BY Malcom Kyeyune Unherd
Historically speaking, empires on average last for around 250 years, after which they tend to either slowly — or very, very quickly — fall apart due to overreach and internal conflict. Somewhat ominously, the 250th birthday of America is coming up in 2026.
Yet when, towards the end of Trump’s presidency, a radical friend of mine told me that he thought America was headed for civil war, I dismissed the argument out of hand. Why? How? It takes a unique confluence of mistakes and crises for civil war to appear possible, and an even longer list of mistakes, crises and elite screw-ups for them to happen.
But 2021 is a different world to 2015. Talk of insurrection, secession, civil conflict and civil war is no longer the chatter of the gullible and the mentally ill. It’s entering the fringes of polite society. Some support this ‘national divorce’; others are opposed to it. Others claim they would actually prefer to declare war on their recalcitrant countrymen rather than let them go their own way unmolested.