US military overreach

Many nations have military “hammers” that can be used on “nails” of different sizes. The US has demonstrated its propensity to use its “hammer” with scarcely diminishing enthusiasm and with scarcely increasing competency.
I think JQ is very insightful here:

Another contributing factor, paradoxically, is that Americans, like most citizens of prosperous and democratic countries, are generally not enthusiastic about war as a policy. The use of military force needs a strong justification to overcome this instinctive opposition, and this typically means statements of lofty goals. When it turns out that these goals are unachievable, they can’t be abandoned without an admission that the original decision to go to war was based on mistaken premises. So ending a failed war typically requires the departure of the administration that started it.

This is the essence of overreach — the setting of unachievable goals. The question is why US elites believe that US voters will not accept grubby, but achievable, goals. Is this mostly a problem of perception of the elites, or is it mostly a more or less fixed feature of American popular political culture which also infects American decision makers?
I have heard many Americans claim that Americans like to be on the side of the “good guys”. The dark history of US meddling in Latin America might contradict this claim. But on the other hand, Americans tend to regard Latinos as troublesome children and therefore unworthy of the rights and responsibilities of freedom. Whatever, US militarists have got away with numerous grubby, but achievable, operations in Latin America, without provoking protest from Americans.
Americans have complex attitudes to different world regions. It is therefore counterproductive to formulate a simple answer to the causes of US overreach.


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