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


The Menace of Central Banks: Iran and Turkey Front and Center

By Steve H. Hanke. Forbes.com. September 18, 2018.

Washington’s Influence in Syria Is Nowhere to Be Found

By Doug Bandow. American Conservative. September 13, 2018.

A U.S. Attack on Maduro’s Venezuela Would Be a Mistake

By Ted Galen Carpenter. National Interest (Online). September 9, 2018.

Cato Studies

Double Game: Why Pakistan Supports Militants and Resists U.S. Pressure to Stop

By Sahar Khan. Policy Analysis No. 849. September 20, 2018.

Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with Iran

By Emma Ashford and John Glaser. Policy Analysis No. 822. October 9, 2017.

Preserving the Iran Nuclear Deal: Perils and Prospects

By Ariane Tabatabai. Policy Analysis No. 818. August 15, 2017.


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

69. 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.


Double Game: Why Pakistan Supports Militants and Resists U.S. Pressure to Stop

Featuring Sahar Khan, Ambassador Robin L. Raphel, and John Glaser. September 27, 2018. Policy Forum.

Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in U.S. Foreign Policy

Featuring Caroline Dorminey, A. Trevor Thrall, Travis Evans, & Colby Goodman. April 26, 2018. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Featuring Steve Coll, Shuja Nawaz, and Sahar Khan. March 20, 2018. Book Forum.