There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack.
If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies;
and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented.
When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest
-- why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.
The fight was always invested with an aura of legality.
Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours...
The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies,
it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard
against their indubitably aggressive designs.
Joseph Schumpteter, Imperialism and Social Classes , 1919