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Evil States of America

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When you think of a real-life group portrayed as the villains in a work, what would you expect? Nazis? Commmunists? Islamic Terrorists? The British?

Well, another good candidate could be the United States, a powerful nation that exceeds or equals (or at least exceeded or equaled) the previous enemies in terms of military might, reach, and influence can also be used in a work as powerful villains. Many times, they could be portrayed as the Well-Intentioned Extremists, Knight Templar with Grey-and-Gray Morality varieties, Manipulative Bastards or at worst, Nazis By Any Other Name.

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

Due to the potential for edit wars, No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    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 were conquered by France, making them the new homeland.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The American Empirenote  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. While in Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 the NSA hires the former members of Section 9 to kidnap an industrialist and tries to kill them when they discover he's a "posthuman", which in the 2nd season turns out to be the result of an AI they created to manipulate the global economy.
  • 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.
  • In Summer Wars, the American military uses an advanced AI to hack into the main servers of Oz. Then it breaks free from their control.

    Comic Books 
  • In We Stand on Guard, America is now an authoritarian state which has invaded and occupied Canada to seize its natural resources (especially clean water) in order to replace its own.

    Films — 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 the American government and intelligence agencies, and building itself up again from the ashes with American recruits.
  • The Alternate History mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America features a world where the Confederacy took over the whole of America, becoming an imperialistic pariah state where white supremacy and non-white slavery are cherished American institutions up there with baseball and apple pie. In addition, women never got the right to vote, heterosexuality is mandatory, and even one of the white supremacists, John Ambrose Fauntroy V, is accused of having black ancestry.
  • In Escape from New York, the US in 1997 is an authoritarian police state currently in the middle of World War III that has turned Manhattan into a prison island in order to solve its crime problem, and serves as the Greater-Scope Villain for Snake Plissken to deal with. It's even worse in the sequel Escape from L.A., where the US in 2013 is not merely authoritarian but a theocracy on top of it, run by a Christian fundamentalist based on Jerry Falwell who has created the "Sword of Damocles" EMP Kill Sat system in order to destroy America's enemies and dominate the world. Snake, deciding that the "Moral America" and the Shining Path forces threatening to invade it are both equally evil, plugs in the "world code" on the Sword of Damocles in order to wipe out the entire world's power grid and destroy them both.
  • The Purge Universe is set in a near-future America where, after an economic collapse, a far-right party called the New Founding Fathers took power on a promise to restore America's prosperity. They accomplished this by creating the titular Purge, an annual holiday in which, for twelve hours, all crime is legal — ostensibly to allow Americans to unleash their repressed primal urges, in truth a plot to Kill the Poor and enrich the corporate elite. What's more, the Purge has genuine support from broad swaths of the American people, its opponents mostly concentrated in marginalized communities, indicating that America as a whole is rotten to the core in these films while serving as a reflection of all of the most violent trends in American society, from racism to social Darwinism to gun fetishism. When the third film, Election Year, ends with Charlie Roan being elected President on a platform of ending the Purge, the election result is met with rioting by supporters of the Purge and the New Founding Fathers. The fifth film, The Forever Purge, ends with them overthrowing the government and setting off a Second American Civil War.
  • Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, a controversial Turkish action film about the Iraq War in which the American soldiers are portrayed as evil thugs, with references to both the Abu Ghraib scandal and the "Hood Event" in 2003 in which Turkish troops in northern Iraq were captured, interrogated, and paraded with hoods over their heads. For good measure, the Kurds are portrayed as Les Collaborateurs.

