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

Commentary

The Danger of Mission Creep in Syria

By Emma Ashford. National Interest (Online). June 26, 2017.

If Russia Wants the Syria Mess, Let Them Have It

By Ted Galen Carpenter. National Interest (Online). June 23, 2017.

America Is Getting Sucked into Another Middle East Quagmire

By Doug Bandow. The National Interest. June 20, 2017.

Cato Studies

Our Foreign Policy Choices: Rethinking America’s Global Role

By Christopher A. Preble, Emma Ashford, and Travis Evans. White Paper. July 18, 2016.

The Problem with the Light Footprint: Shifting Tactics in Lieu of Strategy

By Brad Stapleton. Policy Analysis No. 792. June 7, 2016.

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

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

Articles

Endless War in the Middle East

Cato's Letter. Andrew Bacevich. Vol. 14. No. 3. Summer 2016.

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.

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.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Iran

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

Africa’s Third Liberation: The New Search for Prosperity and Jobs by Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst

Marian L. Tupy. Cato Journal. Fall 2013.

The Implications of the Expanding U.S. Drone Program

Policy Report. July/August 2013.

Events

Evaluating the Iran Deal

Featuring Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Laura Rozen, Ariane Tabatabai, Emma Ashford, & Benjamin H. Friedman. May 16, 2017. Policy Forum.

Crude Strategy: Rethinking the U.S. Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil

Featuring Emma Ashford and John Glaser. February 27, 2017. Book Forum.

Is ISIS Economically and Socially Sustainable?

Featuring John Mueller. May 18, 2016. Policy Forum.