A man builds. A parasite asks 'Where is my share?'
A man creates. A parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?'
A man invents. A parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God... '
I guess the truth is people don't generally want to get involved in wars for the right reasons, but only if they feel they are in danger. That's very shitty.
Yeah, people love to bleat about spreading democracy and freedom, but they only want to do this if:
They don't think it will cost us very much.
They want vengeance. But they realize that's too antiquated of a sentiment, so they say that they want to "Give people freedom"", so that they can get vengeance and somehow think that they aren't being assholes. Fear is also a powerful motivation that a lot of people don't admit to.
Should we get involved in Syria? I honestly don't know. To me, it seems like a classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. There doesn't really to appear to be a "good" option. And you can bet if we don't intervene, we're going to get criticized the same as if we intervened.
Presumably that we see ourselves as different and above the rest of the world by distinguishing ourselves from them; as if on a high horse -> exceptional. It's a projection much more than a fact.
The thing is, we kind of do see ourselves that way. It's an extension of manifest destiny, a very messianic form of nationalism that somehow believes that we have a special destiny. God is not always invoked, but is usually implied as providing that destiny. Hence, foreign intervention never takes the tone of being "merely necessary" for realpolitik reasons, but instead is often discussed as a "moral imperative."
It works great for propaganda, but it's not really accurate. The British thought the same thing in their day. I'm sure the Romans did as well. Maybe the Chinese will next.