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

Assessing Japan’s rightward shift at the top | The Japan Times

Cropped image of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of ...

Cropped image of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan during a photo opportunity Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006, following lunch at the Sheraton Hanoi hotel during APEC 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper (press release) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The excellent article explores the history leading to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe becoming Japan‘s most ideological postwar prime minister, pushing right-wing policies on numerous fronts that trample on postwar norms.

Source: Assessing Japan’s rightward shift at the top | The Japan Times

If you read the article carefully there are two important trends. Firstly, there is the increasing power of the right in Japan. Secondly, voters seem increasingly opposed to the shift to the right of the political spectrum.

This leads to an interesting open question:

Are we seeing the beginning of an erosion of democratic values in Japan?