If pseudonymous claims on Reddit can be believed (narrator: "Usually not"), this was the culmination of an exchange with someone who claimed to be "much more than a voter": a holder of a master's degree in international relations, an active participant in the Intelligence Community, and (from many comments I won't reproduce) a holder of a low emotional quotient. The following started with my suggestion that the US bombing weddings in the Middle East is a bad thing:

It seems it hasn't occurred to you that "Look at all this power!" isn't an ethical reason to be in the region. Fighting the commies might have been, but that is over.

"Much more than a voter":
This isn't about ethics. No one cares about your subjective beliefs. Please look into international relations. Here's what some say is the predominant school in it, but the truth is that it has subsumed all other schools of thought within it. Poke around a bit in here. Read the defensive (which I prefer) and offensive versions. See about how other schools of thought could be included in it.

It is very much about ethics. Neorealism is the study of what's going on. It does not study what should be done. But our decisions must be guided by what should be done, not what others are doing.

Case in point. Marcus grows up in the ghetto where there is a school, and there are gangs. Neorealism is like Marcus studying the working of gangs and figuring out how to rise in the ranks and be a successful dealer. Ethics is Marcus going to school and getting out of the damn ghetto. By following boring, sound principles that are "for the naive", Marcus becomes more successful than he ever could be in a gang.

The US has such a decisive advantage over other potential world powers because it has a healthy creative core. The US has this because domestically, it has been following principles rather than Machiavellianism. Following principles pays off and this is how the US has high GDP per capita and Russia and China don't.

Abroad, however, the US is not following principles but is instead doing Machiavellian bullshit of the sort which your master's degree espouses. It is exactly this which prevents you from seeing the forest for the trees. You know so much about how countries clash that you assume the US is compelled, like Marcus, to join a gang and be a successful drug dealer. No, the game is won by not playing that shit. The game is won by rejecting the gang mentality and doing the right thing, as long as you're in a position to do it.

The US is rich enough and powerful enough that it doesn't have to do realpolitik. It can build principled alliances. What beat the USSR wasn't the realpolitik, it was the principles. But for some reason, US foreign policy is dictated by people with a ghetto mentality, who can't see beyond the gangs and who think that just because gangs exist, the US has to be the most powerful gang or the most successful drug dealer. No.

Enact the principles in foreign policy that make the country successful at home. Then follow the damn principles, and make sure everyone knows that you actually do.

It may seem counter-intuitive that you win by tying one hand behind your back. But that is, in fact, how you win. Don't screw people.

"Much more than a voter":
> It is very much about ethics.
No, it's not.

If it seems "Much more than a voter" didn't write much - they did, but I left out most of it that was vacuous and abusive.

In the words of Upton Sinclair:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

If you ever wonder why the US does so much stupid, costly shit around the world, seemingly for not even its own benefit... At least part of it seems to be a ghetto mentality in the holders of master's degrees, who may happen to shape policy.

One would think it must be because of a cynical and self-serving military-industrial complex which also happens to control the narrative in the media. And that's probably true. But beyond that – there's also a large dose of just plain stupidity!