The following regions and issues are among those critical to both short- and long-term US interests. They should draw greater US attention and diplomatic efforts.
While forging a peace deal that ensures the security of Israel and the dignity of the Palestinians is a worthy goal, it's a long shot. Secretary of State John Kerry's time would be better spent pursuing vital US interests in Africa, Asia, and the broader Middle East region.
UN-sponsored talks in Switzerland yielded a provisional agreement to allow civilians to leave a besieged city, but rebel demands for a dictator's exit are hitting a wall.
If direct talks between the Syrian regime and a main opposition group proceed, the goal should be to create a transitional power with legitimacy to hold elections. For now, a vacuum of legitimacy requires foreign pressure for an agreement.
The Syrian opposition group's charter forbid direct contact with the Assad regime. Now it's trading accusations face-to-face at peace talks in Switzerland.