UN Martial Law On US Soil?

This is one of those topics; some might call it a “conspiracy theory”, which comes up with surprising frequency throughout the Prepper community.  Personally this is a “threat” that I really have zero concern with.

I’m sure that many reading this will have an immediate desire to stop reading, or to write me a nastygram, or both.  I hope you will at least do me the courtesy of reading the entire article before deciding on any course of action.

I’ll begin by pointing out that my opinion has nothing to do with the possibility of a “New World Order” or similar group wanting to impose martial law or other reductions in American freedoms on us.  My opinion is that of a retired soldier with a wide range of specialties and experiences with military personnel from several other nations.  My opinion is also influenced by more than 4 decades of formal as well as informal historical and military history studies.  I don’t find much credence in a “New World Order” either, but that’s a separate discussion.

I looked at several issues that would influence any decision to send UN forces into the USA and that would likely impact the potential for success of such a mission when forming my opinion.  These included things like the current forces available for such a mission, their training/leadership, the abilities of the military/nation to project power, the abilities of the military/nation to supply/support their forces in such a distant setting, the track record of the militaries in question versus the USA, the track record of the militaries in question in peacekeeping or counter-insurgency settings, and finally the economic situation of the nations in question and how that might affect their ability to fund any such forces.  I won’t address these in significant detail in this article as it would be a huge document and nobody would take the time to read it.  Instead this will be the Prepper Project condensed version.

At the time that this is being written there are only 2 nations that truly have the numbers of troops it would take to impose any meaningful force on the USA.  Those nations are Russia and China.  While there are other nations with very large armies, North Korea is an example; they are also nations that require very large armies to maintain their current governments in power.  Thus, they wouldn’t have troops to spare for a UN mission of this scale.  Some will say that there are nations that could supply a battalion or brigade perhaps, but the USA is a large nation in terms of size and in population as well.  Which means it would take a lot of troops, a couple dozen divisions at the least, to have any serious impact on the USA.  And while some nations might be willing to send small contingents, most wouldn’t do so under the command of Chinese or Russian generals.  And since command normally is awarded to the nation with the largest number of troops, that would mean Chinese or Russians in command of the effort and most other nations boycotting the mission.

Of the two nations that have enough troops to spare to consider supporting a UN mission in the USA both have serious issues with training and leadership.  The Soviet Union maintained serious limitations on initiative and freedom of action with their junior officers and NCOs.  This has largely continued in the Russian Army.  What this means is that commanders get their orders and don’t share them with subordinates.  So if anything happens to the commander, the subordinates don’t know what they are supposed to do.  This is an important consideration for the type of actions that make up a UN peacekeeping or similar mission as these are typically focused on small unit, squads or fire teams in most cases, tasks such as patrolling or manning checkpoints.  In most modern armies such missions could be run by junior NCOs, the Sergeants and Staff Sergeants.  In the Russian army such missions would take at least a Lieutenant.  The Chinese military hasn’t fought a significant war since the Korean War of the early 50’s, so their doctrine is roughly 60 years behind the times.  Their equipment is comprised of Soviet era knock-offs and their unit structure is as well, which is not a good thing as the Iraqi Army and Republican Guard will attest to.  Morale in both militaries is questionable at best and would almost certainly collapse in the face of determined American resistance.

Power projection sounds like such a simple concept, and in many ways it is, however actually doing it well is a daunting proposition for most nations.  You have to be able to transport troops, vehicles, equipment, and supplies.  You have to have air superiority or your ships will be sunk.  You have to have sea superiority or your ships will be sunk.  You have to be able to resupply and provide replacements for your forces.  You have to be able to care for sick and wounded troops, to include getting them home.  To have any impact on a nation the size of the USA you’re talking about doing this for a minimum of 20 divisions, which means more than 200,000 troops.  Neither Russia nor China could support even 10% of those numbers for any length of time.  Note: Those 200,000 troops would only be sufficient if they were not actively opposed by insurgents in the USA, but my guess is that they would be very actively opposed.

Russia doesn’t have much of a track record against the USA in military terms.  However, there are numerous considerations that will certainly affect how their military is likely to interact with Americans.

