The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Air Date: 
August 16, 2017

Photo, left: 
Co-hosts: Gordon Chang, and David Livingston, The Space Show
Hour One
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block A:  Sung-Yoon Lee, professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University; just returned from South Korea in re:  what people in South Korea are saying about the North Korean crisis.  South Koreans -  unprepared, unperceiving, indifferent, and familiarity with the threat. Among Americans, patronizing and underestimating North Koreans. Nonetheless, this is a genuinely grave threat to the US.
The year 2017 has been a banner year for North Korea in its military progress; Its goal is to prevail over the South. It needs to be able to strike the USA in order to accomplish this.  If the Trump Adm folds and reverts to previous [State Dept] MO, that will lead to most regrettable events.
If Kim says, “I’ll fire only if you provoke me”; and then US and RoK have joint military exercises, Kim may say he’s provoked and let loose four missiles.  South K are inured o the threat and [constantly give in].  Pele in Washington are saying, “We can live with a nuclear North Korea” — but that’s inaccurate. The Blue House (Seoul) for the last hundred days has been about appeasement.  Expect missiles, or a cyberattack, or some such; appeasers in the US and RoK will say, “That’s because the US was too hard.”   Revert to “damage control” mode, and the danger will only grow.
Extortion, bullying,
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block B:  Stephen Yates, chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, CEO of D.C. International Advisory, and former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney— and candidate to be Lt-Gov of Idaho; in re:  The general trend of U.S.-China ties. On Mon, Pres Trump asked Rob Leitheiser: Should there be an investigation into Chinese IP theft?  Suddenly, the press sits up and notices. Chinese media finally notice that Pres Trump is [brings a new perspective].  China annually takes roughly $355 billion in IP from the US.  Trump has got to do something; he’s the first president at least to try. On substance, Pres Trump is taking on two of the most intractable issues: slow-rolling North Korea, and IP theft. Major US firms have gone out of business from this. In a  possible rade war, China is much more vulnerable than is the US, as its economy is fragile, US holds all the high cards but one: US has $309 bil deficit w China; our economy is $19 trillion theirs is $11 bil. Our economy is not geared to selling to China, whereas theirs is geared to selling to us. All we lack is political will. I hope the resident is willing to use American power to protect American interests and American businesses.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Sadanand Dhume, AEI, and Wall Street Journal; in re:  Chinese video mocking India, claiming that China is the true heir of Bhutan; derides Indians as foolish, clownish, insignificant.  China thereby shows itself to be extremely weak.  “The vid is funny – who’d think you'd make such a clownish and racist vid on such a serious issue?”  China thinks it can win, but India is not knuckling under at all.  “No, it's bitterly racist and Hsinhua [Xinhua] is distributing it.”  Parallel to what China did in South China Sea; taken by surprise as India says, “This territory is disputed between you and Bhutan and has major military consequences.”
Five years ago a Chinese proposal to break India into many pieces in order to advance its power. 
We spoke of how Modi’s natl security advisor was in Beijing to seek resolution, but this video accelerates the matter. Chinese have put themselves in a bind:  don't realize that by escalating nd putting it into the public domain, they’ve [in effect, hardened] stances.  Xi’s position is on the line; between now and the 19th Party Congress t his fall, he’s trying not to make a mistake, as his adversaries are waiting for him to slip.
Ladakh: Chinese troops armed with iron bars and rocks [hurl them at Indian troops].  Trying to bld pressure on another part of the border.  Note that in the first instance, in Bhutan, India controls the heights; China may be trying to create tension where it might possibly prevail.
The only way to deal with a bully is to face him down.
This is a dominant story in Indian media.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Paul Gregory, Hoover, in re:  . . . The Koreas.  The deal would be: recognition and changes in US troop levels; in return, to Kissinger’s variant: complete withdrawal of nuclear weapons from North Korea.  . . . North Korea is likely to cheat; we’d have to put all our eggs in the China basket (China wd be a major beneficiary).  We’re now reaching a point where China, itself, is at risk, should here be a nuclearized South Korea and Japan, and maybe even Taiwan.  China wd get a recognized northern regime that supposedly would not fall apart.
Hour Two
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:  Bruce Bechtol, professor at Angelo State University and author of North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era, on the latest on North Korea, in re:  Expect either a missile near Guam. or another missile, or even a nuclear test. We'll definitely see something like this as the US and South Korea carry out their annual joint  military exercise.
If they shoot a volley of four missiles to the area near Guam we'll have to fire from THAAD system; suppose we hit three out of four, then Norks can mocks. If we get four out of four, Norks can complain apt the Yankee imperialist.
Hwasong 14
In DPRK mil parade, missiles looked an awful lot like Chinese missiles.  DF-31 is MIRVed
Moon Jaye-in is loopy left.  Made imprudent statement. Also shows current govtl attitude: most anxious to engage with North Korea again but DPRK has been violently threatening.   In the South, the left is [conciliatory]; the right is deeply concerned. We can almost guarantee that North will do something terrifying during the winter Olympics. Nuclear test can come at any time, at all. They certainly want to squirrel Iranians in to observe the test.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block B:  Alan Tonelson, independent economic policy analyst who blogs at RealityChek and tweets at @AlanTonelson, on Trump's trade investigation, announced Monday, in re: We've been in an economic/trade war with China for a long time. Steve Bannon interview: pinprick proposals he focussed on - said to go ahead with a steel industry trade investigation, and aluminum industry investigation, and Section 301 that could take a year to complete.
If it were I, I would not do investigations because we know what's going on. . . . Divergency tariffs.
I like the emergency short-term trigger. Also a total ban o Chinese foreign an direct investment into the US; not because of semiconductor security concerns, but because no free-market American should want the Chinese to play in this market, or have a big economic footprint here.
True that Trump is unpredictable, but he’s accomplished remarkably little. I think we're approaching a tipping point, but some of those Senators have been rather hawkish on US-China trade, esp Sherrod Brown and even many Democrats in the House.  Evolving Washington consensus.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Josh Rogin,  Washington Post, in re: North Korean game.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block D:  Eli Lake, Bloomberg, in re: The Charlottesville killer is just like ISIS: alienated young man with a troubled family and abuse; and used the ISIS method.  Pres Trump’s speech.
Hour Three
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Lara M Brown, George Washington University, and Salena Zito, CNN, New  York Post, in re:  US political climate; Trump’s comments on Charlottesville.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block B:  Monica Crowley, London Center, in re:  Nazis. The Trump White House.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:  Lou Ann Hammond, DrivingtheNation,com, in re: Hydrogen vehicles.
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Lou Ann Hammond, DrivingtheNation,com, in re: Nissan workers in Mississippi reject UAW’s invitation to join the union. Eke Tesla workers, apparently.  UAW leadership having legal troubles anent embezzlement, inter al. 
Hour Four
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block A:   Sidney Blumenthal, A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809 – 1849
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Sidney Blumenthal, A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809 – 1849
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block C:  Ian W. Toll, The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944
Wednesday  16 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block D:  Ian W. Toll, The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944
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