The Potential for Civil War: Lessons from History

TLDR The podcast explores the potential for civil war in modern times, drawing lessons from historical examples such as the Yugoslav civil wars and the conflict in Northern Ireland. It discusses the role of deep-seated divisions, inflamed tensions by leaders, and the fraying of pluralism in creating conditions for violence.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 One in three Americans now believe that violence could be justified to advance their party's political goals, prompting a discussion on the potential for civil war and the lessons of history on the matter. Examples such as the Yugoslav civil wars and the conflict in Northern Ireland highlight the dangers of deep-seated divisions and the escalation of hatred that can lead to violence.
10:23 The podcast explores the question of when alarm bells start ringing to indicate the potential for civil war, using examples such as the miners strike in 1980s Britain and the conflict in Algeria. It also discusses the role of individual leaders, like Slobodan Milosevic, in deliberately inflaming tensions to incite violence.
20:24 The fraying of pluralism in modern political history can lead to a dangerous time for democracy, as trust in the mainstream and the legitimacy of elections decreases. While a civil war in the UK is unlikely, the conditions for one would include intense politicization, young people with nothing to lose, and access to weapons.
31:17 The possibility of a civil war in the UK involving the military is unlikely, but there have been instances of newspaper editors plotting to take over as dictators. In the US, however, the conditions for a civil war are more plausible, with the delegitimizing of the electoral process, existing violence, and a heavily armed population.
Categories: History

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