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How Civil Wars Start

Monica Duffy Toft writes about the three features all civil wars have in common, via her Foreign Policy column.

Until quite recently, a civil war seemed all but impossible in the United States—something of the past, for most citizens, not of the future.

But the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 and the rise of violent domestic extremism have set off alarm bells about the potential for another descent into internal war. That may seem far-fetched, but there have been literally hundreds of internal conflicts around the world—in countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. And more depressingly, in many ways, the U.S. Civil War never actually ended and may indeed be ramping back up.

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