The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 5 July 2018

Air Date: 
July 05, 2018

Photo: The colorful Buqshan Khaila Hotel, Wadi Doan, Hadramaut, Yemen
Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal, Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, and Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.
Hour One
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block A:  Monica Crowley, London Center for Policy Research, & The Hill; in re:  Harvard-Harris Poll:  Trump elected b/c of his hardline position on immigration, borders, sovereignty. He confounds his critics because he does what he said he would; 64% say that people entering illegally should be sent home.   . . .  Sounds like a “rule of law” poll – ‘most everyone opposes illegal entry.   . . . Looks like a full-blown suicide by the Democratic Party.  Yes, 100% of Americans oppose separating small children from their parents.  Obviously. How many of those crossing the border with children are real families fleeing true danger, and how many are in effect mules sent in by narcogangs with a few children at hand?
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block B:  Mary Kissel, WSJ editorial board, in re:  Is importing an Audi from German a national security threat? According to the Trump Adm. Yes. 
Users of steel & aluminum are benefitting from cheap (illegally cheap) metals from China.  Trump Adm claims that Section 232, constituting a military threat to national security, is relevant. This is very odd.  BMW, Toyota, Nissan – all have major production in the US, Japan even has a consulate in Tennessee!
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block C:  Steve Moore, CNN & former Trump senor economic advisor; in re: It’s an excellent job market – about 6 million open jobs in the US; but not enough skilled workers.  Expect good job numbers tomorrow; need wage growth for middle-class workers.  I think rising health-care costs, which have skyrocketed (Obamacare increased  them), cause employers to be unable substantially to increase wages. Also, business investment.  In Michigan, recruiters looking for anyone who knows how to drive a truck.  Exorbitant wages being offered therefor. Summers and Krugman believe in “secular stagnation,” which Mary and I don’t subscribe to. Now $25,000 bonus to pipefitter, truck drivers, mechanics – can make $70,000 a year. Employers will train workers on the job.  Also, snowflakes think they don't have to get off their tail feathers and work. Manual labor teaches you a lot.   Inventory:  guess that Q2 GDP may be 4% - blockbuster. 
The WSJ editorial page warns that a trade war could derail this, or at least slow it down by ½% point of growth.   Workforce: 25-54 is doing well; 55-plus is “plateau’d.”  Many of us n that category grew up with different skills; however, they're participating well. It's the 16-to-35-year olds who need to be [dragged in]to the workforce. Otherwise, it's like Europe which is [stagflation?]. We  need the participation increased!  We’ve created a lot of mining and construction jobs – the middle-class jobs Trump promised to bring back, and he’s succeeded fairly well. Before election, 2/10 rated the economy as good; now, 6+/10. Costco and WalMart have had to increase minimum wage because of demand for workers.  [The Philipps Curve is bogus.]
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  Lisa Daftari, The Foreign Desk, in re:  We’ve been talking about this for 40 years- pouting money to Gaza, South America, et al. and vast sums of money into Hezbollah – Iranians no longer will accept. Now, rolling protests across the country – rural poor, truck drivers, farmers, women, and now the Teheran Grand Bazaar .  “The problem is not broad, the problem is here.”
Comparing 2009 and this January: more radicalized slogans, incl “Death to the Dictator” and condemning “foreign adventures.”  Regime propaganda used to  blame the US and put the burden on the people. However, the well-placed could get medicine, fill their pantry, send children to school overseas, while the burden fell on the dwindling middle class.  Now, six months after the beginning of current demos, people no longer are afraid – they speak openly of attacking the Basij!
They’re calling not for reform, but for doing away with the Islamic theocracy, which has created a sector of very savvy  Iranians who now are calling out the regime.
