Today’s Wall Street Journal has a terrific story about Igor Panarin, a respected Russian scholar and policy guru who’s peddling an audacious prediction:

The United States of America will be no more by 2010.

And it won’t be Russian missile doing us in. We’ll rot from the inside, says Panarin. (Kinda like the Soviet Union? — Ed.) As the Journal sums up:

“[M]ass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.”

What will the Not-So-United States look like? Check out the map below — and get ready to change your drivers license to The Texas Republic, which will be part of Mexico.


21 Responses to “The Disunited States of America”

  1. Iyabo Asani says:

    Mr. Pink, why are you putting this up here? I do not believe this guy. However, it says something that the perception of America being weak enough for her critics to say this type of thing publicly and gather such a following really speaks to how weak this country is right now. But I am sure, we will recover.

    Iyabo Asani

  2. Robin Dugall says:

    I don’t even know how to respond to this…I read the article too…it is just as you said, “audacious”. I’m in the Northwest…not particularly liking the idea of being a citizen of China. Could this be prophetic? He does have his finger on some of the tension within our country…add to that a HUGE national debt and an obliviousness to our national ego and sense of entitlement and “houston, we have a problem”.

  3. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    Robin and Iyabo —

    Thanks for your responses. If you read the Journal story, you’ll find that some people are taking this guy seriously. IMHO, that says something how others see the U.S. in the waning days of 2008.

    That said, if his predictions come true, I’ll buy both of you a house anywhere you choose in the Central North-American Republic.

    Thanks for reading.


  4. John Boggs says:

    Wow. At first I was astonished when I read the article. Then, upon looking more closely at the map, I noticed I’d be in Canada (Chicago), which isn’t that bad. I don’t know. . . it’s still pretty scary to think about this happening. Thanks for sharing. I love your site. John B.

  5. Hmmm. I think this guy has been watching too many episodes of Jericho. But the big issue is that this guy has demonstrated little understanding of American culture and political leanings. Wyo tied with Ohio. Not without many years of Russian/Chetchnian sort of conflict. You would certainly have to put Wyoming and Montana and possibly Alaska in the Libertarian State of West America.

    Leave the West Coast States in their own hands. Having spent some time in Idaho and Utah, I don’t think they’d join the West Coast States despite the heavy immigration from California to the Mountain West. There are too many anti-liberals in the mountain states and if it came to a civil war, the anti-liberal are much better armed that the California transplants.

    There is a governor in Alaska that would make sure that the state would state independent. It’s not joining Russia unless Russia was to conquer it.

    As for the Republic of Texas. Could happen, but I think it would be the Republic of Texas and Mexico would become a province of the RoT. There ain’t a redneck in Texas that would allow the state to revert to pre-Alamo arrangements. Further, without checking the data, I think the Texans, even in a fallen USA situation would have more resources than Mexico. Particularly, once they secure the myriad of military bases currently in the state.

    Out of these Regional states, I think the North East has the most problems. Right now a good amount of the resources in the North East are dependent upon natural resources in the rest of the country. Where does New York get its food if it isn’t exported from the Midwest? The coal field in the East certainly don’t provide enough energy to power up the big cities either. I don’t think Europe will want to welcome such a bankrupt nation.

    Interesting to think about, but not likely.

  6. David Frenkel says:

    This might be a possibility, and it just so happens companies will have a major outsourcing in 2010, but the idea of America breaking apart during the Obama presidency is just so unlikely.

    This isn’t a world anything like a hundred and fifty years ago, with major communication sources such as the internet the main ideas of American culture are spread nation wide, and I think people underestimate Barrack Obama’s ability to change things in the long run.

    I also think that Igor Panarin, underestimates the people of the United States of America, clearly through out the whole article. Even if America is going through tough times, like your previous article talked about. Everyone is suffering through the same pain. If anything i just see us coming closer as a nation.

    This definitely makes good material for a story though, so yeah ill probably write a little short novel about this possibility down the line…- – I won’t rule it out, I also realize that there is a major difference between the rich and the poor in this country, and many people may feel betrayed by the USA, but if you grew up in the country, or moved here pursuing The American Dream, why would you want it to break apart?

  7. Jan Verhoeff says:

    If I hadn’t traveled the US so extensively I might fall for this. I don’t believe we’ll be always a country as we know the USA right now, because the Book of Revolations doesn’t have USA planted in the mix… However, I do believe the nation as a whole civilization will continue. People of the USA tend to come together arm-in-arm when threatened, EVEN from the INSIDE.

    Your neighbor’s got your back! Stand up for what you believe and you’ll be fine.

    God Bless America – the concept is real.

