I know it’s still early days yet, but based on the fact that the President of the Ukraine could be sent packing and, apparently, enough opposition to his government could be mustered that those wanting to change the path of their country were successful, how does this real-life example impact the view that the United States government could never be overthrown? Would it be as simple as taking over Washington DC (as apparently it was sufficient to seize the government buildings in Kiev)? I know that the Ukraine hardly measures up the the U.S. in any measurable way, but we’ve seen overthrows aplenty in the last couple of years. Why are some people so certain it could never happen here, and why are some people so certain it would be no harder than the events of the last two weeks or so?
I ask because again, it seems that there is a never-ending battle between those who see the Right to keep and bear arms as a way of curtailing (or replacing) excessive government power with those who mock AR-15s against F-15s. The Ukrainian military might not be world-class, but certainly they could have crushed this rebellion/insurgency/freedom movement/coup if they wished…?
Well yes, of course, but there seems to be a growing belief (among certain segments) that no matter who gets elected, they don’t really have the best interests of the people at heart, as opposed to special insterest or their own power (not mutually exclusive).
When that belief reaches a majority view, does apathy set in, or does it lead to an overthrow as in Kiev? I remind you that the government of the Ukraine was elected (for any given set of “elected”, certainly, but still…)
As to the question about AR-15s earlier, some people think armed resistance is needed. I’m not certain that is the case, in fact it would seem that it would lead the military/police to HAVE to respond with force, if for no other reason than to protect themselves. That said, I seem to recall a fair amount of force exerted in Kiev on both sides, until the goverment broke and ran.
Well that brings the next point - is an overthrow such as we see in Ukraine only possible if the military stands aside, presumably because they have no love or desire to support the ruling party at the time? If the Ukrainian military had been loyal to the old Order, then this would have ended quickly and with a fair amount of bloodshed? Is this why 2nd Amendment supporters are so adamant (in many cases) that they must maintain their arms in case a tyrannical government comes to power that does have the support of some sizeable fraction of the national military? Maybe they couldn’t actually overcome the loyal armed forces of the Federal government, but if enough carnage and bloodshed were to make it into the global media, world opinion might force the hand of the government, one way or the other?
I find that a dubious proposition - I remember Tienanmen Square quite well, but I’m pretty sure not much changed there. Even in the Ukraine, there is plent of “outrage” to go around, plenty of tough talk, but there is nothing, realistically, that can be done to prevent Russia from calling all the shots.
I’m reminded of the Praetorian Guard of the old Roman era - those who held the reins of power would do well to ensure that the military, and espeically their closest guardians, were on their side. Strange that it’s a lesson of history that so many seem to forget, if they ever knew it in the first place.
It could lead to either of those, depending on the circumstances and the strength of people’s feelings.
Or it could lead to a third option; a movement expressing that feeling of alienation offers itself as an electoral alternative, and wins power at the next election.
“World opinion” is less likely to be forced by an apparent civil war than by the sight of the army attacking peacable demonstrators.
Specifically in the US context, if second amendment supporters think that citizens’ militias exchanging fire with the US Marine Corps will mobilise “world opinion” against the US government, they are delusional. What “world opinion” will overwhelmingly see is the solidly-democratically-elected US government having to deal with a bunch of crazed Timothy McVeigh wannabes, a problem magnified out of all proportion by the US’s ludicrous second amendment.
But, in the end, world opinion is not what lead to a change of government. In the scenario you outline, loss of the support of the army and/or police is what does the trick. And they are likely to be happier to defend the government against an armed uprising than they are to massacre unarmed civilians. My sense is that in terms of driving a wedge between the government and the army, unarmed protest is likely to be more effective than armed resistance. (Although, of course, there is no guarantee that either will work.)
The issue is one of legitimacy and power. A government can only act through people, and if it loses popular legitimacy, it risks losing power because people cease to obey it.
In Ukraine, the government lost legitimacy to the extent that its orders for the army to crush protests were not obeyed. That was the death-knell.
Legitimacy need not be of the kind we appove of in the West, namely democratic legitimacy obtained from a genuine polling of the people’s will. A credible dictator can have legitimacy with the key people he needs - such as his soldiers - through his reputation for mastery, or military glory, or whatever.
That’s not a contrast, they did that in the Ukraine too. Whether they will be able to do that again is uncertain, with Russia occupying part of the country and a gang of fascists squatting over the rest.