Russia has done nothing to help defeat Islamic State forces in Syria and has adopted a strategy of “explicitly thwarting the U.S.” elsewhere, outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.


Ash Carter


Mr. Carter, who has a long history of working with Russian officials over the course of his career, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to blunt American influence have been increasing and are making it harder to find areas in which Washington and Moscow can work together.


“I think it is something that has grown steadily under Putin’s leadership,” he said. “It seems to be part of his self-conception. And one of the ways he defines the success of his policy is not by results on the ground but the level of the discomfort he can create in the rest of the world and show to his people as the point of his policy.”


He added, “That’s what makes it so difficult to build a bridge” to Russia’s leaders.