I think what you have stated indicates an understanding of (and subsequently the motivations behind) becoming the largest nation/alliance in the game. It is clear to me, and I'm sure many others, that the leaderboards, nation score, alliance score, and such representations of progress are benefited by an aversion to war. What you are getting flak for is not about whether or not it is wise to invoke large alliance wars, but rather whether or not it is fun and worthy of our collective time.
What this post represents, at least to me, is a plea to make this game less about preservation and political stagnation and more about friendly, interactive competition. What I believe Pre is asking for is a change of heart regarding the culture and mindset of the game. Thus, I believe, it is impossible to try to determine what would be best for one's nation and simultaneously best for themselves. While it may seem the most obvious to find nation score paramount to personal enjoyment, I implore you to reconsider.
I understand that you need to build a nation to play the game, and that sometimes the downtime isn't too exciting, but when I think back on my time spent in this game, I can barely recall my decisions in building my cities. I can barely recall how I came to max production or commerce. I can barely recall what I was thinking as I waited for the hour to change. I especially don't remember the nitpicky mechanics of the game, but what I can recall are the war times. I remember the lead up. I remember the declarations. I remember feeling strong emotions whenever I saw my enemy's stupid little icon. I remember trying to outfight in the game and outwit in the forums. OWF fights were petty, and sometimes they weren't so light-hearted, but goddamn were they fun. I remember staying up until 4 AM because @$%&ing Keegoz wanted to catch our enemy off-guard. I remember hating his guts for it, but respecting the play. Even more importantly I remember what I did in those times to help those around me. I remember how desperate I was to make a difference in a war; all the time forgetting that all that mattered was I had someone's back. Then, when tensions fell and everyone's nations were destroyed, I remember playing video games with those I called my enemy just hours previously. Stupid Pfeiffer and his pesky clan of Dio-lovers, but damn did he put up a fight in Rust. To me, that is what makes this game.
What I am trying to ask of you, and anyone, is to find meaning in this game outside of the score of your nation. I think we may find ourselves having more fun than we realized we might.