John Kerry has embarked on his first trip as secretary of state. Kerry departed Washington on February 24 and will visit several countries in Europe and the Middle East until returning March 6. Kerry has an extensive itinerary that will allow him to visit nations that have strong relations with the U.S. He will also address issues about the conflicts in Syria and its neighboring countries. His trip is certainly strategic as he will campaign to strengthen US relations in Europe and eliminate any animosities toward America.
Kerry began his trip in London, where he met with Prime Minister David Cameron on a variety of topics including his position on the Syrian conflict. From there Kerry will travel to Berlin, France and Italy. According to White House officials, Kerry’s European excursion will serve primarily as a tour to gather opinions on addressing the violent conflicts in Africa. The countries outlined have long been allies to the US and Kerry’s presence will intend to reaffirm those strong relationships.
Kerry’s next stop will be in Turkey as he will discuss with leaders how to approach counterterrorism policies. The U.S.-Turkey relationship has been turbulent in the wake of the U.S. embassy bombing in Turkey’s capital of Ankara. As terrorism groups continue to gather in the nation, the US has expressed interest to intervene. Turkey’s ongoing spat with Israel has left the US in an uncomfortable position. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a UN committee that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is actively exercising prejudice against Muslims. Erdogan remarked that the actions taken by Israelites are indicative of hate crimes "just like Zionism, like anti-Semitism and like fascism." The comment has since sparked great controversy, leaving Kerry with an awkward situation upon his arrival to Turkey.—
Kerry will also visit Cairo, Egypt to talk to diplomats about the current affairs of the conflicts in Africa and advise leaders on how to improve economic relations within the nation. Kerry will end his 10-day extravaganza in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar. Kerry has made Iran’s nuclear program a part of his agenda and will plan to address it in these nations.
It comes as no surprise that an underlying motivation to maintain strong relationships with countries such as Saudi Arabia is due to increased U.S. dependency on oil-rich nations. Secretary of State Kerry certainly has a heavily orchestrated itinerary in the days ahead, and his efforts will surely be successful in improving American relations abroad.