A story in the paper this morning wondered what the U.S. should do about Syria. My first answer was,"Nothing. Let the Syrians worry about Syria." But maybe that's not true in these modern times.
A hundred or so years ago, countries like Syria were colonies. The colonizing powers were responsible for food, law and order, etc. Then we had a period of Great Power wars. There were a few countries to a side--Germany versus Britain, France and eventually the U.S in World War I. We had same lineup in WWII except the Soviet Union joined with the Allies; Japan, with the Axis. Then came the Cold War, which ended when the Soviet Union imploded into all the smaller countries it had been before.
We tottered through all that without actually blowing up the planet, though we and the Russians might have managed had we really tried.
Now, I don't know. Alliances work. History shows that. But how to form them, how to know which ones will last? How to know if the bedfellow you choose is good or strange? Remember when the Russians were fighting Afghanistan, we supplied the Taliban, who were allied with Osama bin Laden. Good questions. Anyone with answers, please speak up.