Syria's civil war has washed over Turkey's border, flooding the latter with hundreds of thousands of refugees. Washington's efforts to solve the crisis so far have yielded few positive results.

U.S. President George W. Bush's grandest foreign policy "success," the ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, is turning into an even more dramatic debacle. Egypt is racing back into Mubarak-style authoritarianism. The outcome of U.S. President Barack Obama's "splendid little war" in Libya continues to unravel.

The region is aflame and U.S. policy bears much of the blame. Washington's relentless attempt to reorder and reshape complex peoples, distant places, and volatile disputes has backfired spectacularly. The blame is not limited to Obama, as his ineffective policies largely follow those of his predecessors. Moreover, his most vociferous critics were most wrong in the past — particularly the neocons, who crafted the Iraq disaster. Their claim that keeping U.S. troops in Iraq would have prevented that nation's current implosion ignores both history and experience.