In East Europe, the break, crack, fall, came from the top: the leaders, the top managers.  However, this regime put in high places not Iranians but Hezbollah, being well-fed Palestinians, Pakistanis, foreigners. Iranians usually won't shoot Iranians, whereas these characters do. [Imagine living in a state where heavily-armed-thugs patrolled the streets, and they were all, for example, Pakistanis or members of the Palestinian Fatah or PFLP. –ed]
Hour Two
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  Dennis Ross, in re: History of US-Israel relations.  Cf., Obama-Bibi & Trump-Bibi relations.  Pres Obama was primarily concerned w Bush Adm legacy of maters with Arab countries, decided that distancing US form Israel was the best way to repair.  Rump came in with a different position, saw value in having a relationship w Israel and being seen as embracing Israel, esp as the “anti-Obama.” However, Obama cooperated with Israel well in security and keeping Israeli military up to snuff/ maintaining “the qualitative edge”.
Palestinians have long cleaved to  symbols more than substance; need Arabs to create a kind of cover for them, also to help shape a new story for Palestinians: come out and say, “OK, we may have to revise, but this is a credible basis for negotiations.” At the end of the day, no peace can be imposed.   . . .  If Arab nations are involved, Abbas at present has no exit ramp.
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  Simon Henderson, in re: Yemen & Saudi reforms. In Yemen, 206 million people and the old regime hasn't left. Success might involve having he Saudis declare victory,  and intention to move into diplomacy: organize a Yemeni government in Sanaa, with Houthi rebels’s having a role therein if and only if they give up all linkage with Iran. Their Iranian ties have annoyed the heck out of Saudis and the UAE. Eventually, Yemen might again spilt into North Yemen and South Yemen.  UN envoy has been in Aden, Muscat, all around. Will soon report to he Security Council.
Iran has supported the Houthis, sort of getting a free ride and also needling a lot.
War and diplomacy – and the  Saudis appear to compartmentalize the oil issue. Both Saudis and Iran are OPEC members, discuss production quotas.
Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf. A former journalist with Financial Times, Mr. Henderson has also worked as a consultant advising corporations and governments on the Persian Gulf. He became an associate of the Institute in 1999 and joined the staff in 2006. He started his career with the British Broadcasting Corporation before joining the Financial Times. His experience includes serving as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan in 1977-78, and reported from Iran during the 1979 Islamic revolution and seizure of the U.S. embassy.
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:  Ben Fishman, in re:  Jordan – critical to the region; and Israel is critical to Jordan. Syrian crisis in the north; Iraqi crisis to the east; Saudi maters; and now rumors of Erdogan as a successor to his now-lost earlier friends.  Jordan: $1.6bil PA from the US, but domestic issues, plus Syria to the north with refugees, and Iranian presence in SW Syria – all matters of concern,
The promised aid package to Jordan from the Gulf states.  Agreed in Mecca – king of Saudi Arabia. Plus Kuwaiti emir and Emiratis, a $2.5bil package.  IF the Gulf states deliver, that’d be truly helpful; and Qataris came in with a $500mil pledge. Jordanian king spent a week in Washington, so could bot have been too worried about domestic stability.  Quickly apptd a new PM this one being a good communicator.
Erdogan in Jordan:  has bigger fish to fry, incl domestically.  Picking a fight w Jordan over Jerusalem, and increasing Turkey’s power there, but that’s secondary.  ___ concern abt Trump making significant arrangements with Palestinians?  US using Jordan as a staging into Syria? Not advertised, but have a good relationship, esp w mil: maybe half the Jordanian mil budget is from the US.   The bombing in the last 24 hours, buy Russians? along the Jordanian border. Is the king worried abt that? Yes, very. 
Ben Fishman is an associate Fellow at The Washington Institute and a member of the Geduld Program on Arab Politics. He served from 2009 to 2013 on the National Security Council, where he held several posts, including executive assistant to Ambassador Dennis Ross; director for Libya, where he coordinated the U.S. support for Libya's revolution; and later as director for North Africa and Jordan. He supported President Obama's 2013 visit to Jordan and coordinated the $1 billion U.S. assistance package to the Hashemite Kingdom. 
