Is the US an empire? Well, since we emerged as a nation rejecting the status of colony of an empire in favor of freedom, our historical rhetoric has been anti-empire. Crunch the numbers, however, to show how we are crunching others into the evolving US empire, packing more and more of them into a creaky, groaning crate.
We have troops stationed in most countries on Earth. WTF!? Even if we omit the nations where 'only' US covert operations are in progress, take out the nations in which 'only' armed contractors--mercenaries--are operating paid by you and me, and don't consider the nations with small armed US teams of fewer than 100 members total are engaged, the US still has at least 100 military personnel in more than 150 of the world's 193 nation-states.
There are two serious aspects to this, at least. One, most people hate seeing armed--or even 'just' uniformed--troops from other countries on their sovereign soil. I have a hard enough time see uniformed military personnel amongst civilians in my own land--of course, I'm a pacifist and I would--but I can scarcely imagine seeing a uniformed and armed member of any other military in my country. Try thinking of a Chinese unit, armed in uniform, in your town. Do you feel your blood rising and an urge to tell them to leave and go home? Imagine how the rest of the world feels with the US there, armed and dangerous and acting like it's Just Fine to be in their country. We are breeding generations of hatred for our nation by acting like an empire even if most of us don't want to believe we act that way. Two, it's ungodly expensive and a massive drain on the US economy and on each US taxpayer.
Let's fix this. We hear mutterings of hope now and then, but little is actually done. In 2012, President Obama was going to start this (even that liberal bastion, Fox News, was mostly in favor), but instead the numbers above reflect reality from a year later, from summer 2013.
Support those who want to see this slowed, stopped, and reversed--even the closest US ally, the UK hates this. Let's start building more affinity and love for the US, not resentment and rage.