The USA is capable not only of exterminating with its long-range nuclear arsenal, but possibly also using ground forces to successfully invade and occupy any country on Earth including China and India (although the Vietnam experience, and the Nazi's attempted invasion of Russia, should show that superior tech is no guarantee against sheer numbers and determination). Given that the USA chews through about half the entire world's military spending on its own, it might still have this kind of power in forty years or so. However, the recent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have drained the country's military to the point of being incapable of fighting two wars at once, much less large and growing countries like China and India at once, at least not without committing a lot more of its strength than it's been doing. Furthermore, increased military spending by China, India, and Russia mean that the United States "only" spends 37% of the global total. Counterbalancing this is the experience, logistical capability, and existing technological edge still held by the American military. So, who can say?
Thus, a common conceit of sci-fi and some satire is for the USA to take over the world. Jokes about entire countries becoming the n+50th state are common. The recent economic shift in the new millennium will put this theory to the test.
Sub-Trope of both Take Over the World and Expanded States of America. Compare United Space of America. See also Russia Takes Over the World, Japan Takes Over the World, and China Takes Over the World.
- In Bubblegum Crisis almost everybody has at least half-Western name, and there's a black chief of police, among other decidedly un-Japanese details in this futuristic city of Megatokyo. It's probably a direct Shout-Out to Blade Runner, which featured a huge Japanese population in America.
- The second season of Darker Than Black reveals the motive of the U.S. involvement in the Gambit Pileup being that America wants to be a superpower again. The ending has American forces invading Japan, and it's implied that they succeed to some degree. Of course, this is one of the less bizarre events that happens in that ending.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 America clearly dominates the Union powerbloc that includes the entire western hemisphere, plus Japan.
- In Code Geass most of the world is dominated by the Holy Brittainian Empire, but Britain itself has been lost. However, the American Revolution was crushed and thus the colonies became the new base of the empire, which proceeded to take over the entirety of both American continents.
- In Superman: Red Son, Superman, who in this Alternate Universe landed in the Soviet Union as a baby and was indoctrinated by Josef Stalin and eventually becomes the Soviet Premier, integrates almost all the world (minus the USA and Chile) into the Soviet Union and enforces his rule through harsh methods like forcible lobotomies on dissidents. However, when Superman tries to annex the United States, President Lex Luthor outsmarts and seemingly kills him. In the aftermath, the liberated nations in the former Global Soviet Union now sign up to join Lex's new Global United States. The Global United States later colonizes the entire Solar System, thus taking this trope to interplanetary levels.
- In Jennifer Government, the USA has absorbed all of North and South America (except Cuba), the British Islands, India, most of South East Asia, and most recently Australia into a single market. Russia is in the process of being assimilated.
- Mention is made of a very militarized American Empire in Mortal Engines, though the story takes place After the End and it had already fallen.
- A very popular trope in modern Russian sci-fi. The cliche goes something like this: The U.S. either create some sort of world government or otherwise subjugate most of the world and then invade Russia, the last country keeping them from complete world domination. They either get the shaft during the invasion or succeed in conquering Russia, only to be toppled several years later by a highly badass Russian La Résistance.
- The Clone Republic series by Steven L. Kent is set in 2508, after the United States took over the world and then became a sort of Constitutional Oligarchy called the Unified Authority.
- The titular CoDominium is an alliance of the United States and the Soviet Union working together to dominate Earth.
- Something similar is suggested in side material to Dune.
- In Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon, the First Men (that is, us) end up being split between US and Chinese spheres of influence. The US eventually tips it, and remains dominant until the entire society collapses due to an energy crisis.
- The Lionboy trilogy by Zizou Corder includes several off-hand references to 'the Empire'. It takes a bit of reading between the lines for a while to realise that this means America.
- In America's Galactic Foreign Legion, "the old United States decided to stoop pussyfooting around and opened a can of whupass on Islamic fascist terrorists, communists, greeners OPEC, China and Democrats. The United States conquered the world, creating a new world order, stable food and energy prices and eliminating the threat of weapons of mass destruction ever being used between nation states." America takes over more than just the world.
- Indirectly in the Lensman series; the Galactic Patrol have their headquarters in New York City due to its role as the leading financial and political powerhouse of Earth and therefore the Solar System. It has rivals in London, Chicago and Stalingrad, but is way ahead of them.
