But, as an empire, the US behaves much like other empires in the past. It's often said that it is a reluctant empire. That it wishes not to understand the world, but to insulate itself from it. Nevertheless, imperial thinking permeates its foreign policy, especially towards the Middle East.
Sadly, I fear the war on terrorism is likely to provoke more chaos than Muslim militants could ever have achieved. Without a broader, longer-term vision of forging harmony between our civilisations, the billions of dollars being poured into rooting out individual militants will disappear in the quicksand of Middle East and Central Asian anarchy.
This reluctant empire claim is getting dead boring especially when it is closely followed by a claim that US reluctance distinguishes them from all previous empires. The weakness of that argument is that all empires, without exception, proclaim themselves reluctant conquerors. For that matter, all empires, without exception, proclaim themselves different from all previous empires.