One of the problems of the American Empire is that there is a lot of empire denial going around. You cannot want to rule the world and yet say that what you value is laissez-faire economics (like National Review does).
How do you distinguish empire from imperialism? In the 18th century an empire was any large state somewhere. Imperialism generally meant somewhere overseas. The court party has overall gained and never suffered a setback. We must force others to enjoy all the benefits we have.
We acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba (in a fashion). No former enemies are in the anti-imperialism faction. The Philippines were given all the Bill of Rights but trial by jury and right to bear arms.