The analysis below explains why all empires and "Imperial Style" governments have failed throughout history, and why our Empire-USA faces the same fate. The only question is whether the people and government of the USA have the wisdom and will to engage in a "Managed Decline" by terminating the empire and imperial conduct on their own schedule, rather than by chaotic crash of the US Dollar, economy, and lifestyle. Take notice of the "Solutions" section in Part C below.
Part A: Key Points
An Empire is a nation that: 1) Owns colonies, and/or 2) Controls, or has great influence over, other nations. Empires require economic and military strength to start and maintain, and this is expensive.
All Empires fail, and for the same reasons: 1) Expense of military abroad, and subsidies at home. 2) Decline in domestic productivity (spoiled, parasitic citizens). 3) Corruption (illegal conduct) and decadence (unethical and immoral conduct) by leaders and citizens.
Part B: Events/Symptoms in each Phase
Phase 1 – Growth
Land: Gain territory by "discovery" (too bad for the natives), or conquest.
Strength: Start growth of economic and military strength. Sound currency (precious metal, or convertible paper and convertible base-metal coins).
Government: Local and central government acts as a servant to protect the rights of citizens. No entangling alliances with other nations. New land is governed as a colony or part of homeland nation (becoming a sovereign republic may require a revolution). The army consists of volunteers protecting their homes and families, with no professional or standing army.
Ethics: Most government people and citizens are hard working and honest. Government is a servant.
Phase 2 – Maturation
Land: Add contiguous land, or remote colonies, by conquest or negotiation.
Strength: Become a world leader in both economic and military strength. Homeland receives cheap imports from colonies. Currency is debased to allow more government spending, without raising taxes.
Government: Grows stronger, more corrupt, and acts as boss, manager, nanny, owner, etc. Elected officials will do almost anything to retain their jobs. Power is used to manage other nations to impose/protect the Empire's interests. The central government increases control (superiority) over local (city and state) functions, often based on its power to create money to fund local projects. A standing army is created and consists of mostly conscripts, and professional careerists. Wars become more oriented to building and defending the Empire.
Ethics: Corruption and decadence grow due to decline in personal responsibility caused by nanny state.