The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters


This article argues that conditions favor American retrenchment from the Middle East because the United States can shift burdens to capable states in the region, there are few areas where US commitments are interdependent, and the local conquest calculus favors defense. Forward military deployments do not positively influence potential threats in the Middle East, and maintaining deployments there will detract from meeting challenges from China. Through comparisons to prior cases of great-power ordinal decline, this article puts America’s modest decline in historical perspective and finds that retrenchment policies will likely have positive consequences.

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