The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Air Date: 
June 12, 2013

Photo, above: In Trabzon, in Turkey on the Black Sea - a small global crossroads - people demostrate against the authoritarian, Islamist regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Co-hosts; Gordon Chang,, and Dr. David M. Livingston, The Space Show

Hour One

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Richard Fisher, Senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, in re: Taikonauts. control of the Earth-Moon system. Tiangong-1 (天宫一号; "Heavenly Palace 1"), China's first space station, an experimental testbed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking capabilities, is like the Soviet ___ [salyz?].  About 2025, China expects to send up a manned mission; by 2069, a manned Moon base.  This is above all a nationalist expression of Chinese power (since their economy is heading south; is relatively smaller than the US and is a bit frail.). Next year is the Paris Air Show – which the US can’t afford to attend, but will have 24-hr promo of China in space.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that the PRC can’t afford it ambitions – space program, expansionism, et al.  Their economy isn’t growing and is heading for _____.  Of space launch vehicles: Chinese engine design is from US; the space capsule is largely aped from the Russians.

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Charles Horner, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate: Memories of Empire in a New Global Context, in re:  review of Tombstone, The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962, by Yang Jisheng, The PRC is so anxious abut the facts of the last fifty or sixty years because  it hold power by claiming to be wholly correct, by understanding History as no one else can.  "PRC" describes an apparat set up in 1949 to maintain its monopoly on power, a means of perfecting a kind of totalitarian rule - needed to break down resistance from family society, religion. Population was 800 mil, Party was ten per cent of that.   First it need to control everyone's knowledge of history of  the Party.  From a totalitarian perspective, Mao's method is utilitarian. PRC faces 1.3 billion people – daunting, ungovernable, any little thing can lead to the crack that breaks. Lenin: Maintain the purpose but be flexible in tactics.  Deng Xiaoping allowed rapid evolution in order to maintain power. Today: We're at an inflection point; "left" vs "right," and "reformists" vs. "nonreformists." Propagandists, security workers, all sorts of tasks. The sops to the people have to grow ever greater; not the same regime it was fifty years ago. Defensive, fragile, rigid, vulnerable; the pervasive fear is  the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 1, Block C:    Hotel Mars, episode n. Dr. David M. Livingston, The Space Show; and Richard M. David, CEO and Co-founder of NewSpace Global, in re: Market Talk of space. NewSpace focuses on the commercialization of space: we follow 400 for-profits, we educate investors. It could be thought that we sell information – that we're the Bloomberg of space.   David Livingston sees commercial space has having enormous potential. Richard David is closer to being a herd of bulls.  Privatization of space: Tesla, PayPal, et al., have all been taken to IPO by Elon Musk ; most of the 400 are US because of the American entrepreneurial spirit.  Internships available in private space dwarf those of NASA and the old-line space industry.  A young person today wishing to be part of the next great innovation economy: be here. This is not only for engineers – for financial, policy, real estate, mktg, the law. Franchise right next to or in  a spaceport.  Thruster, our monthly report: articles on diverse topics. Invest in space by buying real estate.  I left a fancy corporate law to bet my life that this is [the coming industry]; the pace of this industry is rough for three reasons: it’s still expensive; it’s dangerous (rocket fuels and volatility); it's still heavy (fuel, vehicles). Only after it’s all operational will anyone make any money. Spaceport New Mexico: hotels, restaurants, everything just waiting.  Space is 100km or 62 mi straight up from Earth. XCor, Virgin Space, Infinity – lots of companies.  Elon Musk says he wants to retire on Mars.  Google lunar x-prize – Penn State wants to be first to put a [campus?] on the Moon.   Many people care abt ROI.  First mkt is the $50bil satellite mkt.  VC, private equity.

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Gordon Chang, in re: People on the run from Uncle Sam don’t go to jurisdictions that have extradition treaties with the US; Snowden went to China (a/a/ Hong Kong); has basically defected to China.   The mayor of Hong Kong, C Y Leung,  works for Beijing. Controlled from the top down: Politburo Standing Committee – which jailed a Nobel Peace Prize winner, that brutalizes Tibet, the seven men responsible for crimes against the Chinese people, who grab territory from Japan, who're causing the "greatest transfer of wealth in human history."  Snowden's timing unsettled the US-China summit last week.  If Beijing wants to know everything that Snowden knows . . . Snowden no doubt is investigating his options.

