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Sep 16, 2022
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Americans panic buying Doomsday weapons and bunkers

Americans panic buying Doomsday weapons and bunkers

Photo: Zuma/TASS

Americans are preparing for a possible split in society and clashes in the United States by buying small arms and building underground bunkers, the columnist writes. Arwa Mahdavi in an article for The Guardian.

“Not so long ago, people would have thought you were a little crazy if you said that a civil war in the United States was inevitable. Things are different now: According to a recent YouGov poll, more than 40 percent of Americans believe civil war is at least somewhat likely in the next decade. She also added that the people of the United States are not just afraid of a mass outbreak of violence, but are preparing for it: the richest part of the population is buying up doomsday bunkers equipped with pantries and expensive furniture.

In August, senior editor of The Washington Post Mark Fisher declared that the United States was on the brink of civil war. “A wide variety of voices, including politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties, civil war scholars, and extremists on both sides, today agree with the idea that civil war is either inevitable or necessary,” Fisher said.

Indeed, it sounds a little crazy. Is a civil war possible in the US? Moreover, several publications already claim this. Why, by the way, is an article about this published in a British newspaper?

“Great Britain, which had the status of a mother country in the past, never misses a chance to remind its former colonies of their problems,” believes Candidate of Political Sciences, Associate Professor of the Academy of Labor and Social Relations Pavel Feldman.

– For the American media, the concept of “civil war” has quite definite historical connotations, and they are afraid to use it in vain. Nevertheless, local journalists write and speak quite actively about the growing political tension in the United States, at least since the victory Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election
Ordinary Americans base such conclusions on the unprecedentedly aggressive rhetoric of political leaders and public figures involved in the struggle for power. However, the given sociological survey data testify not so much to the high probability of a civil war as to alarmist sentiments in society. As practice shows, the most bloody internal political conflicts unfold when no one expects them.

“SP”: – What do you think has changed in recent years that has given Americans these fears?

– The BLM protests, the increased shooting in schools, the attempt to storm the Capitol by activists of right-wing conservative movements – all these events of recent years cannot but lead US residents to disturbing thoughts. There is a feeling that the political forces competing with each other have decided to cancel all the rules of the game, and the constitutional system of checks and balances is collapsing before our eyes. We should not forget about the problem of the impoverishment of the lower strata of American society, which was aggravated against the backdrop of record high inflation. The middle class is shrinking, and the number of lumpen and precariat is growing. This will have its political implications.

“SP”: – According to the author, residents of the country are buying up Doomsday bunkers, equipped with pantries and luxurious furniture. Here we can recall the Cold War shelters that were recommended for all Americans to buy. But then there was the danger of nuclear war, but now what?
“The threat of nuclear war has not gone anywhere. Today, it excites the inhabitants of the United States no less than 40 years ago. However, doomsday bunkers can be useful for wealthy Americans to protect their property from their fellow citizens, who are increasingly speaking out against social injustice. Young left-wing politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They enjoy broad support from Hispanics and Africans. Already now, the “American Bolsheviks” are becoming crowded within the framework of the Democratic Party. And their exit to the streets is only a matter of time.

“SP”: – If we talk about the possibility of a civil war, and not about anarchy and outbreaks of violence, who will fight with whom?

– At the present stage, it is possible to talk about the civil war in the United States only in a hypothetical way. There is no country in the world where there would be no social, cultural or ethnic contradictions. To prevent these contradictions from leading to anarchy and bloodshed, political institutions are being created: parliaments, parties, non-profit organizations etc. If the existing political institutions lose their ability to respond to the challenges of the time, then revolutions or civil wars occur. The American political system in its development lags behind a dynamically changing society. When this gap becomes critical, the system will collapse, and a new one will emerge in its place. Such processes usually do not pass bloodlessly.

“I don’t think these numbers are representative,” he says. Associate Professor of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation Gevorg Mirzayan.

– Recently, the United States has been shaken by many scandals related, among other things, to serious internal disagreements in the country. The conflict between Republicans and Democrats, excesses in the field of tolerance and a response from adequate people, a sharp increase in inflation, doubts about the honesty of elections – all this gives rise to uncertainty, and hence fears about the future. Fear of civil conflict. So, most likely, this figure is associated only with psychological factors, and not with a realistic situation.

Confidence in the future, in stability, has disappeared. Tolerance in the true sense of the word, that is, the readiness of various political forces to negotiate and solve their problems through negotiations, has disappeared. Hence the fear of civil conflict, since the entire American political system was based precisely on the ability of the party to negotiate with each other.

“SP”: – What “fault lines”, in your opinion, exist in the United States that can lead to civil war? Racial? Social? Party? Between supporters of traditional society and LGBT people? Or something else?

– All of the above, and – in the complex. Here we must not forget about the culture of gun ownership in the United States, as well as the desire for decentralization of power. That is, to put it simply, for many residents of the United States, their state is more important than Washington.

“SP”: – Why did the Americans rush to buy Doomsday bunkers?

– I have no idea. Such bunkers are needed in the event of a nuclear conflict, and not for civil conflicts. However, the risk of nuclear conflict is also there, and it is growing.

“SP”: – Many, as Mahdavi writes, have focused on the acquisition of firearms. Last year, 20 million barrels were sold in the US. This, according to the journalist, is an extremely alarming indicator that not everything is in order in American society. How disturbing can this be?

— In the United States, guns are perceived by many as an unconditional right of citizens. As a tool to protect their property and their homes. And this, of course, makes the risk much higher. If government officials, if the police are not ready to protect citizens, then they have the opportunity to protect themselves. Including through the use of tools of violence. And, in fact, through depriving the state of its monopoly on this violence.

“SP”: – If we wait for a civil war, then when? And what could be the reason?

– None of the adequate experts will answer this question for you. This is just out of the realm of fantasy. We only see how contradictions are accumulating in society, but anything can become a trigger for the transition of these contradictions to the stage of open conflict. Remember what triggered the “Arab Spring”…

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