The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Air Date: 
August 02, 2017

Photo:  Murmuration of birds
See the brief video, with Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major
Co-hosts: Gordon Chang, and David Livingston, The Space Show
Hour One
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Charles Burton, professor at Brock University, in re:
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block B:  Stephen Yates, CEO of D.C. International Advisory, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, Idaho Republican Party chairman; currently running for Lieutenant Governor of Idaho in 2018; in re:
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block C:  Michael Auslin, Hoover, in re:
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block D:  Michael Auslin, Hoover, in re:
Hour Two
Wednesday  26 July 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, in re:
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block B:  Joshua Stanton, OneFreeKorea blog, in re:  Amazing failure of US administrations to enforce sanctions vs North Korea already on the books  Fear of offending China, plus gridlock among different factions each favoring different approaches.  See CNAS report.  . .  People like Ben Rhodes, who is not a deep thinker on foreign policy  . . .  failure to see  . . .  China intends to have a one country-two systems control over the entire Korean peninsula.  We can punish Norht Korea for slave labor: at the sanctions and at the economic levels.   Trafficking Victims protections Act, and freezing assets.
DiplomacySanctions Maximum pressure watch: North Korea, sanctions & diplomacy  The nature of human beings is to remember dramatic events longer than methodical processes, even when the methodical process may be of equal or greater importance. That may be why North Korea watchers remember the September 2005 action against Banco Delta Asia but tend to forget the greater part of the strategy that action served: sending Stuart Levey, Daniel Glaser, and other officials on a world tour to warn bankers and finance minister to cut their ties to Pyongyang or risk losing their access to the U.S. economy. It was not merely the stroke of one pen that brought Kim Jong-Il to the brink of insolvency; it was the stroke of a pen that put iron behind the velvet gloves that Levey and Glaser wore. 
For months now, I’ve been watching for signs that the Trump administration would deploy such a strategy against Kim Jong-Un. The good news is that the signs of such an effort are now unmistakable. The bad news is that this effort is proceeding too slowly to deliver the necessary results in time. 
Starting in May, the President asked the leaders of the PhilippinesIndia (see also) and Vietnam to step up their enforcement of North Korea sanctions and cut their economic ties to Pyongyang. More recently, Ambassador Joseph Yun visited Malaysia, Singapore, and Burma to ask those governments to do likewise. Both Singapore and Malaysia have been havens for North Korean money laundering. Burma has long hosted North Korean arms dealers and been involved in suspicious arms-related deals with North Korea, including some involving nuclear technology. Yun’s message to Burma was that it should not expect the U.S. to restore full diplomatic relations until those dealings end. 
Recently, the U.S. delivered a similar message to Sudan, another North Korean arms client. Otherwise, however, there is little evidence that the U.S. has pressured Namibia to shut down a North Korean arms factory, Angola to end its arms deals and use of slave labor, Egypt to expel its local KOMID representatives, or Tanzania to ensure that it cancels the registrations of North Korean ships.
Congress has also joined the effort by pressing Taiwan to cut its commercial ties in a provision of the new Taiwan Security Act. For an ostensible U.S. ally, Taiwan has been implicated in transferring sensitive technology to North Korea with disturbing frequency. For example, starting in 2009, the Treasury Department designated (and the U.N. Panel of Experts has repeatedly mentioned) a Taiwanese arms dealer and several of his companies for selling machine tools to North Korea. 
Last week, banking regulators in Latvia fined two banks for flunking their due diligence obligations to detect and prevent North Korean money laundering. Let’s hope that this is only the first of many similar moves by states to enforce the financial due diligence obligations found in paragraphs 11 through 16 of Resolution 2094, and in subsequent resolutions.
In 2016, while the Obama administration slept, South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yun Byung-Se, also went on tour and secured commitments from multiple states to reduce their economic ties with North Korea. It should not surprise us that since the election of Moon Jae-In filled the Blue House with advisors with histories of addlebrained appeasement or alarming, even violent, pro-North Korean activism, the pace of Seoul’s diplomacy has dropped off to almost nothing. I’ve found evidence of one effort by Seoul in sympathy with this campaign, when Moon had a telephone call with the UAE’s Crown Prince, although it’s far from clear whether he asked the UAE for anything specific, such as sending North Korean slave laborers home. Diplomatically, one can hardly say that Seoul is an ally at all anymore. It barely suffers the burden of accepting a subsidized defense from North Korean missiles, courtesy of American taxpayers.
