I believe two of the litmus tests by which we can judge any society are to investigate both the ways in which societies treat their children, and the ways in which they treat animals. In some countries around the world, we have clear evidence of the poaching of animals for their body parts, such as tusks and as trophies.
As nationalism may seduce the masses, so may vanity have the same effect upon individual diplomats engaged in conflict resolution. While some may debate what strategic interests, conspiracies or prejudices are at play in motivating policy, too frequently it may be the egos of the personalities involved.
American foreign policy is controlled by fools. What else can one conclude from the bipartisan demand that the U.S. intervene everywhere all the time, irrespective of consequences? No matter how disastrous the outcome, the War Lobby insists that the idea was sound. Any problems obviously result, it is claimed, from execution, a matter of doing too little: too few troops engaged, too few foreigners killed, too few nations bombed, too few societies transformed, too few countries occupied, too few years involved, too few dollars spent. As new conflicts rage across the Middle East, the interventionist caucus' dismal record has become increasingly embarrassing.