  • Each time US forces have faced an opponent using Soviet/Russian equipment, structure, and tactics they have smashed them at very little cost.  Meaning the Soviet/Russian approach to war gets hammered every time it meets the US approach to war.  Any American insurgency would make use of US tactics and such, and the Soviet/Russian military model would not do well.
  • A UN mission in the USA would almost certainly end up with an American insurgency against the UN troops.  Soviets/Russians don’t have much experience with such actions, and they didn’t do well when they’ve tried.  Part of the problem is the issues they have with trusting their junior officers and their NCO corps, coupled with an inability to “think outside the box”.
  • The USA has a track record of foreign troops deserting from the invading forces and joining the Americans.  Once the Russian troops get to see how much better life is in the USA I suspect many will desert to join with the Americans, probably bringing their weapons and vehicles with them.

China has not faced Americans in a shooting war since the early 1950s, back in the Korean War.  It wasn’t a pleasant experience for them, not that it was great for the Americans either.  But with the numeric advantage that the Chinese had, and the near total surprise of their entry into the war, they should have wiped out the UN (largely US) forces.  Instead the Chinese took huge numbers of casualties and accomplished nothing beyond getting the border set back to where it had been originally.  Some issues the Chinese would face in a UN mission focused on the USA:

  • The Chinese military is largely patterned on the Soviet model, as described above.  They have modified it some, but they have no practical experience to guide such modifications so it’s unlikely that much has really changed.
  • The Chinese have not won a war in a very long time.  Nor do they have a military or warrior culture.  So the average Chinese soldier is unlikely to be a fierce fighter or dedicated to the mission.  Such soldiers don’t do well in insurgencies.
  • China also does not foster independent thought among its officers or NCOs.  They are more focused on blind obedience and adherence to doctrine, which is a major disability in any military action, but especially in the midst of an insurgency.

When considering the economics of any UN military mission to the USA one must understand that the majority of the UNs budget, especially for military actions, traditionally comes from the USA.  Obviously that would not be available for such a mission.  The Russians have no money to support such a mission, and won’t anytime soon.  The Chinese should have cash available, but most of theirs is tied up in trying to bring their military into the 21st century as a regional (or if they can manage it a super) power while also trying to modernize their industrial complex and improve their peoples standard of living.  So any UN mission to the USA carries significant economic risk for them, especially when one considers that if the USA is to be subjected to a UN military mission the country won’t be servicing its debts etc.

The last consideration for any UN mission in the USA is the reality of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.  What this means to any nation contemplating such an action is that there are more weapons (and in many cases better weapons) in the hands of American citizens than most nations have in their militaries hands.  Couple that with the fact that there are more combat veterans in America than most of the rest of the world combined and the likelihood of any nation taking on a UN sponsored mission to the USA slips to nothing.  Between our military, combat veterans, gangsters/mafia, gang bangers, and cowboys most other nations are more than a little afraid of us as it is.

With all of this in mind I see zero likelihood that there will be a UN mission to impose martial law or any other military action in the USA.  Any nations foolish enough to consider such an effort either don’t have the troops or can’t afford it.  The rest know better.

I welcome questions, opposing views, and discussion on this and any other topic I’ve written about.

About Rick Cox

Rick became a soldier when he was 17 years old and spent 8 years active duty with a total of 5 MOS's. After leaving the Army and returning to his family he realized civil defense was no more and because a prepper before it was even a word. Today he offers a prepper consulting service and is the head of sales at Fortitude Ranch which is a dedicated prepper community.

View all posts by Rick Cox

13 Responses to “UN Martial Law On US Soil?”

  1. Duder McGruder Says:

    I really don’t think our government needs u.n. forces to declare marshal law. There are plenty of dhs and militarized police for that.


  2. Rick Cox Says:

    I disagree. I know, and have known, a lot of cops. Many are ex-military and adhere to their oaths. Many are members of the oath-keepers organization. But even if all of them reported to such a call, there would not be enough to actually impose martial law across the USA. There just aren’t enough of them to make that possible. I’ll offer an example. The City of Chicago has less than 60,000 police officers last I heard, and many of those are not the slightest bit “militarized”. As the numbers of murders and other violent crimes attest in Chicago those police are barely able to keep order now, when most of the populace is law abiding. How effective could they possibly be when the numbers of misbehaving folks is dramatically higher? Personally I don’t worry about martial law. I worry about the situation where there is no rule of law, something I see as far more likely.


