Islam is the religion of nations that are culturally and militarily insignificant. If it wasn't for the oil reserves that repose in some of these nations, Islam would have as much of a profile in world affairs as Buddhism or Hinduism, ie., almost none. There's no rush of people from outside the Muslim culture to become Muslims, any more than there is of people from Western-style democracies to emigrate to China or Russia. There is, however, a rush or, if not a rush, at least a steady migration of people in Christian-based cultures to move towards relaxed or diluted forms of Christianity, if not towards non-belief.
The most prominent Christian culture - or culture in general - in the world is the US because everything that happens there is widely reported. And what is happening is that Christians holding prominent positions in that culture are leading some of the moves towards dilution while still claiming to be true to their faith, in particular a president who self-identifies with a nonconformist Protestant style or tradition of Christianity and a Roman Catholic vice-president. If there is a rot in Christianity, the US is where it'll be most visible and easy to point to, eg. same -sex marriage, or the infiltration of evil in the health insurance scheme under the attractive veneer of good, what Bishop Robert Vasa calls giving poisoned water to thirsty people.
Now, who would have the profile or standing to take on the rot, in fact to take on the prominent political and social personalities behind the rot? A 'foreigner' from Europe or Africa or Asia or a home boy who can speak like a prophet about the society in which he was raised and with which, of all the societies of the world, he is the most familiar?
Of course, we all know how prophets are regarded in their own country. An outspoken American pope speaking up about abortion, same-sex marriage, male and celibate priesthood and Obamacare would irritate the Left. The same person speaking up about capital punishment, guns, foreign policy interventions and about the poverty-stricken members of his flock in Mexico taking short cuts to achieve economic security in the US would annoy the Right.
Which American cardinal in his right mind would want to take on this job? In the past, popes were shielded from English-speaking media scrutiny because they were, in the main, Italians who could insist on speaking something otherr than English during an interview and who, in any case, didn't give interviews except under very controlled circumstances because monarchs don't give interviews. It might be different today, monarch or not. There might be a lot more pressure on an American pope, having been raised in a democracy, to wind-down the sheltered-monarch thing a bit and make himself available to the American media, with all the risks that that entails.
Perhaps the conclave, in its liberty to pick any Catholic male for the job, not only a cardinal within the conclave, could go for a trifecta: an American to wade into thorny issues concerning the Left and come into conflict vwith the President, an American to wade into thorny issues concerning the Right and come into conflict with the majority party in the House of Representatives, and an American to wade into that other quagmire, the Middle East (with the Islam thang lurking in the background)?
Are there any Arab Americans in the US order of bishops who might find himself saying to someone overseas during an unexpected phone call, "Ya gotta be kidding. Like I need this like I need a hole in the head."