The term "Middle East" can create an image of a group of similar countries and peoples with shared politics and histories, but this is deceptive. The people of this part of the world have diverse ethnicities, religions, languages, and understandings of their histories. They experience a variety of different ways of life. This diverse and complex region plays an important role in U.S. foreign policy.
The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy draws students into the policy debate on the issues that shape U.S. ties to the Middle East. The United States' need for oil, its relationship with Israel, worries about ISIS, and Iran's nuclear program make the Middle East an important region. A civil war rages in Syria and threatens to spill over borders. The long-term effects of these events remain to be seen, as does the U.S. relationship to evolving Middle East politics.