Sometimes it seems like the world does not quite know what to make of the US. Is it the world's policeman? An imperial power out for its own interests? Or a force for good, an empire only by invitation? Nowhere are these questions more pressing than in the Middle East. From war in Syria to nuclear non-proliferation in Iran and peace in Palestine, the situation in the Middle East changes on an almost daily basis and, as it does, Empire asks: What will the US' role be? Is the US, as many have suggested, a reluctant empire, straddling a fine line between what it feels duty-bound to accomplish overseas and what its people at home really hope for? Is it a shrinking power grasping for influence in a world where other players, such as Russia and China, insist on their seat at the helm? Has the US, the only world power to survive the Cold War, learned to strike a balance between the reach and limits of its power; between its own strategic objectives and what is best for the rest of the world? Who will hold it to account? And at what cost?