Japan Continues Drive for Military Autonomy:
Under Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution (known as the "MacArthur Article), Japan forfeited their right to any offensive military capability. Although allowed to possess a small (but capable) defense force, Japan swore away any offensive military power under the pressure of the victorious allied powers. Throughout the Cold War, the US personally oversaw all strategic defense matters involving Japan, establishing several permanent bases many of which are still there. With the Cold War long over and with the US facing mounting economic, political, and military difficulties elsewhere in the world and at home, the status quo with regards to Japan is becoming untenable. With the rise of the staunchly conservative Shinzo Abe, the drive for Japanese remilitarization is rapidly gaining ground. Abe ran on a platform of Japanese nationalism and only increased the volume of this message over the recent dispute between Japan and her age-old nemesis, China, over ownership of the Senkaku Islands. China's recent meteoric rise in the Far East has left Japan extremely ill-at-ease and Abe's government wasted no time aggressively defending Japanese national sovereignty over these tiny islands in the East China Sea - all the while placing the US in an extremely awkward situation, especially since a proxy conflict with China is the last thing anyone in Washington wants to face. US officials have been strangely quiet over the issue of Japanese re-armament, leaving one to wonder if that is perhaps Washington's ticket out of an terribly costly (in both financial and political terms) arrangement that isn't even really doing much for us anymore. The Chinese have effectively muscled us out of the Far East diplomatically and economically. Militarily, I can tell you that they possess hardware and strategies that would make any showdown in the Pacific theater between us extremely costly for the US. Also, our presence in Japan continues to draw unwanted attention from anti-American elements in Japanese society and from international pressure. Perhaps allowing Japan to strike down Article 9 and once again assume responsibility (and the bill) for their own defense is not seen as such a bad thing for the US - giving us an ability to quietly decrease our presence in Japan without losing the ability to challenge China for the Far East. Only time will tell.
Growing Defections Amongst Syrian Rebel Forces:
At last, a bit of good news from Syria (if anything in that hellish situation can even be called "good"). With the obscene amount of horrific violence and abuse committed by the so-called Syrian "freedom fighters," this should come as no surprise to anyone. Regardless of his allegiances to Iran, the Assad regime was one of the more stable in the region - something the Syrian people no doubt greatly appreciated as they watched countries like Iraq descend into unspeakable instability at the hands of the US and NATO. Now, the war is being brought to their country, which is being systematically destroyed by imported Jihadis, courtesy of Washington and their endless nation-building schemes. It was only a matter of time before actual Syrians became disillusioned with being endlessly manipulated by NATO puppet masters and returned to a stability they knew before. What impact this will have on the proxy conflict as a whole, though, is left to be seen.
Putin Calls For An End To The Persecutions of Christians Around the World:
Yet another example of how far Putin is willing to go in order to challenge the US-led global order. Who would ever thought they would see a former Lieutenant Colonel with the KGB call for global action to stop the persecution of Christian minorities around the world?! But it goes to show what Putin is willing to do in the eyes of the international community to upset the secularist progressive agenda of the current global order. It also draws attention to an extremely uncomfortable fact of recent US foreign policy that has yet to be acknowledged by Americans - the tacit destruction of local Christianity by US intervention. It happened in Bosnia, where we took the side of Croatian Muslims (many of whom would later be revealed to possess Jihadist terrorist connections) over Serbian Christians. It happened in Iraq, where our "liberation" would initiate a mass exodus of the native Chaldean Christians who had formerly been protected from Islamic persecution under the anti-extremist Saddam regime. Egypt, Libya, and now Syria (once home to some of the oldest Christian communities in history) all suffer the same fate. Even our unrelenting support of the secular Zionist regime in Israel blithely overlooks the fact that Palestinian Christians - the descendants of the first Christian converts from the time of the Apostles - are treated with utter contempt by Tel Aviv and endure the degrading status of second-class citizens. While it can be assured that Putin's recent outcry over this issue is more politically motivated, his courage in bringing international attention to it should be admired. It certainly seems that wherever US intervention occurs, Christianity suffers - it just took a savvy old veteran of the Cold War to call us out on it.