The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Air Date: 
August 14, 2013


Photo, above: On Aug. 9, the Japanese Ministry of Defense held a naming ceremony for the Izumo, the latest ship to join the Maritime Self-Defense Forces. Officially a “helicopter carrier-type escort/destroyer,” Izumo was built at the Japan Marine United shipyards at Yokohama. Although publicly touted as an anti-submarine warfare platform, the ship is capable of filling a critical role in the defense of disputed Japanese territory. The launch has been reported with alarm in East Asia as resurgent territorial claims—exacerbated by nationalism and longstanding historical differences—have generated regional tension not seen for decades.

     The appearance of the Izumo has triggered a negative reaction throughout East Asia, in a time when territorial squabbling has heightened historical tensions. It is perhaps no surprise that the even the name Izumo itself has historical baggage: the original Izumo, an armored cruiser that participated in the Battle of Tsushima, was purchased with reparations from the first Sino-Japanese War. There is little doubt all parties, particularly the Chinese, are aware of the lineage. The Izumo-class of helicopter destroyers, of which there will be two, represents an evolutionary growth over the previous Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers. The ships measure 800 feet in length with a beam of 124 feet and a displacement of 19,500 tons. he ship will have a crew of approximately 470. The flight deck and hangar are designed to accommodate up to 14 helicopters, including two CH-47 Chinooks. The flight deck is sufficiently large to allow simultaneous flight operations by up to five helicopters.

     The Izumo is being touted by the JMSDF as a multi-purpose vessel. The primary stated mission is anti-submarine warfare, with the ship embarking multiple H-60 helicopters. The JMSDF also has stated that the ship would be useful in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, serving as a floating airfield for the refueling of search-and-rescue helicopters. During the 11 March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the USS Ronald Reagan served a similar role. To support such a role, Izumo has a 35-bed hospital, complete with a surgical suite and has accommodations for up to 450 passengers.



Hour One

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 1, Block A: Toshi Yoshihara, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Naval War College and co-author of Red Star Over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy, in re:  Chinese behavior growing more aggressive.  In Yokohama: Japan building a light carrier, Izumo, for $1.5 bil – designed to carry out anti-submarine ops vs China.  Called a "helicopter destroyer."  Arms race has been growing over a decade – marine, surface, air.  Japanese trying to keep u p with China. Japan might bld smaller platforms to host helicopters, more of them and thus more survivable.  "Anti-access, area-denying" craft from China.  On thihe large platform, it'll be in China's crosshairs and be a sitting duck. Chinese raft entered and stayed in local waters for an unprecedentedly long time in reaction to the unveiling.  Japan needs to stay out of the arm race – requires enormous resources, more than Japan has. Money shd have substantially expanded Japanese anti-sub fleet.

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 1, Block B: Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania.  He just returned from Russia and will talk about signs of progress in Russian society. "I was a student of Russian language and politics log ago; lived in Leningrad and came to know it well; today, Leninism is gone with the wind, with  the morning dew.  Most amazing is that Tsar Nicolas II and his wife, Alexandra, murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918, with five children are now officially Orthodox saints!  Had I guessed this thirty years ago, they would have sent me to student counseling. There are a few statues of Lenin here and there but look out of place.  They've already planted fir trees to shield the wall of the Kreml that faces Red Square.  John Reed will  be taken out of he wall and reburied in a cemetery.  He was paid $10,000 to write Ten Days that Shook the World.  If Tsar Nic Like China, it was designed to be un-overthrowable – troops, internal police, surveillance, everything – yet within two years, it all evaporated.  Encourages me to think a bit more optimistically about China.  All these tyrannies look permanent – but all of a sudden over a few days he Soviet Union ends. These regimes are weak, being rotten on the inside. Dysfunctional, suppressive; the changes are on their way.  In the fate of the USSR we have proof that a hardwired totalitarian system can disappear. 

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 1, Block C: .Dr. David M. Livingston, The Space Show, and David Brain, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado,  & co-investigator for the MAVEN mission to Mars, in re: The Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), set to launch in 2013, will explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of volatile compounds, such as CO2, N2, and H2O, from the Mars atmosphere to space has played over time, giving insight into the history of Mars atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability. We see dried-up lakebeds, ocean beads, but the atmosphere is currently unable to support liquid water, so we infer that it’s changed.  Collect and identify particles in the upper atmosphere.  Habitability of the planet: was it habitable a few hundreds of millions or billions of years ago? Photographic evidence suggests yes.  Terraforming: changing a planet so it’s more Earthlike. On Mars, need more greenhouse gasses to warm it up.  . . .  MAVEN is carrying a relay: can interact with rovers, which can send data back to Earth.

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 1, Block D: Perry Link, University of California, Riverside; also emeritus at Princeton; in re:  Twenty-one people drank pesticide on the street in Beijing as part of a mass suicide; nine have been released from hospital, news of the others is unavailable.   People who couldn’t find jobs; Harbin Railway Bureau had promised jobs to their children then reneged.  The Fifteenth Century reports on suicide: the public display will garner sympathy from bystanders and observers, will stand on the side of the aggrieved.

