Of course the answer most people like to give is that it could never happen in America because we're all Americans, weened on the values of our
Republic, armed to the teeth, and naturally disagreeable to anything resembling authority.
It comes down the following: Is it tactically possible? Is it logistically possible? Is it politically possible?
In reality the "unorganized militia", the armed citizenry, would fold fast against a coup by the regular military. The armed forces are perfectly
capable of controlling major lines of supply and communication, enabling them to take resisting states by seige.
For example: How do you quell resistance to a coup in Southern California? Do you commit whole an entire division to go in there and clear the cities
and disarm them? How many major cities can you quell that way, and what will go on in the outside world while you're busy with that?
Nope. You take El Centro, Blythe, Barstow, Ridgecrest, Wheeler Ridge, and San Luis Obispo- all easily done from existing bases at 29 Palms, Fort
Irwin, and Vandenberg AFB. Relatively small towns that control the freeways.
You cut electronic communication in any of a number of ways: electronic warfare, simply cutting the lines between certain areas, or bombing vital
components. You cut power lines into major urban areas. You shut off the California aquaduct. Water becomes scarce, there's minimal communication,
stores aren't being restocked, gasoline runs out, etc.
Those who would resist you will not have the ability to marshall an appreciable force, move it 50-100 miles, and attack under those conditions. In 2-4
weeks, everything South of Bakersfield is ready to fold: you order them out of the cities to processing centers to be ID'd, fed, etc. While they're
out you can go in, assume that any thermal sig you pick up is a hostile, and take weapons out of homes.
I think a brigade would be enough for all of So Cal using such tactics (assuming the national guard wasn't hostile or didn't assemble before you
could strike their armories). Not bad considering that we used about that just on the first battle of fallujah.
Tactically speaking, it could be probably be done, though there would be serious economic ramifications and a lot of "cleanup" on the ones who got
away in the following years.
Is there anyone in this country who for any reason would consider a coup? I think there are groups that could be pushed that far under the right
circumstances. The effectiveness of the attempt will depend on the group and the reason, and we'll get to that in a moment.
Possible social bases for a coup:
- Anti-China hardliners: I'd call this the most likely source of a coup between 2006 and 2036, and the odds of them acting up are not very
If you think China is scary now, you should see what they'll probably look like in 10-20 years. Our friendly policy toward them will be
second-guessed far more as economic growth begins to bring their influence to a truly global scale.
If something widely percieved as a threatening move from China goes unanswered by an American government, that government may face peril from the
military and citizens on the political right.
Just for instance, what if an anti-US government came to power in Mexico and the idea caught on in the media that China had influenced that?
- Christian Conservatives: Sooner or later the Republicans are going to lose the culture war because they practice abstinence and sinners don't.
It's simple math.
Chances are that the world will continue to turn when that happens. I don't think there will be a NAMBLA office in every town and 24 hour homosexual
weddings at the McDonalds drive-thru or opium dens with non-cigarette-smoking sections (well, maybe in California) or anything like that. It'll be
pretty much like it is now, just with fewer lawsuits.
BUT, what if it goes too far for Christians to take sitting down? What if churches start losing lawsuits for preaching that homosexuality is wrong and
in effect the government ends up telling religion that they either alter their doctrine or close their doors.
- White and Chicano Nationalists: Now we're moving away from the groups that probably wouldn't want to and into the groups that just probably
couldn't. There is however a chance that white nationalism and the "Atzlan" thing could see an upswing under the right circumstances. The problem
with reactionary lunacy is that it tends to come to a head at the worst possible times: precisely because it is reactionary.
On the outside chance of a large-scale disturbance involving Hispanic-Americans, there would be some danger of whites getting overly-defensive and
doing something impulsive. Likewise, if whites do something extreme, there had better be justice fast in order to curtail retaliation.
I think this becomes more realistic as demographics in the border states start to reflect Hispanic majorities in the 66%+ range. This would be a very
new experience for white people, and unfamiliarity, fear, and violence go hand in hand.
If the economy turns downward you get a sense of competition for resources between groups and all it would take is the right lawsuit and ruling to
cause a single act of violence, then there's a riot in reaction, soon things snowball and if the states can't get the genie back into the bottle
then we'd better pray that the esprit de corps in our federal forces is stronger than the racial tension.
As long as nobody TRIES to start that fight though, we should be OK.
So, which groups could call on what kind of forces?
Hardline generals standing against our China policy would probably do the best. That's a relatively populist coup: the military and a hefty portion
of the common men versus the financial/political establishment and those who can't be talked into fearing foreigners. That would work out pretty
textbook I think: once the ball was rolling successfully the chain of command would just fall in line.
Christians... hard to say. It'd likely be more regional and not coming from the top of the military. You'd likely see an escalation into a standoff
not unlike when federal troops had to intervene for the integration of schools, and you've have a few odd units mutiny. The question is whether
they'd just refuse orders or if they'd move against the government for issuing certain kinds of orders.
A racial problem would be more a civil war than a coup. You'd be looking at intra-unit breakdowns that all caused major problems for the military
command structure, and that might prompt drastic measures by officers- perhaps ordering arrests or worse. Then you're looking at a military which
might represent only one side of the conflict though, and it's hard to know if they'll follow their orders or if they'll go down to where the
problem is and just choose a side.