Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Devil You Know

Back in February, protesters demanded Mubarak step down. The world rallied around the protesters and before long, Mubarak was forced out. This was initially seen as a good thing and the army would install a provisional government. I've always liked that word, "provisional" which means serving for the time being. Provisional has no real time-limit and reminds me of another word, "interim", which usually means something that stays around longer than it should. Apparently the Egyptian army is not quite the benevolent provisional government and reports are surfacing of protesters being tortured.

The situation in Egypt caused the West to become giddy with excitement when North Africa's number on bad boy, Gaddafi, started to see protesters in Libya. Unlike Egypt however, Gaddafi controlled the military and Libyan rebels did not fare as well as the Egyptians. Enter the United States and NATO to save the day with the establishment of a no-fly zone. Except somebody like Gaddafi who has remained in power for over 40 years is not easily removed by having his aircraft grounded. His army was still able to kick the snot out of the rebels and take back areas formerly controlled by the rebels.

The United States got to fork over $680 million (and counting) for our part in the no-fly zone. By the way, contrary to reports by President Obama and NATO, US aircraft are still flying missions over Libya. Seems no one else has Hogs (A-10s) and Spookys (AC-130U) which are excellent out taking out ground targets but begs the question, wasn't the mission a no-fly zone? If Libyan jets and air defense are out of the picture, what is left to do?

Gaddafi has made his point and is now willing to negotiate. He promises to stop using the "dark side" on the rebels and in return the US and NATO promise to stop shooting big holes in all of his ground forces. For $680 million, the US and NATO has achieved status quo.

The whole matter got me thinking about what would happen if there were a rebellion in the United States? To say it is far-fetched neglects our own history. The Civil War was a rebellion with Confederate States secession from the Union.

Who would support such a operation? Well BRICS would be a good candidate. This is a fairly new economic council akin to the G20 but consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. China is on track to become the second largest economy and would have a huge say in the G20, United Nations and BRIC. What if they decided to train and fund a US based rebellion?

If the federal government was ousted in some way, the United States would continue as a regional conglomerate of states governments. The state governments would rise to fill the void (which is sort of what the Constitution is all about). Medicaid, Social Security, and federal pensions would be the toughest to supplement. Otherwise, I'm not sure states such as California, New York and Texas would even notice. There would be a throw back to each region printing its own currency. G20 and BRICS would be quick to start partnering with these new economies (Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Alaska, all produce oil).

Would we see a military provisional government? Perhaps and perhaps not. Unlike Egypt or Libya, each branch of the US military has a fairly large staff of senior officers. Getting all branches to cooperate under such circumstances would be difficult. In most countries, the Army is usually is the largest branch. While the US Army is large, so is the US Navy. There would be a lot of in-fighting. The Air Force and Marine Corps are too small to usurp the other two but they are large enough to be disobedient. They might also be distracted by Russia or Chinese military maneuvers. I don't see a no-fly zone since we have nuclear weapons, but the threat of some kind of attack could keep the US military spread too thin to focus on running the country.

The other problem would be all of the police and sheriff departments. While no match for the military, they could form their own smaller fiefdoms. The combined US military would deplete itself dealing with all of the large metropolitan police departments or sheriff's offices. Not to mention, the governors would still have their National Guards. Unlike active duty, the National Guard is local and would be much more inclined to protect their homes and families than to follow the orders of the active duty (under this scenario). The Tenth Amendment would ascend all others.

I know the above is highly unlikely and there are dozens of reasons why it would not happen. But I think to dismiss it outright ignores the lessons that we are seeing in the Middle East. Turn about, after all, is only fair play.

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