A responsible policy in the Middle East, consistent with American security interests in the region, should be based on de-emphasizing U.S. alliances, including that with Saudi Arabia. It should also include a change in popular attitudes toward the United States’ supposed dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Reshaping U.S. policy in the Middle East would enhance American security and help alter the perception that U.S. policies are guided by double standards. Maintaining a frail balance among all of Washington’s commitments in the region is becoming ever more costly, dangerous, and unnecessary. Americans are paying a heavy price to sustain a U.S. military and political presence there. A change is long overdue.

More on North Africa, Middle East, and the Persian Gulf


A Sober Look at the West’s Kurdish Allies

By Ted Galen Carpenter. Aspenia Online. November 23, 2015.

The Real Tragedy of Terrorism in Paris: Western Governments Believe They Can Wage War without Cost

By Doug Bandow. Forbes. November 23, 2015.

Start-Up Nation: Israel’s Market Reforms

By Daniel J. Mitchell. Commentator. November 20, 2015.

Cato Studies

Islam and the Spread of Individual Freedoms: The Case of Morocco

By Ahmed Benchemsi. Policy Analysis No. 778. August 20, 2015.

Friends Like These: Why Petrostates Make Bad Allies

By Emma Ashford. Policy Analysis No. 770. March 31, 2015.

The Dead Hand of Socialism: State Ownership in the Arab World

By Dalibor Rohac. Policy Analysis No. 753. August 25, 2014.


Tangled Web: The Syrian Civil War and Its Implications

Ted Galen Carpenter. Mediterranean Quarterly. Vol. 24. No. 1. Spring 2013.

Economic Transitions: Learning from Central Europe

Dalibor Rohac. Hoover Institution Policy Review. Vol. 175. October 2, 2012.

Middle East Vortex: An Unstable Iraq and Its Implications for the Region

Ted Galen Carpenter. Mediterranean Quarterly. Vol. 20. No. 4. Se, 2009.

Public Filings

The Rise of ISIL: Iraq and Beyond

By Doug Bandow. Testimony. July 15, 2014.

Escaping the Trap: Why the United States Must Leave Iraq

By Ted Galen Carpenter. Testimony. January 11, 2007.


Islam, Identity, and the Future of Liberty in Muslim Countries

Featuring Ian Vásquez. September 29, 2015. Policy Forum.

Assessing the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Featuring Justin Logan and Caleb O. Brown. August 19, 2015. Sponsor E-Briefing.

The Fight with ISIS: One Year (and Counting) of Unauthorized War

Featuring Gene Healy. August 6, 2015. Policy Forum.