Created By: WiseMan23753 on July 26, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 14, 2017
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Evil States Of America

When the United States of America becomes the enemy.

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When finding a real life evil in the world, what would you expect? Nazis? Commmunists? Islamic Terrorists? The British? These are the often answers given by Americans.

Very few realize that Americans, the one powerful nation that equals (or at least equalED) the previous enemies can also be bad guys. They often are when it comes to the political, economic, and military level. Many times, they would be Well-Intentioned Extremists or Knight Templar with Grey and Grey Morality.

May involve America Takes Over the World and Oppressive States of America. On a smaller, but more governmental level, see CIA Evil, FBI Good. See also Eagleland.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In the manga of Bokurano, America is portrayed to be nation that threatens Japan. Some characters even wonder if they would invade, using Zearth's battles as an excuse. Subverted as the Americans haven't done anything yet.
  • Code Geass averts this with Britannia. The Americas are the "Homeland", but the series takes place in an Alternate History where the American Revolution failed. They stayed as American colonies until the British Isles fell, making them the new homeland.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The American Empire is depicted as being imperialistic (invading Central and South American countries) and committing war crimes. In the original series, American Empire CIA officers try to manipulate Batou into killing a former Imperial naval officer to cover up U.S. war crimes. In the 2nd GIG it launches a nuclear missile at Dejima, which would have killed all of the refugees living there.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED gives us the Atlantic Federation, a fictional nation made up of about all the Americas, with the intent on exterminating the Coordinators.

Film Animated

Film Live Action
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: While the first film had the Captain punching out German HYDRA soldiers, the sequel has him fighting his own home nation, with HYDRA having infiltrated American government, intelligence agencies, and building itself up again from the ashes with American recruits

Literature
  • In the second Illuminatus! trilogy, Schrodinger's Cat, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea introduce "Unistat", an alternative-universe and somewhat more malevolent version of the USA.
  • In The Laundry Series, while the Laundry, the British occult spy agency is definitely morally ambiguous, the American equivalent, the Black Chamber, is consistently shown as evil in its methods and goals.

Live-Action TV
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Invaders" we see a backwoods woman being attacked by tiny aliens. The Twilight Zone Twist is that the story is taking place on another planet inhabited by giants and the "tiny aliens" are NASA astronauts.

Video Games
  • Magical Cannon Wars features the US, most specifically the Pentagon, to be behind the whole conflict.
  • The Big Bad of Modern Warfare 2 turns out to be an American General Shepherd, who starts World War III out of patriotism and the desire to restore U.S. dominance over the world.
  • Zig-Zagged in the fourth game of Time Crisis, where Americans are both the main protagonists and antagonists.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • July 26, 2013
    StarSword
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    I kinda don't think the Time Crisis example work, then...
  • July 26, 2013
    Bisected8
    I think this might be covered by Eagleland.
  • July 27, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    In The Twilight Zone episode "The Invaders" we see a backwoods woman being attacked by tiny aliens. The Twilight Zone Twist is that the story is taking place on another planet inhabited by giants and the "tiny aliens" are NASA astronauts.
  • July 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex. The American Empire is depicted as being imperialistic (invading Central and South American countries) and committing war crimes. In the original series American Empire CIA officers try to manipulate Batou into killing a former Imperial naval officer to cover up U.S. war crimes. In the 2nd GIG it launches a nuclear missile at Dejima, which would have killed all of the refugees living there.
  • July 29, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    All replies have now been answered.
  • July 29, 2013
    Koveras
    • The Big Bad of Modern Warfare 2 turns out to be an American General Shepherd, who starts World War III out of patriotism and the desire to restore US dominance over the world.
  • July 30, 2013
    SharleeD
    The title makes it sound like it's about individual villains who just happen to be Americans, not the country itself (or its authority-figures and agents) being the villain.
  • August 13, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    The next example has been added and added an s to the title.
  • August 17, 2013
    AgProv
    In the second Illuminatus! trilogy, Schrodinger's Cat, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea introduce "Unistat", an alternative-universe and somewhat more malevolent version of the USA.
  • August 20, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    Added in.
  • August 20, 2013
    Hodor
    • In The Laundry Series, while the Laundry, the British occult spy agency is definitely morally ambiguous, the American equivalent, the Black Chamber, is consistently shown as evil in its methods and goals.
  • August 20, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Does Bokurano count?
  • August 21, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Context plz.
  • August 22, 2013
    Wiseman23753
    Add the above entry.