Traditionally in China (there are plenty of examples in literature, pre-modern and modern), suicide has been not only an escape but a way to protest--especially for people who are stuck and have no other way to protest. 

10 people taken to Beijing hospital after apparent mass suicide bid. Group dressed in T-shirts with characters for 'Harbin Railway Bureau' found on Beijing street. A group of at least 10 people drank pesticide on a street in Beijing in what appeared to be a suicide pact on Tuesday morning, but it was unclear whether anyone died, local media reported.  The incident occurred near the Beijing West Railway Station - a major transport hub in the capital - and some of the participants wore white T-shirts with red Chinese characters that said "Harbin Railway Bureau", the Beijing Youth Daily reported. A witness was quoted as saying people were spotted lying in the street, surrounded by vomit and tissues. "They didn't speak and it seemed like they might have been unconscious," the passer-by told the newspaper. The Beijing News reported online the group had been petitioning the China Railway Corporation prior to drinking the pesticide, but it was unclear what their concerns were. The report was later removed from the site.  Police cars and ambulances soon arrived at the scene, and the 10 were taken to two nearby hospitals, according to the Youth Daily. Their conditions were not known, and a staff member at Fuxing Hospital said only some patients had been admitted after taking pesticide.

          Photos posted online on Tuesday showed police officers guarding a triage room at Fuxing Hospital, and several people wearing the same white T-shirts were photographed sitting or lying on beds in a hospital corridor. A representative for the Harbin Railway Bureau in Heilongjiang province said he was unaware of the incident. Beijing's Public Security Bureau did not respond to an interview request. The incident occurred close to the headquarters of China Railway. The building formerly housed the Ministry of Railways, a once superministry that . . .  [more

       Chinese censors are now busy scrubbing references to the incident.  The CCP condemns suicide, and censors reports of suicide in the press and on the Internet, for two related reasons: 1) Suicide looks bad, because it shows that people are protesting governmental injustices; and 2) ordinary people know that if they threaten suicide in public, the threat can give them leverage over officials.  In censoring the Internet, Chinese tyranny orders people not to publicize suicide.  Those who were released from hospital will be interrogated in depth and perhaps charged with something.

Hour Two

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 2, Block A: Charles Burton, Associate Professor at Brock University, on this: Neil Haywood murdered; the killer is Bo Xiai's wife, Mme Gu Kailai, has been convicted. Bo was a member of the Politburo, Secretary in Chungching, hasn’t yet been tried (for his own malfeasance), showing dissent within the Party. Heywood's mother in England speaks up: no one as been in contact with us; the widow and children are penurious.   Bo is rated by Forbes as the tenth-richest in China [$10 bil? not clear]; the case refers to only $4mil and a French villa in Cannes and a house in Kent [?]. Disjunctive arithmetic.  Neil Heywood's widow isn't working, lives in a very expensive apt in Beijing, has children in expensive school; how can she do this? Bo Guagua, the son, is now in Columbia Law School. Who's paying for that?


The wife and the mother of Neil Heywood, the British businessman whose mysterious death in China set off the downfall of a senior Communist Party official last year, have pressed for compensation over what the Chinese authorities had determined was a murder, according to people with knowledge of the case.  . . . [more]

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 2, Block B: Nitin Gokhale, anchor and Security & Strategic Affairs Editor at New Delhi Television, in re:  Aircraft carrier INS Vikrant raises hackles in China. China needs to use the Indian Ocean to maintain contact with its energy sources, and is jealous of any potential challenge – here, an Indian-built carrier, just launched.   Three carrier strike groups for its navy, on e coming from Russia in December; this home-blt aircraft carrier – a major breakthough, being the only one of its kind in Asia. (China's comparable ship is Ukrainian.) next one will take another three years; a matter of great pride.  Next; disaster at the naval yard, explosions, skeleton crew on sub, sank. Something went wrong in its weapons chamber just past midnight Indian time. Sank in three meters of water.  Sixteen-yr-old sub, just returned from refitting in Russia, so nothing wrong in engine or weapons system. Took very long to salvage: first four hours, material actually melted, escape hatches closed; for half a kilometer in radius the water was boiling.    Divers had no space to manoeuver; all alarming and tragic. Russian standards and technology are under question – torpedo leaked? Material from the missiles?

The launch of INS Vikrant has raised hackles in China, with Chinese defence experts saying the aircraft carrier would have great significance for India as it would allow the Indian Navy to wade into the Pacific Ocean - which Beijing considers as its backyard. "This bears great significance to Indian Navy. It makes India only the fifth country after the US, Russia, Britain and France to have such capabilities," senior captain Zhang Junshe, vice-president of China's Naval Research Institute, told the state-run CCTV on Monday. 

