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Insurrection in the USA could spread around the world: T. Cowen

(Bloomberg) – Uprisings and rebellions can be highly contagious social events. The Revolution of the Thirteen Colonies unleashed riots around the world. The Bolshevik Revolution sparked related events in many other countries. The Arab Spring was a series of correlated events. Some Black Lives Matter protests in the United States gave way to many more in other countries. There is a real possibility that the events of January 6 in Washington will also be contagious, in the United States and abroad. American politics for a moment and let’s look at the events of the past week from a global perspective. Without the backing of the Armed Forces, a mob entered the Capitol building and disabled Congress, and came close to achieving even more violent goals. Now imagine you live in Hungary, Uganda, Burma, or whatever country is experiencing political turbulence. If you had a violent plan against your own government, do you now rate your chances of success as lower or higher? Organizing a mob may have become more attractive, especially since its adversary is almost certainly less formidable than the U.S. Government.The question is not what the people will infer or what the majority will think, but what will the people think and do. extreme people. Although many foreign nationals conclude that the events of the past week were not a big deal, the most determined and rebellious observers could give them a different and more radical appearance. (Other than that, they were actually a big deal.) As the events of January 6 show, it doesn’t necessarily take a multitude of millions to get very far – the concentrated nature of these aftershock effects is one reason why social contagions can be difficult to detect in advance. Widespread public opinion is relatively easy to track, but revolutionaries are often extreme isolated cases and therefore their actions are unexpected. Just as US intelligence agencies have not been able to predict most foreign coups, many Americans were caught off guard by the events of January 6, but this surprise, while justified, can itself have a dangerous effect. contagion. Surprise carries with it an implicit message: “It may not seem like you have many allies, but in fact you have them, even in some powerful places.” So one can imagine how a supporter of, say QAnon, could come to believe that there are secret allies everywhere. And those beliefs can, in turn, fuel political violence. There is also a high risk of spillovers within the U.S. There are 50 state capitols in the country, as well as many other public buildings. It is not obvious that everyone can be adequately protected in such a short time, and some states may be more motivated to do so than others. If security is seen as weak for a particular public building, whether that impression is correct or not, violent groups may feel emboldened to act. One implication is that the media should be very careful about how that portray the perpetrators of the events of January 6. Most of the media organizations have been publishing the identities and acts perpetrated by these criminals, as they should. Many Americans need to be shocked from their complacency by what happened, or at least away from various theories of false equivalence. The more information that becomes public, the clearer it becomes that at least part of the group that attacked the Capitol was conspiring and had the purpose of generating violence and chaos, and for very serious political ends: in essence, the destruction of American democracy. However, there is too much information. In other contexts, the media conceals the names, images and causes of many terrorists and criminals. To the extent that these people do it to gain recognition, denying them that recognition can discourage future offenders. So the decision to publicize and vivify the events of January 6 has a cost: it can increase the risk of contagion from others. malicious actors. That, in turn, should guide the answer. Very soon, the US will need to send appropriately powerful messages about restoring order, sanctions, and due process. The US may also need to increase intelligence sharing with allies and improve the protection of state governments. Our current situation is a paradox. There is a desire, even a need, to speak up and take what happened on January 6 very seriously. At the same time, it is necessary to prevent January 6 from dominating our emotional focus so much that it inspires other potential offenders. Whether we can achieve this balance remains to be seen.Original Note: US Insurrection Could Spread Around the World: Tyler CowenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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