Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Will we have a 2nd Civil War? You tell me.

What are the chances of another civil war breaking out in this country in the next 10 to 15 years?

Women_at_the_Siege_of_the_Alcázar_in_Toledo_-_Google_Art_Project
Women_at_the_Siege_of_the_Alcázar_in_Toledo_-_Google_Art_Project

What are the chances of another civil war breaking out in this country in the next 10 to 15 years?

Definition: By “civil war,” I don’t necessarily mean set-piece battles and Pickett’s Charge. I do mean widespread political violence with parallel (though not necessarily connected) efforts to reject current political authority in certain legal domains or physical spaces.

I asked a group of smart national security thinkers that question the other day over my wild boar burger at Austin’s Dai Due. I was surprised that the range of answers ran from “five percent” to “95 percent.” I would say the consensus was about 35 percent.

What are the chances of another civil war breaking out in this country in the next 10 to 15 years?

Definition: By “civil war,” I don’t necessarily mean set-piece battles and Pickett’s Charge. I do mean widespread political violence with parallel (though not necessarily connected) efforts to reject current political authority in certain legal domains or physical spaces.

I asked a group of smart national security thinkers that question the other day over my wild boar burger at Austin’s Dai Due. I was surprised that the range of answers ran from “five percent” to “95 percent.” I would say the consensus was about 35 percent.

What do you think are the chances? Please email me or answer in the comments. I will try to keep track of the consensus number.

Speaking of the Civil War, Capt. Decimus Et Ultimus Barziza, nicknamed “Pinney,” was a Texan who fought for the Confederacy in Pickett’s Charge, during which he was taken captive.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1
Tag: War

More from Foreign Policy

A closeup of Russian President Vladimir Putin
A closeup of Russian President Vladimir Putin

What Russia’s Elites Think of Putin Now

The president successfully preserved the status quo for two decades. Suddenly, he’s turned into a destroyer.

A member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is seen in front of an electoral poster of President Emmerson Mnangagwa
A member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is seen in front of an electoral poster of President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Cafe Meeting Turns Into Tense Car Chase for U.S. Senate Aides in Zimbabwe

Leading lawmaker calls on Biden to address Zimbabwe’s “dire” authoritarian turn after the incident.

Steam rises from cooling towers at the Niederaussem coal-fired power plant during the coronavirus pandemic near Bergheim, Germany, on Feb. 11, 2021.
Steam rises from cooling towers at the Niederaussem coal-fired power plant during the coronavirus pandemic near Bergheim, Germany, on Feb. 11, 2021.

Putin’s Energy War Is Crushing Europe

The big question is whether it ends up undermining support for Ukraine.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attends a press conference.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attends a press conference.

A Crisis of Faith Shakes the United Nations in Its Big Week

From its failure to stop Russia’s war in Ukraine to its inaction on Myanmar and climate change, the institution is under fire from all sides.