I must commend most of the members on this debate, no matter which side, for such a civil discussion on such an idiotic topic. But I do not want to send this into a flame war, but I would like to add a few points.
The U.S. has never been an imperialistic power in the sense that it seeks to conquer other territories. The last territories the U.S. "conquered" were the Philippines and Cuba in the Spanish-American War in 1898. And, having said that, let's look at a few things to back that up.
1. At the end of World War II, did the U.S. step into rule Western Europe, the way the Soviet did Eastern Europe? The U.S. truly could have. They would have had no opposition to speak of. They could have very easily set up puppet government like the U.S.S.R. did in Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, East Germany, etc, ruled with an Iron hand from Moscow. But the U.S. didn't. They instead spend a few billion to rebuild Western Europe, helped an old enemy, Germany, get on it's feet, and then pulled the majority of their troops out and let Western Europe seek it's own path.
2. If the U.S. wanted to "rule the world", then why, after Japan surrendered in 1945, did the U.S. help rebuild Japan-let their Emporer stay, then let Japan form it's own postwar government? What would have prevented the U.S. from taking over Japan the way Russian and China took control of North Korea? Nothing whatsoever. Japan lay in ruins. But instead of conquering and subjugating, the U.S. helped Japan restore itself in an honorable way, and it remains a great independend nation to this day.
3. What would have kept the U.S. from occupying Iraq, Kuwait, and even Saudi Arabia following the Gulf War? They could have, if we truly wanted to "rule the world". But instead, we did what we were asked to do, and then left for the most part. Just think, all this current tension with Saudi Arabia could be gone had the U.S. just taken over, as it could have, and would have a base of incredible proportion to launch attacks on Iraq and Iran, if we so chose. But we didn't. Despite our differences with the House of Saud, we let them stay their own course.
4. If we really wanted to "rule the world", would we have left the Philippines after they took a vote and asked us to close our military bases there? Do you think the Soviet Union would have ever stood for that from one of their allies? Hell no-they would have marched in and crushed the goverment of that country and made their will law. But the U.S. didn't do that, did we? We closed our bases, and left the keys to the Philippines to do as they wished, not as we might have wished.
This talk of the U.S. ruling the world is just so stupid, I'm sorry to say. I don't think the U.S., even with all of it's military, economic and political power could actually rule the world. The world is too big a place to be ruled by one nation, even the size of a China. It's physically impossible. Does that mean the U.S. doesn't want to remain the Superpower. No, it doesn't mean that. To the contrary. The U.S., and many of it's people and friends around the world, believe that the U.S. is the best guarantor to as stable a world as is possible. To have the U.S. completely detatch itself from the world, would be an utter catastrophe for many quarters of the globe, despite the naive on this forum and in the world who believe otherwise.
As I've always said, if you're looking for perfection, don't look to the U.S., because we're far from it. But the U.S. is one of the few stabalizing influences in a world that is beset by global tensions. To honestly believe the U.S. wants to conquer and rule the world is absurd, and our history speaks to just the opposite. Do we want to foster democracy? Absolutely. Do we want to have influence in the world that is equal to our status as the one great power? Absolutely. But not even the big, bad, mighty United States can rule the world. If we ever have any nation suceed in that goal, it will be a dark day for the planet.