely on ground-to-air missiles to interrupt that.

    Any other speculations?

  • #2
    I think you'd get large armed mobs of civilians clashing in the streets. And you'd get groups trying to seize control of government buildings and capture (and perhaps kill) politicians. If it was happening at a sufficient scale the military would eventually have to take action of some sort, and it could be hugely varied what that action was and how united the military stayed.

    I don't think you'd get much if any resource-seizing/denial (electricity, food, communications etc) other than random looting.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
      I think you'd get large armed mobs of civilians clashing in the streets. And you'd get groups trying to seize control of government buildings and capture (and perhaps kill) politicians. If it was happening at a sufficient scale the military would eventually have to take action of some sort, and it could be hugely varied what that action was and how united the military stayed.

      I don't think you'd get much if any resource-seizing/denial (electricity, food, communications etc) other than random looting.
      I don't know if you've ever visited the US but the Democrat centers are invariably in the cities - the large cities (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Portland, St Louis, etc.). Once you get out of city limits it switches pretty quickly to conservative and Republican strongholds. That being the case, I don't see where or why there would be a lot of clashes in the cities since they would primarily be on the same side.
      Last edited by Ronson; 11-21-2020, 10:21 PM.

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      • #4
        i might post later, but it is too horrible of a scenario that would happen now.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ronson View Post

          I don't know if you've ever visited the US but the Democrat centers are invariably in the cities - the large cities (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Portland, St Louis, etc.). Once you get out of city limits it switches pretty quickly to conservative and Republican strongholds. That being the case, I don't see where or why there would be a lot of clashes in the cities since they would primarily be on the same side.
          It would mainly happen in the large cities. Power and water sources would become targets

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ronson View Post
            I don't know if you've ever visited the US but the Democrat centers are invariably in the cities - the large cities (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Portland, St Louis, etc.). Once you get out of city limits it switches pretty quickly to conservative and Republican strongholds. That being the case, I don't see where or why there would be a lot of clashes in the cities since they would primarily be on the same side.
            You're making the mistake of thinking that majority affiliation means unanimous affiliation. Plenty of Republicans live in cities, and Democrats in rural areas.

            And what I'm thinking about is how a civil war would start in the first place, given the sorts of things that precede it in other countries. What tends to happen is that you increasingly see mobs in the street that are affiliated with one side or the other, and violent. So think the BLM protests but on a bigger and more violent scale, and the Charlottesville MAGA rallies but on a bigger and more violent scale. You'd see such protests become a daily occurrence in cities across the country, and violence would break out as the partisan mobs clashed. This last is a crucial step in moving from protest toward civil war I think. The amount of violence the fighting mobs were using against each other would escalate over time, and they would start targeting politicians and political buildings. You'd see city after city admitting that the riots were totally out of control and escalating. As you point out, if it came down to it, the Democratic leaning mobs would probably outnumber Republican ones, though I'd point out that the Republican ones would probably be better armed and might well bring in supporters from the countryside.

            How it goes from then on is unpredictable because it depends how the national guard or army reacts and what they try to achieve. Possibly at that stage of affairs different states begin to seriously consider proposals to secede from the Union. If they were to formally pass such a declaration it is then unpredictable what would happen, e.g. the federal government might refuse to recognize it, or other states might join them etc. If enough states are trying to secede and willing to use force to do it, and the federal government is willing to use force to stop them, then you'll end up with another civil war in the style of the first one. Honestly though I don't think it would come to that last. I think today if a state formally voted to secede in their state legislature or via a referendum, the federal government would likely either ignore it or formally approve it - I strongly doubt the federal government today would be prepared to use force to keep a state from seceding.

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            • #7

              We would see something like riots and burning of cities happening. Then others will try to stop this by bringing out guns.

              The police will be divided on whether to go against a specific group or stay out it. This will escalate and many police will be brought in from places unknown. These new guys will go after the the original group stopping the rioters.

              National guard will be called in and military. But it will be hard to keep the soldiers fighting one side of this, so there will be many defectors. Plus there will be fake defectors who will gather intelligence on the men who originally were stopping the rioters.

              Many people who are not fighting will be divisive. There will be people who think the rioters and burning of cities was necessary and will offer moral support to the rioters. Others will recognize that all this has been an attempt to divide the nation so that America would be weak. At this point soldiers from NATO and the UN will come in to prevent the infightings. Those people who were fighting for the freedom of America will be killed or imprisoned.

              Most of this would happen in the major cities. However, many in smaller cities would seek to help the freedom fighters in the major cities. So, there would be burning of those rural areas.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                Speaking with friends and adversaries (liberals) about what the US would look if a 21st-century civil war broke out, I thought it might be an interesting strategic topic to kick around.

