I don't think the OP was claiming any sort of US exceptionalism, but asking what sort of society would emerge if the US gradually lost its cohesion and its government was no longer able to function.The question belies a type of reader that thinks America is too important to fall Nothing would happen if it did and the sun would still come up tomorrow. Did the world fall over when the UK fell over in the 1940s? No it did not. America is a country not an ideology. Americans tend to place too much significance on their place in the world. The rest of the world doesn't owe America a packet of skittles, cheerios and a can of Dr. Pepper.
Its the insularity of self-begotten importance that makes America think the world owes them something. The rest of the world would change its currency to some other standard such as the pound/yen/euro/whatever and we would all go about (after some financial turmoil as we have seen with the GFC) with our normal daily lives.
American Exceptionalism is a myth.
Your argument puts too much faith in America, and in globalisation. It also is quite repetitive which is indicative of poor academic style. I hold no faith that we are either dependent upon America or globalisation for that matter.It is highly unlikely that the U.S. would suddenly find itself returned to the late 19th century metaphorically speaking, without the same series of events affecting every other modern State. Modern technology based on petrochemicals and electricity has led to centralization and demographic shifts away from primary agriculture, that we all become vulnerable. If any of the industrialized nations utterly fails, the effects would be global affecting every State. Globalization was born with the Age of Discovery, and has grown at faster than linear rates.
The conflicts between ideologies with real capacity to completely dominate the world typified the 20th century, and since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and evolution of Chinese "Communism", competition has shifted from Battle Fields to Board Rooms. True Believers in old Ideologies remain, but increasingly competition is economic. "Wars are bad for business" may not be exactly true, but has become the Global Slogan. All of humanity is more connected than at any time since we left Africa in search of a better, more secure life for our family and tribe. Conflicts remain that reach back for thousands of years, but in the Global World those conflicts are increasingly irrelevant.
Whether it the trend could be reversed or not is unknown, but this is a trend that is very powerful. Economic failure among the most advanced States is certainly possible as National Debt problems across Europe and Eurasia have demonstrated already. Could the U.S. or P.R.C. suffer economic failure? Yes indeed. Comparatively there will be disagreement, but I would put my bets on the strengths of the US over the PRC.
The principle threats to our world are: a new Pandemic that decimates humanity, Global Environmental Change, or the Wild Card ... something major occurring from outside our planetary orbit. Disease knows no boundaries, especially in the 21st century. Being struck by a "planet busting" asteroid , or a visit from little green men needing a new home could do it. Both those alternatives would affect our entire species, but in the long term either might turn out to have some positive outcomes.
The Climate is changing as it always has been, but the rate of change seems linked to the rise of Industrialized society beginning around the mid-17th century. Rates of change have steadily increased, but only became alarming after the mid-20th century. There some hopeful signs that environmental degradation can be reverse, i.e. reversal of the hole in the Ozone. Whatever the cause of Climate Change, it must be dealt with. Mother Nature can be diddled with, but at risk of her retribution. Climate Change is, like disease and arrival of something from off-earth, something that affects the whole species, not one segment alone.
The sudden eruption of a super-volcano might hasten Climate Change enough to threaten us all. Earthquakes can shake a society to pieces, but not continental sized nation states.
Bottom line: We are all in this together now. What happens to one, happens to all.
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