Many people, the opinions of whom I greatly respect, have written on the state of politics and society in the US in such a way as to suggest the possibility of the US moving into a period of similar to what was seen in the former republic of Yugoslavia from the mid 1980’s through to the late 1990’s, referred to by many as Balkanization. I’m certainly in agreement with these bloggers and writers, Matt Bracken being just one example.
The political, sociological, ethnic and racial trajectory in the US is eerily similar to that of the former Yugoslavia in many ways. In the coming years, this could even expand into the sphere of religion, though for now there doesn’t seem to be such widespread religious friction as much as there is racial/ethnic and political.
The similarities begin where Yugoslavia’s end did: With the economy. It’s always the economy. Yugoslavia was totally socialist in their economic model. For you on the left, yes, it was indeed “real” socialism, complete with the never-ending litany of financial Band-Aid’s designed mainly to keep the rigged carnival game going for as long as possible for whomever was sitting at the top getting rich. The US economy may not appear to be socialist in the same way, for whatever reason many Americans maintain the idea of some bastardization of capitalism corrupted by, well, socialists.
Both Yugoslavia and the US endlessly investigated and studied how best to fix the economic woes, and some decent ideas, even some great ideas, were formulated… And then were largely ignored, either due to a lack of will to implement them or a lack of ability. Probably it was lack of political will, since in both country’s cases, the ideas that would have worked best included laundry lists of major money cuts and reductions of federal power. The politicians in power are generally never going to go for a plan like that. They’d rather drive the train straight off the cliff themselves before letting someone else drive it to safety.
The idea so far is that the economic system in the US is simply not sustainable. The Band-Aid of borrowing more money from the US public, China, Japan, etc. and periodically raising the debt ceiling to allow it is not going to work forever, and it doesn’t require one to have any advanced understanding of economics to grasp this. You don’t need to be an expert economist to realize that $20 trillion in debt and hundreds of trillions more in unfunded liabilities is virtually insurmountable at this point. The fact that the US dollar is the currency of the world is not going to shield us from the inevitable forever. The economic problems that Yugoslavia faced in the early 1980’s, and that the US now faces, are like a lit match being held over a barrel of gasoline.
And that leads me to discuss that gasoline.
Yugoslavia had an extremely diverse country racially, ethnically and religiously. The geographic location and the early economic prosperity (or the illusion of it) attracted a lot of people from all sorts of backgrounds. After a while, the government began to show heavy favor toward certain ethnicities at the expense of others. Rigorous controls were put on employment and educational systems, favoring one ethnic group over the other with claims that there was history of abuse that needed to be atoned for. Criminal behavior by members of certain ethnic or racial groups were largely ignored by the media and law enforcement apparatus, while even the most benign actions of other groups were seized upon and used for narrative building.
Does any of this sound familiar? In the US we have a long list of “protected” groups who are favored with advantages in employment, educational and entitlement systems. Race alone is often used by the media and government, often one and the same, to build a narrative of victimization.
In Yugoslavia circa 1980’s, and in the US today, you’d see a very socially diverse people from numerous ethnic, racial, economic and religious backgrounds. When these diverse groups mingle and mix, everyone has to accept that different cultures will have friction arise when the “negative” aspects of a particular culture become unacceptable to another. In times such as those, it’s necessary for the opposing cultures to have the freedom and ability to separate for a peaceful outcome. Problems arise, always, when incompatible cultures are forced to mix in society with no avenue for voluntary separation, and these problems are heavily exacerbated when government and media get involved to force one culture to accept and integrate what they feel are the “negative” aspects of the opposing culture. An obvious and perhaps overly-simplistic example is when white, Christian American citizens are forced to accept and live alongside immigrants who wish to practice Sharia law and alter their own lives and habits in order to accommodate some of these sensitivities. A very basic example, yes, but I think it makes the point.
We are meant to swallow the lie that says “diversity is our strength” without consideration for merit, performance, ability, intelligence or actual results.
This is not meant to be an indictment on any specific culture or ethnicity, but more of a history lesson, a social observation and a dire prediction.
The history lesson is the continued failure of all socialist based economic models, whether we want to consider them “real” socialism or not. The sort of hard socialism seen in 1980’s Yugoslavia and the crony-capitalist soft socialist version seen in the US today are both examples of that failure system. As I stated earlier, it does not take any level of economic expertise to understand that our current system is insolvent and that we have passed the point of no return on a future crash of our financial system. Now that less than half of the people in the US are net-taxpayers and over half of the people in the US are receiving some sort of government assistance simply to survive, we have become a welfare state, with only decreasing numbers of producers with increasing numbers of consumers. Mathematically, it is not sustainable. Historically, it is disastrous.
The social observation is that such a mass of diverse peoples must have a voluntary pressure outlet in order to maintain peace. We must accept reality that not all cultures are able to be forced together with peaceful results. Forced proximity, with advantages, disadvantages and blame doled out to certain peoples, with a lack of opportunity to separate peacefully will always result in strife and eventual violence.
The dire prediction is one that is easy to see coming: An eventual economic failure is the lit match, while the total lack of national cultural identity is the gasoline. The media and governmental apparatchiks stand by to stoke the fires.
We are Yugoslavia circa 1980’s.
My advice? Stay out of Sarajevo.
The Gray Man is a Southern born and raised Christian American, Army combat veteran and former intelligence collector. He has worked in many foreign locations, including Afghanistan, South Korea and Germany. He has deployed with or worked alongside US Army special operations units and Cav LRS units. He is currently working as an ER nurse living in the rural Deep South, preparing for whatever man and nature can dish out.