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


Is Turkey Capable of Defeating ISIS in Syria?

By Doug Bandow. National Interest (Online). January 13, 2019.

After Syria, Trump Should Clean out His National Security Bureaucracy

By Doug Bandow. American Conservative. December 28, 2018.

Book Review: Illuminating Islam’s Peaceful Origins

By Mustafa Akyol. The New York Times. December 26, 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.


Securing Energy from the Gulf amid Geopolitical Strife: Japan, South Korea, and the GCC

June Park and Emma Ashford. The Gulf States., Asia and the Indian Ocean: Ensuring the Security of the Sea Lanes. June 30, 2018.

Unbalanced: Rethinking America’s Commitment to the Middle East

Emma Ashford. Strategic Studies Quarterly. Vol. 12. No. 1. Spring 2018.

The Saudi-Iranian Cold War

Emma Ashford. ISS Forum. February 20, 2018.

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.


Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen

Featuring Rep. Ro Khanna, Caroline Dorminey, Scott Paul, Kate Kizer, & John Glaser. December 7, 2018. Policy Forum.

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.