Expert reveals two major 'warning signs' pointing to civil war in US -- 'at a surprisingly fast rate'
Rioters clash with police trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors. (lev radin /

One of the world's leading experts on civil war on Tuesday revealed some of the disturbing signs that the U.S. may be headed toward violent conflict.

Barbara Walter, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego, has studied the outbreak of political violence in Syria, Iraq, Mozambique and Northern Ireland, and she told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that some of the factors that caused those conflicts can be observed since Donald Trump entered politics.

"One of the things that we've learned is that the same factors tend to emerge no matter where these conflicts break out," Walter said. "For the last five years I've been watching many of these factors emerge here in the United States at a surprisingly fast rate, and it's the reason why I wrote the book."

Walter helped develop a model for the U.S. government that predicts where civil war might break out, and she applied those lessons to the present political climate.

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"We found that two factors, and really only two factors, best predicted where civil war was likely to break out," Walter said. "The first was what we called anocracy, that's a fancy term for partial democracy, and the second factor was whether a country's population began to break down into racial, ethnic or religious political parties."

"Of course, if you look at what's happened here in the United States over the last five years, our democracy has declined precipitously," she added. "After the Jan. 6 insurrection, the United States was downgraded to a partial democracy for the very first time since 1800, and, of course, we are increasingly experiencing racial politics. So the two big factors that we know are warning signs for civil wars in countries outside the United States we're now seeing here."

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