    • Steve H Says:

      I agree with your assessment. As a former Army soldier and civilian law enforcement I know there are not enough personnel to be able to contain the U.S. population. Major cities with millions in population would require a vast amount of military and civilian law enforcement to contain them and even more if there was armed resistance. Not to mention many of them would desert their positions to care for there own families. If the U.S. was turning on its’ own the rest of the world would also be in the same position, therefore any action by U.N. would not even be a threat.


  3. TFB Says:

    What is your opinion on the idea or potential of an attempted NATO occupation of the USA as being USA sponsored? (A la Bracken’s enemies foreign and domestic, or similar?) The USA funds, organizes, and coordinates lots of different countries to send a smaller force each


  4. Joe Says:

    I agree. The cost in both money and blood would be too high. Even if the US government agreed to this, a major mistake, the people would not stand for it. Armed resistance would be great and the backlash after the occupier left would be terrible. Anyone that assisted the occupation would be punished. I could see this leading to the expulsion of our elected oficials. I do not believe that the police or military would protect them.


  5. Rick Cox Says:

    Thank you all for your comments, questions, and taking the time to read what I’ve written!

    TFB – I spent 5 years stationed in Germany, quite often working with NATO allies. I have contacts who work with NATO still. My educated opinion of NATO is that they could not muster enough troops among all the NATO members to impose much of anything on the USA. I say that for the following reasons; The member nations maintain very small militaries, and much of those are conscripts with little training or experience. If memory serves the current standard duration for conscripted soldiers in Germany is between 12 and 18 months of service. This means that most “veterans” in Germany have less time in uniform than most US soldiers have in formations.


  6. Shane Says:

    I usually think i=of Martial law as incremental. It might take decades. They would start with the Gun free cities and maybe just take that one. then begin cutting off supplies to the next city they want to take. Or worse release some sort of Bio Agent.

    I have never seriously entertained the idea that Martial law would be implemented country wide. but I do believe there are enough specific tactics that could be used to get the compliance of a city through the control of Water and Energy and the like.

    That chemical spill into the water supply on the East coast was a perfect “Accident” which is the tactic they would use. An accident. Then go in to save the people. A “Peace keeping, humanitarian mission”

    It is sad to see how vulnerable our society is when one of these disasters happen.


  7. Rick Cox Says:

    Interesting comments Shane. Your approach seems a bit “conspiracy theory” oriented to me. Please don’t take this the wrong way but I place very little credence in such things. Our government can’t do much right these days, so the idea that they could orchestrate something like any conpiracy theory seems rather far-fetched to me. I suppose they could bumble their way into such a set of circumstances, but nothing we could do about that in advance.


    • Joshua Says:

      Rick, I don’t understand the use of your term ‘conspiracy theory’. Do you know what it takes for a conspiracy to be formed? It takes 2 or more people coming together and devising a way to deceive other people… it’s actually that simple. A theory is basically a guess or conjecture. So what if the conspiracy can be proven? Is it still a “conspiracy theory”? I think you need to seriously think about the use of your terms, because there are many conspiracies that can be proven that people like to throw the blanket statement, “conspiracy theory” over to disqualify… which by the way, that term that people throw around is perpetuated by propaganda, which is a result of a conspiracy at work. That can basically be proven if you look at the work of Edward Bernays and Sigmund Freud – a conspiracy but very much not a theory!


      • Rick Cox Says:

