More action against the Islamic State, Iraq asks for help, Russian mind-set, tech in South Korea, child brides

This week's round-up of global commentary includes a call for less talk more action against the Islamic State, Iraq seeks allies against IS, why Russians think the way they do, how South Korea is adapting to change, and helping child brides.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP/File
Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks about the Islamic State group, Feb. 11, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

Arab News / Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Too much talk and not enough action against Islamic State
“[I]t appears that western powers have so far talked the talk concerning the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) but have done comparatively little to thwart its territorial advances...,” writes Linda S. Heard, a British journalist who has covered the Middle East. “IS is flourishing because of a lack of resolve on the part of the superpower and its allies to broaden the mission, finish the job once and for all – and to lay blame where it should be. If the leader of the Free World isn’t up to the task and the Arab world continues to wait for Washington to supervise the neighborhood’s cleanup, the map of the Middle East could be indelibly re-drawn.”

The New Zealand Herald / Auckland, New Zealand
When Iraq asks for help against Islamic State
“Iraq has many longstanding friends, but few of them are willing to defend it,” writes law professor Andrew Gillespie. “It is for this reason their foreign minister flew to Australia and New Zealand with an invitation to join a war [against the Islamic State group].... [W]hen New Zealand got involved in Afghanistan, it was as part of a United Nations effort that involved more than 100,000 soldiers and unlimited air-power. Even then, it took 13 years of conflict and cost the lives of 4000 soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians to bring the fragile stability that exists today.... [I]f we do get involved, we need to be honest about the risks and think critically about what peace should look like. These considerations need to be weighed against the need to hang tight with our good friends who have already walked into this quagmire.”

The Moscow Times / Moscow
Understanding the Russian mind-set
“Russia consists of radical individualists – smart people who hold no illusions and who simply do what they must in order to survive. That is the Russian resistance. It is not an especially spiritual or patriotic mind-set. The fact that nearly 80 percent of the population supports the current leadership is an expression of a sort of ‘radical conformism’ stemming from deep-seated mistrust...,” comments Maxim Trudolyubov, an editor with Vedomosti, a daily Russian-language publication. “That is why it has historically been simpler to overthrow a ruler by riding a wave of popular discontent than it has been to organize grassroots activism: The latter requires long-term mutual trust whereas the former is a quick and easy ... act of mob violence.”

Korea JoongAng Daily / Seoul, South Korea
Bigger problems, but better tools to solve them
“Change is inevitable in the world, and change is disturbing to many people, and we Koreans have probably had to cope with more social changes over the past seven decades than almost any other society...,” writes Park Soo-gil, a former United Nations ambassador. “[W]e have moved from an era of thatched roofs to one of high-speed Internet, luxury automobiles – and increasing social polarization.... [A]s we try to cope with issues of youth unemployment, the graying of our society and choices between development and preservation, we must remember that these are problems caused by prosperity.... [W]e have the luxury of working on them using resources that were not available to our recent ancestors.”

The Japan Times / Tokyo
Break the cycle of poverty and child brides
“In developing countries, one in three girls is married before the age of 18, and one in nine marries under 15...,” states an editorial. “The girls most at risk of marrying young tend to be rural, without education and extremely poor. They are usually denied further schooling and are kept from gaining the skills needed to be empowered participants in their society, country and culture.... Reducing poverty is ... the best long-range solution, but in the meantime, the millions of children who are married deserve support.... Girls and women ... need to gain the right skills to break the cycle of poverty and learn how to make decisions that will improve their own situation and that of their children.”

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