News of eleven Russian and Chinese warships sailing in international waters off the Alaskan coastlines has sounded a tsunami of alarms in America. But why the alarms? The US has routinely practised Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONO) in the Taiwan Straits and elsewhere since the Cold War began. Now Beijing and Moscow are following suit; intent on causing an overreaction here much as Chinese balloons did earlier in the year. And they are succeeding brilliantly. What Americans must be alarmed about is not a few warships off its coast, although that is understandable. The burning question is how a nation survives when its Constitution is surrounded by circumstances never before contemplated by the founding fathers or anyone else. Truth, fact and the political process are also under simultaneous- attack provoked by a deeply and possibly irreversibly divided nation on almost every issue, great or small. It has taken sixty years for the nation to descend to the point where seventy-five per cent of Americans see the nation headed in the wrong direction. An almost equal number do not want to see a rematch of 2020 and Donald Trump running against President Joe Biden again. Yet, are there alternatives? Former President Trump faces three and possibly four indictments during his pursuit of re-election. His near certain opponent is eighty years old; with a very unpopular vice president as a running mate; and saddled with a son whose conduct at best is reprehensible. Assuming Trump is the Republican nominee, how can a candidate running for president be entirely compatible with facing multiple charges of criminal wrongdoing? This can only end in disaster. And, to some, the January 6th indictments pose even more serious charges. Trump will use these indictments to his advantage attacking the system for persecuting him, “weaponizing” the justice system even though he is the one accused of breaking the law. Truth, fact and the political system could be eviscerated in this process as Trump refuses to accept any alternative version to his understanding of what each is. By his admission, Trump distorts truth and fact to serve his purposes. For example, Trump asserts that the Presidential Records Act allows him to retain even classified material. It does not. All “official documents” belong to the US government. To say this is unprecedented is the most extreme form of understatement. 1 More dangerous are uncharted constitutional waters and the question of whether the Constitution is still fit for purpose. First, a political system based on checks and balances cannot work without compromise and civility. Both have been made extinct on Capitol Hill by Democrats and Republicans. Second, the Constitution is silent about presidential misconduct beyond impeachment and conviction, forcing removal from office. Can a president commit high crimes and misdemeanours that can be subject to other jurisdictions? Trump was twice impeached, once after leaving office, and was acquitted. Suppose he is convicted of one or more crimes. How does the Constitution deal with that? Third, the Electoral College system has disenfranchised the majority of American voters. Twice over the past two decades, presidents were elected while losing the popular vote: George W. Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016. Trump still asserts he won in 2020 even though he was defeated by some five million popular and 306-232 electoral votes. Given that electoral and not popular votes count, in the 2024 election as few as 50 or 60,000 voters in four or five states could determine the next president. For half the al- already deeply divided electorate, it will be delegitimatized no matter who wins. And fueling voter discontent is free speech. When is presidential lying unacceptable and when is it illegal? Trump is making this argument, ignoring truth and fact. This First Amendment guarantee of free speech is among the most obvious and potentially divisive issues in 2024. As China and Russia are toying with the US with these naval exercises, how will both explain what will happen in America in 2024? They will. Allies also are very worried about America’s potential for a political implosion. Currently, the nation seems relatively unconcerned that it is on a collision course with political crises unlike any since the Civil War. When truth and fact no longer count and its Constitution has no answers, can a nation survive especially in an election year with these two likely opponents running to lead the country? And, thus far, no one has proposed an acceptable way out. He writer is a senior advisor at Washington, DC’s Atlantic Council and a published author.