Is the United States truly ready to get its military forces out of the Middle East? Should it? Considering there are upwards of 60,000 troops in the region today, many of them stationed on bases in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, this is a question ripe for debate.
In a new paper for the Quincy Institute, University of Notre Dame scholar Eugene Gholz argues in detail that the fundamental reasons for American military involvement there — security, oil, human rights — no longer apply, and that staying there only emboldens the bad behavior of regional actors. In his Gholz’s words, “If the United States is in fact interested in a more stable Middle East, it must remove its weight from the scales and allow the region to recalibrate according to its actual multipolar balance of power.”
As such, he writes, Washington should start packing for a significant military withdrawal over the next five to 10 years.
Responsible Statecraft asked several Middle East and foreign policy scholars to comment on Gholz’s arguments, and to discuss whether this dramatic shift is feasible and necessary for U.S. and regional interests.