Where are we going? Australia in a post-IS Iraq & Syria

You can be excused for forgetting that Australia is waging war in Syria and Iraq, with national security and foreign affairs so far off the political radar this election. Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to properly discuss our current and future military commitment in the Middle East is nonetheless inexcusable. The Islamic State is on the back foot, as the attacks on Fallujah, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria demonstrate. While their demise as a semi-conventional army and the loss of territorial control may still be many months away, the fact remains that mopping up IS was always going to be the easiest task.

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Missing in Action, the United States

obama baffled III

Whatever Barack Obama aimed to achieve in Syria with half measures and rhetoric, allowing he had any firm notion to begin with, must be deemed far from fruition. The contrast with Putin’s willingness to place military muscle at the service of strategy could not be more clear — or more damning

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Thinking About the West

Western civilization is adrift in the world of ideas. Uncoupled from religion for over a century, the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition which endured—albeit, once it had been absorbed into a secular, modernist rationale—is under existential threat from within. The Twitter-lynching of Chris Gayle, the asylum seeker crisis in Europe and connected sexual violence in Cologne and other cities on New Year’s Eve, and the increasing frequency of attacks by Islam-inspired jihadists are all in their own and disparate ways symptoms of the same ailment.

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Islamic State’s silver lining?

In an increasingly violent Middle East, where strategic alignments and military alliances are as hard to untangle and comprehend as ever, perhaps the sole remaining point of unification across the region is the condemnation of the Islamic State (IS). Since sweeping into public consciousness in mid-2014, the brutality of the group’s actions, in accordance with their strict, Salafist interpretation of Islam, may have served to draw in thousands of Muslims with similarly unpleasant doctrinal views, but has also led to rapid censure from Riyadh to Tehran, Baghdad to Cairo, Damascus to Ankara.

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Trivial or important? ‘Lifestyle choices’ or good policy?

Tony Abbott in Kalgoorlie

There is a difference between ‘lifestyle choices’ and ‘way of life’. The former carries underlying judgement, the latter respect and a level of understanding.

Or at least that’s how it looks to me.

Apparently Tony Abbot either doesn’t agree or didn’t think about it when he suggested that taxpayer money should not be used to fund certain small Aboriginal settlements based on the inhabitants’ ‘lifestyle choice’ of living there in the first place.

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