First a position in US foreign policy making rank and file. Put yourself in the shoes of an advisor to one of the main figures, Secretary of Defense, State,Energy or one of the intelligence agencies for example. Your job is to advise that bureaucrat or politician to serve the best interests of your country over the medium-term (the next 5 to 7 years).
What do you consider to be a major problem in the Middle East for US interests? What threatens US interests or how can US interests be promoted better? Once you pinpoint an issue that you are interested in, started finding more information about it. Research about the problem. Now take a moment to brainstorm. Talk to people, get on twitter ask people who live in that country, who work there, or who study that country. For ideas why not chat with me? What do scholars at thinktanks say about the issue? Can you find any policy papers written in the matter? Start jotting down ideas about how to solve that problem. You need at least 3 different ways. Think about pros/cons of each choice, or costs and benefits. List them.?