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Civil War: What if the U.S. was at War Against Itself?


SPOILER ALERT: This article contains elements of “Civil War” not present in its promotional media.

Movies are mostly fantasies, allowing us, the audience, to travel to a different time or world as an escape from reality for a few hours. Some are hilarious, some make us ponder on our lives and others make us frightened. The movie “Civil War” is no joke, and certainly not a movie to treat lightly.

The movie is set on the East Coast of the United States. The audience accompanies photojournalists who cover and witness the battles of the country's ongoing civil war. The reason and the origins of the war are not mentioned, but we quickly learn the reason is due to the presidency's loss of legitimacy across many states. In the movie, the war does not seem to affect the people in rural areas, but the closer they get to Washington D.C., the closer they are to the risks and the atrocities of the war. It depicts a broken, divided and doomed country. The opposite of what the United States should be. 

The United States: A Country in Crisis

Have you ever watched ads about international organizations asking for donations? They frequently show refugee camps of citizens hiding from the war in tents and eating basic food like rice and soup. Well, in the movie, these were American citizens. If the United States bursts into a civil war like in the movie, and you refuse to participate, it will be you in those ads. 

A civil war rarely boosts a country’s economy, and the United States will make no exception. There will be no way to guarantee civilian safety during a rebel assault, nor will all businesses stay open during the war. The economy will suffer from hyperinflation and the U.S. dollar will not keep its worth just like during the Confederacy, even though it is the most circulated currency in the world. Also, many countries relying on  American currency will suffer. During his presidential campaign, the actual President of Argentina Javier Milei said he would replace the peso with the U.S. dollar. The fall of the U.S. dollar would not only affect the United States economy, but also 11 other countries using the U.S. dollar as their official currency like Ecuador.

A fractured United States would also mean the end of its international reputation. If a civil war were to happen, I believe Canada and Mexico would finance a wall at their border to keep out the United States because it would be the most dangerous threat. 

I witnessed the far-right groups protesting in front of the Canadian Parliament in February 2022, and I think it was their right to protest for a few days, but it escalated too much when they threatened to kill members of the government. Nobody wanted another January 6 event. Since then, some American far-right groups organized in Canada like the Proud Boys. These groups call for violence and disturb the peace in the U.S. and Canada. 

The United States is one of the, if not the closest, allies of Canada economically, territorially and culturally. However, a civil war would transform the United States into a threat. Yes, the United States would be a threat.  

What Should We Do?

This situation is of course hypothetical. I firmly believe that Americans will think twice before getting into a civil war. Also, many historians state that it is “very unlikely” that civil war will happen.

However, “Civil War” is not a meaningless movie without any morals to it. It’s a wake-up call. When will we have enough of our hate and anger towards each other? Which tragedy will force the Americans to say “That’s enough?” Will we need to have a civil war to settle our differences, or will we be able to deal with our differences, find common grounds and compromise like the Founding Fathers did to build the United States? Honestly, I hope the second option will happen. 

Seeing Washington D.C. under attack in the movie made me shed a tear. The United States democratic institutions are not just fancy buildings, they represent the freedom of the people, the American democracy and history. How could anyone allow these buildings to be attacked? Maybe it depends on their definition of freedom.

Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


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