- Background material for the Firefly 'verse establishes that America and China took over Earth That Was together.
- The seal for the President of Earth on Babylon 5 is clearly derived from the Seal of the President of the United States.
- The symbol for Earth Starfleet on Star Trek: Enterprise suggests that it evolved from NASA. Or perhaps not; there are other space agencies with symbols just as similar (though this might be partly a result of influence from previous Star Trek shows).
- The album The Uprising by Muse takes place in a world where a coalition government rules all of the Norther Hemisphere, the United States of Eurasia
- Background lore for Elite: Dangerous has The Federation as a descendant government of the modern United States.
- Front Mission depicts both North and South America merged into one nation called the United States of the New Continent (USN).
- Section 8 had the United States become a repressive interstellar empire, somehow forgetting the ideals it was founded on along the way.
- Fallout's pre-War backstory has the US annexing Canada and successfully invading mainland China in retribution for their invasion of Alaska. Not a full example, for obvious reasons.
- This is the highest objective that can be accomplished by the Americans in Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots in three different campaign modes. Lesser victories such as simply becoming the dominant power on the planet are also possible.
- World mode is an anachronistic free-for-all between almost all historic great powers, set from the beginning of history up to the future - you can also play as the Americans.
- America takes a bigger role in New World mode, your goal being to break free from British rule, conquer all of North America at least, drive out every last European power from both American continents, and attain a specific amount of tribute.
- In Cold War mode the Americans are one of two playable factions, the other being the Soviets. As the Americans you ultimately need to conquer the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union and subjugate the rest of the world as your client states (the latter is implied by the former). You can do this by money (one victory condition is having an industrial output lead over the other bloc by more than 50 - this can be done either by building up the US and its allies or initiating "police actions" on nonaligned countries), conventional force (ground invasion of the Soviets or its allies), or nuclear exchange (only possible if you have enough nukes to irradiate all Soviet territories but the reverse is not true).
- In the Metal Gear series it is established that there was an international conspiracy during the time of the First World War where America, China, and Russia made a secret pact where all 3 of them would work together to make a better world. After World War II the Cold War splintered the group, but eventually the American faction took over all of the group's power and renamed themselves the Patriots. The Patriots as we see them by the time of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4 have consolidated economic, cultural, and technological dominance over most of the world and are taking the final step in world domination by creating a computer system that will monitor every single citizen on Earth that has nano-machines in their bodies and can control all information that flows through the Internet. Fortunately this conspiracy is finally put to an end by the end of the series.
- In the Civilization series, it is possible for the United States to conquer the world. Civilization V promotes this by making the American special ability (Manifest Destiny) having tiles cost 50% less, effectively letting it swallow up twice as much territories as other empires. The other American civilization, the Shoshone, get a similar play on expansion - their cities are created with twice as much territory as any other civilization.
- In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, this is implied by the U.S. Vice President in the Allied ending.
- The premise of the Survival of the Fittest alternate setting The Program.
- The Alternate History story Decades of Darkness has a very dark version of this trope. Despite starting out with a Divided States of America (namely, the New England states and New York seceding during the War of 1812), the rump USA still becomes a great power whose territorial conquests (stretching all the way to South America) far outstrip those of our own US. As this USA is dominated by the Southern planter aristocrats who bring slavery and apartheid to conquered territories, this world's America quickly turns into a textbook example of The Empire.
- Futurama varies between the presence and absence of this trope depending on the needs of the joke, but it most commonly presents Earth as a single political entity, ruled from Washington according to the American political model. Earth's flag is just the modern American flag with the stars replaced by a globe centred on America. Also, in one episode, Richard Nixon was initially unable to run for president of Earth due to already serving two terms, indicating continuity between the modern US government of the 1970s and the Earth government of 3000.
- Also, George Washington is referred to as the "Father of our country" by Leela in 'All the President's Heads'.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, while at a beach in Rio, the lifeguard was able to tell that Homer was an American because he wore a shirt◊ where Uncle Sam was consuming the world with the lines "try and stop us" on it.
- In one of those "future" episodes, there'll be a 51th state named "Saudita Israeli".
