News & Politics

How Close Is the U.S. to Civil War? A War Correspondent Is in Portland to Find Out

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Michael Yon has covered many civil wars, insurgencies, and popular uprisings. He originally thought he would spend the next several weeks in Taiwan. Instead, he came to Portland in September with the plan to stay here through Election Day and its aftermath. Michael lives in Thailand, and had hoped to go to Taiwan to cover the unrest there as China becomes ever more aggressive. When he saw what was going on with antifa and Black Lives Matter in Portland and other West Coast cities, he decided he’d seen this story before and needed to come here instead.

Indeed, many folks on both sides believe the United States is headed to a second civil war. Rick Moran of PJ Media wrote about it last month, and at the end of September, a poll showed that 61% of Americans believe we’re on the brink.

A native Floridian and former Green Beret, Yon has been to 75 countries around the world to document popular unrest and civil wars. He was embedded as a journalist in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and claims to have predicted the civil war in Iraq while most people called him crazy.

In an interview with PJ Media, Yon says what he sees happening in America has him deeply troubled. He talked about the chances of all-out civil war, the Balkanization of the United States, and how difficult it will be to hold it all together as we approach the most tumultuous election in US history.

In his short time in Portland, he’s already heard many of the same rumors we’ve all heard: that cops are considering walking off the job en masse because of the four months of nightly riots and the complete lack of support from political leaders in the city and the state of Oregon.

“I’ve been out of the United States most of the last 20 years,” Yon said. “I’ve actually spent more than half my life overseas and in other countries and quite a few wars and conflicts. My office actually is in Thailand. And so this has obviously been building in the United States since before we were born, right? Before our grandparents were born for that matter.”

Yon says he was covering Hong Kong until the Communists kicked him out on February 5. “I’ve been watching, then of course the pandemic stomped in,” Yon said, “and then and I realized that we could be going into a civil war in the United States. And so that’s when I decided to come back to the United States and, most specifically, Portland.”

In the interview, Yon noted that, in his experience, pandemic, war, and famine almost always appear together in one order or another. Drawing on his Green Beret training and his experience covering these kinds of uprisings, he says he thought early on that COVID-19 could be a catalyst for unrest. “Let me say where I come from on this since I study war so much,” Yon said. “If you have a big war, you’ll always have pandemic and famine. If you have a big famine, you’ll have pandemic. It’s like the Devil’s Triangle. If you get a big one, you’ll get the other two every time. So in ways that are unpredictable, it always happens. You roll the bowling ball, eventually it’s hitting something.”

Yon urged Americans to be prepared and start stocking up for emergencies. “That’s why back in January I was saying, over and over and over, stock up on food,” he said. “Get medicines that you need, be prepared. I got solar put on my home in Thailand and had an extra water reservoir put in just in case, because we didn’t know which way it was going to go. I already had good food stockpiles.”

So, will civil war naturally follow the pandemic and the shortages we’ve already seen in the U.S., and will Portland be ground zero? “I think there’s many ground zeroes,” Yon said, “because we have many different conflicts brewing, and some are not actually related to each other. [Antifa is] trying to push it as far as they can. Obviously, it’s an old technique. We’re all very well aware of the methods. They have injured more than 200 of the law enforcement officers down here just in Portland [federal and local]. We’re never more than one night away from a few people getting killed down there and then this thing spills out. It’s a wonder, actually, it hasn’t happened in a big way yet. It kind of feels like it’s right there.”

“The conditions have become ripe, the sunlight’s there.” Yon said. “This is how groups form not just in the United States, but all around the world. This is how, when I was involved in the Thai fighting, covering that, it was about 80 different groups. You can’t even keep track of their names because there’s always more. They’ve been attacking so many people, they’ve murdered here, they’ve done arson. They’re destroying businesses, harassing people on the street, getting people fired from their jobs.”

Ultimately, Yon has not formed any conclusions about how far the insurgencies in America’s streets will go, and if we’ll devolve into civil war, but he wouldn’t be here to cover it if he wasn’t worried. “One thing that I’m very interested in is how big are the auxiliaries in these various places. When I was in Hong Kong last year, when I realized that they had a big auxiliary [force outside of the main organizers], that was when I realized it was a pretty big support base. That was when I realized they have a viable insurgency there. So that’s what you’re looking for. It’s not haphazard. I’m out here with a stethoscope and I’m checking its temperature. I’m talking with law enforcement. I want to be cautious with what I say because I haven’t developed my picture well enough to say from their side.”

This was just the first part of the interview with Yon, and there will be others as he gathers more information in Portland. He wrote at his Patreon page yesterday that regardless of the size of the insurgency, Portland still seems like a dead husk:

Downtown Portland is filled with homeless people. Many if not nearly all seem mentally ill or severely addicted.

One night, I was sitting by the Pioneer Courthouse watching Antifa battle with police, when a man pushing a cart walked by. His face was completely painted green. This was about midnight, but with plenty of light to see his face. Green Face walked down the sidewalk just by me singing, “I love Satan.” “I love Satan.” “I love Satan.” He kept signing this until he disappeared. Even if Antifa did not exist, this place would feel very dangerous.

Murder rate and violent crime are soaring. Some of this from gang violence that now is left mostly unchecked over than cleanup. Portland Police are now so understaffed that their forces are down by roughly 1/3.

Any business person knows how this adds up: Big-time over-time during a pandemic-economy, trade fights with hostile China, and a rapidly collapsing tax base.

About 118 Police have departed Seattle PD so far this year. It’s just as bad here in Portland with another mass-retirement schedule for January. Already, Portland PD is so understaffed that daytime shift are skeleton crews. Numerous officers have told me other departments are poaching away trained officers with bonuses.

High chance that only weeks from now Portland will elect an openly communist mayor who is openly Antifa. She says clearly she will work to defund the police.

At this rate, how long before ANTIFA are the police?

The interview went for a good long time, so it’s been split up into two parts. Part 1 is available at the Behind the Curtain podcast here. Part 2 will come next week, with an accompanying article.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.

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