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The whole country can't be held over a longer period by a government imposing martial law. Indeed, a military coup seems just as likely to end up with multiple rival claimants for various shreds of Constitutional legitimacy and loyalty of various military branches and units as to end up with a single power bloc in control, while a single power bloc in control seems like a recipe for fracturing.

While a military coup seems like a quite plausible scenario for an effort to extend the American Empire, I don't see a military coup that successfully reforms the American Empire to the point of recovering viability as very likely at all.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 06:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A military coup would make it possible to introduce conscription and resource rationing. There would be many hold-outs and there might even be organised resistance. But the military would own most of the population of a continent, which would be difficult to argue with - even with the inevitable corrupt mismanagement and resource shortages.

The problem would be more about picking a victim that the war machine could pick a fight with and win. The life expectancy of the result would depend entirely on the degree of psychosis of the leader.

With a weak leader, you get an ever-shortening cycle of coup, counter-coup and shrinkage as factions fight for supremacy. With a strong leader you get an attack on a likely outside target.

With solid propaganda and a secret police force - both of which already exist - you get something that looks like North Korea but bigger, more belligerent, and not as long-lived.

Currently the militia people believe they're all that, but the reality is that a military force doesn't even need to start shooting to beat them. At best they can be left holed up in their enclaves, provided they don't make too much noise. At worst they can be starved out with gas and food rationing.

Since most of them have no clue about organised farming, and the ones that do are vulnerable from the air, they wouldn't last more than a year or two at most.

I'd be more worried about street gangs in the big cities than militia people. They're well-organised and psychotically vicious, and they'd be happy to move into any power vacuum left by existing authority.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 07:45:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did militia people come from? That caught me by surprise.

This is heading well down an event tree ... down a branch where efforts to put the American political economy on a sustainable basis have failed, then further where a military coup has succeeded, then further where there are no successful regional counter-coups ... and finally deciding whether it is pursuing a totalitarian or authoritarian path ...

... but collecting a bunch of event twigs together in a "bad people at the center are trying to impose their will via central government control" bucket ...

... the last place I would look to for effective resistance are a bunch of fantasists in the woods. Effective resistance to an authoritarian central authority requires a more sure grip on reality than they seem to display.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 10:56:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was starting from the assumption that people who like playing with guns and don't like the bad old fed would be first to go on the offensive if TSHTF.

Also, many of them are right wing cranks with some overlap with the Tea Party.

I agree they're not the effective resistance they seem convinced they are.

They might make good brownshirts for an ambitious general, however.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 11:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the Tea Party "movement" is, after all, a creation of the Oil Industry and other such corporate vested interests, but that is not guarantee that they will remain subservient to corporate interests if the right reactionary populist comes along to tap the possibilities that they represent.

It would not be the first time that those who sought to sow the wind reaped the whirlwind.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 11:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As most here know, I've maintained for several years that
the coup already happened.
So have many others here and there. Here's a great, far wiser piece by Chris Hedges.

It's over. Now we must talk revolution.
Chalmers Johnson could not bring himself to put it in those exact terms, but the difference was minimal.
I think TBG has put his finger on two structural changes that will make the existing military/corporate dictatorship at least temporarily viable- the chance to install a command economy, a la WWII, and conscription.
A draft may not even be necessary, in a world where the other options for youth are very limited and in which the solving of problems and differences by murder or theft has been reified, raised to a national "business model", as well as a sport, a recreation.
And yes, the gangs look to me to be the greatest threat, in a continent stripped of any real faith in the rule of law.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 02:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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