Where public lack of interest reigns, politicians tend to put narrow political interests first.
Consider the Islamic State.
Until 2014, with the US military having left Iraq in late 2011 and the war in Afghanistan winding down, President Obama claimed he’d won the peace. Obsessed with narrow political calculation, warnings about a premature withdrawal were sidelined. Instead, the White House had a simple priority: pushing its 2012 campaign narrative of “peace in our time” towards Mr Obama’s legacy.
Now, of course, the Islamic State explosion (which, whatever President Obama claims, was always predictable), has forced America back into Iraq and also into Syria.