Last week, a stunning poll from the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia showed that 52% of Trump voters and 41% of Biden voters favored red/blue states seceding from the union. In a healthy society, this poll would have sent a shockwave through the country and people across the ideological spectrum would have pulled together to discuss what was going wrong and how it could be fixed. Unfortunately, because we are a highly dysfunctional society, a poll that indicates a near majority of Americans would prefer to split the United States up was barely noticed in the sea of outrage over trivialities that is our modern media.
Of course, as you could guess from the description of this Substack, I’m well aware that America splitting up is a distinct possibility.
The sad truth is that the values of the Left and Right are increasingly incompatible, our incompetent government is non-responsive to the needs of the country and it’s very difficult to see how the country is going to survive intact when one side wants to preserve it and the other wants to systematically destroy it so it can be rebuilt as some sort of top-down, socialist utopian dream state that has never existed in the real world and never will.
That being said, it’s worth making the effort to preserve America not just because this has been such a great and successful nation, but because there are extremely unpleasant potential consequences to breaking up the United States that most people have never thought about. Why would they when the flaming garbage heap that is the media in our country puts important topics on the back burner while obsessing over outrage, clickbait, and trivialities 24x7?
So, just as a little thought exercise, let’s assume that in 2024, the United States PEACEFULLY (that would be ideal but would always be a huge “if”) breaks up into different regions. Perhaps you’d have the South, the Northeast, the Northwest, the Rust Belt, and Mid-America all going their own way. If that were to happen, what would some of the consequences of that scenario be?
1) The biggest economic contraction in world history: Putting it simply, money is just a convenient way to trade assets between people and nations without having to resort to barter. Instead of giving you 100 baby chicks in exchange for a flat-screen TV that I can then trade for a recliner, I can just give you $300 instead. Over time, America (among other nations) has managed to game this system with fiat money. These days, we hear a lot of talk about America’s economy being a “bubble” that can pop at any time. What most people don’t understand is that in a very real sense, our entire economy is a bubble built on top of a bubble, built on top of another bubble. You see, at one point, America’s economy was tied to gold and there was a time when you could literally trade your dollars into the government for an equal amount of gold. As the US (and other nations) started moving off of the gold standard, the value of the dollar became increasingly detached from any sort of real-world assets (gold included) that could be traded for it. On top of that, America has gone 28.7 trillion dollars in debt. Then, as an extra added bonus, consider that 40% of all the dollars in existence were printed in 2020 and 2021 and inflation certainly hasn't caught up to that development yet. What this means is that we currently have far more dollars in our economy than we have assets that can be used to back them up. If the United States split up, the economy in every region would massively contract because the value of their currency would be much more closely pegged to the actual assets they have available (gold, silver, oil, food, etc.). Those new nations also would not be able to borrow the enormous amounts of money that the United States does today. That would mean there would simply be a lot less money to go around.
Then, consider the other things that could cause economic damage. Businesses would move to different parts of the country. You might need a passport to drive from one part of the country to the other. Different regions might put tariffs on each other. The free flow of goods and services from one part of the country to the other could be a problem… and then there’s the big one. Social Security and Medicare would either stop completely, the amounts paid out would drop dramatically, or we’d have to dramatically increase taxes to pay for them. Incidentally, the United States itself is headed towards those same choices in the coming decades (or sooner), but new nations would be confronted by it immediately. It would not be a pretty picture.
2) Foreign nations getting much more involved in the United States: We already have other nations interfering in American affairs on the periphery. They try to interfere in our elections, they spy on us, and they steal the intellectual products of our companies. The moment the United States broke apart, not only would those nations have nothing to fear from us… the new regional states might WELCOME them in. Imagine a Russian military base on American soil or the Chinese being given access to the most advanced American military hardware in exchange for a trade deal. We could even see a situation where one of the new nations signed a military alliance with foreign nations and next thing you know, there could be 20 Chinese divisions setting up for a long-term stay 10 miles from the border of Arizona.
