Unfortunately the more conservative members here apparently haven't actually read the dictionary definition of imperialism and when given the one that fits deny that it applies because they do not know the history of their own country. Empires have been built up by a variety of methods and in the case of the British Empire it was often built through corporations and independent groups only later to be replaced by direct governance and in many cases colonies were given considerable independence in their actions.
Look into some of the U.S. treaties with these countries and consider U.S.-organized coups during the Cold War. Hell, the term banana republic was coined in the U.S. to describe the sort of system that defines American imperialism. I would say empires are never a benevolent force anymore than government is a benevolent force. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Source: WiredManning had been tasked with evaluating the arrest of 15 Iraqis rounded up by the Iraqi Federal Police for printing “anti Iraq” literature. “The Iraqi federal police wouldn’t cooperate with U.S. forces, so I was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the ‘bad guys’ were, and how significant this was for the FPs,” he wrote.
But when Manning had the literature translated, he discovered it was a scholarly critique of Iraq Prime Minister Al-Maliki titled Where Did the Money Go?, he wrote. The document was nothing more than a “benign political critique … following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet.
“I immediately took that information and ran to the [U.S. Army] officer to explain what was going on. He didn’t want to hear any of it. He told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding MORE detainees.”
Let's not even talk about Karzai.