In the recent past, nothing has fascinated theorists more than the idea of America as an empire. If Google is the arbiter of modern intellectual races, 33,400,000 hits place "American empire" among the lead contestants. The theory of empire comes with a few standard arguments. First among them is power. There has never been anything quite like America's dominance of the world, the argument contends. While there have been other dominant powers, none has towered over other rivals quite the way the United States does. Just look at defense spending and compare it with the rest of the world. But American dominance is not just military, the theorists of empire claim. In their thinking, economic power and cultural attraction are also elements of empire.