I highly recommend this you-tube of Leon Hadar's recent presentation at the Middle East Policy Council about the crisis in Syria, the proposals for US intervention there (which he advises against, for sound reasons well presented here), and the American propensity for wishful thinking about democratic crusades in the Middle East.
By the end of his presentation, Mr. Hadar reaches a conclusion that I wish the American public at-large would accept and come to terms with: The US's unipolar moment in the Middle East is over, and the sooner we embrace that reality, the better prepared the US can be to embrace and engage with emerging realities. Hadar notes especially the rise of China, and the ongoing US "pivot" toward East Asia.
We might also include the emergence of popular Islamist politics in the Middle East and beyond. Across the region, we are beginning to see the ascendancy of new socio-political models that reject the previous template: autocracies whose power relied on repression that was acquiesced in, or even required, by a United States that wanted oil and regional stability more than popular self-determination.