Originally Posted by aelle
If one were particularly cynical, one might say that 2. stems from 1. The US sees its place in the world (and how it earned superpower status) as being the world police, or at least the police of the western world. There are no more villains to police. Therefore, in order to maintain the status quo, the US needs to make up more villains to fight lest it loses its status.
True but I don't think it's done intentionally. The appalling effects of the U.S. foreign policy make sure that there are always new ghosts to fight. In any case, in today's world, unrest seems to be the status quo. It's foolish on the part of U.S. to assume that they can free every country in the world from dictatorship and terrorism. (In any case, they won't invade China or North Korea.)
There are many real challenges that the World is facing right now. Green house effect, helping drought affected nations in Africa, eradicating diseases like malaria, small pox, preserving wild life and so on. Shooting bad guys like they do in Western movies is not the way to make the world a better place. There are many missions for the Americans to take on if they wish to do so but of course there is no profit to be gained here for the weapons industry or the reconstruction contracts.