It has been a very long time since I have taken a history class, and even though this topic will remain debated for a years to come, I think it is only natrual to point the figures at Japan regarding Pearl Habor. After all, we have been at war with them.
Clearly Japan had imperialistic goals and ambitions in the pacific. I'm not really sure why somebody would be asking this. The United States was not the reason that Japan attacked America. The United States was not the reason that Japan attacked America. The United States was not the reason that Japan attacked America.
I have to go with this answer because the record of history supports it. The planner of the attack, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, recorded his disagreement with the military leadership of his country when they said they wanted to make a preemptive strike on the US. This is evidence in and of it self. An encoded message was delivered to the US by the Japanese ambassador which when cracked stated that Japan intended to attack the US. Conspiracy theories to the contrary have been disproved. The singles that showed the attack on Pearl Harbor that should have gotten to military officials were screwed up though ordinary human error.
History books tell us that Japan instigated and planned the Pearl Harbor attack on their own. It was their own decision to do so and they did it without care and with no warning. I do not believe there is a reason to assume the United States instigated that attacks.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was done by Japan to try to completely wipe out our forces so we would never be able to fight back. It was designed as a large one strike attempt. If it was istigated by the US we would have been ready for the attack, rather we were taken completely off guard.
The United States was attempting to remain somewhat neutral during World War II. Back then, it was easier to ignore things going on outside of our own country, because of there being limited media (only the radio), etc. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, it seems, mostly as an attempt to get us involved in the war and fighting. Once this happened, there seemed to be no choice, and the United States entered the war in retaliation for what seemed to be a completely random and uncalled-for attack.
By most measures, Japan instigated the attack on Pearl Harbor against the United States. The country willingly traveled across the Pacific Ocean to launch a preemptive strike against America. Japan had to then deal with such consequences since the United States declared war upon Japan soon after. Everything that happened afterward was Japan's fault alone.