While there is no precise DNA test that separates an empire from a ordinary country, there are certain telltale characteristics. An empire has a "homeland" and various territorial interests beyond it. In order to fulfill their mission, the homeland citizens had to become what George Orwell called "hollow dummies."
An imperial people must believe that they deserve to be the imperial power--that is, they must believe they have the right to tell other people what to do. In order to do so, they must believe what isn't true--that their own culture, society, economy, political system, or they themselves are superior to others. Typically, the people in the homeland feel superior to the people in the periphery areas. They develop reasons and explanations for their superiority, which are then used to justify further imperial expansion. The idea of making the world safe for democracy is pure humbug.
Empires are almost always at war--for their role is to "make the world safe." The U.S. military divides the world into four regional commands, each given initials--PAC, EUR, CENT, and SOUTH. Each region has its own commander-in-chief (CINC), who is like a proconsul of the
And the greatest irony? Americans now depend on the savings of Communist China in order to pay for their wars to make the world “safe for democracy”. (Asians now own enough U.S. dollar assets to buy a controlling interest in every company on the Dow.)
[Excerpts from EMPIRE OF DEBT, by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin]