The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Air Date: 
September 20, 2017

Co-hosts: Gordon Chang,; Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes.
Hour One
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block A:   Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, in re: A Soviet officer named Kim returned to northern Korea; at the same time, Syngman Rhee*, who’d heroically protected Koreans from the Japanese  returned to southern Korea.
*First and the last Head of State of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, and President of South Korea from 1948 to 1960.
In summer 1938 Hitler dvpd a plan to invade Czechoslovakia; the military got wind of this and many officials, incl throughout the govt, who gathered a consensus along all of them that was unacceptable and that if Hitler actually was to move troops, he’d have to be overthrown, Czechoslovakia was an independent mountain state with the mountain passes fortified, Further, it was an industrial nation and the famous munitions factory was there.
Then a Frenchman, Édouard Daladier, was afraid of conflict and of being overcome; decided that the could talk his way out , Ironically, as the coup grew toward fruition, Daladier and Chamberlain were determined to capitulate. This is a schoolbook example of allowing a threat to expand and then at the end of it running to make accommodations, We've been doing this since 1994, staring with a 50-step treaty so complex that it was clear it’d never be honored.  Hitler rolled in to  Czechoslovakia with the blessings of Daladier and Chamberlain.  When facing a man with a gun, the first thing you do is render it so no harm can be done, and only then do you discuss it.   China has no objection to DPRK’s having nukes; it can hit Japan, Russia, China, South Korea. How can you take their weapons away? That option is gone. Can we live with them? We have no other choice. Maybe, but the danger it does to Northeast Asian security is [overwhelming].  [Since 1953 a leading North Korean goal has been to break the alliance against it.]
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block B:   Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, in re:  . . It's  unlikely that DPRK can make a casus belli as it did years ago; were it to, we’d shoot, Kim can't climb down; where’s he going?  Great goal is to unite the peninsula (which had been since 1392 till it was divided by the Soviets)  They may a kind of blitzkrieg down to South Korea, threaten nukes, possibly nuke a small city, have Seoul acquiesce.  If  military response is in order, must not use US weapons. North Koreans are on a roll.  North Korea will be devastated, South Korea will be hit very hard; China will have to decide what its stake is. (Answer: China want to control at least North Korea.)  US long-term goal should be to try to pull DPRK away from China. Timeline: nine to fifteen months.  Disagree: your timeline is too far out.  Yes, we should talk some more but be sure every kind of munition is there and that we have a serious plan to defend South Korea.
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block C:  Sung-Yoon Lee, professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, in re: Seoul's and Pyongyang's reaction to Trump's UNGA speech. The speech was direct; he spoke of torture, killings, starvation in North Korea. The DPRK foreign minister, now in New York, sad it sounded like a dog barking – bluster against bluster. But Pres Trump could have done better by calling for everyone else to be on board in isolating DPRK financially.  In July 1993 Pres Clinton at the DMZ said, “If North Korea uses nukes, it'll be the end of its country as we know it.” 
Prof Lee: My scepticism is shaped by looking at the last decade – egregious murder by DPRK with no response from the US.   – blowing up a US plane (1969), laying a bomb for a visiting South Korean in Malaysia; et al. et al.   South Korean president Moon is to speak at the UN tomorrow.  It's really the US and Japan against North Korea; Pres Moon is much more closely aligned with China and Russia in defending North Korea.  His speech just now on the upcoming Olympics.  If North Koreans attend smiling and being sweet, that’ll make it much more difficult to gain international agreement – DPRK is astute at intl propaganda.  No overt evidence that Kim is in danger.  Km makes mistakes, such as killing his brother in public.  It's the missile tests that make people in Washington much more nervous than they've been since the end of the Korean war. Things will have to get much worse before [resolution.]  As both sides climb up the ladder of escalation, it becomes more tractive to [try to negotiate]. Abe in Japan: opportunity for him to have Japanese mil play a more active role in peacekeeping operations; are terrified of the emergence of a united anti-Japanese state on the peninsula. 
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block D:  Gordon Chang, in re: What is to be done about North Korea? Three obvious options:  1. Diplomacy/talk talk talk since G H Bush.  Five presidents and their secretaries of state.  2. Bribery (Clintons did that). Write a check.  Even speculation about the number. Will that satisfy? No, the Leap Day Deal failed and soured the Obama Adm Trump shows no interest. Reconstruct North Korea will  cost a lot; of South Korea, $5 trillion.  (A stimulus program for China.)  3.  Kim makes an error, such as shooting close to Guam.  In the first moments of a launch, if we think it’s heading anywhere close to the island we’ll probably try to shoot it down. If we succeeded, confrontation. Do we shoot at the Chinese-made missile launcher?  Probably not.  If he retaliated for US shooting down a missile, that would constitute a mistake. 