3) A dramatic increase in world conflict: Many people have noted the number of military bases the United States has throughout the world and the number of global conflicts we get into. What people don’t seem to notice as much is how many military conflicts DON’T OCCUR because of the United States. If we were taken off the board, the amount of conflict in the world would dramatically INCREASE, NOT DECREASE. Think about North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, China and Taiwan, Israel and its neighbors, Russia and the former Soviet states surrounding it, Iran and Iraq, Iraq and Kuwait – it goes on and on. Realistically, if the United States were no longer a super-power, we could expect these sorts of bloody conflicts to continue and spread for DECADES to come. When the biggest dog in the yard gets put down, things don’t suddenly cool off, they get hot as everyone settles all the scores they were afraid to settle when they didn’t want to draw his attention.
4) Significant nuclear proliferation: Even today, far too many people are complacent about Iran getting nukes. That would be twice as true in a post-American world. Even setting aside the fact that Iran is run by religious crazies who hate the United States, the moment they are confirmed to have nukes is the same moment that Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other states would immediately start working on their own programs to counter them. For all their anti-Israeli bluster, all those nations know that Israel has no desire to run the Middle East, so they’re not that concerned about their nukes. The same can’t be said for Iran. Additionally, if they could no longer rely on being protected by the nuclear umbrella of the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Australia would all need nukes to protect themselves from China. South America? Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and Columbia would also all get to work if only to protect themselves from their neighbors developing nuclear weapons.
Do you see how this would spread? The more nations that have nuclear weapons, the more likely they are to be used or given to terrorist groups that will use them. Furthermore, as more nations develop their own programs and the expertise to develop nukes becomes easier and cheaper to produce, we could see terrorist groups or even individuals capable of funding their own nuclear weapon programs. Americans used to be terrified that the United States and the Soviet Union would start a nuclear war that could end all life on the planet. Now imagine a scenario where a dozen basket case nations run by dictators or fanatics have control of nuclear arsenals they can use to threaten and blackmail their neighbors. Without the United States stepping in to prevent it, that’s certainly where we would be going.
5) Dramatically increased odds of potential wars on our own soil: If the United States were to split into red and blue regions, we’d be a collection of competitive, Westernized, regional powers in close proximity to each other. Much like Western Europe. Some people might find that comforting, but only if they don’t know history. That’s because the history of Western Europe is essentially a millennium-plus history of conquest, warfare, and intrigue. Just as one example out of many, Britain and France have fought each other 16 times in the last 500 years. Historically, it hasn’t taken much to get a conflict started either. For example, have you ever heard of the War of Jenkins Ear? Robert Jenkins was a British merchant captain, and the Spanish coast guard boarded his ship looking for contraband and cut off one of his ears. That was used as an excuse for a 9-year long war between Britain and Spain. Couldn’t you see the same kind of thing happening here? Particularly in the Twitter era?
Imagine a citizen from Wisconsin going to Portland on vacation, being badly beaten by ANTIFA because they decided he “looked like a white supremacist” and then the district attorney refusing to prosecute those responsible. Today, we’d all rant about the idiots in Portland and then people would move on to something else. In post-split America, that could potentially be considered an act of war that could lead to sanctions or retaliation. In the run-up to the Civil War in America, pro and anti-slavery groups in “bleeding” Kansas (the most famous one was John Brown) committed crimes and murdered people on the other side. You don’t think we could see groups of guerillas from opposing sides doing the same thing here?
In addition, given that there’s no way to perfectly split the country, you can be sure that there would be towns, cities, and counties that would prefer to be on the other side of whatever lines were drawn. That could lead to one side sending in their military to “protect” their allies trapped across the border as Hitler did when he took the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. On top of that, imagine the Rust Belt getting frustrated because the Northeast wouldn’t let them ship their goods by sea or the Northeast becoming angry that their businesses were all moving to the South because of much lower taxes. Put another way, Americans don’t get along very well now and if we split into new nations, there would be an awful lot of new reasons to kill each other.