  • 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.
  • Ironclads: Adrian Tchaikovsky's novella is set in a dystopia future where megacorporations rule the world. The American megacorps are especially nasty, after corrupting the Federal government they proceed to turn the USA into a theocratic plutarchy. After impoverishing much of the nation, the puppet Federal government is then used to recruit the desperate poor as Cannon Fodder. The USA is also imperialistic having annexed Canada and all the other Americas. Recently purchasing a destitute UK as a beachhead, the next target is Europe.
  • In The Laundry Files, 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. However, The Comstock Office was pretty reasonable until the Black Chamber got them shut down. As of The Labyrinth Index, the Black Chamber has fallen under the thrall of Cthulhu and launched a coup of the American government, using a country-wide geas to erase the very concept of the Presidency from the minds of the population so they can usurp the executive branch.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes subverts the trope with the United Space of America that is the Free Planets Alliance. Initially a republican democracy made in response to the tyrannical Galactic Empire, more than a century of war caused it to decay the same way its predecessor, the Galactic Republic did. The FPA at the start is run by opportunist politicians who are willing to sacrifice their own citizens to win the next election and subjugate political opponents with Black Shirt groups. And that is not getting into those collaborating with its Ancient Conspiracy. Many elements of the military are Glory Hound officers and unlawful soldiers who are willing to pillage Imperial territory as means of spreading their ideals of democracy where impractical and unwanted. The subversion comes after the fall of the Goldenbaum Dynasty and Alliance, where the more moral and idealist members survive and retain the colors and emblems of the FPA. From there on, they are simply pushing for reformations of the Goldenlowe Dynasty to avoid the mistakes of its predecessors.
  • Played with in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The story is set in dystopian Britain, but Oceania is primarily an American-based superstate. The other two superstates (successors of Russia and China) are just as totalitarian and imperialistic, however.
  • In Antarctica Online, the nation most vocally opposed to the creation of an independent Antarctic nation is the US, although it's pretty much understood that they're just salivating at the possibility of laying claim to the vast natural resources under the ice that will eventually melt after the landmass's inexplicable jump to the Pacific (even though it'll take many centuries, if not millennia). The US Navy is positioned in international waters around Antarctica ostensibly for protection. But they do eventually invade and kill a number of people, before an American destroyer vanishes and reappears in orbit, causing the invaders to pull out.
  • The Sun Eater: Because the setting of this series is so far in the future and after an apocalyptic event that reduced humanity from many billions to a few million, the word Americans is forgotten and replaced with Mericanii. This is a reviled word since the USA conquered almost all of humanity, and was responsible for the vast majority of the human species getting turned into cancer blobs before the Mericanii were defeated by the God-Emperor, who's British.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Capture: The UK forces are portrayed as corrupted by spies, but America is unambiguously evil - every American is either torturing and killing to uphold "correction", or clandestinely leaking the information to suit their monstrous government.
  • The Union of Allied Planets, the dominant power in the world of Firefly, is a United Space of America version of this. They're stated as being descended from the United States and China in equal measure as those countries led the evacuation of Earth That Was, and moreover, thematically they're heavily inspired by the victorious Northern states in the aftermath of The American Civil War. They're also the show's Greater-Scope Villain, oppressing the former Independent Planets and experimenting on the populace, including River Tam and the colonists on Miranda.
  • 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 
