Depending on your temperament, you may be either amused or sobered by an article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal about Igor Panarin, a Russian academic and former KGB analyst who has been predicting since 1998 that the US will collapse via economic implosion followed by civil war during the spring of 2010.
For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument — that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. — very seriously. Now he’s found an eager audience: Russian state media….
In recent weeks, he’s been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. “It’s a record,” says Prof. Panarin. “But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger.”
Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations….
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control….
He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.
California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
“It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time.” A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. “It’s not there for no reason,” he says with a sly grin.
Interest in his forecast revived this fall when he published an article in Izvestia, one of Russia’s biggest national dailies. In it, he reiterated his theory, called U.S. foreign debt “a pyramid scheme,” and predicted China and Russia would usurp Washington’s role as a global financial regulator.
Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama “can work miracles,” he wrote. “But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles.”
It strikes me that one can learn much more about modern Russia from Panarin’s analysis than one can about the US, and that such things are being heavily publicized on state television suggests that reality and the Russian state media have roughly the same relationship they did during the Soviet era.
Perhaps this is my newly acquired local pride, but particularly amusing to me is the suggestion that the Texas Republic would come under the influence of or be absorbed by Mexico. Given the relative economic and political healths of Mexico and the American South, I’d find it much more likely that Mexico would be absorbed by a Texas Republic than vice versa. I am, however, much charmed by the idea of the northern Eastern Seabord joining the EU.
The idea would make a great plot for an novel, but I can’t see it as a realistic scenario in the real world. The US is far from invincible economically and politically, but it is generally in better shape than the rest of the world, and that’s not the sort of thing that immanent collapses are made of.