    @Morning Star I need more information on that.
  • August 22, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Well the Context is on its Eagle Land entry

    • Eagleland: In both the anime and manga, the United States is a rival power rather than a close-knit ally of Japan. Bokurano's Japan lacks the same self-defense policies of Real Life, which limit Japan's military forces and provides for security arrangements with America. Japan also has nuclear weapons in the manga. Neither the anime nor manga portray America as being much like either flavor, however.

      • In the anime, American involvement is subtle and rarely mentioned. Several government characters express distrust for the United States, but the U.S. (and China) aids the Japanese government with its surveillance sattelites and, though initially reluctant to vote for the usage of them in the United Nations, sends direct aid through its unmanned combat weapons (alongside other countries) towards the end of the anime.
      • In the manga, America is portrayed as a rival that's actually more threatening to Japan than China, to the point that the U.S. and Japan have a Cold War-esque relationship. Most characters regard the U.S. with suspicion and comment that America is "stuck in its superpower state of mind." Several times, there's worries that the United States might use Zearth's battles as an excuse to invade Japan—especially when a person claims in a news interview that he is a Zearth pilot, that Zearth is a Japanese superweapon, and that Japan plans to conquer the world. The Americans never actually do anything antagonistic, however.

    Please consider the last sentence, as its part of the reaon I that i;m not sure if Bokurano counts for this trope.
  • August 27, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    @Morning Star Sounds reasonable. I'll add the last part as you say.
  • August 27, 2013
    ShadowHog
    I would tweak the "partially subverted" as per Tip #8. Not sure what to, though. Maybe just nix it entirely.
  • August 27, 2013
    lakingsif
    Could mention that the Evil Brit is common in American works, while the Evil American is in British works. There's a good chance this is because it is someone not actually from anywhere the target audience will, so no offence can be taken, and they still speak English. The accents are different enough to make someone from the other side of the pond, either way, seem mysterious and possibly a ne'er-do-well.

    And it allows the nations to get at each other.

    • If it's not already in existence, perhaps Evil Japs should be created, as this used to be the go-to for both Britain and America, before the well-meaning banter started.
  • August 27, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    The New Twilight Zone episode "Quarantine": centuries after a nuclear holocaust, a pacifist utopia is threatened by the return of a relativistic starship bearing the United States leaders who started the war.
  • August 28, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^^ Well, we got Yellow Peril (which covers all sorts of oriental villains) and Japan Takes Over The World already.
  • December 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Worth noting is that, obviously, this kind of trope will never appear in American works.
  • December 17, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added the word "Examples".
      • Changed media section titles to All Caps.
      • Deleted unnecessary blank lines.
      • Namespaced work names.
      • Corrected spelling (US -> U.S.).
      • Blue Linked (Zig-zagged).
  • December 17, 2014
    Koveras
    • Spec Ops The Line starts off like a regular American power fantasy shooter, with the brave and upstanding US marines killing Middle-Eastern terrorists, but the conflict soon spirals out of control, when it turns out that a US Army Colonel is the Big Bad of the game. Or so it seems: it's actually the US marine Player Character who is the Villain Protagonist.
  • December 17, 2014
    Patachou
    Some notes: In consistency with Evil Brit I would prefer the title to be Evil American. It's also less offensive, because it refers to a individual of that nationality who just happens to be evil. Evil Americans sounds more like a generalization.

    That said: evil Americans are indeed more a staple in non-American works, unless the American work happens to portray an American who betrays his own country.

    • Nero: Sometimes American villains appear, but they aren't treated worse than Russian or Chinese villains. Typically they will be wearing a cowboy hat, smoke a cigar and throw around dollars before the protagonists or the professor tell them their invention is not for sale. Only then do they come back to simply steal it or use violence.

    • Tintin: The villains in The Shooting Star were originally American in the story when it came out during World War Two, even carrying the Stars and Stripes. This was changed after the war to a fictional country: Sao Rico.

    • Spitting Image: Ronald Reagan was treated as a bumbling foolish man obsessed by nukes, often gloating over the prospect of blowing the Earth up.

    • Syriana: Where the US government organizes a coup in a Middle Eastern country when they disobey their economical interests.

