“Empire requires an unshakeable belief in the superiority of ones own race, religion, and civilization and an iron resolve to fight to impose that faith and civilization upon other peoples.
We are not that kind of people. Never have been. Americans, who preach the equality of all races, creeds, and cultures, are, de facto, poor imperialists. When we attempt an imperial role as in the Philippines or Iraq, we invariably fall into squabbling over whether a republic should be imposing its ideology on another nation. A crusade for democracy is a contradiction in terms.
While it would be nice if Brazil, Bangladesh, and Burundi all embraced democracy, why should we fight them if they dont, and why should our soldiers die to restore democracy should they lose it? Why is that our problem, if they are not threatening us?
If attacked, Americans fight ferociously. Unwise nations discover that. Threatened, as in the Cold War, we will persevere. But if our vital interests are not threatened, or our honor is not impugned, most of us are for staying out of wars.”
— Pat Buchanan [from The American Conservative]