War Abroad, War at Home


David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Feb 2022 – There is an old expression that “the chickens have come home to roost.” The wars that the American Empire waged abroad have come to the continental USA. For more than a century the US has waged war, overtly or covertly throughout Latin America. And in recent decades throughout the Middle East. Not to mention its so-called Cold Wars with Russia and now China. But now the invasion of the Capitol one year ago has signaled the beginning of a second civil war at home.`

This new, second civil war is now being widely recognized in the media. See, for example, the article in the Guardian : “The next US civil war is already here – we just refuse to see it.”

But most of the analyses in the media these days is superficial. For the most part they fail to explain the causal relationship between the wars abroad and this new war at home. It’s far too superficial to blame the situation on Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

In recent blogs I have shown many maps of the United States showing the battle lines of the states that are lining up for this second civil war. In fact, there is some resemblance to the lineup of the first, extremely bloody, civil war of 1860-1865; The South is one side and the Northeast on the other. But the USA is much larger now. The South is joined by the Midwest, while the Northeast is joined on the other side by the Far West. And the immediate cause is not longer the defense of slavery, although the South remains quite racist. The cause is related to wealth, but the sides are reversed. In 1860 the South was wealthier than the North, thanks to slavery, while now the South and its allies in the Midwest are exploited and impoverished in comparison to the Northeast and the Far West which hold the headquarters of the exploiters, Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

But the analysis needs to go deeper than regional differences in wealth.

In fact, all regions of the US suffer from the fact that the government of the United States no longer serves the needs of the people in health care or education or good job creation. Instead, government resources are poured down the rat-hole of military spending, as it tries, more and more desperately, to maintain its foreign wars, overt and covert, its military allies (i:e. customers for its weapons sales) and its hundreds of foreign military bases. To justify this military priority the Biden administration is going back to the Cold War with Russia and China, raising the risks of a catastrophic world war. (See article “US Must Take Russia’s Security Concerns Seriously“)( compare also the 1997 film “Wag the Dog“).

When I was a young American, I shared the belief of my generation that each American generation would have better education, better housing and better jobs than its preceding generation. That is no longer the case. Americans know they are going downhill. Of course, we did not realize that our increasing wealth at the time was coming from the foreign exploitation of natural resources and sales of Coca Cola and computers, and that our empire, like all previous empires, had reached its peak and could only go down. And we did not realize, as the saying goes that with the federal budget “you can’t have both guns and butter.”

As for education, instead of training teachers and health care workers, the US government continues to fund the training of young people to kill, if not in hand-to-hand combat, then with computer-guided drones.` Back in 1996, Colonel David Grossman closed his book, “On Killing“, with a warning about future violence in America caused by the methods he used when he was in charge of US military training: “high-body-count movies, television violence (both news and entertainment), and interactive point-and-shoot video games.”

Many thought at the time that the weapons of war being stockpiled by veterans and their friends were in defense of American Democracy and the Constitution with its Second Amendment. Now we see that the arms can be used in a civil war. Will it have battle lines like the first civil war? Probably not. According to the recent analysis of Barbara Walter, it is more likely to look more like guerilla warfare.

20 months ago I wrote that there was still hope to avoid a crash of the country and its empire: “America can escape from its disastrous medical, social and economic situation. It can convert the military budget to a vast program of rebuilding America’s failing infrastructure, starting with its medical infrastructure and extending, like Roosevelt’s WPA, to all sectors of the domestic economy, thus putting everyone back to work, above all those who have been excluded by racism . . . to save the country. Its military bases around the world must be dismantled and the soldiers brought home and put to useful work.”

President Biden wants to rebuild America’s failing infrastructure, but his military budget is larger than ever and militarism continues to dictate his policies. American voters don’t understand. And the media is not helping. Time is running out.

Over the past few years I have argued that the crash of the American Empire could provide a window of opportunity to convert the United Nations into a agency for the culture of peace. But there has been no progress in preparing for this. Again, time is running out.


Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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