Retired generals sound the alarm about
coup-proofing US military
By Global Times
December 20, 202:
Information Clearing House
- --Coups usually take
place in countries with an "underdeveloped
democracy," or in "authoritarian" states. But the
scenario is now being seriously discussed among
Americans as a possible scene in the once "shining
city upon a hill," the "beacon of hope."
On Friday, three retired US Army generals published
an article in the Washington Post entitled "The
military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection."
"We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a
coup succeeding next time," the article said. As the
first anniversary of the deadly riots at the US
Capitol approaches, the two retired major generals
and a retired brigadier general voiced their
concerns about a divided American military.
"On January 6, a disturbing number of veterans and
active-duty members of the military took part in the
attack on the Capitol," they said. And they are
suggesting history will repeat again, noting, "In a
contested election, with loyalties split, some might
follow orders from the rightful commander in chief,"
while others might follow the loser.
They even proposed a solution: "The Defense
Department should war-game the next potential
post-election insurrection or coup attempt." In
other words, this is equivalent to calling the
Pentagon to be prepared to crack down on a possible
uprising, which is unimaginable in any democratic
country worldwide, Shen Yi, a professor at the
School of International Relations and Public Affairs
of Fudan University, told Global Times.
They seem serious as if a tale of two Americas will
come into being in 2024, with two groups of troops
with different faiths, claiming loyalty to different
US presidents. Political polarization is not only
tearing US society apart, but also rocking the
American military. The US has long been proud of its
tradition - US troops can maintain absolute
neutrality, no matter who assumes power as
But now, a warning bell has been sounded, Lü Xiang,
a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences, told the Global Times. Another
insurrection initiated by both veterans and
grass-roots Americans can be very likely, as well as
a small-scale mutiny in the US army, Lü noted.
The three retired generals are not the only ones
worrying. "Trump's next coup has already begun," The
Atlantic analyzed earlier December, stressing
"January 6 was practice. Donald Trump's GOP is much
better positioned to subvert the next election."
Although the Capitol riot was quelled, the seeds of
hatred and division have been rooted deeply in the
US, and mushrooming.
American society may seem stable on the surface.
That's mainly because Washington has successfully
shaped Beijing as an imaginary enemy of the US,
forcibly bridging the gap of contradictions of the
US to shift the public's focus to China.
Unfortunately, doing so is merely temporarily
containing the sparks in the tinderbox in the US,
until it finally explodes. When the three retired
generals talk about a possible attempted coup in the
mainstream US media, they are surely not aiming at
catching eyeballs. Instead, they are warning that
the political infighting is reaching a boiling
The US military's loyalty split is a consequence,
and the cause is the country's rotten system. Yet at
least so far, the US has shown little ability to
right the wrong. As the Washington Post article put
it, "not a single leader who inspired it has been
held to account" for the January 6 riot. Similarly,
not a single leader has been held to account for
accelerating this political polarization, dividing
society and jeopardizing the interests of Americans.
The Capitol riot was a sign that the US has entered
a new era, an era when "everything is possible, but
nothing is predictable," Lü said.
No any other country can truly shake the US' status
as the sole superpower in the world, except for the
US itself. When the US confronts realistic risks of
a coup, it is not sure what kind of power the US is,
yet it is not the country it used to be, and
definitely not a "beacon of democracy."
When retired generals sound the alarm about
"coup-proofing" the US military, it's time for
Washington to take it seriously. If the country
still refuses to focus on fixing US domestic
controversies, it should be prepared for more black
swan events and more chaos which are supposed to
occur only in underdeveloped countries.
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