It’s all the talk.
At cocktail parties and in the small talk before business meetings, we’re all talking about that certain Russian prediction of the breakup of the American union and the new countries that will take its place.
With Governor Perry in Texas talking secession, and Japanese having bought up Hawaii, and the Northwest’s own secessionist movement, maybe professor Igor Panarin’s prediction isn’t all that far fetched.
In case you haven’t heard, the Wall Street Journal ran an article in late December 2008 in which Professor Panarin was quoted as saying that there was about a fifty percent chance that the United States of America would break up by July of 2010. That’s fourteen months from now.
According to him, we won’t be able to hold together as a nation until the end of the world – or the new era – predicted by the Maya. Brash and impulsive, we’ll disintegrate into six different countries, each under the influence of a different foreign power. The economy and unimpeded immigration will be major causes of our downfall. Being Russian, Panarin also attributes the coming civil war to our “moral degradation.”
But those two words, “moral degradation,” are awfully subjective. Our morals, which the Soviets never thought we had in the first place, have actually gotten worse? This is the result of the rabidly conservative administration we had until January? George Bush’s administration was closer to Putin’s than any other administration in history – yet our morals are fatally degraded?
I’m just glad that Putin’s Evil Twin is no longer in the highest office in the land. That man scared me. He left us with a constitution in tatters and a reputation sullied worldwide. He left us with an economic disaster of pestilential proportions. Under his watch an unnecessary war was started and a war that maybe should have been over by now may never be. We are indeed following in the footsteps of the Soviets in Afghanistan. There’s a reason that country cannot stay conquered.
Russia’s economy tanked – a solitary tank, by the way, and not as part of a worldwide economic downturn – because communism, while perhaps a lofty ideal, is just an ideal. In practice it can never work because of the avarice of humans and the specialization of society. Like it or not, capitalism started with the rise of the medieval merchant class, and capitalism is here to stay. China’s gradual embrace of capitalism is much better than the free-for-all Russia and its satellites endured, but that embrace is tantamount to an admission that as much as we might all like to be equal, some will always be more equal than others.
I don’t see the US breaking up. I see a future in which some secessionist movements might succeed. Perhaps in the Northwest, where politics and civil rights are far more liberal than in, say, Arkansas, a new country could rise. I don’t see it becoming part of Russia or Japan or China. The cultures are just too different, and the survivalists are just too adamant. Instead of this secessionist entity clinging to the coast like in Panarin’s notion, Montana will allow it to flex its muscle eastward.
Now, Texas has been an independent country before and, as a former resident of the only state with a school in the Southwest Conference that wasn’t located in Texas, I say let ’em be again. (My ex-husband never mentions the University of Texas at Austin without an exaggerated spit of disgust.) We don’t need Texas. If we built a fence around its borders, it might help a great deal with the illegal immigration issue. In fact, give Texas New Mexico and Arizona, too.
The South, as they have always said, will rise again. The Southern economy, lifestyle, and outlook just doesn’t quite mesh with that of those folks up East. Atlanta can be our capital, or New Orleans, at least until it washes away again. Now, despite Panarin’s model, I just don’t see West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, or the Carolinas joining some urban Atlantic nation-state. We’ll keep them in the South, as well as the Southern two-thirds of Virginia. Washington D.C. is not a Southern city, and Maryland, despite its location south of the Mason-Dixon line, just doesn’t feel Southern. The damn Yankees can have them both. The South will also take the Florida panhandle, because we need our “Redneck Riviera.” Disney can have the rest of the state and no one will miss it.
That city that stretches from the Chesapeake to Boston Harbor will become a country unto itself. To give it arable farmland we’ll donate western Pennsylvania and Ohio to its holdings. It’ll eventually sort of have that “Escape From New York” feel to it. With any luck it’ll turn into “I am Legend” and we can build a fence around it, too, to keep the zombies corralled.
New England will revert to its colonial status, with the exception of Western Massachusetts, which is part of that Atlantic city-state. Its capitol will be Hanover, New Hampshire, that venerable seat of learning that is crowned by Dartmouth University.
The twin capitals of the landlocked Midwest will be Chicago and port city of St. Louis. With the fall of the Atlantic city-state to zombies, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan will become the industrial hub of the continent.
Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and Minnesota will join Canada. People there sound like Canadians already, so the cultural assimilation won’t be difficult for them. Likewise Alaska will become Canadian, just because Canada needs more tundra. Although, come to think of it, with global warming, that tundra will turn into bog by the next century.
That takes care of every place except Hawaii. Since Japan already owns Hawaii, we won’t be able to do much with it. Vulcanism will render the Hawaii question moot in another few thousand years, anyway.
So, I guess I can see the US breaking up, but not the way that Russian Panarin conceives of it. I have to take the cultural inclinations into consideration, whereas he just looked at state lines. And other than those northern states that defect to Canada, Japanese Hawaii, and maybe a Cuban or Bahamian Florida, I just don’t see any other country taking control of the nations that result.
And now that I have frittered away a couple of otherwise billable hours on these mental gymnastics, I really should get back to work.