Hour Two

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Charles K Ortel,  managing director of Newport Value Partners, in re: COMMODITIES-Oil, copper fall, leading markets down on China data  Emerging mkts slowed. US rocked by concern w Bernanke and Fed cutting back on QE3. This sluggishness has spread worldwide. China was the engine that everyone depended on for twenty years. In2008-2009, China could pour money out as a stimulus but were it to do that now it'd expand the property bubble.  The Party has no tool with which to deal with this.  Xi – unelected, head of the tyranny, the one-party state – is out of bullets.  Nominal interest rates fell from 1981 to current levels; chief driver now is the US; out ten-year is well below a 50-yr avg. The overnight rate is abt 14 basis points – way under the 50-yr avg.  Massive deficits, crazy monetary easing, are not working. Finally, we’ll have to restructure the major global industries that have too much capacity.  Some going into dividend-yielding stocks (low). All the gathering storms at once.  Name one big nation that's well run from a fiscal standpoint.

* China May exports, domestic activity show momentum loss.  China weighed on oil and copper prices and sentiment across raw materials markets.   Gold and silver prices edged higher, and arabica coffee moved up too, limiting some of the losses. 

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Bob Collins, former senior Pentagon analyst now based in South Korea, in re:  Xi really wants to discipline Kim Jong-eun – the arrogant Chinese want to smack down the naughty North Koreans.  In the last 41 years they've met 606 times, never resolve anything – have two antithetical systems.  DPRK can reconfirm the 15 July 2000 summit, or the 4 July 1972 talks (the first of the 606). As Reagan said, "The nature of the regime matters."  Has Eun consolidated power? not known. He's demoted a lot of top-ranking generals, then a few mos later re-promotes them, all to gain control over the military.  Child-god persuaded by gunsels one month, then others another? Yes, and his two senior advisors – aunt and uncle – are part of the process; none can find a harmony (as Kim family sees harmony).  Xi cd easily close the border and cease aid, esp energy – but unpredictable results.  Didn't Xi promise Obama that there'd be discipline, no more . . .  ?   Kim's treatment of the military is unprecedented – how he treats the ranks of the senior generals; pretty shaky in my book.

North Korea’s Defiance Looms Over Talks   When North and South Korean officials meet in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday for their first high-level dialogue in six years, the South will face a government with a nuclear policy that has become more recalcitrant than ever under its young new leader, Kim Jong-eun.  The two sides intend to discuss reopening a joint industrial complex in a North Korean border town and other economic and humanitarian projects. The meeting will be the first dialogue at a senior level since Mr. Kim took power after the death in 2011 of his father, Kim Jong-il.   Under the young Mr. Kim, North Korea has declared that it is no longer interested in talks on ending its nuclear weapons program, and its ruling Workers’ Party adopted a national strategy of reviving the country’s moribund economy while continuing to expand its nuclear arsenal.


Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Sadanand Dhume, reports on South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, & society, in re: Sadanand Dhume @dhume01

RT @marykissel: Tibet Watch: Nun self-immolates to protest Chinese rule; 120th since Feb. '09 via @RadioFreeAsia” Tibetan self-immolation are probably  the single most important issue between India and China. India has a conscience, gave refuge to HH the Dalai Lama; but as China grows more powerful, it persuades powerful Indians to mute the Tibetan issue. Sad to say, these tactics are working. HH has been a charismatic leader; efforts to bifurcate his role between spiritual leader and political leader – there's a new PM, very good, but hard for him to step into the shows of HH.  Indian sympathies are overwhelmingly w Tibetans; the self-immolations are a sign of desperation.  They want at the very least a degree of autonomy and the right to practice their faith.  Indians didn’t face this because they claimed freedom from a much more rational foe, the British. The morality of the Tibetans will have them outlast the PRC, which here has only guns. Tibetans in India increasingly are under China's demand that India quash its own democratic practices, and so India sweeps up Tibetan protestors.

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Joseph Sternberg, WSJ Asia editorial board, in re: Who Voted for Snowden?   The democratic process should decide how we balance liberty and security. Abe-nomics – getting abut short shrift o some of his accomplishments. TPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership.  This is the most important new idea Abe has had – Japan will have to reduce its own tariffs on imports.

