One of the greatest problems with history is that people refuse to pay attention to it. Libraries are full of books which essentially tell us what is going to happen in our society (meaning right now) if we would only read them. History does repeat itself. While it may not be predictable in the sense of modeling, and making definite predictions- see Karl Popper’s Poverty of Historicism, in our day and age we have seen the same events occur over and over, and they will continue to do so. Here I refer to those singular events in history that have affected millions of people at a time, the nationalistic factionalisation of societies with murder, warfare, and destruction as the ultimate outcome, something the modern world cannot escape.

Do we need examples? In the last century alone, in the western world we have “personalities” (I am loath to call them leaders) such as Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini… Milošević, and now Putin. Those are just the “big names” that everyone should know and be frightened by when put into the context of August, 2022. How many more can we come up with, how many lesser-known dictators, agitators, regional would-be authoritarians followed the model and their own psychopathic, deviant beliefs to commit mass murder, genocide, crimes against humanity? And then there is the rest of the world- Asia, Latin America, Africa, the middle east… not a very pretty picture of humanity when you think about it.

As my perennial example I always use the the Balkans, the Third Balkan War- the fall of Yugoslavia. The “personality” in this case was Slobodan Milošević. As I see it, the turning point came in 1987 with his speech at Kosovo Polje, the battlefield where the Serbs were defeated in 1389. Here he reached far back in time- a common tactic- to successfully create a nationalistic fervor that would destroy Bosnia, tear apart Kosovo and many parts of the Balkans, and cause the death of hundreds of thousands. The damage he caused has never been, and never will be, completely repaired.

The difference between the outcomes of these past events and what the outcome might be today is glaring- in 1945 the allies took control of war-ravaged Europe and rebuilt it. After the siege of Sarajevo ended money, aid, relief came and now Sarajevo, for example, appears to be a thriving European city. The mafia state of Russia invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine, and the United States, most of Europe, and many countries in the world have stepped up in opposition.

But if we, in the United States follow the same path and allow our country to be destroyed by a pathological, megalomaniacal, criminal psychopath- the path we are currently on- no one is going to come and save us. No one will come to help us rebuild- we will be on our own.  We will fall, and since we will not be there to lead the world, the world will follow.

Moving on to a couple of current events.  A car bomb in Russia, not surprising.  Agents provocateurs at work, false flag operations, deceit?  Almost certainly. And immediately the criminal state of Russia has issued a declaration, without a shred of evidence, placing blame on Ukrainian agents, and also implicating Estonia for harboring them. More Russian lies- do not believe a single word that comes from them!

Serbia and Kosovo are next. Talks broke down, of course. Serbia is another… questionable government (see above reference to Third Balkan War.) The governing body of the country does not want peace, reconciliation, prosperity for the people of Europe. Hatred, division, violence, and suffering bring power and money- the goal.

Final thought- read. Read everything, and if you haven’t read them since high school or college, today start with Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Revisit Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s The Ox-bow Incident. And of course anything Orwell, Jack London’s Iron Heel, and maybe Lord of the Flies and Clockwork Orange thrown in.

There is a lot of talk now about the state, and bringing it down, about protest, justice, revolution, and civil war. Talk is talk, and it’s always there. But there is action behind the words today.  The question is, is this the action we really want? There is a big difference between revolution (what we likely need) and civil war- what we are heading towards and what we decidedly do not want. If you don’t know the difference between the two, you should do some reading. In summary, revolution is when people band together to replace a corrupt or non-functional government, or similar. Civil war is what happens when that government falls apart, and the people do not band together, not necessarily in that order. Revolution brings about change, civil war will bring suffering and death. Let’s look at civil war.

As a former “expert” in unconventional warfare, insurgency, counter-insurgency, and related topics, I feel I am justified and qualified in giving my two cents. By former I mean it was a long time ago- cold war and just after, by expert I mean 10 years in the US Army, Special Operations. And I didn’t have a desk job.

