I think it's is both unavoidable and enriching that America (and the west in general) will develop a style of Buddhism that is distinct from older traditions. Will it boil down to one or two main threads of tradition, or be a rich tapestry of traditions? My hunch is the latter, as we can already see western-Thai, wester-Burmese, western-Zen, wester-Vajrayana, etc.
But this raises a concern for me. It seems that Buddhism in America is easily perverted by our society. I met somebody who seemed to have the idea that Buddhism is cushions, bells, and $700 retreats. Other's think it's simply a rational explanation for consciousness.
Can Buddhism walk the tightrope between overly centralized dogma and overly diluted pollution by the masses? I am optimistic, as Buddhism has previously had rough times in other cultures (Thailand pre-Forest traditions) there is always the ability for a group to sit down and touch the Buddha-dhamma directly and then share it with everybody else. As long as we keep the suttas circulating, it seems there will be the possibility for individuals to get to the heart of the matter and get things back on track.
I do not claim to have any idea what American or western Buddhism will look like in 200 years, but it is a fascinating idea that distracts me from the breath.
Disciples, this I declare to you: All conditioned things are subject to disintegration – strive on untiringly for your liberation.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.