Lol, JD if only you grew up in the United States of America.
"Foreign policy is almost entirely pragmatic." This is true. For every country other than the United States of America.
For 204 years since the Monroe Doctrine, no since the founding of our country, we have always believed our Country represented a "Beacon of Liberty" from which other countries may model themselves after.
Yes its quite the cocky view, but we are in fact the only country founded upon virtue-- our actual establishment of soveriengty was an act in promoting ideals, among them Locke's, Hamilton's, Adams', and Madison's. This has never once been duplicated in history-- all other countries were founded in the act of securing borders, or some other pragmatic approach. After all, it would have been far more "pragmatic" for the United States to remain a British colony.
And because of our "arrogance" and our belief that we are far more a principled country than any other, that our ideas such as the state must be held accountable to the same ethics as individuals, that we have complete disregard for raison d'etat, that for 108 years we remained isolationist, has heavily influenced our foreign policy.
And that was my point, that if you look at our foreign policy for the past 200 years, you will see a pattern emerge. That pattern embedded in our leaders' decisions reflects our fundamental belief that humans have natural rights and that our country transcends "power politics", balance of power, realism, or any other pragmatic approach to diplomacy.
Foreign policy for most countries is about national interests. For us, a large part has to do with spreading our ideas and principles which perhaps does not follow most of the day-to-day desires of "domestic political will." We intervene, perhaps not recently, more often than any other country without some sort of identifiable payoff-- most people just don't recognize it.
We dedicate more money and manpower to humanitarian aid than the rest of G20 combined. We established the UN. 99% of the World Bank is funded by us. IMF is almost 100% us. Though well publicized, the humanitarian aid of any other country is negligible compared to just the actions of the United States Navy. None of these things have given us any sort of identifiable payoff, all they do is drain our money and attract flak from other leaders. Nobody publicizes it. The American people don't care. International individuals reject it. It creates an unfair expectation in the UN that we ought to fund things. So why do we do it? Because of virtue and principle.