                There is no North/South or even an East/West dividing line where populations are at odds. If there are physical borders at all, they appear to be along urban/non-urban boundaries; larger cities versus small cities, towns, suburbs and rural. So how would a war operate in such a divided way? War zones would look interesting, something like this:

                us.jpg

                Personally, I don't believe it would involve a lot of actual fighting, which would not create much opportunity for the US Armed Forces to get involved (perhaps limited bombing of infrastructure). It would mainly be a war of resources. What do cities have that non-cities need, and vice versa? Electrical power, fuel, food, drinking water, communications (i.e. telephone and Internet), transportation, supply lines, etc. In most cases, non-cities would have an advantage. But in population and actual numbers, non-cities are too spread out. Unless cities were under actual seige, concentrations of combatants could easily leave and secure some nearby resources, perhaps holding them with air power. Cities would rely heavily on air power and transportation since vehicle transportation would be too difficult, so non-cities would rely on ground-to-air missiles to interrupt that.

                Any other speculations?
                US is way too divided. Officials would never declare such a thing or get involved in a taking a side. It would just be scattered street clashes with the locals, with occasional shootings here and there, and opportunists taking advantage of the chaos to commit more crime. However, if government tried to actually engage in some mandate enforcement like trying to seize weapons or something, then it would be much more organized between militias, and possibly local law enforcement, against federal law enforcement.
                "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been wondering about this.

                  I live in western PA, right at the border of "Pennsyltucky" and the greater Pittsburgh area. Pittsburgh, Philly, and to a lesser extent Harrisburg (the capital) are very blue. The rest of the Commonwealth is pink to red. My area is light pink. One would think that it would become progressively more Democrat the closer one approaches to Pittsburgh, but based on candidate yard signs, that was not the case this year. It was slightly "Trumpier" down in Beaver County, more evenly split around here (southern extreme of Lawrence Co.).

                  I'd have to team up with my friends and kill off virtually all of my family.
                  Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                  Beige Nationalist.

                  "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                  Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                    You're making the mistake of thinking that majority affiliation means unanimous affiliation. Plenty of Republicans live in cities, and Democrats in rural areas.
                    Oppositions will always be caught behind enemy lines. They either quickly migrate or keep a low profile.

                    And what I'm thinking about is how a civil war would start in the first place, given the sorts of things that precede it in other countries. What tends to happen is that you increasingly see mobs in the street that are affiliated with one side or the other, and violent. So think the BLM protests but on a bigger and more violent scale, and the Charlottesville MAGA rallies but on a bigger and more violent scale. You'd see such protests become a daily occurrence in cities across the country, and violence would break out as the partisan mobs clashed. This last is a crucial step in moving from protest toward civil war I think. The amount of violence the fighting mobs were using against each other would escalate over time, and they would start targeting politicians and political buildings. You'd see city after city admitting that the riots were totally out of control and escalating. As you point out, if it came down to it, the Democratic leaning mobs would probably outnumber Republican ones, though I'd point out that the Republican ones would probably be better armed and might well bring in supporters from the countryside.

                    How it goes from then on is unpredictable because it depends how the national guard or army reacts and what they try to achieve. Possibly at that stage of affairs different states begin to seriously consider proposals to secede from the Union. If they were to formally pass such a declaration it is then unpredictable what would happen, e.g. the federal government might refuse to recognize it, or other states might join them etc. If enough states are trying to secede and willing to use force to do it, and the federal government is willing to use force to stop them, then you'll end up with another civil war in the style of the first one. Honestly though I don't think it would come to that last. I think today if a state formally voted to secede in their state legislature or via a referendum, the federal government would likely either ignore it or formally approve it - I strongly doubt the federal government today would be prepared to use force to keep a state from seceding.
                    I personally don't think a civil war would happen for some of the reasons you mention. And unlike 1860, when the federal government wasn't as huge and involved in every American's life, we have Social Security and welfare and Medicare and VA (and countless other connections). Many Americans of all persuasions are dependent upon it and couldn't survive a disruption. And any kind of large civil conflict would bring most of that to a screeching halt.

                    This thread is mostly just a war games exercise. I just can't see how it would work, other than my initial proposition.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                      Speaking with friends and adversaries (liberals) about what the US would look if a 21st-century civil war broke out, I thought it might be an interesting strategic topic to kick around.

