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Civil War | Official Trailer HD | A24


CR 1/8
"Once was enough." -- South Carolina

Based on the trailer, it looks more like the "drag your neighbor out in the middle of night and shoot them in the face" kind of story rather than a heartwarming one about patriotism and unity. But then trailers can be misleading. I still can't forgive whomever came up with the trailer for The Bicentannial Man.
Yeah... I probably should have put "heartwarming" in scare quotes to be a bit clearer in my meaning.

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Yeah, that's what I'm suspecting at this point, something like: "real Americans from Both Sides! unite to Free the U. S. A.! from the tyranny of an Evil Dictator!" It's sure to be a truly heartwarming story of patriotism and unity, with guns, assplosions, and moar guns.
I think you had best clean up that puddle of sarcasm, before someone slips in it. Whoops! Too late.


Guide of Modos
This reminded me of Vice City, when the radio ads talk about America winning our war against Australia and the documentary Red Dawn.
Reminds me of 1984, where the devices watch you, the thought police identify state enemies, and there's always a war going on . . . hmm. Maybe Civil War might be a nice change of pace?

I assume any real 'Civil War' would not be along state lines, but would instead have urban centers mostly on one side, and rural areas on the other, leading to a lot of terror attacks, militia raids, and infrastructure disruption, with no big battles between armies.

And another big flaw is that I struggle to imagine us getting to a point where the military would go, "Oh, attack Texas and California? Sure thing, boss!"

I guess you could have some cassus belli that could be spun to keep 31 states in support of DC. It's an interesting thought experiment of how it could happen. Like, there's a map that seems to show three or four factions:
  • California + Texas
  • Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma
  • Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota
  • Everyone else.
But everyone else includes a mix of states that are pretty solidly 'blue' today, and ones that are pretty solidly 'red.' So in order for this outcome, we'd need a pretty major political realignment. I could of course just pretend we're in an alternate history, but for the challenge I'll instead pretend that I can only invent a fictional future; I have to keep the past and present the same.

It says that President Offerman is in his third term, so I assume at earliest he would get elected in 2028, which means the movie takes place in 2037-2040. That gives us a good stretch of time to shift allegiances. The challenge is to create a cassus belli that doesn't fall along normal partisan political lines, and to shift party politics a bit so the two parties aren't so skewed toward urban and rural.


So imagine Biden gets reelected in 2024. The GOP has some fissures as Trump goes scorched earth on the establishment Republicans for not protecting him, and he gets his supporters to push third party candidates in 2026, which splits the right-wing vote and leads to Dems surprisingly getting a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. The donor class on the right sees this as a disaster, and starts changing tactics and making new alliances, because beyond all the other politics at play, what the ultra rich care about the most is keeping their money and stopping economic reforms to help the working class.

Also, Biden dies in 2027, Harris takes over, and she pushes some progressive economic reforms that really irk the donor class. Plus, sadly Kamala ain't especially charismatic, so in the 2028 election, Harris has a primary challenge, and she wins the primary but fractures Democratic support. Likewise in the GOP, Trump wins the primary again, but the big donors are pulling support from the Republicans, and even Fox News sees he's not good for ratings, so he basically only exists as a spoiler. The winner ends up being an Independent candidate -- Nick Offerman -- with a coalition of disaffected folks who are fed up with partisanship, funded by big money that wants to get back to the traditional dynamic of corporations telling Washington what to do.

And hey, he governs competently, though of course not without controversy. Trump dies in 2029. A new party starts to form around Offerman, the Capital party, while the Republicans falter and begin to fade. In 2032, Offerman runs as an 'establishment' candidate, while Dems shift to be more pro-little-guy to try to pick up the voters who previously wanted Trump. A Fox-News-style left-wing media empire starts to surge because there's good money in stoking outrage against Offerman and the Capitals.