  • The United States in Fallout seemed to be a friendly, patriotic utopia full of wholesome families and cheerful optimism. However, it gradually transformed into a corrupt, jingoistic, Orwellian police state that saw nothing wrong with imprisoning its own citizens and experimenting on them. Corrupt Corporate Executives were in power everywhere, safety regulations were pretty much nonexistent, radioactive food was approved for stores, and the nation gladly invaded Mexico and later annexed Canada just to seize their resources. As the situation dragged on, riots from angry Americans led to the government even opening fire on their own people with military-grade weapons. With a nuclear war as a real threat, they approved the construction of 122 Vaults to shield the civilian population. However, this was just a cover story, since the vaults were actually designed to subject their residents to cruel and sadistic experiments to see how people in enclosed environments react. And even after the Great War, the scattered remnants of the government survived, seeking to regain their power by killing off all the wastelanders so they can repopulate. Put another way: a lot of players argue that the post-apocalyptic United States, filled with badly mutated animals, malfunctioning war robots, warring tribes and every kind of human evil you could imagine, is an improvement over living in the pre-war United States.
  • In Half-Life, United States Government orders HECU to conduct a Fiery Cover-Up, after Black Mesa's latest teleportation experiment causes aliens from Xen to start popping all over the planet, to hide their own involvement in the mess. In the Opposing Force expansion, Government orders a secret Black Ops unit to conduct another cover up, this time also involving killing off the previously mentioned Marine Corps unit and nuking the whole facility.
  • 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.
  • Strike Commander: Following a major oil crisis in the early 1990s, the United States government has become increasingly dictatorial towards the states in its attempt to discover and extract more oil. This caused Alaska to secede from the union, forcing a war. The situation continued to escalate with the federal government putting more and more pressure on Texas, and then failing to assist with a natural disaster in California, causing ever more states to declare independence. By the beginning of the game (2011), what remains of the United States is effectively (if unofficially) controlled by the Internal Revenue Service, which prosecutes the former states as "tax evaders" and attempts to reconquer them. The Internal Revenue Service also goes after any mercenary groups operating on the behalf of any former states for any reason, performing "audits" that often escalate to violent assaults and asset forfeitures using U.S. military forces. After the Wildcats assist the New Siberians in conquering parts of Alaska, and then participating in the war between North and South California, the I.R.S. target the Wildcats for such an audit. In exchange for waiving the audit, they strong-arm the Wildcats to participate in the invasion of Rhode Island.
  • Supreme Commander features the United Earth Federation, made from the remnants of the Earth Empire. The UEF shares a lot of aesthetics with the United States that includes bulky vehicles, real-life aircraft such as the Blackbird, and a government akin to a parliamentary democracy and President. The nation has a history of xenophobia, slavery, forced unity through military force, and full-blood human supremacy, in contrast to the freedom-fighting Cybrans and alien-worshipping Aeon Illuminate. Plus, similar to the nuclear bomb and World War II, their goal of winning the war is a planet killer that puts Starkiller Base to shame.
  • Zig-Zagged in the fourth game of Time Crisis, where Americans are both the main protagonist (the US National Guard) and antagonists (the Hamlin Battalion).
  • Implied in Way of the Samurai 4. Finishing all of the sidequests in this game will trigger an invasion of foreigners, which you, a group of local vigilantes and the Yakuza will have to thwart. Said invasion is led by a stereotypical American dressed in a cowboy suit, with his flunkies being dressed in western military uniforms, so it can be assumed these invaders are Americans, but this is never explicitly said.