  8. Russian Guy says:

    Let’s keep in mind, that these predictions by Mr. Panarin are largely self-serving for him and the administration of his country. He has been pushing this theory since 1998. The current financial crisis presents a great opportunity to play the 10 year old tune, but it doesn’t mean that the man is right.

    In fact, it is Russia who is facing severe problems:
    1. SIGNIFICANT POPULATION DECLINE caused by decreasing birth rates and decreasing life expectancy (alcoholism is a key culprit, especially among men). The situation is so bad that Russia now offers incentives to ethnic Russians to move from the neighboring states into Russia.
    2. LOSS OF OIL/GAS REVENUES as prices fall; these are the key source of Russian state power.
    3. POOR PERFORMANCE OF NATIONALIZED ASSETS (natural resources) with profits allocated towards poorly performing investments.

    As a result, I think it’s Russia that is facing a greater threat from China (they share many miles of borders) and possible migration of Chinese population into sparsely populated parts of Russia.

    During difficult times, leaders of regimes such as the one in Russia often point to problems outside to distract their populace from the real problems inside. There are plenty of examples of this from recent history (Nazis using Jews as a scapegoat) to more recent events (Iran blaming Israel instead of dealing with its own economic and religious challenges).

    Having lived in both countries, I believe that our challenges will be overcome. I’m not as confident about Russia.

  9. Jeffrey Cufaude says:

    Juan Enriquez did a provocative 3-minute TED Talk in 2006 that asked the audience to consider why we assumed the 50 Untied States would always be what we know it to be today. If I remember correctly he asserted that no US President has died under the same flag under which he was born, using that point to illustrate how the union has changed.

  10. Rob Carty says:

    I don’t think I’ve laughed harder in a while. Though I think an elementary school child could have come up with a more creative break-up. For a more interesting approach to a U.S. break-up, check out Frank Miller’s “Give Me Liberty” – a 4-part comic book from the early 90s. How on earth would Alaska ‘revert’ to Russia? I can’t possibly imagine Alaskans allowing themselves to be bought back. And if he’s suggesting a Russian invasion I can’t think of a quicker way to re-unite the other ‘factions’ of the U.S. That’s great science fiction.

  11. Susan says:

    Everybody needs to read James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency to get an excellent overview of what is likely to happen here. He knows a heck of a lot more about America and her breaking points than any Russian. Still not a pretty picture.

  12. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    This is a great discussion. I don’t buy Panarin’s prognostications. (I don’t even rent them.) But they’re valuable — to me at least — for another reason. I’d never even questioned whether the U.S. would continue to exist forever in its current form. That’s foolish. Why should Americans be exempt from the historical forces that have reshaped national boundaries since the birth of the nation-state?

    I don’t foresee a civil war here anytime soon — but, hey, it’s happened before. It could happen again. And if you look at any world map that’s more than 10 years old, you realize this sort of reconfiguration takes place all the time.

    Food for thought as we enter a new year.

  13. Dan, it looks like mission accomplished in terms of stimulating discussion! 🙂

    My thoughts:
    -This scholar is clearly tainted by his own experience in a Soviet country that was held together by force, threat of force or fear of democracy, and largely constructed in the last 60 years (still within many’s life times). This just doesn’t compare to the US situation of a country built from scratch.

    -He is comparing what happened in the CCCP to what he thinks will happen in the US when times get tough… many in the CCCP were not there by choice, and their system of government was fatally flawed, when it fell on hard times, the house of cards fell apart

    -His analysis is actually much more plausible for Canada than for the US (IMHO as a Canadian) with Quebec long discussing separation, the large population of Chinese in BC, and a ‘midwest’ with much more in common with the US midwest than the rest of Canada. And I really don’t think that is going to happen either.

    Lots of great comments above! You clearly have a lot of well-read & deep thinking readers of your blog. Quite an asset!

  14. Agreed, lovely thoughtful discussion.

    *This is a great discussion.*

    The United States of America is certainly not an immutable entity. Our Civil War was as much clashing ways of life as about enslavement.

    *I don’t buy Panarin’s prognostications. (I don’t even rent them.) But they’re valuable — to me at least — for another reason. I’d never even questioned whether the U.S. would continue to exist forever in its current form. That’s foolish.*

    Lots of Americans were surprised by the European Common Market’s tranformation to the European Union.

    *Why should Americans be exempt from the historical forces that have reshaped national boundaries since the birth of the nation-state?*

    What will folks who consider themselves denizens of two coasts do in Igor Panarin’s scenario?

  15. Darryl says:

    I’ve been saying this is possible for the past 5 years. I am no scientist, politician or world renowned voice in the darkness. I’m just a keen follower and reader of history. If you follow history, leading nations all fall down. It is just what happens.

