On October 30, just a week before the U.S. midterm elections, RIA Novosti and several other Russian news outlets published stories predicting a civil conflict in the U.S. The spate of stories, more than 30 according to Foreign Policy Magazine, come “ahead of a hotly contested congressional election in the United States next week.” According to RIA Novosti, American political scientists were making this prediction, not Russians. However, upon closer examination, the authors of the articles cited by Russian media were far more nuanced, and cannot be said to have made serious predictions of a coming U.S. civil war.
One of the first opinions cited by the RIA Novosti piece is from the historian Niall Ferguson, who wrote an op-ed on the topic for the Boston Globe. The excerpts of the op-ed published by Foreign Policy show that Ferguson was writing more about the topic of political polarization. Instead of a shooting civil war, Ferguson is quoted as saying that a “cultural civil war” is already being waged in the U.S. across social media. The Foreign Policy piece points out that Ferguson ultimately concludes an armed conflict in the U.S. is not imminent.Read more