I think our republic is in danger. Foreign enemies are using proven methods to undermine American government with the aim of reducing our global influence.
These methods will sap the country of its will and capacity to confront foreign aggression by making factional strife in the country’s ruling bodies appear more important than foreign aggression. Chaos or myopic political rivalry threatens to immobilize us while our adversaries act to diminish our power.
History provides two potent examples of this leading to a country’s demise. The first is Athens during the rise of Macedon. The Kingdom of Macedon was able to neutralize Athens, at least until it was far too late, by exploiting factional divisions among the democratic Athenians
Athens was one of the only Greek states capable of fighting them. Athens, like the United States, was very influential and could have united parts of Greece when it became clear that Macedon was gaining power. With a combination of bribery and smooth-talking, the Macedonians were able to deadlock the Athenian assembly, eventually capture the city itself, and end Athenian independence.
The second example is Poland-Lithuania during its partitions. P-L was a monarchy that elected its king. During these last years of the P-L state, nobles, who were numerous and enfranchised, could veto any legislation in the parliament. P-L’s neighbors abused this veto power by targeting key lawmakers/nobles. Along with some ethnic tensions, propaganda and bribery, this fatally weakened and destroyed P-L by about 1775.
This example especially gives a playbook for the foreign misuse of democratic mechanisms to destroy a country. Russia wrote a good part of this anti-Polish playbook and seems to call from it against America.
We can draw from these examples that democracies (or similar institutions) are especially vulnerable to soft-power attacks that attempt to factionalize democratic governing bodies (or the voting populace) to the point that resistance, even in the face of an obvious threat, becomes impossible due to internal dysfunction.
All of this should be recognized by the voting public and checked by the voting public, foremost today through the careful vetting of “news” from social media. We must also unite as a country and dispense with useless partisanship. To do otherwise would be playing into our aggressors’ hands. The massive amount of soft-power we have accrued in the last century is at stake and with it, vital parts of America’s economy and our collective well-being.