    Web Original 

  • The Alternate History story Decades of Darkness has the United States suffer a disastrous loss in the War of 1812 that sees the New England states, New York, and New Jersey secede as the Republic of New England while the British, by way of Canada, take over a large chunk of the Midwest around the Great Lakes, resulting in the rump US coming under the domination of the planter aristocrats of the Deep South. As a result, the US becomes a white supremacist empire that not only maintains slavery well into the 20th century, but extends it to the Latin American peoples it conquers (save for a few criollo collaborators who can pass for white) and adapts it to the industrial era as its armies push its southern border ever further south.
  • In the Sequel Series to Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, the United States becomes a truly awful place in The '80s. Donald Rumsfeld is elected president despite losing the popular vote by a decisive margin, and resorts to blatant voter fraud to earn a second term. He goes hard to work turning the country into a police state, his anarcho-capitalist policies create serious economic disparity, interstate travel is restricted, the civilian internet is strangled in its crib, Hollywood is transformed into a far-right Propaganda Machine that vilifies historic figures like FDR, dissidents (such as George Carlin, Barry Goldwater, and Roger Ebert] are "disappeared", Liberty Battalions start burning books that are deemed Anti-American or Anti-Capitalist, environmentalist polices are revoked and climate change is encouraged, the AIDS virus is studied as a potential bioweapon, and all of America's allies (sans Apartheid South Africa) are alienated, especially after Rumsfeld supports terrorism in Northern Ireland to "punish" the United Kingdom for voting in a labor government. He even privately admits he plans to repeal the constitution, aside from the Second Amendment, and plans to make himself President for life. You can't really blame all the states who decide to secede.
    • And believe it or not, it gets worse. The Christian Values Party takes control after Rumsfeld is deposed, transforming the country into a totalitarian theocracy called the Christian States of America. Under the reign of Douglas Coe, congress is obliterated with missiles, many of Washington D.C.'s monuments are demolished and replaced with states of their interpretation of Christ, and the CSA has zero qualms about using nuclear weapons on any and all resistance. By 1990, a second American civil war has begun.
  • In Teen Lit Wasteland, the Confederacy of Panamerica has what is arguably the best claim to descent from the pre-apocalypse United States (though the Emergency Government, a less outwardly malicious but still unpleasant version of Fallout's Enclave, would challenge them) — and is also among the setting's most clear-cut bad guys. It was founded by far-right militiamen and survivalists in Idaho and Montana who exemplified the Boorish side of Eagleland, creating a stratified system with themselves at the top and the refugees from the cities destroyed in World War III (plus anybody who wasn't white) held at the bottom, seeing the latter's lifestyle as decadent and having destroyed the world. In the years since, however, they themselves became a decadent elite whose ideology has been hollowed out to mere platitudes, simply a figleaf for their continued power. They routinely rattle their sabers at Canada to the north, a country that, while itself questionably authoritarian, still retains democratic institutions and a civil society and is the closest thing to unambiguous "good guys" in the setting.
  • What Madness is This? starts with John Adams and Alexander Hamilton using voter fraud to steal two elections that would otherwise have gone to their opponents, and when the rest of the country finds out, the two are violently deposed and the country splits up. But the Republican Union, the largest of the successor states and the one with the most claim to continuing the Old Republic, soon becomes a racist, xenophobic and irredentist empire, under the complete control of demagogues who make George Wallace look like a moderate—scratch that, a liberal—who call all the shots despite holding no elected position, and force even European immigrants into what is slavery in all but name, never mind anyone else. This has huge popular support, and people only get more racist over time, to the point that once the Manifest Destiny Party takes power officially, the country’s sole foreign and domestic policy is to Take Over the World and commit genocide against everybody. This fanaticism is encouraged by an ultra-fundamentalist, para-Christian cult that seems to have 100% membership. By the time the modern age rolls around, American leaders use nuclear weapons with abandon, even against their own people. Since this America is a one-party state, even the real-life historical figures who were good people, like Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, are this timeline’s vilest villains instead.
  • THE MONUMENT MYTHOS centers around this concept, taking place in a version of the United States where the government is concealing the existence of gods and monsters under North America and sacrificing members of its' population to appease them. Various members of the government and civilian bodies muddy the line a bit on how truly "evil" the US is, with much of it running with an undercurrent of I Did What I Had to Do, but it is ultimately responsible for a massive amount of suffering within it's own borders and across the world. Highlights include the Statue of Liberty hiding a slaughterhouse for Ellis Island immigrants, the Washington Monument concealing what is effectively the "Tree of Liberty" described by Thomas Jefferson (and is regularly refreshed with human blood), the Statue of Freedom being a mad killer who slaughters dissidents for the US government and wears their skin, and an entity called the Horned Serpent turning out to be George Washington himself.
    • Season Three takes place in a new universe in which the US ultimately comes across as far worse than the one from the original timeline. This US doesn't seem to have the same monsters, instead having superheroes analogous to the Justice League members. What's the problem then? Simple: they won't act as weapons for the government, so the government goes out of its way to kill or enslave them. Even worse, they don't act on ideals of freedom or democracy, instead acting out of Christian Nationalism, and will arbitrarily exterminate entire nations or even their own states to enforce this.