North America Retired generals sound the alarm about coup-proofing US military

Retired generals sound the alarm about coup-proofing US military


December 20, 202: Information Clearing House  “Global Times  – Coups usually take place in countries with an “underdeveloped democracy,” or in “authoritarian” states. But the scenario is now being seriously discussed among Americans as a possible scene in the once “shining city upon a hill,” the “beacon of hope.”

On Friday, three retired US Army generals published an article in the Washington Post entitled “The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection.”

“We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time,” the article said. As the first anniversary of the deadly riots at the US Capitol approaches, the two retired major generals and a retired brigadier general voiced their concerns about a divided American military.

“On January 6, a disturbing number of veterans and active-duty members of the military took part in the attack on the Capitol,” they said. And they are suggesting history will repeat again, noting, “In a contested election, with loyalties split, some might follow orders from the rightful commander in chief,” while others might follow the loser.

They even proposed a solution: “The Defense Department should war-game the next potential post-election insurrection or coup attempt.” In other words, this is equivalent to calling the Pentagon to be prepared to crack down on a possible uprising, which is unimaginable in any democratic country worldwide, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told Global Times.

They seem serious as if a tale of two Americas will come into being in 2024, with two groups of troops with different faiths, claiming loyalty to different US presidents. Political polarization is not only tearing US society apart, but also rocking the American military. The US has long been proud of its tradition – US troops can maintain absolute neutrality, no matter who assumes power as president.

But now, a warning bell has been sounded, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. Another insurrection initiated by both veterans and grass-roots Americans can be very likely, as well as a small-scale mutiny in the US army, Lü noted.

The three retired generals are not the only ones worrying. “Trump’s next coup has already begun,” The Atlantic analyzed earlier December, stressing “January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.”

Although the Capitol riot was quelled, the seeds of hatred and division have been rooted deeply in the US, and mushrooming.

American society may seem stable on the surface. That’s mainly because Washington has successfully shaped Beijing as an imaginary enemy of the US, forcibly bridging the gap of contradictions of the US to shift the public’s focus to China.

Unfortunately, doing so is merely temporarily containing the sparks in the tinderbox in the US, until it finally explodes. When the three retired generals talk about a possible attempted coup in the mainstream US media, they are surely not aiming at catching eyeballs. Instead, they are warning that the political infighting is reaching a boiling point.

The US military’s loyalty split is a consequence, and the cause is the country’s rotten system. Yet at least so far, the US has shown little ability to right the wrong. As the Washington Post article put it, “not a single leader who inspired it has been held to account” for the January 6 riot. Similarly, not a single leader has been held to account for accelerating this political polarization, dividing society and jeopardizing the interests of Americans. The Capitol riot was a sign that the US has entered a new era, an era when “everything is possible, but nothing is predictable,” Lü said.

No any other country can truly shake the US’ status as the sole superpower in the world, except for the US itself. When the US confronts realistic risks of a coup, it is not sure what kind of power the US is, yet it is not the country it used to be, and definitely not a “beacon of democracy.”

When retired generals sound the alarm about “coup-proofing” the US military, it’s time for Washington to take it seriously. If the country still refuses to focus on fixing US domestic controversies, it should be prepared for more black swan events and more chaos which are supposed to occur only in underdeveloped countries.

Global Times
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