THE GUARDIAN – The US is “closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe”, a member of a key CIA advisory panel has said.
The analysis by Barbara F Walter, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego who sits on the Political Instability Task Force, is contained in a book due out next year and first reported by the Washington Post.
At the same time, three retired generals wrote in the Post that they were “increasingly concerned about the aftermath of the 2024 presidential election and the potential for lethal chaos inside our military”.
Such concerns are growing around jagged political divisions deepened by former president Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in the 2020 election.
Trump’s lie that his defeat by Joe Biden was caused by electoral fraud stoked the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, over which Trump was impeached and acquitted a second time, leaving him free to run for office.
The “big lie” is also fueling moves among Republicans to restrict voting by groups that lean Democratic and to make it easier to overturn elections.
Such moves remain without counter from Democrats stymied by the filibuster, the Senate rule that demands supermajorities for most legislation.
In addition, though Republican presidential nominees have won the popular vote only once since 1988, the GOP has by playing political hardball stocked the supreme court with conservatives, who outnumber liberals 6-3.
All such factors and more, including a pandemic which has stoked resistance to government, have contributed to Walter’s analysis.
Last month, she tweeted:
“The CIA actually has a taskforce designed to try to predict where and when political instability and conflict is likely to break out around the world. It’s just not legally allowed to look at the US. That means we are blind to the risk factors that are rapidly emerging here.”