    People might think it’s not possible, but so did the Chinese when they were leading the way once in the history books, the same with Greece, when Athens was the centre of the world. What about Xerxes and the Persians, when he was in control of the largest army in the world and nearly every nation serving him? Where is that super power called the Soviet Union today? There are so many more.

    Only time will tell.

  16. Garry B. Coston says:

    This Russian Professors assertions are not crazy at all. Anything could happen even what he predicts; but I disagree with the way it would happen or would unfold. If it happens, this is the way I think it will happen:

    1) The United States collapses economically and financially

    2) The U.S. Government becomes crises oriented trying desperately to solve or defuse the economic and financial crises

    3) The whole nation states become distrustful of Washington with numerous states threatening to secede from the Union.

    4) In the meantime, martial law is enacted because riots break across much of the nation which includes looting, carnage, race riots, and gang wars.

    5) The U.S. Military, or what’s left of it tries desperately to maintain order but to no avail; Civil and local police and sheriff call on the military and the guard for help, but this does not stop the rampant riots, looting and other crimes.

    6) In the past the U.S. always intervened in other countries when they couldn’t solve their own domestic problems, now the international community, led by the United Nations and what’s left of the U.S. government welcomes outside help in any way, shape or form

    7) While the nation is preoccupied with internal problems, terrorists attacks are sparked in several major and mid-sized cities

    8. As a result, most of the nation’s infrastructure (economic, financial, political, etc.) is decimated with no one communicating as in the past; for unknown reasons, most of the nation’s satellites are not working; rumors abound that numerous satellites have been disabled by Russian and Chinese attacks.

    9) With little or no communications, barely a cohesive military, and no law and order, the nation is attacked; from the west coast by chinese and russian troops, from the South by Mexican troops with rumors of Chinese control over these troops. The nation is trying despartely to fight off these invasions but to no avail.

    This is what COULD happen; and if true, eventually, the nation would probably be taken over, yes, by foreign forces. You people will think I’m crazy, and some of you will get angry regarding what I am about to say, but the only solution is to pray for our nation, and turn back to God with all of our hearts. He (God) is who made us great and we have forgotten him and basically reject him as Lord and God over our nation. If any of you think this is crazy or far feteched, then watch what happens in the coming months. Pray for our nation.

    Just remember, if we collapse in any way, shape or form, there will be a dominoe effect, in which if it starts, there will be no return to what we were.


  17. Aaron Heideman says:

    The most important element to this concept, in my opinion, is the concept of survival. Whether a major destruction to the U.S. system is likely or not is beside the point. Hypotheticals matter.

    Look how many people commit suicide after traumatic events such as war, terrorist attacks, and stock market crashes. If only we knew the limits of our character before actualizing our ideas of success.

    So I have a question for everyone:

    How many people here would be willing to give up their home, their posessions, and all their money, if doing so increased your family’s chance of survival during an invasion? Are you serious? Think about it.

    How much pain can you endure? How many days can you go without sleep? Can you live without grocery stores and clothing retailers? What if cigarettes and alcohol, or health clubs and Power Bars were no longer available? Oh, that would suck, huh? It seems to me that the people who can do anything are the ones who need nothing. Food for thought to the enlightened class.

    Now check out My brother just told me about this site yesterday, and I think it’s awesome.

    Brainwash Survivor
    Concept Guy
    Livin’ in a Van
    Without a Plan
    Time does not exist.
    What am I doing?

  18. Jeri says:

    Interesting discourse!

    Dan wrote in response to several posts that: “I don’t buy Panarin’s prognostications. (I don’t even rent them.) But they’re valuable….” and initially noted “This is a great discussion.”

    While the majority of readers did not agree with the professor’s predictions, they were compelling enough for 15 DP blog readers to weigh in (along with 647 WSJ readers)!!!

    All of this left me wondering “what makes a compelling blog entry?” Was the discussion on the DP site fueled by Dan’s responses to initial posts?

    Did you know that in a quick scan of Dan’s blog over the past year, there was one exceptional blog entry by Dan that received 52 posts!! — those bloggers attempting to live in 6 word infamy “Six Word Stories Can Say A Lot” (5/8 –AWNM category). From here only one other posting hit “double digit” postings – the double blog post of Aug. 30 on the Ressler/Thompson book “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It” – 14 posts.

    What does all of this say? What stirs Passion for DP “right-brainers”?

    For me, it was an interesting contrast to the somewhat “lacking” response to the previous day’s blog proclaiming our 2008 syllogism to be “I’m not ok, You’re not ok, Therefore I’m ok.” Or in contrast to minimal response to the 8/22 Blog entry with regard to the WSJ perspective on the financial industry bailout.

    So for 2009 — What stirring Political Right-Brain perspectives will stir the passions of DP readers??? (Perhaps charting of responses and associated topics is in order??)

