Vienna, August 27 – Fifteen years ago, angry Soviet patriots and Russian nationalists frequently published articles and even maps on how they hoped the United States would fall apart and thus lose its role as a super power, much as their own country did in 1991.
More recently, such commentaries have become something of a rarity. But last week, in an article in Moscow’s “Vzglyad” newspaper, citing materials from the newspaper "Nashe vremya," commentator Vsevolod Istomin gleefully proposed a scenario for how the United States might unravel in the near future (http://www.vz.ru/politics/2007/8/101714.html).
After surveying the history of failed secessionist causes in the United States over the last 200 years, Istomin argues that now ”the preconditions” for the collapse of that country have become “evident.” And he asks rhetorically, “How might the situation develop?”
First, he suggests, shortly before the presidential election in 2008, there could be a series of terrorist acts in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Washington. In order to maintain order, the Bush Administration might impose martial law and seek to use the National Guard.
That could lead to a downward spiral, Istomin suggests, with states and localities increasingly angry at this pressure from the outgoing White House and the White House increasingly willing to use ever more force, even when doing so appears to be precipitating more popular resistance.
The first states to break with Washington, he continues, might be Texas and California, with the former closing its borders and the latter split between white supporters of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Latinos in Los Angeles and the southern portions of the state.
Mexico would then take advantage of this situation to extend its influence over the areas of its historical rule: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. Mormon Utah would declare its independence too but seek protection from Mexico as well. And, in Istomin’s telling, Alaska and Haw’aii would go their own ways.
Italian Americans would make New Jersey independent, New England would drift away, and “the white population of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee who had been in the Confederacy would rise in a long-planned revolt against Washington,” engaging in bloody battles with blacks.
Blacks fleeing from this new south would overwhelm southern Michigan, Istomin suggests, with that state declaring its independence, but with that former state’s northern peninsula seeking independence not only of Washington but also Detroit and allying itself closely with Canada.
Meanwhile, the states of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky would join with Illinois and Wisconsin to form a new Middle Western Federation, a country that would seek to maintain an equal distance between Canada, the Southern confederacy, and “black Michigan.”
The former U.S. capital, Washington, according to Istomin, would be able to reconsolidate power only on those territories closest to it: Pennsylvania, New York state but not New York city, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and Virginia, and “undoubtedly” the District of Columbia.
In this way would be formed, Istomin concludes, “the True United States – a new country in the world which would have lost its status as a superpower.” And the first act of this new country, Istomin says, would be to offer full independence to its former colony Puerto Rico.
Istomin’s fantasy is obviously not going to happen. Indeed, it is almost certain that he recognizes that reality. But his article does provide an insight into the increasingly anti-American tone in Moscow and the continuing desire of Russians to lash out at others rather than to focus on the domestic reasons for their own past and present.