Let's hope the US has the same level of patience with the rest of the world.
It was this post from the New Sisyphus that got me thinking along these lines:
In Korea, we were expected to take the lead in the fight. Our captured soldiers were horrifically tortured. In Vietnam, we were on our own. Our captured soldiers were horrifically tortured. In the Iraq War, we were expected to take the lead in the fight. Our captured soldiers were horrifically tortured and, since our captured then included, for the first time, women, raped.
None of which was or is thought by the world community as a weakening of the laws of war, of the Geneva Conventions. Those are what Americans fight by. You can't expect those oppressed people who America is unjustly fighting to respect those, can you?
I don't give this a very high probability, if only because America is so heavily invested - in every sense - in the global economy. The time is long since passed when the great Republic could slam the door and lock out the world.
I find it marginally more plausible that the U.S. - or at least the elements within it that happen to have guns - might finally stop caring about the opinions of other people. "Fine", they might say, "If we're scum, beasts, and war-criminals, no matter what we do, then that's what we'll be." There's no reason beyond their own sensibilities why they should go the extra mile to avoid civilian casualties: in terms of American blood and treasure, a far more cost-effective way of dealing with rogue regimes would be summary nuking. "Annoy us, and your capital city is a parking lot." The U.S. possesses an arsenal capable of annihilating the planet several times over. They could sow horror the likes of which the world has never dreamed, and barely scratch the surface of what they have at their fingertips.
Head-hacking? Suicide bombing? Nuclear terrorism? That's nothing to what America could do, if it stopped caring. And that's just with the capabilities they have now. The US just happens to possess the world's most dynamic, most creative economy. If they really put their minds to developing doomsday weapons, they could invent some nasty shit. Imagine, for instance, viruses which only activate in the presence of specific ethnic markers. Or smart-dust equipped with tiny packets of poison, enabling the U.S. military to establish blanket surveillance over an area and then execute anyone who stepped out of line. Pharamcological weapons which disable the psychological ability to fight, permanently. None of these ideas are original with me, but none of them exactly stretch credulity, now do they?
The same logic can be applied internally, as well. The US Army, and conservatives in general, are constantly under attack for being mouth-breathing monsters, regardless of either motivation or deportment. If, one day, they snapped, well ... it's the conservatives who have guns. Largely, conservatives who man the armed forces. And in this day and age, many people leave a long and detailed trail of their political opinions, all of it electronically archived.
Now before you think I'm sitting here panting in anticipation of all this, you should note a few things. 1) I'm a Canadian, and thus unlikely to benefit if America goes rabid. 2) A few paragraphs up, where I say, 'marginally more plausible'. I don't rate this dark future as being overly likely, not because I have any great deal of evidence, but simply because I have faith in the basic decency of the American soul. I think that, like my Dad, they might bitch and moan and occasionally threaten but in the end, their skin is thick, their shoulders wide, and their back strong. They can take the criticism, and keep on doing what's right, whenever they can, do the best of their ability, because that's just the kind of people they are.
I don't see the scenario I've sketched all that likely. Nor do I find it at all desirable.
But some times, I do wish the critics would just shut the fuck up.