Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh January 5, 2014.
Brendan Smialowski / Courtesy Reuters

Contrary to popular myths and conspiracy theories about Washington’s desire to control the Middle East, for the past six decades, U.S. policymakers have usually sought to minimize the United States’ involvement there. But the high-stakes nature of American interests in the region -- particularly oil -- and the complexity of the Middle East’s problems always seem to draw the United States back in. In spite of himself, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower was sucked into the Suez crisis in 1956 and the pan-Arabist revolts of the late 1950s. Lyndon Johnson barely lifted a finger to prevent the Six-Day

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