                      There is no North/South or even an East/West dividing line where populations are at odds. If there are physical borders at all, they appear to be along urban/non-urban boundaries; larger cities versus small cities, towns, suburbs and rural. So how would a war operate in such a divided way? War zones would look interesting, something like this:

                      us.jpg

                      Personally, I don't believe it would involve a lot of actual fighting, which would not create much opportunity for the US Armed Forces to get involved (perhaps limited bombing of infrastructure). It would mainly be a war of resources. What do cities have that non-cities need, and vice versa? Electrical power, fuel, food, drinking water, communications (i.e. telephone and Internet), transportation, supply lines, etc. In most cases, non-cities would have an advantage. But in population and actual numbers, non-cities are too spread out. Unless cities were under actual seige, concentrations of combatants could easily leave and secure some nearby resources, perhaps holding them with air power. Cities would rely heavily on air power and transportation since vehicle transportation would be too difficult, so non-cities would rely on ground-to-air missiles to interrupt that.

                      Any other speculations?
                      What about the political divisions within the armed forces? I understand military are sworn to defend the Constitution. If a group was attempting a coup as a result of what they [without any evidence] considered to be an electoral fraud. Would not the military be duty bound to support the President who has been duly elected [and sworn in]? Would military personnel who refused to do so be considered as traitors? Could they face court martial and be shot?

                      What role would the National Guard play in your scenario?
                      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

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                      • #12
                        If it happened you would not trust the news reports, and remain hiding in Plato's cave.
                        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                        go with the flow the river knows . . .

                        Frank

                        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                          Speaking with friends and adversaries (liberals) about what the US would look if a 21st-century civil war broke out, I thought it might be an interesting strategic topic to kick around.

                          There is no North/South or even an East/West dividing line where populations are at odds. If there are physical borders at all, they appear to be along urban/non-urban boundaries; larger cities versus small cities, towns, suburbs and rural. So how would a war operate in such a divided way? War zones would look interesting, something like this:

                          us.jpg

                          Personally, I don't believe it would involve a lot of actual fighting, which would not create much opportunity for the US Armed Forces to get involved (perhaps limited bombing of infrastructure). It would mainly be a war of resources. What do cities have that non-cities need, and vice versa? Electrical power, fuel, food, drinking water, communications (i.e. telephone and Internet), transportation, supply lines, etc. In most cases, non-cities would have an advantage. But in population and actual numbers, non-cities are too spread out. Unless cities were under actual seige, concentrations of combatants could easily leave and secure some nearby resources, perhaps holding them with air power. Cities would rely heavily on air power and transportation since vehicle transportation would be too difficult, so non-cities would rely on ground-to-air missiles to interrupt that.

                          Any other speculations?
                          I have lots of speculations.

                          What the military does would be the only thing deciding any revolution.

                          I think the reality would be martial law shutdown. The military wouldn't fracture it would defend the status quo, with those disagreeing leaving the military. A lot of skirmishes and eventually another election.

                          Since states can field their own fighting force, there could be some issues there. It would pattern the previous civil war in that way I think. Eventually each state picking a side, people leaving their state for one more towards their liking.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Maranatha View Post

                            I have lots of speculations.

                            What the military does would be the only thing deciding any revolution.

                            I think the reality would be martial law shutdown. The military wouldn't fracture it would defend the status quo, with those disagreeing leaving the military. A lot of skirmishes and eventually another election.

                            Since states can field their own fighting force, there could be some issues there. It would pattern the previous civil war in that way I think. Eventually each state picking a side, people leaving their state for one more towards their liking.
                            I think at least most of the military would robotically follow orders of the state because they're trained that way. Though I believe they'd still be at a huge disadvantage. Not only would they have to worry about collateral damage and the bad PR that would have on the state (though they do control the media, so there's that), but the grave psychological effect it would have on them having to fight their own citizens. Look at the effects they experience just fighting against insurgents in foreign countries -- suicides off the chart.
                            "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seanD View Post

                              I think at least most of the military would robotically follow orders of the state because they're trained that way. Though I believe they'd still be at a huge disadvantage. Not only would they have to worry about collateral damage and the bad PR that would have on the state (though they do control the media, so there's that), but the grave psychological effect it would have on them having to fight their own citizens. Look at the effects they experience just fighting against insurgents in foreign countries -- suicides off the chart.
                              There's a huge problem with the military getting involved. Street fighting (assuming that would happen) would create lots of civilian casualties. And people in the US have family all over the place, and friends of family. In the Civil War you had Sherman routing and burning Atlanta, which was only possible because he and all of his men were from the North. We have a fully integrated military now. And would the military want to create much damage to buildings and infrastructure since this is their country and their infrastructure? I can't envision very deep military involvement.

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