During the Cold War, the military and the CIA had one enemy. Even though nuclear holocaust was the fear, we lived in a predictable, simple era. After the Cold War, the CIA found itself without a mission. The politicians on both sides of the aisle cheered over the prospect that "we won" and that final peace was upon us. They began to strip down the military numbers and cut funding to both the military and the CIA. Programs meant to strengthen favorable ties with tribes and local populations in the third world was cut completely. But despite this near sighted behavior on behalf of Republicans and Democrats alike, Democrats made matters worse by veering from crisis to crisis on the back of the U.S. military. We were under manned, under trained and over tasked for the new "World Disorder." And even worse than this was the CIA, which was extremely successful during the Cold War, but was not made to face off with tribal threats in the absence of a single national enemy. And how did they deal with this? The consequence of a smaller overall military and bewildered CIA was that many military and intelligence tasks were outsourced to private contractos, who often operated outside the bounds of proper accountability. (Years later, Bush would be blamed for this as if he made this mess, but in all fairness, were it not for 9/11 the status quo would have been maintained.)
Now, this next phase (post-Cold War) saw the third world start to erupt and every where an American boot touched the ground was a former European colony set free, which was maintained throughout the Cold War by the America/Soviet struggle. Iraq invades Kuwait. Yugolsavia could have exploded into something that threatened to cross borders. The HOA was/is a location of great interest because of the international trade route and this area host the nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Religion in Sudan and warlords and starvation in Ethiopia and Somalia can easily turn into bigger problems that knock on our door (piracy).
Though Democrats over used and under-resourced the military for missions that traditionally layed outside the bounds of the national interests, they unwittingly addressed the future. The military started recognizing that humanitarian issues are in the interests of the nation's security. That not dealing with a crumbling African nation can turn into a bigger problem later. That prescribing humanitarian aid towards certain nations in the regions would help to maintain good will and stability towards the populations throughout. President Clinton also recognized this and appointed more power towards the regional commanders (formerly called "CiNCs"). These generals of CENTCOM, SOCOM, PACOM, ....etc., without public scrutiny or knowledge, slowly came to surpass their civilian leaders in resources and influence around the world. The Clinton amdinistration pushed these leaders to adopt a higher diplomatic profile as part of a new military mission to "shape" regional environments. (Then 9/11 happened and all that General Zinni and CENTCOM knew about how to take out and build Iraq was thrown out the window by the Rumsfeld coven.)
Globalization has reared its negative side. People think in terms of financial institutions because of the current economical breakdown and that of 1998 in Asia. But globalization has ensured that borders don't contain a thing anymore. Disease from impoverished nations cross over and travel. Genocide sees victims run into bordering nations causing problems beyond the abusive nation that caused it. The poor economics of one nation and the waste dumping of others in that nation's fishing waters may cause piracy in international waters, which affect free trade. In other words, the small humanitarian issue that is not of "national interests" will eventually become a national interest when the issue is much bigger, more expensive to deal with and far deadlier for the man in uniform.
More often than not, these humanitarian missions are going to be amidst warlords, armed thugs, tribal rages, and rampaging terrorist/tyrannical organizations. The Peace Corps can do very little in terms of dealing with this rabble while securing their own safety and dealing with the humanitarian needs of the population. This is the world we have entered. Democrats discovered it on the backs of the worn out military when Clinton sat upon high and Republicans were rebuking it. Republicans preached about it on the backs of the spread out military when Bush sat upon high and Democrats belly ached over it. The fact that both parties agreed on the issue and fought on the issue depending who was in the White House tends to lend support towards the reality of it.
But what do I know.