Further qualifications are my work as an anthropologist, many years of studying the country of Bosnia, its history, and its recent war, along with visits to the country in recent years, talking to people, interviewing them, and trying to understand what happened there, why it happened, and peoples’ reactions. If you are familiar with the war in Bosnia, keep it in mind as you read- everything below happened there, and much more. If you are not familiar, start by reading this post, then this one.

If our country continues on the current path, no matter what kind of solidarity we seem to have presently, no matter how many people march, or protest, or loot together, we will be in trouble. Oh, everything is fine now; after a night of looting and assaulting anyone associated with the state- fire crews, EMS workers, the news media, and of course police, the looters just go home. They have a beer, watch TV, sleep in their bed, get up and make breakfast. If our country continues on its downward path, that will change.

There will be interruptions in supply chains, already stressed and spread thin due to the coronavirus. It will be noticed first in food shortages. Meals will eventually get smaller,and some meals might disappear from your day altogether. You will be hungry, and lose weight. There won’t be any food pantries, or soup kitchens, or government issued debit cards to help, no 7-11 or Safeway to shop at.

Next you’ll see daily use and luxury goods disappearing- by this I mean everything from your shoes and clothes, to toothpaste, diapers, cigarettes and alcohol, car tires and gasoline. All prices will rise and black markets will be the norm.

There will be disruptions in communications- even cell phones, and your beloved TV. Forget about watching the game, or catching up on the “news” in video and soundbite form. Lines of communication are some of the first targets in unrest and war, including roads, bridges, phone lines, rail lines, television, newspapers, and the power stations and infrastructure that supply power for all of it to work.

Here are some questions you might want to consider. What if your child is deathly ill or injured, and the local hospital has been looted, blown up, or burned down and help no longer exists? What will you do then? How will you feel about sitting by and watching your child die?

If your house or apartment catches fire and there is no fire department to come and help, what would you do? What happens when the gas is turned off and there is no more stove to cook on, no more furnace to heat your house? How many candles and oil lamps do you have- there will be no power at this point and your life will be dark.  That wall switch will become an ornament that makes a familiar click, but does nothing else. And you can forget about running water in your apartment- you will be hauling it if you can find it at all.

Following the normal pattern, as all the solidarity fades away, it will be every man for himself. At this point you will see the factionalisation begin. There will be leaders, some good, but most not-so-good- the local gang, the neighborhood mafia, thugs who band together, even the militias you weren’t sure existed. Factions emerge based on ethnic origin, religion, race, and proximity. Besides the leaders there will be followers, mostly followers. You will be required to become a follower and vow to kill your neighbor at the behest of your new master, or you will perish.

Next will be conscription. At some point a faction will knock on your door. If you are a wife and mother, they will take your husband, and then your 13 or 14 year old son and send them to the front line, whatever that line may be. If they refuse to go, you will be burying them.  In a civil war, execution, torture, murder, slavery, and rape often become institutionalised. Consider that.

And then let’s not forget about the general crime and murder, the looting and burning that can accompany any war. Are you ready for that?

But wait, what about the police and military? Won’t they be here to protect me? Unlikely. Once martial law runs its course and hope fades, there will be some who hold out, but the majority of the police and military will be at home protecting their own families and communities.

The fact is, you will suffer, and you may die. If this happens, a lot of people will die.

If you think we have it bad in the United States today, you just wait. You will be dreaming of the good old days of gang violence, government corruption, and police brutality! You will think, “at least we had the Constitution, the First Amendment, and the Second, and all the rest.” You did have recourse, and could find help, albeit slow and inadequate. Not any more. Welcome to the dark ages.

If you think I am making all of this up, you didn’t pay attention in your high school history classes. Or perhaps they failed you, and left out the painful truth. A cursory glance at history confirms everything I am saying. There are thousands of years of data to back it all up. But you only need to look at the last 30 or so years, and take your pick of civil wars, countries, regions. And if you don’t see it, you are blind. Ever heard of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon? There are dozens more countries that will inform you of your potential future with their recent history. Give this some thought before you speak, or act. And try to inform others of where we may end up if we aren’t careful. Do this before it’s too late.