I agree with Charley’s note that we can’t disengage completely, but our engagement should be limited, with very clear cut, realistic objectives. Further, if we ever get in the situation where we’re accomplishing regime change, we need to be clear that THAT is the objective — getting rid of the regime that has caused us ill, NOT trying to set up a democratic Nirvana in an area where they just don’t have a history of that.
One of the principles we seem to embrace is the idea “If you break it, you have to fix it.” However, that’s NOT necessarily true. We destroyed Saddam’s regime in Iraq pretty quickly and with little loss of (US) life. The problems all came when we then decided that we needed to stabilize, rebuild, and democratize the country. If, instead, we’d just left after we captured Saddam, we’d have saved many billions of dollars and many lives. Yes, Iraq would have descended into chaos and possibly civil war, but the loss of US lives and treasure did NOT avoid that. If we ever do that again, I suggest we just leave and tell the new leaders (whoever they are), “Don’t make us come back here or we’ll REALLY be pissed.”