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block D: Michael Rubin, in re: Russia summit. Trump’s strategy in Syria?  Puzzling to Russians.  Trump has been tougher on Putin than was either Bush or Obama – has sanctioned one of Putin’s friends on average every two days. Putting has had such a weak hand militarily and economically, and has gained so much. Syria has long been a Russian puppet.  If US withdraws [precipitately] from Syria, cd put ­­­­___ on the Israeli border. YPG.  Map of Syria: US has maintained a buffer zone east of he Euphrates to prevent ISIS from shuttling back and forth ‘twixt Syria and Iraq – and Trump has tweeted that he wants to leave there; can his aides overcome his bad instincts on that? Washingtonians feting the apparent shift in Saudi Arabia.  Turkey replacing the old bad Saudi?  Have had Turkish imams expelled from multiple European counties, and now also Africa – Turkey is spreading extreme Islam, and inciting Arabs in Jerusalem.  Reagan and Gorbachev:  US took five years to get the best-possible deal; 400K people in Germany demos opposing Pershing missiles.  Russian ins and Iranains in Syria: it's he regime that could sent a flood of refugees into Jordan and decapitate that kingdom. Summit?  Fr he US, diplomacy is a win-win game for Russia, it's a  zero-sum game here, for Russia to win, he US has to lose.
Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he researches Arab politics, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Iraq, the Kurds, terrorism, and Turkey. He concurrently teaches classes on terrorism for the FBI and on security, politics, religion, and history for US and NATO military units. A former Pentagon official, Dr. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, and both pre- and postwar Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11.
Hour Three
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: . . .  No one in the region believes that Iran could prevail in a real fight with the US, but the Houthis could cause trouble .   Hezbollah changes uniforms in order to be seen as a legitimate force.  Guy in the Viennese Iranian embassy was arrested planning major attacks in Europe. Meanwhile, the Euros are trying to uphold the regime, which is trying to destroy Europe. When autos mfrs, insurance co’s, many others, refuse to do bz w Iran to avoid US sanctions:   . . . Vid of someone in Teheran who opened a tap, got clearly non-potable water. Fearful color. Tens of thousands of people at an anti-Teheran-regime demo in Paris [but many attendees were brought in from other countries, told they could visit Paris for 25 euros; many had no idea what the demo was about. MEK organized it, and MEK is not loved in Iran among the people. –ed]   Taylor Force Act: $360 mil of Palestinian budget allocated to killers. 
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block B: Neri Zilber, in re: Palestinians, Syria. . . .  Abbas’s reaction to Saudis?  Taylor Force Act cutting vast sums, and US refusing to fund UNRWA. Will Abbas have to respond to these? He’s under a lot of pressure and s beginning to realize it.  Maybe not stop funding killers, but might be more amenable to some kind of settlement anent Gaza. Not mend fences with Trump Adm. Fire kits may continue – in the ongoing negotiation between Abbas and Hamas, fire kites are an effective tool. 
Neri Zilber, a journalist and analyst on Middle East politics and culture, is an adjunct Fellow of The Washington Institute. He was previously a visiting scholar at the Institute in 2014-2015, where his research focussed on the Middle East peace process, with particular emphasis on Palestinian economics and state-building.
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block C: Andrew C McCarthy, NRO, in re: [Crossfire Hurricane]   302 is the FBI form it uses to report ____. In the discovery phase, the 302s get turned over to the defense as part of discovery. Suspicion that the original reports in Gen Flynn’s case had somehow been changed, or refined to make it appear as a stronger case of false statements. Supposedly the IG is looking in to this.
Judge Emmett Sullivan has asked for a hearing on 10 July.  Can he reach in to all these questions – Strzok, 302s, Jude Contreras. and all else? 
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block D:  Andrew C McCarthy, NRO, in re: peer Strzok, to be subpoenaed to appear before the Congress. Confusion to Strzok’s advantage in appearing to be cooperative publicly but being stingy in fact. He suddenly became available under threat of subpoena; came in for an interview, and then under specific FBI instruction declined to answer many essential questions. (Why? . . .) Now Congress wants him to be interviewed publicly; if he declines, it’ll damage his PR.
Hour Four
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block A: Sebastian Gorka, Fox News national security strategist,  in re:  Terrorism in the US. Border security.  ISIS. Islam. Middle Eastern jihadist violence. (1 of 2)
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block B: Sebastian Gorka, Fox News national security strategist,  in re:  Terrorism in the US. Border security.  ISIS. Islam. Middle Eastern jihadist violence.  (2 of 2)
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block C:  Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts
Thursday 5 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block D:  Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts
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