Japanese Military Gaining Popular Support

There is no denying the fact that the Japanese are a martial culture. History has shown time and time again about how ferocious the Japanese are when it comes to war and how the warrior has always been seen in high regard. One only needs to look at the history of Shogunates and the samurai culture to see how important the idea of a warrior’s virtue is to the Japanese population as a whole. Even during the periods of self-imposed isolation, Japan’s warrior culture only grew stronger and more intricate, leading to the eventual showdown between the military government (the Shogunate) and those in support of the Imperial family. Now, as Japan’s military has been sitting hamstrung by the treaty signed at the end of WWII as China is growing stronger, Japanese popular sentiment is pushing for a more active military than it has had in the past.sgt_hack_japanese_us_military

The initial Japanese surge of support for a stronger, more active military began after the Fukushima nuclear plant catastrophe. There, the army was instrumental in the evacuation and clean-up processes as well as in maintaining the peace and securing the area. However more and more events have happened in the past that has pushed the support into louder and louder cries as the Japanese populace begins to realize the benefits of having a full-strength and active military. First, the executing of the both Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by ISIS have forced the Japanese to realize that they might have enemies who hate them simply because they’re different. This, coupled with the increasing strength and aggression of China, have led strength to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s current push for a rewriting of the post-WWII constitution so that Japan can have a fully unhampered military.

The main thing standing in the way of this happening is probably the United States of America. Pearl Harbor and WWII Japanese military aggression and war crimes are still recent history and doubtlessly leave a foul taste in the mouths of many people, not just the US. Japanese atrocities are still remembered by both the Chinese and the Koreans and the fact that Japan has refused to acknowledge or apologize for them is still an issue with many countries. Add to that how China would react if Japan were to start fully re-arming and an already tense region becomes a powder keg for a potential third world war. However what should also be acknowledge, no matter how painful the memories might be, is that a fully re-armed and functional Japanese military has the potential to be an even more important ally to the US and South Korea than it currently already is. With tensions increasing, who’s to say that it isn’t time to unleash the full potential of a US-Japanese alliance?

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Biden Says Allies Must Keep Focus on Russia

There is no denying that no one has done more to shake up the political status quo and European political society in the past decade than Vladimir Putin. Between launching a war against Georgia to annex land and allow for pro-Russian autonomous regions to be created from waging a secret war in the eastern provinces of Ukraine, Putin has brought a Cold War mentality back to the world and has shown that he is willing to isolate both himself and his country all in an effort to prove that Russia is no longer going to be the worlds doormat. Putin is trying to make the world realize that Russia is still a world player and a great power and he isn’t afraid of using military means to show that, even if they’re secretive and officially denied.Russia_flag

As European and US officials will meet Russian officials soon to discuss another peace plan, United States Vice President Joe Biden says that western countries shouldn’t take their focus off of Russia, regardless of how the meetings go. Speaking from Munich, Biden brought up a number of areas where Russia’s actions have brought international condemnation and scrutiny and reminded the world that Russia hasn’t changed and that things are still the same, if not worse, than they were just a few years ago. To this point, Biden brought up Russia’s military and economic actions against the Ukrainian government and those unsupportive of secession, Russia’s bullying of it’s neighbors (including military and economic bullying), and the constant and increasing repression of human rights and free speech at home.

Biden makes a good point in his speech, especially about how Russia has been consistently been going back on free-formed agreements. Any country that can’t even be counted to hold to an agreement that was made with no diplomatic, military, or economic pressure at all is one that can’t be trusted in any way. Russia is quickly burning through its relationships with the countries that are closest to it and if this isolation continues, who knows what Putin will do to these continued perceived slights against him and Russia. While military engagement shouldn’t be on the table, Putin seems closer and closer to including that in his arsenal of political weapons.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

US Begins Training Iraqi Forces to Fight ISIS

Everyone was shocked and worried about the meteoric rise of ISIS and how they managed to capture so much territory in so little time while also facing little resistance from governmental forces in Iraq and, less so, Syria. While the territory ISIS controls hasn’t grown by much and has even retracted in some places, countries around the world noticed how quickly regional governmental forces collapsed in the face of the ISIS assault and how some units retreated before fighting had even begun. The effective abandonment of so much military technology and hardware has given ISIS fighters some dangerous new toys while also allowing them to build morale and their control over captured territory. Because of the embarrassing abilities of Iraqi soldiers, one of the cornerstones of the US-led western effort against ISIS is the training of Iraqi troops to higher standards so that they can fight effectively against ISIS forces.

As news arrives detailing how the Kurds (the only group that has been able to stymie ISIS so far) have taken around 80% of Kobane back from ISIS troops, news also arrives of US soldiers beginning to train Iraqi forces. On December 27th, one of the most important parts of Operation Inherent Resolve began as training for 4 newly-recruited battalions began at a base north of Baghdad. With another group having started training a few days before that, the new battalions are going to be trained in the latest military tactics in an attempt to take land back from ISIS.

