Maybe any politician or military officer who says that somewhere is of vital interest to the US and thus justifies a military commitment should have to be in front of the troops, leading the charge. That would cut down on our “vital interests” in a hurry. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:
Sure, the Caucasus is important in world affairs, but not especially important to the affairs of the United States.
Washington policymakers spend much of their time on the frivolous. Especially when it comes to foreign policy.
American officials and diplomats constantly circle the globe issuing statements, making demands, proposing initiatives, and otherwise bothering people to little effect. Most of these efforts are harmless, and often provide a politically advantageous image of international activity and influence for home consumption.
The human and resource costs of such actions are high, often tragically so. Yet the resulting benefits often are impossible to discern. For instance, some 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam, supposedly to prevent communist hordes from conquering Southeast Asia. Less than two decades after the humiliating U.S. withdrawal, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were gone, Maoism had disappeared from China, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge had been ousted, Vietnam’s communist regime had battled China’s communist regime, and Hanoi was moving toward rapprochement with America.