This is not to argue that the Middle East is irrelevant or that the US should ignore it. On the contrary, it is still home to massive oil and gas reserves. It is a part of the world where terrorists are active and conflicts have been common. Iran is moving ever closer to developing nuclear weapons; if it does, others may well follow suit. And it is a region now experiencing what could prove to be historic domestic political upheavals. There is also the unique American tie to Israel.Complete article in Al Jazeera
Nevertheless, there are grounds for the US doing less in the greater Middle East than it has in recent years: The weakening of al-Qaeda; the poor prospects for peacemaking efforts; and, above all, the mounting evidence that, by any measure, massive nation-building initiatives are not yielding returns commensurate with the investments.
At the same time, there are strong arguments for greater US involvement in the Asia-Pacific region. With its large populations and fast-growing economies, it is difficult to exaggerate the region's economic importance. The US companies export more than $300bn in goods and services to countries in the region each year. Meanwhile, Asian countries are a critical source of investment for the US economy...
November 18, 2011
Re-Orienting America - CFR Style
The Pacific is self-evidently consequential to U.S. foreign policy and international relations as a whole, but CFR President Richard Haass just dropped some heavy propaganda on the Middle East: