Cato-at-liberty readers frustrated with the United States' travails in the Middle East may want to have a look at John Mearsheimer's article in the current Newsweek, "Rebalancing the Middle East." Mearsheimer makes the case for offshore balancing, which is to say removing forward deployed U.S. forces from the region and scaling back our objectives to center on merely precluding one power from gaining hegemony over the whole region. He closes on this note:
Offshore balancing wouldn't eliminate all the problems we face in the Middle East. But it would be considerably less expensive in both human and financial terms. It's not a foolproof strategy, but it's probably as close as we can get.
Mearsheimer's version is a lot less "offshore" than some of us would like, but his case is worth a look. Trying to run the Middle East is just one fruitless government program we could cut and save trillions of dollars in the coming years. Libertarians ought to consider it.