So even as the U.S. becomes an energy behemoth in its own right, it's still in the country's interest for there to be a stable flow of energy supplies in both domestic and international energy markets.
Indeed, at a speech at Columbia University last year, former White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told an audience that world energy markets "are part of a deeply interdependent world economy. The United States continues to have an enduring interest in stable supplies of energy and the free flow of commerce everywhere."
Unless the country can both satisfy all its energy needs and export to economies that still rely on OPEC crude—the latter of which is largely forbidden by U.S. law at this point—a war-weary America can scarcely afford to ignore the importance of the Middle East, which is arguably more unstable than ever.
The strategic retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan "may not be helping curb global violence. Quite the contrary, a continued decline in US combat deaths in recent years has been mirrored by a rise in combat deaths elsewhere," BofA analysts said, noting a "limited appetite" for military engagement may not work to the U.S.'s advantage.
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"If there's supply disruption in the Mideast, U.S. consumers will feel that," said Jason Bordoff, who heads Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy. "In addition to that, there are lots of other (U.S.) security interests in the Middle East," such as democratic reform, human rights and counterterrorism, he added.
Uncertainty about the sustainability of the boom also makes it less likely that the U.S. can disengage abroad. The International Energy Agency expects the U.S. production surge to peak somewhere after 2020, unless more domestic sources are found.
"Every piece of data suggests reason to be optimistic, and (has) surprised to the upside, but we're not sure how long that will continue," Bordoff said.
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"Everything suggests the growth rate will slow. We're not going to be producing 20 million barrels of oil per day," he added.
There's also another question of who would fill a void in the region if it were left by the United States.
"The only country that can ever really replace us in China," said CSIS' Cordesman. "The last thing on earth you want is the U.S. leaving a power vacuum in the Gulf, and someone has to fill it for us."
—By CNBC's Javier E. David