Opinion – Putin agrees with Hollande to focus strikes on ISIL – POLITICO – John Gelmini

Dr Alf brings us a thoughtful post, in which we see the spirit of the old Entente Cordiale between Russia and France, revived for the common purpose of doing something about ISIL.

Because of Obama’s dithering, we now learn from other sources that ISIS has now copied the North Vietnamese by tunnelling beneath houses in the cities which form their strongholds and running electricity into the system so that they can survive the bombing. It seems they have been tunnelling using jackhammers, whilst their leaders have already decamped to Mosul, where no doubt they will be mixed in with the population as “human shields”.

Rooting out ISIL is going to take huge numbers of “boots on the ground” and very high casualties because we have allowed our squeamishness about civilian casualties to override our need to protect the lives of our troops. Turning the area into a “Free fire zone”, having surrounded it with troops and some of the new storming robots and then using bunker busting thermobaric weapons would spare our troops and get the job done including blowing up the ISIS tunnels. But because of Obama’s weakness, there will now be huge collateral damage.

The US was not so squeamish when it fire bombed Tokyo, used an atomic bomb on Hiroshima or used incendiary devices on Dresden during World War II to raze that city to the ground. Then we had the will to win and get the job done. Russia, France and the rest of us must find it again or we will all pay the price later. There’s no point in waiting for Obama to take the lead – this would take a Pearl Harbour type escalation.

John Gelmini

What should Europe’s policy be towards Russia ? Fondation Robert Schuman – The Research and Studies Center on Europe

Map of the federal subjects of the Russian Fed...

Map of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an outstanding, must-read essay published by Fondation Robert Schuman – The Research and Studies Center on Europe.

via What should Europe’s policy be towards Russia ? Fondation Robert Schuman – The Research & Studies Center on Europe.

The essay proposes five strategic priorities for Europe to strengthen her policy towards Russia, recognizing that under Putin, Russia will be Europe’s competitor.

I must say that this essay has caused me to reconsider my own views. I have been critical of the effectiveness of economic sanctions on Russia. I suppose that I had hoped simplistically that Russia would want to return to her policy of opening the Russian economy to Western investment – this would provide ordinary Russians with the greatest chance at economic prosperity, after all look at modern China.

I still have some deep doubts. Firstly, I’m not convinced that Putin can ignore the needs of the Russian people indefinitely. Secondly, I’m not convinced that Europe wants to throw a massive amount of money into the Ukraine – in many respects the Ukraine would be a bigger risk than Greece.