Schumpeter remarked in 1919 that imperialism necessarily carries the implication of “an aggressiveness, the true reasons for which do not lie in the aims which are temporarily being pursued…an aggressiveness for its own sake, as reflected in such terms as ‘hegemony,’ ‘world dominion,’ and so forth…expansion for the sake of expanding….”
“This determination,” he continues, “cannot be explained by any of the pretexts that bring it into action, by any of the aims for which it seems to be struggling at the time…. Such expansion is in a sense its own ‘object.'”
Perhaps this has come to apply in the American case, and we have gone beyond the belief in national exception to make an ideology of progress and universal leadership into our moral justification for a policy of simple power expansion. In that case we have entered into a logic of history that in the past has invariably ended in tragedy.
William Pfaff, Manifest Destiny: A New Direction for America