Around the world, demographic sea changes—in which a once-majority verges on tipping into the minority—are assumed to be dangerous. As a given country’s core national identity, invariably maintained by groups in power, is challenged by rising minority populations, the old group will be wary of the new one. The problem isn’t just that the old group wants to avoid sharing power; it is that the old group believes it will be excluded from power, just as it excluded out-groups before. In turn, it will fight back, either subtly through electoral tampering or less so with repression and violence.
That was true of Iraq in the last two decades, in which Sunni Arabs were suddenly ruled by Shiites rather than ruling over them, and of the Soviet Union, where a Russian-Slavic majority feared becoming a minority in the 1970s. Today, the United States, which was once dominated by white male Protestants, is becoming a predominantly multiracial, interfaith, and gender-open society. It should take note, particularly of the Soviet example. If the United States isn’t careful about how it manages the transition, it could also collapse, and its fall may not be peaceful—as the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, when supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the halls of power, revealed.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.