  19. I write science fiction novels set in a Balkanized America so this is a topic of great interest.

    I believe the dissolution is possible, but I don’t think he grasps the concepts of natural barriers or regional differences. And his areas are MUCH too large.

    My divided US map is here:

    Like Rome before us, our size is going to be a problem. When the petroleum runs out/is cut off, there will be little to no good way to get goods and services where they are needed.

    Most people don’t understand just how BIG the US is. I’m a trucker. I know how long it takes to get anywhere at 63 mile per hour. Now imagine doing it at 4 miles per hour or 6 on horseback.

    If the US collapses, it will be into much smaller countries than he projects.

  20. Ian Lee says:

    ROTFLMAO! That’s hilarious!!!
    See, I had this distant relative of mine that headed up a faction that revolted against the USA some 14 decades or so ago and the whole thing was a seriously bloody mess. US soldier casualty rates have never before nor since been so high – and that was using 19th century weapons. So almost 150 years later, some idiot Russian makes a second American Civil war sound like a dainty English tea party where the Russians are invited to buy back Alaska! LOL. OH! Oh! My sides ache! PL-ease!!!

    If we have another civil war, try more like NO country continuing to exist. It was SO easy to keep it contained in the 1860s, but now?? American Civil War 2 = World War 3.
    World War 3 = use of biological WMDs. Biological WMDs are things like weaponized smallpox (far more than the US, Russia, and China kept samples) and possibly a new (!) and improved (!) version of Spanish Influenza. FUN stuff, eh? Alone, some psychotic group might think they can eliminate every other human that is slightly genetically different from themselves, but what if elites in the US, elites in Russia, and elites in China ALL had the same idea? HooYAH! Death-fest people!

    I play this game (yes, I’m too old to be playing computer games) Fallout 3 (and 2 & 1) where you have this nice post-apocalyptic world where there’s just some radiation from nukes and mutants. It’s a real sci-fi fantasy. The REAL WW3 viruses can cut through the human immune system like butter, take a month to show symptoms, and wipe out anyone not innoculated/ “naturally” immune. Almost a decade ago, before the human genome was decoded, an experimental run of modified mousepox resulted in a 100% fatalty rate. That’s EVERY mouse DIED.

    Now, (getting kind of sci-fi, but real life?) China HAS experimented with creating what are called chimeras – hybrid critters spawned from two different species. Wouldn’t have believed it possible except that they filmed it and I watched it.

    So add this to Gary Coston’s response and you get a better picture of the sheer mayhem that could result – only Russia and China won’t fare any better and will have emerging problems of their own:

    Enraged at the re-emergence of slavery in their countries, massive “People’s armies” emerge in many countries globally: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, etc… The list goes on and so the release of biological warfare agents go practically unnoticed as, for a month or so, battle lines seem to be continuously draw, redrawn, and disolve into utter chaos as the “enemy” appears to be alternatively foreign armies, “those other people of a different social class,” or even your next door neighbor. Law enforcement dissolves in the chaos. Power grids fail – being foolishly centralized for the purpose of controlling others. Then, dark splotches start appearing on the throats of billions worldwide. Those that don’t get it gloat, until their veins start turning to goo and their blood cells are slowly converted into microscopic flesh-eating machines. Sealed in remote vaults, more elites hope to weather the storm, but the viruses are tenacious and eventually it dawns on our anti-heroes that their vaults are actually their living tombs.

    In terms of forseeing this outcome, please read “Demon in the Freezer” so you end up at least a little better informed about the actual lack of eradication of smallpox (and that’s just about smallpox).

    In the end, every last pure human is eradicated.

    Remaining? Maybe chimera-humans? But crossed with what? Does it even work? Viruses mutate fast, so maybe even creating a new hybrid species isn’t enough to avoid complete extinction.

    Or do we find a way to transfer a modest amount of human intelligence to a computer or other machine?

    If this is supposedly happening in 2010, then probably not.

    Ok, so now let’s not be so serious, because who really wants to think about reality anyhow?

    SO, just for kicks, since we’re talking fantasy anyway, I gaurantee that, being from Ohio, that the Bucknuts would NEVER side with Michigan. Plus, having already infiltrated it with an overwhelming number of old people from within, Ohio would also most certainly annex Florida!

    But all of this is in vain as China simply starts to encourage its citizens to start having more than two kids each. In less than 3 years, the entire world speaks Chinese! This lasts only a year or so as, having drastically and catastrophically overpopulated the world almost “overnight,” the Chinese eat the last remaining bit of food before needing to subsist on Soylent Green.
    On a positive note, however, the Monty Python song “I like Chinese” becomes massively popular for all the wrong reasons.

    Like I said, LMAO!

  21. Bob says:

    Psst…. You were wrong 😛

Leave a Reply