Michael S. Rozeff has written the most comprehensive and succinct post regarding the US Empire that I have read. I will highlight and comment upon a couple of sections of his post, and end with only one slight modification to his statements:
The people running the U.S. government and shaping its foreign policies at any given time generally choose friends and enemies on the basis of what will expand U.S. influence, control, power and dominance, i.e., what will expand the empire.
It isn’t for oil; it isn’t for spreading democracy; it isn’t to alleviate the suffering of women or children. Foreign policy and the wars that go with it have one common thread, and only one – expanding control.
There is no need to be puzzled by such seeming inconsistencies as the U.S. sometimes supporting terrorists and other times fighting them; or the U.S. being anti-Nazi and yet supporting at times right-wing governments, dictators and death squads. There is no need to be puzzled by the support of democracy in one country and paying no attention to it in another or even undermining it. There is no need to be puzzled by the U.S. seeming to support the aspirations of one people while ignoring the rights of another people, including American citizens. There is no need to be puzzled by the immense hypocrisies of U.S. officials. The reason for all of this is that ideology is being made to serve the underlying purpose of the empire’s maintenance and expansion.
There is only one common thread: expanding control.
My one modification? Referring to the empire building, Mr. Rozeff writes:
That, in turn, has material, ideological and semi-religious roots that go way back to the late 19th century and to the Manifest Destiny ideas that came before. It has some racist roots that go back to the late 19th century, in which the U.S. civilization was deemed superior to others and thought to be destined, even by God, to spread over the whole world.
Mr. Rozeff views empire through a US lens, when in fact it is broader and deeper – at minimum an Anglo-American lens. Before Manifest Destiny there was the British push to the New World; before the US civilization was deemed superior and destined by God, it was the British.
I have written often about this; a good starting point is Stead.