A 2011 poll of Washington savants found that, Democrat and Republican, most of them view the Middle East as declining in strategic value in relation to Asia and the Pacific. On cue, the Obama administration rolled out its plan to “pivot” to Asia in deploying the US Navy and investing diplomatic energy. It turns out, however, that a major reason for this “rebalancing” is to police China’s access to the Indian Ocean and, from there, the Persian Gulf. Is US grand strategy really changing? Middle East Report 264 assesses the US posture in the Middle East in advance of the 2012 presidential election.