Tokyo, by contrast, has coalesced with us in much a more valuable way, by joiningthe U.S. in the collective enforcement of sanctions designations against businesses that deal with Pyongyang, and against the Bank of Dandong. That strategy, which I’ve referred to as “progressive diplomacy,” and which involves coalescing with our friends first, and approaching our enemies only after they’ve been isolated, will greatly multiply the power of each designation. 
I’ve noted before that collectively, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea are China’s top three trading partners. I’ve sometimes wondered if that pressure would be even more effective if it took an analytical approach, akin to the Strategic Bombing Survey of World War II, that targets vulnerable or labor-intensive industries in cities such as Dandong and Dalian that trade with North Korea. There are some new tools in the KIMS Act that may be worth considering in the context of such a strategy. One that might be the most potentially devastating authorizes the President to target those cities’ ports.
If South Korea, Australia (see also), the U.K., and Europe were to join in this coalition, the diplomatic and financial pressure on Beijing and Pyongyang might be irresistible. Pyongyang sounds worried. For the long term, it should be. In the short term, however, promises by governments to enforce sanctions against North Korea sometimes mean less in practice than they do on paper, either because those governments backslide, or simply don’t understand what the sanctions require. It is helpful that the U.N. has finally published this summary of the sanctions. It would be more helpful if the U.N., the U.S., or the Financial Action Task Force would promulgate model legislation to ensure that states can easily enact legislation to enforce U.N. sanctions.
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But nothing would be more important in implementing the President’s new strategy than good management in the White House. One necessary step would be for the new Chief of Staff to seize control of the vetting and nominations for key cabinet posts from the political commissars and return that authority to the cabinet secretaries the President chose. Even a sound strategy will fail unless it’s executed competently. The diplomatic visits described in this post began in early May, and so far, the results they have produced are neither clear nor decisive. They have proceeded at too slow a pace to address a problem as urgent as this. 
You won’t find a more strident critic than me of the thinking that has predominated in the State Department, particularly with regard to North Korea. But it is one thing to criticize an agency’s culture and the policies it continued to support long after their failure was manifest. It is another thing to destroy the agency itself. Good diplomacy will be an essential element of “maximum pressure.” That requires not only better direction from the White House, it also requires good diplomats. 
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Alan Tonelson, Research Fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council Educational Foundation; in re:
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Tunku Varadarajan, Hoover, in re: India and China.
Hour Three
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Monica Crowley, London Center for Policy research, in re; Pres Trump.
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block B:  Lara M. Brown, director, Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University; in re: GOP
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:   Clifford D. May, FDD founder and president, in re:  MEMRI posted the entire sermon of  Imam Amar Shaheen at mosque next to UC Davis.  Imam Shaheen called for the total obliteration of all Jews [not of Israel; of Jews].  Major press groups did not report this; the conservative press did.  The imam couldn't understand why everyone was so upset. 
Eventually and under pressure, the imam decided to apologize. However, the LA Times wrote up an event long ago when a woman committed minor vandalism against him. [See Cliff May’s article.]  . . . .
 Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Anthony Ruggiero, FDD, in re: North Korea rents and sells citizens to do slave labor both domestically internationally[Under the USSR, one major locale was deep in the forest north of Chita, in Tinde.]
Hour Four
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Jim Robbins, The Wonder of Birds; in re: Murmurations of birds.  Thousands of birds fly in perfect unison, with no leader. Each bird is aware of the actions of the six or seven birds around him – faster than the eye would permit. What’s occurring?
Swarm intelligence. Metamind. 
Passenger pigeons.
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Jim Robbins, The Wonder of Birds; in re:   . . .  One of the hummingbirds weighs the same as two paperclips, yet flies against 70 mph winds, and from Washington State to Mexico.  Has 1200-plus heartbeats per minute.
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: Tim McGrath,  Give Me a Fast Ship
Wednesday  26 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: Tim McGrath,  Give Me a Fast Ship
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