Sunday, January 4, 2009

Food Riots, Civil Unrest, and the Disunited States of America

may be mostly schadenfreude, but Russian economist Igor Panarin is convinced that the current economic crisis has a political component which will eventually break the United States apart into as many as six separate nations. He's not alone in this belief. It has long been a staple belief of racist extremist groups and is now being predicted by some on the religious right who are ready with plans for how to rearrange the nation in the face of the Obama presidency. Conspiracy monger Alex Jones even got in on the act on his radio show this weekend, suggesting that there is an active globalist plot to weaken America by breaking it into several smaller nations.

On Russia Today Panarin predicted the outbreak of a civil war in the United States by 2010. Panarin has developed some following as a trends forecaster, and while his predictions may seem outlandish, he is not alone in subscribing to the idea that a breakup of the US in a civil war might be the outcome of the current economic crisis. Panarin blames the impending crisis on poor monetary policy and the US abandonment of the gold standard, a concern which he shares with many on the extreme right in America. He sees a collapse in America equivalent to the Russian collapse of the 1980s as the economic crisis leads to infrastructure failures and a backlash from outraged citizens.

Panarin is not alone in his beliefs. Trends forecaster Gerald Celente from the Trends Research Institute is also predicting tax rebellions, food riots, and the potential for civil war by 2012, largely as a result of the Obama administration's policies which he believes will accelerate economic collapse. Celente has made some successful trend predictions in the past, though his predictions seem to be directed largely by a far-right political ideology which includes the now-standard hatred for the Federal Reserve system which is common among Ron Paul supporters.

The scenario for the collapse of the United States usually starts with food shortages and food riots, mirroring international food distribution problems which we saw emerging last year with the food shortages in Haiti and the problems with the rice crop in the far east. Couple that with sudden fuel shortages which cause the breakdown of the interstate trucking system, and you have a formula for regional failures in the supply of food. This might even be compounded by the collapse of the dollar leading to the inability of the US to buy food on international markets.

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