Concurrently, green energy is taking off in Texas, and oil is losing influence. The Republican governor loses to a Democrat, who takes a staunchly anti-Capitals stance, and who is also anti-immigrant because of the massive challenge of keeping back migrants who are trying to flee Central America and Mexico due to climate change.

In 2033, US investments in Central America (in an effort to counter China's own the Belt and Road projects in Africa and Asia) get threatened when massive local unrest begins, driven by various forces, but especially climate change making places unlivable. Seeing a way to cause trouble for the US, China offers proxy support to the rebel groups, especially in Panama, threatening shipping routes that the US relies on. However, Chinese influence in US media is trying to steer voters' opinions, and so the Democratic narrative is that China is trying to get the crisis in Central America under control, while the US Capital party is just content to let people suffer as long as it earns a profit, and that is driving immigrants to the US.

The discourse among the pro-Capital party establishment is that Americans are being manipulated by Chinese media, which poses a national security threat. President Offerman signs a very controversial bill that gives him emergency powers to censor a lot of media.
In California, this stokes resentment among internet-service-based companies that have ties to China. They were happy to give the Capitals money for elections as long as the government wasn't getting in their business. But global trade in physical goods is being threatened, so the federal government wants to turn sentiment against China. The tech companies refuse, and while things are caught up in the courts, they start using algorithms to turn sentiment against Offerman

In Texas, the Democrat governor is courted by China. To try to get the governor back on his side, President Offerman says he'll send US military forces to the border near El Paso to impose martial law. However, the governor is stubborn and refuses. But now to avoid losing face, Offerman has to carry through, so he sends the military to Fort Bliss, expecting American patriotism and love of the military to carry him through.

The TX governor calls on Texans to get out the guns they've been holding onto for just this situation, and to stand up for states rights and block the roads to Fort Bliss. After repeated escalations, shooting starts, and a bunch of Texans are massacred, including the governor. This triggers massive civil unrest, a siege on the fort by fairly heavily-armed Texans, and a mutiny by a chunk of the federal forces in the area who refuse to follow the president's orders.

About the same time, military units in California that are set to deploy to Central America mutiny, refusing to get involved in a war they think is unjust.

The President, feeling it's necessary to punish any mutiny, demands those soldiers surrender for punishment. They refuse, and moreover they are refusing to leave the bases, so they've basically commandeered military materiel. The president orders attacks on the mutinous military bases.

Now California and Texas both have been attacked by the US military, and they make a joint statement that if Offerman does not step down, they will refuse to acknowledge his authority.

Things escalate.

Texas decides to strike first and seizes all the military bases in its territory. California, in a show of solidarity, does the same. Offerman ends up declaring Texas and California in open rebellion, and he orders a buildup of forces to invade Texas from the east and California from the north. Public opposition to this looming civil war leads to states in the northwest refusing to let military forces move down their interstates, though they declare themselves neutral. In the southeast, an alliance led by Florida tries to force everyone to stand down by getting a bloc from Mississippi to the east coast to also interdict military forces and shipping, thinking this will make it impossible for the president to really use force, even if he wants to.

But then radicals try to assassinate President Offerman. He survives, and the attempt gets those parts of the country that haven't taken a stand yet to rally around him. He successfully paints everyone in the 19 disloyal states as enemies of the Republic, and either useful idiots for China or active collaborators. With no quick-and-early invasion possible through the vulnerable pathways into either state, Cali and TX are able to build up and prepare for a fight, and when the US finally attacks, it leads to a protracted conflict.

How things turn out probably depend heavily on what other global powers decide to do: take advantage of the crisis, lend aid, stay out of it?


Well that was 'fun' thought experiment.

Yeah doesn't superficially plausible. I suppose they were picked because their large populations, significant industrial bases, and large number of significant ports would make them pretty powerful in this kind of situation.

I have to admit I would probably watch this on streaming though.

Maybe it's on purpose to keep things from getting political, which is a risk for movies like this, keeping it odd ball mixes keeps things more fantastic instead of controversial or overly political.

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