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 2, Block C:  Michael Auslin. AEI, in re: A Primer on Japan for Caroline Kennedy President Obama's choice as ambassador may find herself dealing with a Beijing-Tokyo military confrontation. She's being thrown in the deep end right away – islands at the NE edge of Taiwan (Diaoyutai/Senkaku): strategic; militaries of Japan and China been at each other's throat for two years.  Threat to East Asian stability.  Caroline Kennedy can pick up a phone and call the president. Will he listen to her advice?  Political payback – she supported  him early on and gave him credibility against Hillary Clinton.  TPP - trade talks. Need innovative thoughts on how to encourage entrepreneurial endeavor.  Japan doesn’t have a durable growth strategy. Formerly was based on exports, but when exports cratered and earthquake occurred, economy tanked again. How do you stimulate domestic economy? How to innovative in a tight & competitive mkt? When her father was president, JFK appointed Edwin O Reischauer as ambassador, who was a phenomenal success. 

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 2, Block D:  Joseph Sternberg, WSJ Asia editorial board, in re: yuan ("easy to say")  and ren min bi ("a dance step"): Noel Quinn, HSBC, says "the yuan is not an intl currency but is convertible for trading." China was tired of using the dollar as the reserve currency, wanted domestic funds traded in ren min bi.  Capital flows still restricted; no-man's land where no one knows what's convertible.  "It’s hit high tide; one severe downturn will throw it all into spiral."   To make yuan a convertible currency, will take a few years. A century?

Hour Three

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 3, Block A: Jason Subler, Reuters bureau chief, Beijing, in re: China bans extravagant official galas to curb graft- China will ban officials from holding extravagant galas linked to official meetings that have hurt the image of the government, the latest move by President Xi Jinping to fight corruption, state media said on Tuesday. Of course, officials find ways to get around rules – some banquets literally held underground. The rule certainly will not root out corruption.  . . .  Rumors that Xi will go after a former security chef  name Chou. Graft is so rampant. Hsinhua yesterday said the probe into pharmaceutical would be widened; if they really cleaned up corruption in the country it'd be hundreds of billions. 


Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 3, Block B:  Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re: “400 US Missiles in Benghazi?” Poppycock!   Current Affairs    Is Mark Thompson the source of Joe di Genova's remarks? No! Senior State Dept official in charge of  . . .   The equivalent of the fire department; they weren't even called. Discovered something was going on and he hadn't been told – found that he'd been deliberately kept out of the loop. The piece in Breibart can be named as sloppy journalism.  The mystery of the annex.

A writer for Breitbart, AWR HAWKIN, came out yesterday with a stupid and misleading piece of hack journalism about USmissiles in Benghazi: On August 12, Joe DiGenova, attorney for one of the Benghazi whistleblowers, told Washington D.C.’s WMAL that one of the reasons people have remained tight-lipped about Benghazi is because 400 U.S. missiles were “diverted to Libya” and ended up being stolen and falling into “the hands of some very ugly people.” . . .  [more]

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 3, Block C:  Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Vice President Quits as Government Sets State of Emergency  Security forces launched a bloody crackdown on two sit-ins by supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, setting off waves of violence in the capital and across the country.

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 3, Block D:   Lee Smith, The Tablet & Hudson Institute, and Sam Tadros, Hudson Institute, in re: Middle East What’s Wrong With Egypt’s Liberals? For Starters, They’re Not Liberals.     Egyptian liberalism is at odds with itself. If some observers mistakenly predicted that the Twitter-friendly liberals who thronged Tahrir Square two and a half years ago would become the new face of Egypt, almost no one could have guessed that those same liberals would soon find themselves demonstrating in favor of military rule. Now American journalists, analysts, and Middle East experts all want to know what happened to a political movement whose ostensible goal was to overthrow an authoritarian leader in order to usher in a golden age of Egyptian democracy. “Five years ago, [Egypt’s young liberals] were the most promising movement in an Arab world dominated by strongmen like Mubarak,” Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post wrote last month. “Now the vast majority of them are cheering another general, coup leader Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.”

     Middle East experts, some of the same ones who in the wake of the Jan. 25, 2011, uprising promoted the liberal beliefs of Egyptian liberals and the “normalization of politics” in the post-Mubarak era are distressed, too. “The calls for revenge against the [Muslim Brotherhood] by some liberals makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck,” wrote Steven Cook, an Egypt expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.  On Capitol Hill, bafflement about Egyptian liberal behavior can be found on both sides of the aisle. Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are just back from a trip to Cairo, where they spoke hard truths to the Egyptians—calling Sissi’s unconstitutional removal and arrest of Egypt’s first elected President Mohamed Morsi by its right name—a military coup. In response, Egypt’s interim president called McCain “moronic,” while a prominent judge demanded McCain’s arrest, on the charges of “trying to destroy Egypt.” . . .  [more]

With Egypt’s army clearing protesters by force, scholar Samuel Tadros explains why his country’s modernizers support military rule [more]

Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity by Samuel Tadros

Hour Four

 Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 4, Block A: The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson (1 of 4)

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 4, Block B: The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson (2 of 4)

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 4, Block C: The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson (3 of 4)

Wednesday  14 August 2013/ Hour 4, Block D: The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson (4 of 4)


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