Almost every characteristic we Americans associate with “imperial” nations exists in our own. Disproportionate spending on our military while domestic standard-of-living spending is neglected? Check. Permanently stationing our military in forward positions all around the globe? Check. Forcibly deposing leaders who don’t accede to our goals? Check. Propping up despots who turn their local countries into clients of our project? Check. Threatening military action against other nations that are not compliant with our imperial aspirations? Check.
Crowley and his establishment colleagues would have us believe we just woke up one day and found ourselves “the lone superpower in the world” rather than admitting that the position is the calculated result of empire building. They downplay our imperial behavior as mundane statecraft — as he put it, simply “throw[ing] our weight around.” But whatever euphemism you prefer, it’s undeniable that America is an empire — and it’s undeniable that the airing of this simple truth is highly inconvenient to those who represent the empire. It’s inconvenient to them because they fear the empire’s serfs might not be so supportive of our government’s long-term ambitions if they discover what those ambitions are.