- In the future of Meet the Robinsons Canada is referred to briefly as North Montana.
- Perhaps the most dramatic time the USA explicitly took possession of land besides the contiguous United States by force was in the Spanish American War, and seized territory generally either given back to its occupants or agreements were signed to do so—however some territories, such as Guam, remained in US possession. The USA's preferred method was to make economic partners of defeated nations and leave a few military bases behind, but restore political and military independence. However, in the Pacific, the USA seized the Kingdom of Hawaii by force, dismantling the Hawaiian monarchy in the process. It invaded the Philippines, recently liberated from the Spanish by the war, and occupied it by force against a resistance army. It also took American Samoa following a conflict with the islands' previous imperial overlord, Germany—this involved partitioning American Samoa from the rest of Samoa.
- Four years before the Spanish-American War, the United States surpassed the United Kingdom in GDP to become the world's largest economy, terrifying the British industrial complex.
- During the run-up to The American Civil War, both sides were looking to expand their territory, since each new state boosted the faction's power in Congress.
- For the North, this meant grabbing as much of British North America (now Canada) as possible, with the most widespread call being for the complete annexation of the Oregon Country up to the border with (then-Russian) Alaska; the slogan was "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!", referring to the 54°40′ North line of latitude where the Oregon Country ended. From there, it was hoped, the North-West Territory and Rupert's Land, now cut off from the Pacific, would also become American. (Ultimately, the US only got the areas south of the 49th parallel minus Vancouver Island; the rest became the province of British Columbia.) Even a few years after the Civil War, the US' purchase of Alaska was at least partly motivated by the dream of adding the vast expanse of western Canada to the Union by establishing a US outpost on that country's western frontier.
- Meanwhile, Southern politicians and businessmen felt that, since the Missouri Compromise of 1820 only explicitly prohibited slavery in US territories north of 36°30' North, it was implicitly permitted anywhere south of that line — including in any new American territories. As such, many efforts were launched to annex or conquer Cuba, Mexico, and other nations in Central America and the Caribbean. The Mexican-American War was fought for this purpose, President James K. Polk authorized spending up to $100 million to buy Cuba in 1848, Confederate President Jefferson Davis spoke of "new acquisitions to be made south of the Rio Grande", and Confederate Naval officers were dispatched as far as the Amazon delta in Brazil to survey the area, supposedly to map shipping routes but also taking notes on local militias and separatist movements.
- The "Pax Americana" that started after World War II is the closest realization of this trope that Real Life has yet seen. With the British and French empires bankrupted by war, the German, Italian, and Japanese empires destroyed entirely, and the USSR and China, the only other great powers that could still stand on their own, retrenching into their own spheres of influence, the USA, untouched by war and possessing the world's largest industrial capacity by several orders of magnitude, emerged dominant over nearly every corner of the globe save for the core of Eurasia. American power reached its peak in The '90s after The Great Politics Mess-Up, with the term "hyperpower" used to describe a nation that everybody, from its allies to its enemies, had to heed. Some people, including US President George H.W. Bush, described American power after the fall of communism as so great that it verged on a One World Order — and of course, some conspiracy theorists believe it goes well beyond "verged on". The rise of China and the resurgence of Russia since then have chipped away at this, with China having overtaken the US as the world's largest economynote and the US' experiences in The War on Terror exposing major weaknesses in its military apparatus.
Even in spite of all this, however, America still remains the world's preeminent military, economic, and cultural force. The US' allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Organization of American States, as well as major non-NATO allies like Japan, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, comprise the lion's share of world power; if they were collectively viewed as an American empire (as critics of American foreign policy often proclaim it to be), then the United States would currently be in possession of the greatest empire that history has ever known. The US dollar is the world's reserve currency, with only the euro as a serious competitor (and even then, it is a distant second). American food, films, fashion, and pop music can be found on every continent, and its celebrities renowned throughout the world, to the point where both supporters and critics of the US have cited its 'soft power' (or, alternatively, 'cultural imperialism') as one of its greatest tools and weapons in maintaining its alliances. The only nations that are openly antagonistic to the US (as opposed to frenemies like Russia and China) are mostly so-called "rogue states" with few friends of any kind in the world, like Iran, North Korea, Libya (before The Arab Spring), and the Islamic State.