Hour Three

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Michael Auslin, AEI, in re: Finally, Snowden make the front page of Global Times.  If its' true he's there and making a deal – he's talking about how the NSA is spying on China.  Twenty-seven-year-old with a top-secret clearance. If he's just a walk-in – Hawaii is a hotbed of Chinese spying, as PACOM is there . . . What spooked him enough t make him run?  WaPo writer gave an interview to W Blitzer: Because WaPo wdn't guarantee to Snowden to run the story within 72 hours – in order to interfere in the Xi-Obama summit – Snowden gave the story to the Guardian.  The summit seems not to have gone well – Donilon as much as said so; China also rejected US assertions on cyberactivity.  From a dipl perspective the mtg was a failure.

Can U.S.-Chinese Relations Be Saved?  There is something unsettling about high-level U.S.-Chinese summits. American participants must present an uneasy combination of faux bonhomie and furrowed-brow concern over the serious issues that divide Washington and Beijing. The Chinese usually look both confident and yet stiff, perhaps reflecting resentment at being browbeaten over the myriad shortcomings of their system while reminding their counterparts that their country has nonetheless had the greatest growth rates in the history of recorded economies.   In all, there is a sense that the relationship should be going better.  There is something unsettling about high-level U.S.-Chinese summits. American participants must present an uneasy combination of faux bonhomie and furrowed-brow concern over the serious issues that divide Washington and Beijing. The Chinese usually look both confident and yet stiff, perhaps reflecting resentment at being browbeaten over the myriad shortcomings of their system while reminding their counterparts that their country has nonetheless had the greatest growth rates in the history of recorded economies.

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Michael Auslin, AEI, in re: The Sunnylands Summit may be seen as the last gasp effort to save US-China relations. They're on a downward spiral, despite all the chummy demeanor. They’ve hit serious diminishing returns on economic revitalization.  People think this is the free-wheeling economy of the 980s and 1990s – it’s not.  It's not an innovative economy – just rank industrial espionage.  The new Premier Li came is as something of a reformist, but [he ain't]. For members of Congress, hues economy is confusing enough; as for the rest of he world, they just don’t . China has few places to turn, no tools; even we have few places to turn. Global dithering with small, sharp pockets of unsustainable growth – equities in the US.    A entire systemic problem.  Your days are over, Unit 61398!

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Thomas Goltz, author, Chechen Diary, Georgia Diary, Azerbaijan Diary,  in re: Taksim Park demos. Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Justice and Development Party.  High-pressure water cannons yesterday – a wild scene – and today much calmer, but protestors are back. Beer bottle was  the symbol last week – Erdogan is anti-alcohol – while today, everyone wearing surgical and firefighter masks – the best was construction workers hard hats. Said that eleven individuals travelled from Istanbul to Ankara to have a mtg w Erdogan – and only one was affiliated with any of the groups at Taksim Park.  Protestors regard the eleven-person delegation to be totally irrelevant.    Ataturk liked his rakeh – Arab araq, Greek ouzo – used to cost $3/bottole; but Erdogan has incr taxes on all alcohol, now rakeh costs $30/bottle. Has put forth a law preventing alcohol sale from 10P to 6AM, also any advertising of booze of beer; blotting out all scenes in old films.  Efes (Ephesus) beer co forbidden to have its logon the favorite basketball team.  "Anyone opposing this law is one of the two lushes."  

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:  Thomas Goltz, author, Chechen Diary, in re: Turkish protests.   . . . This is a fulcrum moment: these two weeks will be remembered in Turkish political history till the end of time. 

Hour Four

Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Eli Lake, senior national security correspondent, Newsweek/Daily Beast, in re: NSA, Edward Snowden.


 Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Bret Stephens, WSJ, in re: Burma & Istanbul conflicts.


 Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: John Bolton, AEI, in re: ICC/Libya.   The ICC demands that Libya be forbidden to try its own citizen, Saif Gaddafi, and instead have him transferred to the ICC- which has not formal jurisdiction anywhere on Earth.  ICC seeks to establish sovereignty over nation-states.


 Wednesday  12 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Brian Womack, Bloomberg News, in re: FB GOOG/NSA   Google, Facebook Seek to Disclose Security Request Data   Google Inc. (GOOG)Facebook Inc. (FB) and other companies are asking the U.S. government for more leeway in disclosing information about national-security data requests, seeking to reassure customers that authorities don’t have unfettered access to users’ personal details. David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, according to a blog post yesterday. The letter asked for permission to report aggregate numbers of national-security requests.