Halfway to Secession: Unity on Foreign Policy, Disunity on Domestic Policy
When it comes to talk about secession, the strategy employed by most Washington politicians is to shrug it off, claim it’s all the plotting of extremists, and retreat to the comfort of the idea that the elites control high-ranking military officers at the Pentagon. In their minds, it will always be easy to bomb disobedient Americans into submission.
As far as long-term thinking goes, these people are kidding themselves. These are the same sorts of people who assured us in 1980 that the Soviet Union would be around for centuries more. They’re the sorts of people who in 1900 assumed the Habsburgs would reign in Vienna for another five hundred years.
In the short term, however—”short term” meaning the next ten to twenty years—the critics of secession are almost certainly correct. The US regime will have to weaken considerably from its current state before any member state or region could hope to achieve full independence.
It’s also hard to see—at this time—why much of the population would demand full independence and sovereignty at all. After all, as much as “red state America” and “blue state America” may be in conflict over policy and the extent of US power domestically, the fact is disagreements over foreign policy are quite muted. Consequently, this means a formal separation of the US into two or more fully sovereign and separate states would strike many Americans as unnecessary and undesirable.
In the larger debate over secession, this is an important issue. In recent years, talk of secession has become more frequent and more urgent. For years, a quarter of Americans polled have claimed to support the idea of secession. In 2018, a Zogby poll concluded 39 percent of those polled agree that residents of a state should “have the final say” as to whether or not that state remains part of the United States.
Do the Needs of Geopolitics Preclude Secession?
But if the idea of secession continues to be repeated among a growing number of Americans—as appears likely—expect more serious opposition to the idea on foreign policy grounds. The claim will be that secession must be rejected because this would make the United States likely to fall prey to foreign powers—especially China and Russia—and independence may even lead the new states to make war on each other.
As we shall see, these claims are not especially plausible. But they will nonetheless strike many Americans as convincing. Therefore, opposition to secession on foreign policy grounds is likely to serve as a useful objection to secession—as far as the regime is concerned—for years to come.
Unity on Foreign
Article from Mises Wire