A lot of people accuse America of being imperialistic in some form, and while I think it's clear that the US isn't out to conquer territory, we are certainly determined to spread our culture of democracy and freedom, and to engage the world economically. Call it "cultural imperialism" if you will, or even "economic imperialism", but just because it's easy to slap on the label doesn't mean our agenda for the world isn't in everyone's best interests.
It's not an easy topic to open and close in a blog post, but let me just point to Japan, Germany, and the Philippines. They're all generally liberal democracies, they're all on their feet economically (the Philippines more than Japan, and Japan more than Germany), and they were all essentially conquered by America. The wars were different, and for different causes, but all three nations turned out rather well, in the end.
I'm hoping Mike will write a bit and compare American imperialism to that of some ancient empires, such as the Greeks and Romans. If you're interested in some of the tactics Rome used to control its subjects, take a look through the "Outlines of Roman History". Here's an excerpt about the destruction of Carthage, after the city had already given in to Roman demands to disarmed itself and give up hostages to ensure the peace:
Siege and Destruction of Carthage (B.C. 146).—Never was there a more heroic defense than that made by Carthage in this, her last struggle. She was without arms, without war ships, without allies. To make new weapons, the temples were turned into workshops; and it is said that the women cut off their long hair to be twisted into bowstrings. Supplies were collected for a long siege; the city became a camp. For three long years the brave Carthaginians resisted every attempt to take the city. They repelled the assault upon their walls. They were then cut off from all communication with the outside world by land—and they sought an egress by the sea. Their communication by water was then cut off by a great mole, or breakwater, built by the Romans—and they cut a new outlet to the sea. They then secretly built fifty war ships, and attacked the Roman fleet. But all these heroic efforts simply put off the day of doom. At last, under Scipio Aemilianus, the Romans forced their way through the wall, and the city was taken street by street, and house by house. Carthage became the prey of the Roman soldiers. Its temples were plundered; its inhabitants were carried away as captives; and by the command of the senate, the city itself was consigned to flames. The destruction of Carthage took place in the same year (B.C. 146) in which Corinth was destroyed. The terrible punishment inflicted upon these two cities in Greece and Africa was an evidence of Rome’s grim policy to be absolutely supreme everywhere.Now that's what I call imperialism! Kill the men, haul the women and children back home as slaves, plunder everything in sight, and tear down every building so that no two bricks lie atop each other. Ah, the good old days! The only weapons we have now are Britney Spears, Coke, McDonald's, democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and capitalism.