U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is visiting Turkey today, just as Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow holding talks with the Russian leadership. These simultaneous high-level visits underscore America’s balancing strategy in the Middle East, as well as U.S. efforts to rely more on regional actors to address the Mideast’s crises, especially when it comes to Syria.
While the Department of Defense has declined to publish further details of Carter’s Middle East trip, he is likely to meet with other U.S. allies in the region in the coming days. His visit also comes a day after President Barack Obama called for Middle Eastern countries to do more in the fight against the Islamic State and just as Saudi Arabia announced that it will lead a 34-state coalition against terrorism.
However, the negotiations also signal the difficulties the U.S. faces as its own priorities in the region differ from those of regional powers. The primary U.S. goal in Syria is to weaken the Isl