I'm not interested in talking about Iraq. Its a fucking whine at this point. Every thing is about Iraq. US foreign policy is bigger than that and I'm not going to argue everything from the context of Iraq because its like arguing an entire person's life on the context of an hour of their lives.
Its stupid. I'm going to talk about US foreign policy in general and I'm not going to engage the issue from the perspective of Iraq at all. You don't like the Iraq war? I don't care. Its irrelevant.
As to various nations not being happy with the US... the vast majority of that is either unhappiness that we stopped them from raping their neighbors or a mixture of envy/shame at someone being more powerful and a generous dose of ignorance as to how vital that power has been to the global status quo that everyone takes for granted.
I was recently subjected to a lot of vitriol from some fellow that was telling me how EVERYONE hates the US. I went back and forth with him and then I asked him where he was from.
And his bias against the US was based on the belief that the US attacked Serbia for no reason in the Kosovo war and that his people were absolutely not genociding the Albanians. Also the "everyone" that hates the US turned out to be bitter ethnic serbs that didn't like getting their teeth kicked in when they were told to stop being fucking assholes.
Most of the anti US stuff boils down to something like that. And the thing is that the US gets that attitude no matter what we do. We go to war. People say they hate us. We don't go to war... and literally the same people say they hate us because we're not going to war.
So as an American you learn to not take such comments seriously because they're intellectually vacuous, self contradictory, callow, and often as not rooted in some puerile notion of an idea where "no one is powerful and we all get along because we love each other"... Which is really just an admission that whomever says that has no clue about history for foreign policy.
As to the effectiveness of war... I disagree. War is extremely effective. Can politicians fuck it up after the military wins? Sure. Name something politicians can't fuck up? If you undermine the military victory by pulling forces out and abandoning the area after winning then... yeah... your victory isn't going to mean much because you've ceded all won territory by default to any other competing power which is likely to be the inevitable remnant of your enemy.
if the US had dropped the two atomic bombs on imperial japan and then just left... no occupation... no rewriting their constitution... no carefully sculpting their political environment for generations... then they could have just reverted immediately back to the imperial Japanese mindset.
But they didn't because we didn't leave.
Same thing with South Korea...
And your citation of Vietnam or whatever else... you're ignoring that we won the battles and had the ability to dictate the nature of the societies but we ceded that by abandoning the area. Which was a political decision based on domestic political considerations and not a military decision.