        Joshua, I guess my definition of conspiracy is somewhat different. I see it as any time 2 or more people intend to commit a crime of some kind so they plan (conspire) how to accomplish the deed and either not get caught or caught too late. My definition of a conspiracy theory is when one or more people suspect/feel/imagine a conspiracy is active and then attempt to bring others to their opinion.
        In this instance I used the term to reflect any of the numerous theoretical conspiracies that are sadly common among Preppers.
        A conspiracy that is proven to be factual is no longer at the theory level. But that isn’t what I was referring to. And by “proven to be factual” I don’t mean purported evidence or alleged eyewitness statements, and I certainly don’t mean pictures of dubious nature on a website, I mean people went on trial and were convicted, I mean people went to or will soon go to prison.
        I suspect you may be referring to such things as the New World Order, or the topic of this article focused on why the UN is unlikely to establish martial law on US soil. I feel I explained my take on the UN question so I will leave that one as is for now. As for the New World Order or similar colossal threats, my problem with these centers on several constants in Human behavior. 1) A committee or group of elites simply cannot function by themselves, someone has to be in charge, and the problem with these folks is they always think they (each individually) themselves should be in charge. In other words, if you have so called elite people allegedly conspiring to get/keep/expand power each of them will attempt to do so for themselves, not the group as a whole. Folks with power tend to want more power or to protect the power they have, these folks are simply not built to do anything else. Put a Rothschild, a Kennedy, a Rockefeller, and several similar folks on a committee together and see if they can agree on one of their number to hold power over the others. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. But supposedly these people are conspiring to take over the world??? Who would be in charge if they succeed, and which of them would knife another in the back to make sure they ended up in charge. It would resemble a shark feeding frenzy. 2) The conspiracy aspect of a conspiracy theory is that which attempts to keep the criminal act or behavior from being identified. Most of the common conspiracy theories among the Prepper community have been “proven” for many years, yet folks haven’t been arrested/tried/convicted/or imprisoned. More importantly the events in question, the “keys” of the theory, have not occurred in that timeframe. So what was supposedly “proven”, and why hasn’t it taken place already? 3) Secrecy is at the heart of any good conspiracy, yet these common “conspiracy theories” are hardly secret at this point. And let’s face it, the bigger a conspiracy the harder to keep it secret. Besides we’re talking about groups of very visible people, whose lives are on constant display and thus virtually nothing they do is secret. 4) Any of the really big conspiracy theories require some significant role to be played by the US government. Are you familiar with the government’s track record over the last 50 years or so? Seriously, this is the organization that will institute a “New World Order”??? They couldn’t overthrow the government in Nicaragua without walking into a crap storm. They couldn’t work out a deal with Iran for hostages without getting smeared across every newspaper and news program. They managed to overthrow the Iraqi regime of Saddam, but couldn’t keep that nation from turning into a cesspool afterwards. The US Army won every battle in the Vietnam War, and our government still managed to lose the war. These are the folks who are going to institute a “New World Order” or any of the other major conspiracy theories? Pardon me if I have serious doubts about our governments’ potential to accomplish such a daunting task.
        I’m at a loss as to why you brought psychology into the mix; personally I have little use for the subject preferring to maintain a firm grip on reality instead.


  8. sargemsb Says:

    I spent 20 years in the U.S. Army, serving both in Germany and stateside, as well as other classified locations. The comments about the U.N. and its troops (which have to be requested from member nations and essentially financed by the U.S.A.) are right on the money. NATO, which is an organization that helped keep the Soviet Union from invading any farther into Europe during the Cold War, and today has a similar mission against potential Russian aggression, is largely U.S. financed and would have to bully its member nations into crossing the Atlantic. Rick, I hope you are right about the Chinese and the Russians. One thing I learned about their people during my career in the Army is that they do not think like we think. Therefore, they will not act like we might expect them to act. An invasion of America by either the Chinese or the Russians would only succeed if they used an absolutely overwhelming force – somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 million troops. The Russians do not have that capability, but the Chinese do. Yes they would be facing the 100 million American citizens who possess around 300 million firearms, but at present, those armed Americans are not an organized fighting force. I see the possibility of a Chinese invasion and occupation, during which an American underground organization of guerrilla fighters develops and fights for years against the occupiers. I hope I am wrong.


    • Rick Cox Says:

      Hi sargemsb, and thanks for your input. While I agree that China has the manpower to dedicate enough forces to threaten the USA what they don’t have is the ability to get them here. More importantly, they don’t have much “power projection” capability. This means thay they would be hard pressed to get even 100,000 troops here, and if they did they couldn’t support them. Troops without food, fuel, ammunition, spare parts, etc. aren’t troops – they’re targets. Granted, China is trying to close the gap in terms of power projection, but it will take many years (read a couple of generations) before they will pose a viable threat to the USA. Sure, they sort of have an aircraft carrier now. It’s equal to roughly half a US Nimitz class carrier, and we have a dozen of them plus a couple in mothballs. If we were located where India is I’d be nervous about China. But we have this moat, I mean ocean, that will serve to keep China from bothering us anytime soon.


  9. gregory Says:





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