The training regimes are a 6-week intensive course and all of the new recruits have been interviewed and vetted in an effort to prevent extremists from infiltrating the units. The vetting process will also hopefully go far towards preventing any more green-on-blue attacks which is when local forces turn on American and western advisors and kill them and any others they can. A total of 12 brigades are planning on being trained by US advisors; 9 are from the Iraqi army and security forces and the other three are going to be Kurdish peshmerga units. Hopefully these highly-trained, motivated, and disciplined brigades will be able to join the fighting soon and put an end to ISIS and all of its atrocities.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Progress against ISIS Even as World Grows More Dangerous

In a new interview of PBS recently, United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reiterated that the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS, IS, ISIL, and Islamic State) is going well and that gains are being made. Thanks to an international effort to supply Kurdish fighters and other militias and armed groups/armies fighting IS as well as a US-led international campaign of airstrikes and air support, soldiers on the ground have blunted IS’ lighting attack and have started reclaiming territory that had been lost. Now that another 1,500 US troops are going to be shipped over in the next few weeks to act as trainers and advisors, the world can hope that the fight against the extremists will quicken and hopefully return some semblance of peace and stability to this war-torn region. That being said, Hagel also said that there would be no US troops on the ground in any aspect other than those training and advising our allies.

During the interview, Hagel also spoke a little about US involvement in the Ukrainian crisis and reiterated that it needed to be solved through diplomatic means and that the government was reviewing requests for lethal aid, such as guns and vehicles. Hagel also spoke about how we were entering a new era in the history of humanity and that the world is now a much more dangerous place than it was just years ago. Do to the increasing number of “uncontrollables” and factions that act out their own agendas without any regard to nation-states, policy will be more difficult to come up and needs to be flexible. He also mentioned that if the budget cuts and sequestration cuts continue to threaten the budget of the pentagon then we might soon be facing a future where the cuts are so deep that our national security effectiveness is actually hampered in a negative way.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

The US is Supplying Kurds in and Around Kobane

The Middle East has been in an uproar and torn apart in the recent months as countries in the area struggle to contain the rapid rise of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (aka ISIS, ISIL, and IS), a terrorist organization that has captured huge swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria and who have established an Islamic Caliphate. It might not be all that much of an exaggeration to say that the entire fate of the Middle East as we know it now rests on the battle raging for the Syrian border town of Kobane and the Kurds who are desperately fighting for their lives against the extremist onslaught. While the Kurds have been supported by western lead air strikes, they have been running low on weapons and ammunition for a while, along with more fighters. While they are currently holding out and even beating ISIS back, they need help.

Now it seems as though the battle against ISIS and for Kobane is about to drastically change. The US has announced that it has been air dropping weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to the Kurds who are currently taking Kobane back from ISIS. This is not only going to increase the fighting effectiveness of the Kurds on the ground, it will also be a huge increase to moral and show of support from western countries. The announcing of US air drops comes right before another major shift in the battle; Turkey has announced that it will now allow Turkish Kurds to cross country borders so that they can help their Syrian brothers and sisters in the fight against ISIS. The flow of fresh and motivated fighters combined with the arms and supplies mean that the Kurds are going to be totally revitalized and revamped in their push to take control of the city back from ISIS fighters.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Obama Says America Will Lead Fight Against ISIS

As the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (also known as the Islamic State and ISIL) continues to grow in strength and cause havoc in the Middle East, Barack Obama has told both troops and the alliance of 40 countries that America will be leading the fight in the right way. Even though there are 40 other countries and the government has said that no ground troops will be deployed (other than advisors), the US is still in a position to deal a forceful blow through air strikes and potential naval bombardments. These actions, coupled with supplying local allies with equipment, technology, and information, will allow US forces to damage ISIS capabilities while letting our allies on the ground take back the territory that has been lost to the extremists. It seems as though we have learned from our costly and unpopular mistakes from the past. Iraq and Afghanistan were horribly mismanaged and now the country is war-weary and wary of entering another foreign conflict that doesn’t directly affect the American people.

There are many differences between previous attempts at fighting extremist insurgencies and this current one. One of the major differences is the level of support that the US and it’s western allies are going to receive from Arab states, who have far more to lose if IS continues along it’s current path. These Arab allies, especially the Iraqi and Kurdish forces, will be doing most of the heavy lifting on the ground while the US and it’s western allies provide information, arms, and air support. With the US, the UK and France already striking at IS by air, hopefully it will only be a matter of time before our allies on the ground are able to take back all of the lost ground and break the back of this vile group forever.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.