Joe over at Old School points us to an OpEd piece in Capital Hill Blue ... an excerpt:

Bush has a firmer handle than even Rumsfield on how empires think and act.

And I don't mean that as a criticism.

It's time for us to accept and defend our imperialism. Imperialism has received bad press for most of the last hundred years. We think of pith helmets when we hear the word, and tiger hunts, and pathetic little bands in remote Indian provinces playing "God Save the King." We think of a stiff upper lip that looks, over time, more like foolish bravado than noble resolve. We think of colonial hubris and the blind assertion of cultural superiority.

But ancient Rome _ always the brand name in empires _ is the better model.

Rome demonstrated that empires can be about much more than blood sports, tiger hunts, rapacious oil companies and military adventures in far-off places.

Empires can also stand for things that make the world a better place. Political stability, the rule of law, the virtues of political enfranchisement, the preservation of learning and the arts, and the respect for other cultures and religions: These are some of the better legacies left to us by the Romans.

The Romans pulled this off _ with all their faults _ because they believed in that quaint concept we call destiny. Americans, too, have always believed in a higher purpose. Four hundred years ago, John Winthrop described America as "a shining city on a hill." Ronald Reagan echoed that language in speeches that resonated deeply with the American people. The liberal elites in America and Europe never understood the mythic power of Reagan's rhetoric, just as they don't understand Bush's simple vocabulary today.

... the whole thing.