    • Take any Vietnam War movie, and you're bound to see American soldiers misbehaving themselves against the locals. Usually they will contrast this with "good" or "incorruptible" Americans who challenge their behaviour. Pay in mind that soldiers do represent the country they fight for and that by being in a different country they will be perceived as either good or bad, but definitely "American" in this case. (To show the difference: I feel that Gordon Gecko, the evil corporate businessman in Wall Street would also be an Evil American, but the story isn't explicitly about America. It's just set in Wall Street, but could easily be about a business man in another country.)

    • Futurama: In one episode Fry enlists in the US army fighting against huge bouncing balls on another planet. In the end they defeat them, but then it turns out the US army were actually the invaders, not the defenders. When Fry realizes this he blankly stares for a few moments, then just proudly cries out: "USA USA USA"

    • The Simpsons: In the episode "Blame It On Lisa" Homer and Bart walk on a Brazilian beach and the coast guard identifies them as American, because Homer where a shirt where a huge Uncle Sam is devouring the world with the slogan: "Try and stop us!"
  • December 23, 2014
    Ominae
    Anime and Manga

    • Spriggan has the USA as a recurring antagonist, giving the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to go after orphans for COSMOS, the Army's black ops child soldier unit, assassinate or kidnap famed archaeologist researchers to go after out-of-place artifacts in order to keep its position as the main backer of the free world against the pro-Communsit bloc. They even covertly engage against the ARCAM Foundation, which is an American-based multinational company.

    Live Action TV

    • LastResort has the American government as the culprit for setting off false flag operations against Pakistan in order to justify the use of nuclear weapons against the Pakistani government.
  • November 18, 2016
    Prime32
    (Double post)
  • November 18, 2016
    Prime32

    We don't currently have a page on The Field or its adaptation, and the character in question isn't really evil, but it's an example that stood out to me just for the Race Lift.
  • November 21, 2016
    Aubren
    It's both funny and sad that this started getting attention recently.
  • February 1, 2017
    WaterBlap
    I would also vote for a name change to Evil American. This is a character trope that could, theoretically at least, be applied to a single character in a work (assuming there's only one American character in the work). It doesn't need to be Americans Are Evil.

    Also, I think this needs a better description because the opening paragraph explicitly references Real Life, which implies that this could have real life examples despite the fact that this is just a stereotype trope. And yes, I am suggesting preemptively making this NRLEP. Because I'm suggesting for a better description, I've taken some time to write up one that I think would work. It still needs some tweaking, I think, but it at least doesn't imply this asks for Real Life examples. I'm basing this suggestion off of the current draft as well as Evil Brit. What follows is my suggestion:

    Many Americans believe that the only evil people in the world are Nazis, Communists, Islamic Terrorists, or the British. However, plenty of other people around the world — including some Americans — think that Americans are also evil. This trope is when the American turns out to be the villain. Americans may view this trope in a couple of ways. Particularly, they'll see it as either a national stereotype from impoverished terrorist-supporting countries or apt.

    This is in part because America is a powerful nation that equals (or used to equal) the previously mentioned evil countries. Americans are often seen as evil when it comes to the levels of the political, economic, and military power. The Evil American is usually a Well Intentioned Extremist or a Knight Templar, especially when Gray And Gray Morality is in play.

    This trope is most often used in non-American works, for relatively obvious reasons.

    This may involve America Takes Over The World and Oppressive States Of America. On a smaller, though more governmental level, see CIA Evil FBI Good. See also Eagleland.

    No Real Life Examples Please This is a stereotype.
  • February 1, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    • Captain America The Winter Soldier: While the first film had the Captain punching out German HYDRA soldiers, the sequel has him fighting his own home nation, with HYDRA having infiltrated American government, intelligence agencies, and building itself up again from the ashes with American recruits.
  • February 3, 2017
    Larkmarn
    I think individual examples of characters would fit more for Eagle Land, and Evil Americans (and especially Evil America) would just lead to "there is a villain. He happens to be American" which would be Not A Trope.

    I'd suggest a change to Evil States Of America to make it clear that it's about the government, and not individual Americans.
  • February 5, 2017
    Arivne
  • February 4, 2017
    Basara-kun
    I also think the actual title is more about persons instead about the country. Thirding Evil States Of America
  • February 5, 2017
    WaterBlap
    On second thought, yeah, Evil States Of America is better.
  • March 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^ I support that too
  • March 14, 2017
    Arivne
    • Added punctuation (periods at the ends of sentences).
    • Deleted hotlinked image from the Description.
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