As Americans, our first instinct when someone outside of the United States says something critical of our nation is often to dismiss the comment (or poke fun at their country; be honest. !). In this case, however, neither Marche nor Homer-Dixon wrote their words to demean America or to make Canadians feel better about their country.
In the case of Homer-Dixon, the warning is even more disturbing because the chronicle is directed not to Americans but to fellow Canadians, to prepare them for what could happen to them if America’s democracy collapses. Homer-Dixon bluntly warns his compatriots: âA terrible storm is coming from the south, and Canada is woefully unprepared.
When Canadians begin to advise each other on the threat to American democracy, you know we are in dire straits. It is not about scoring political points; rather, it emanates from a place of genuine concern for their own nation.
Homer-Dixon’s words carry real weight: as he puts it, for over 40 years he has studied the causes of war, revolution and social collapse. “Today,” he wrote to his compatriots, “as I watch the crisis unfold in the United States, I see a political and social landscape flashing with warning signals.”
To those who might view his premonitions as exaggerated, Homer-Dixon adds, âWe shouldn’t rule out these possibilities just because they seem ridiculous or too horrible to imagine. In 2014, the suggestion that Donald Trump would become president would also have struck almost everyone as absurd. “(Point taken with that one!)
But what really touches me is Homer-Dixon’s assessment that the ‘underlying’ of our policy ‘is a vital set of beliefs and values’, and’ if a sufficiently substantial fraction of a population no longer holds those beliefs and values, then democracy cannot survive. ”
For Homer-Dixon, it all comes down to one crucial question for his country: How can Canadians prepare for the worst? On the one hand, he said, “We must begin by fully recognizing the extent of the danger.” He continues: âIf Mr. Trump is re-electedâ and usheres in an authoritarian right-wing regime, âthe risks to our country in their cumulative effect could easily be existential, far greater than any in the history of our federation.
For example, he theorizes, “What happens … if prominent political refugees fleeing persecution arrive in our country and the American regime demands them return.” Are we obeying?
To prepare for this kind of possible scenario, he implores the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to “immediately convene” a committee made up of representatives of the various political parties in the government which “should receive regular intelligence analyzes and meetings. information from Canadian experts on political and social issues. developments in the United States and their implications for democratic failure there.
But there is something deeply compelling about reading the words of skinless Canadians in the game of American politics to offer such blunt words and warnings about the red flags they see.
As Marche details in his book, there are Americans who have a “desperate faith in the institutions of their country which is almost tantamount to delusion.” These Canadians are warning us to free ourselves from these illusions and understand instead that “it” can happen here – with “it” ranging from fascism to a civil war that would collapse our democracy – and to grasp that reality beforehand. let it be too late.