America maintains an enormous military infrastructure on the Arabian peninsula and in the Persian Gulf. How should the United States shrink this enormous footprint while continuing to protect its interests and those of its sometimes difficult partners in the region?

On this episode of the Order From Ashes podcast, Becca Wasser considers some of the practical ways in which a progressive-minded United States could shift away from its overinvestment in military bases.

Despite the war in Ukraine and rising tensions with China, the United States retains a massive and problematic military footprint in the Middle East, which creates moral hazard and often locks Washington into military solutions ill-suited for complex policy problems.

Figuring out how to get the balance right in the Middle East can help the United States strike a more healthy, and less militarized, balance throughout the world.

This episode of Order from Ashes is part of a regular series on progressive foreign policy in the United States. We’re looking to start a constructive conversation about the specifics of a progressive foreign policy that remains invested and engaged in the world, while moving away from reflexive militarism and toward a framework based on rights and values.


  • Becca Wasser, senior fellow, Center for a New American Security
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International