Here Thar Be Monsters!

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3.2.12

What if...?

Our thought experiment for the day:

Suppose you woke up tomorrow and the USA had gone the way of the USSR?

It's become fashionable these days to be a 'prepper.'  Folks are stocking up on things they think they would need to get through a couple of weeks or months of disaster.  Storeable food, water filters, generators, even guns and ammo have been on a lot of people's shopping lists lately.  I see this as a good trend.  It promotes self-sufficiency and is just reasonable in the face of Mother Nature's vagaries.

The part of prepping that no one talks about is the mental gaming of various scenarios.  Major militaries have 'war colleges', where the best and brightest gather regularly to ponder the 'what-ifs.'   It's part of being ready for anything.  The reason people panic, or worse, or stunned into inaction, is that something happens that they hadn't considered possible.  Their minds shut down as they try to process the flood of unexpected information.

For those who are serious about prepping, we must prepare our minds as well as our supplies.  To do that, we should take a bit of time once in a while to set up possible chains of events, and then noodle through what we would do it they happened.

It's one thing to plan for natural disadters.  Most of us have been through one or two, so we can imagine certain events and mentally plot out a pllan of action.  But suppose you woke up and your country had collapsed.

The reason I chose the USA is that, 1) it's a very real possiblity, 2) it would affect the entire world, and 3) almost no one is ready for it.

As we discussed last time, most folks have a normalcy bias.  In the face of a disaster, they assume that things will return to normal within a short period of time.  Because of that, they lose valuable time in responding to a crisis.  When there's a blackout, we generally assume that it will be back in a couple of hours or less.  We don't immediately react as if it is gone and may not return for months, or even years.

When the USSR collapsed, no one expected it, at least at the general population level.  We saw the news footage of vast crowds gathered at the Kremlin and Yeltsin standing on the tank leading the charge.  However, it was months before the average Joe began to process the fact that the USSR was gone and not coming back.

At this moment in time, the very real possibility exists that the USA may follow suit sooner or later.  It has run up astronomical debt in trying to maintain its empire (just like the USSR), its currency is in very real danger of collapse (just like the USSR), and there's a growing sentiment among the population at large that things are not right and need fixing fast (just like the USSR).  It stands to reason that some event may trigger a domino effect that could collapse the USA overnight, just like the USSR.

Here's our scenario.  Israel unilaterally attacks Iran, assuming that the USA will jump in, as it always has, to pull its bacon out of the fire (pun intended).  But, when the order comes down from the CIC, the top military brass balks and refuses to engage.  This causes an immediate crisis with certain elements within the ranks surrounding the White House seeking the arrest of the CIC.

Within hours of the news hitting the wire, the general population is galvanized.  Thousands, if not millions of folks converge on city halls, state capitols and DC.  At least one group takes over national media facilities and begins an unstoppable uplink live to satellite and internet getting the word out around the usual 'gatekeepers' filtering the message.

The world at large gets wind of this.  It causes an immediate crisis of confidence in the dollar and dollar-denominated financial intstruments.  In less than 72 hours, the dollar collapses to unheard of lows and Americans around the world can not exchange their dollars or use them to pay airfare, hotels and other needs.  Credit cards are frozen or refused.

In the USA, by the end of the first week, a significant number of people are calling in sick.  Either they are on strike in solidarity, or they are afraid to make the commute through mobs of protesters to get to work.

The CIC barracades himself in the White House, making near round-the-clock appeals on the media outlets that are still listening.  He orders military and national guard to suppress the uprising, but this is only effective in certain limited areas, like LA and New York City.  As locals feed out images on the crack down on the internet, this further enrages the general populace and even fence-sitters are forced to join sides.

By the end of the second week, the power grid is only sporadic, dependent on dedicated skeleton crews to keep it running at all.  Stores have been emptied and are not being restocked, because the truckers and train engineers are either on strike or not willing to risk their lives to deliver supplies.  Around the country, a number of city halls have been torched and several state capitols have been taken over by protesters.

Washington DC is under seige.  Millions of people have literally encircled the city and are backed up by military who are still loyal to their oaths.  There are reports of numerous projectiles of various kinds hitting the White House, and the CIC is trapped in the underground bunker, deperately appealing for order, though by now, most of the media are either taken over or more focused on national and global events to worry about him.

By the end of the third week, local leaders have emerged and taken over the libraries of major universities.  They have set up common law councils to try to re-establish order.  Across the nation, thousands of suburban neighborhoods have sealed themselves off and have pooled supplies and resources with citizen patrols repelling interlopers.  Thousands more people have started squatting in national parks and have set up make-shift cities using the facilities there.

In DC, the CIC has announced that he will resign and surrender to US Marshals, but the Marshals are nowhere to be found.  Crowds have knocked down the fence around the White House and are now literally surrounding the building, though they have no yet breached its walls.  There's also the question of who will take over the CIC position, since most Congress-critters have vanished, and the Veep was captured and is being held in Maryland somewhere.

In Houston, a group of sympathetic refinery workers have taken over several of the refineries and started producing limited amounts of gasoline, but there is no orderly way to distribute it, and it is not nearly enough to supply the overwhelming demand.

Local TeeVee stations have been taken over in nearly every market and are broadcasting patriotic messages and information on groups who are organizing to supply various services, such as medical care, etc.

In NYC, the Federal Reserve building has been completely overrun and gutted.  Dozens of bankster types have been arrested and are being held for trials, though lynch mobs have taken their toll.

Globally, markets have crashed.  The EU is in tatters and international trade is running at a fraction of capacity.  US embassies and military bases worldwide have been looted and destroyed, and hundreds of military personnel, stranded by the sudden collapse, have been taken prisoner in a great many countries.  Media have carried news footage of people burning piles of dollar bills, since the currency has completely collapsed and the paper is worthless.

By week four, the CIC is captured trying to escape wearing an elaborate Hollywood-style prosthetic disguise.  However, at the first sign of trouble, the security around him bolts and he is taken prisoner by the military.j

The entire world is in chaos, since so many markets and international trade operated on dollars.  Practically overnight, millionaires and billionaires lose their entire fortunes.  Commerce grinds to a trickle, causing riots and revolutions to flare up in dozens of countries.  The entire command-and-control structure has nearly vanished in a month leaving the vast majority of folks completely clueless, while handfuls of people are desperately trying to establish some kind of order in various places, but the fever of the immediate situation is too powerful for them to be effective.

On the newly liberated media, scenes of people walking aimlessly through the streets clutching old photo albums or other mementos of their past lives are common.  The stunned look in their eyes says it all.  Even a month into the crisis, they are still unable to cope with the collapse of everything they once assumed to be permanent.

Now, what would you do?  Are you prepared for events on this kind of scale?  Besides mentally steeling yourself to deal with such things, what could you effectively do to safeguard you and your family in this kind of scenario?

To think this couldn't happen is naive.  It has happened, not just in the USSR, but in countless societies throughout history.  When the mighty fall, it is usually swift and decisive.  Certianly, the USA is not stable.  This is one possible scenario of dozens with more or less the same outcome.  It behooves us to ponder such things in the worst case, if for no other reason than to prevent ourselves from panicking and thereby being useful to our loved ones.

How real is this possibility?  One would have to assume that it is inevitable, though when and how are huge variables.  Given the current state of world affairs, though, one would wisely assume sooner than later.

Providence always favors the prepared mind.

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