Washington’s Middle East policy is a shambles. The region’s turmoil fundamentally stems from the George W. Bush Administration’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq in March 2003. In the wake of that debacle, President Barack Obama’s policy has been contradictory and ambivalent. President Obama rightly concluded that the United States needs to extricate itself from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by his predecessor, and avoid a third war in Syria. Although his instinct is to wind down the American military role in the region, he has given in to pressure from the U.S. foreign policy establishment to re-engage. Consequently the United States has probably lost its best chance to extract itself from the Middle East’s intractable conflicts.