US foreign policy 1900-2003 in one sentence, or, Santayana said ... The page you were looking for doesn’t exist (404) (linkrot)

The history of US foreign interventions in the last century is filled with stories in which the US first tried to build liberal institutions in this or that country, saw it was going to be either really tough or unsustainable, and then settled for dictators or autocrats who were thought could secure our interests for the time being.
– Josh Marshall

(Cynical as this is, it still doesn't address the argument that even the liberal interventions were still motivated by private financial interests.)