The Jungle Grows Back

A couple years ago, I read a book, entitled “Clash of Civilizations,” in which the author Samuel P. Huntington offers a controversial look at the rise and fall of civilizations. Huntington sums up a world in disarray following the decline of the United States, the unraveling of the world order, and ultimately, the fate of the West. Historians are likely to look back on November 2020 as the tipping point, in one direction or another, for the American civilization.

What’s unique is that Huntington warned about this as early as the 1990s, when he wrote not just about the eventual decline of the United States as the world’s superpower, but also the changing shape of conflict.

Civilizations, he writes, are bound by “common objective elements, such as language, history, religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective self-identification of people.” And due to geography, competition for resources, and other factors, these civilizations regularly come into conflict.

Perhaps the most intriguing of his arguments is what happens to a civilization, in this case the West, after protracted moral decline and cultural decay. Citing historian Caroll Quigley, Huntington writes that decay occurs “when the civilization, no longer able to defend itself because it is no longer willing to defend itself, lies wide open to ‘barbarian invaders.’”

Huntington questions whether or not the West would remain viable, or if it could ever been renewed in the face of this decay.

But Huntington also writes about America’s place in the world during this period of decline:

“All in all, the emerging world is likely to lack the clarity and stability of the Cold War and to be a more jungle-like world of multiple dangers, hidden traps, unpleasant surprises and moral ambiguities.”

Yet this warning may also end up describing the domestic social and political order in years or decades to come.

We might say that, given the civil unrest, the cultural revolution and Far Left political insurgency, and a growing legitimacy crisis for the federal government, ‘the emerging United States is likely to lack the clarity and stability of the previous period, and to be a more jungle-like world of multiple dangers, hidden traps, unpleasant surprises and moral ambiguities.’

There’s some uncertainty over how permanent this period of social unrest will be. Some have predicted that there’s no going back from here. Others say the anger, like the country experienced in 1968, will eventually subside and give way to a more peaceful era. There’s little reason to believe that civil unrest will magically disappear after the November election, even if domestic conditions do simmer down through the summer.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned of a potential revolution if President Trump is reelected. Far Left activists have promoted protests and violence if Joe Biden wins because Biden has expressed support for law enforcement and police organizations. And there’s the potential for accelerationist violence regardless of who wins.

Frankly, the biggest risk we face is a constitutional crisis stemming from disrupted November elections — perhaps a failed or contested presidential election — which could mark a point of no return for the United States.

Earlier this month, we reported to Forward Observer subscribers that the United States Postal Service had encountered delivery issues during state primaries earlier this year. Some voters in Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. experienced a wide array of delays, “unintentional missorts,” missing ballots, postmark issues, and missed delivery deadlines during their primaries. According to analysis done by The Intercept, some 950,000 mail-in ballots went uncounted in the 2016 elections. Accusations of voter fraud or voting irregularities are likely to be amplified this year due to the country’s political and social conditions.

Given the likelihood for an unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots in November, there are already questions about whether the postal service can handle the increased load. In previous months, the USPS has suffered from decreased revenue, staffing issues, and bureaucratic mismanagement — evidence that their efforts are likely to be strained during the election. There are a number of other issues, like a state’s inability to quickly process large volumes of mail-in ballots, which have led to vote counting delays in primaries this year. And, of course, these conditions could spell delays for final counts in November, as well.

This is not to say that substantial voting issues are an inevitability, or that this will certainly lead to a catastrophic failure. But the evidence is stacking up that processing election results will be challenging and that results may be delayed.

The 2000 presidential election, for instance, wasn’t decided until nearly mid-December after lawsuits ended with a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. I question what the country’s political and social agitators will do in the weeks following Election Day, in the event that the 2020 presidential election is litigated up to the Supreme Court.

That’s just a lot of time for political maneuvering and strategic disinformation from both sides, which is sure to rile up political factions and maybe lead to political violence.

What happens in November may accelerate civilizational decay, and present both challenges and opportunities for its inhabitants. It’s a possibility that we can see easily developing, and it’s all the more reason to be prepared for our low intensity conflict to worsen.

 

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

Samuel Culper is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. Iraq(x1)/Afghanistan(x2). He now studies intelligence and warfare.

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