China is whining; why?  Two reasons: Trump’s “totally destroy DPRLK” and China sees a chance to make itself look all nice.  It's the resort of the powerless to whine.
A US confrontation with North Korea would show that China is unable to deal with its ally on its doorstep, and strengthen Japan.  . . .  Might become the first time since 1905 having a viable Korean state governing the peninsula.
Hour Two
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:  Stephen Yates, CEO of D.C. International Advisory, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, and candidate for the Republican nomination for lieu Lieutenant-Governor of Idaho, in re: Trump's UNGA speech and China's response. Here in Idaho – esp Kootenai County - we finally felt that we’d been represented by a plain-speaking, blunt, and accurate president. Much concern here over the North Korean tests and its misdeeds with impunity. Glad to hear the American president ask, “The UN was designed to deal with this sort of matter; what are you going to do about it?”  Also to say of Venezuela that the problem is not that socialism has been applied poorly, but that it's been applied exactly correctly.  He waited for applause; it did not come; he waited and waited till they applauded and he had enforced his will.
When Steve worked under Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: there were  very strong voices concerned about the proliferation risk.  “Is containment or deterrence possible? Can we wait for a collapse of the regime?”    The Iraq and Afghanistan pulled attention back and the option seemed too risky.  North Korean deal became a can-kicking exercise.  No bandwidth left.    Also, if China engaged in behavior in the Middle East cd make things much worse, so US entered a management mode.
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block B:  Gordon Chang, in re: What ifs?  Considering the unthinkable. If Kim moves badly, that’ll lead to the destruction of North Korea and its regime.
Plan A: South Korea will move north to stabilize the country, provide humanitarian services o keep refugees from flooding out.   South Korea and US de-mined three corridors southward. To prevent a mass exodus into South Korea, only move is to provide food and supplies. China’s primary interest is to secure paper: remove North Korea’s records of what China has done for decades.  Panic.
Right now, can imagine Chinese and South Korean armies moving into the same spaces at the same time since China has refused to discuss [what’s now called deconfliction].  If China moved to the 38th Parallel, Seoul would consider that entirely unacceptable because Seoul sees itself as the rightful heir of the Chinese generals would drive policy, not Xi Jinping.
In 1950, Mao wanted to back up in face of disaster; his generals initially insisted on no.
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Claudia Rosett, London center, in re: North Korea
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Michael Ledeen, Hoover, in re: Iran
Hour Three
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Monica Crowley, London Center for Policy Research, in re: Pres Trump’s leadership
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Lara M Brown, George Washington University, in re:  Republican methodologies
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:  Andrew C. McCarthy III is a columnist for National Review; served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; in re: Paul Manafort’s situation: a remarkably lucid retelling of events from 2012 till now and how we arrived here.  Many helpful details.
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Ken Croswell, astronomer & pedagogue; the New Scientist;  in re:  Big Bang and formation of the universe, as divined from a “pipsqueak galaxy” that’s forming enormous numbers of stars very rapidly. These stars are special because they’re hot; also oxygen-poor, which is important. Helium abundance at the time of the Big Bang. [This is an exciting segment.--ed.]
Hour Four
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Gregory R. Copley, International Strategic Studies Association,  in re:  Intl war between urbanists and nationalists – Russia (1990-91) Thailand Brexit Pres Trump. UN set up to [enforce] a Westphalian structure, but is making the switch smoothly and now it represents the urbanists (as does the EU): nation-state is dead, and city-states are the power. Globalism: borderless states, no responsibility. Mrs Clinton’s voters were urbanists.  Globally, 54.5% live in cities; in the US, 60+ %,  Founding  Fathers were nationalists and regionalists; believed in the rights of the land.  Tyranny of the marginal majority over the marginal minority is supposed to be accepted. “If that’s democracy, we don't want it.”  Urban people welcome this, prefer state-sponsored control over the uncertainty of liberty. 
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Gregory R. Copley, International Strategic Studies Association,  in re:   Brexit and EU disrupt the centralizing of power in the city-state.  However, the world population probably will peak at 9 million. In ten to twenty years, maybe 2025 or 2030, the population will decline. Baby boomers took us from 2.5 bil to 7 bil people today; this actually led to a decline in human reproduction rates. Now we’re below replacement levels.  Baby Boomers have lived longer and are starting to die off. Their heath is no longer extending.   Urban populations have created diseases at pandemic proportions, such as diabetes.   As more city apartments go empty, real estate values will decline – but real estate has been a primary economic engine. Ergo, downward economic spiral generally and overall, excluding pockets of wealth.  Australia will become one of the main beneficiaries of the coming demand for raw materials.  People will look to their history for a way forward; will find vertical  hierarchies (as opposed to the current, unsustainable, horizontal hierarchies) and return to monarchy, and great symbols such as the flag. 
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block C:  Nick Bunker, Empire on the Edge
Wednesday 20 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: Nick Bunker, Empire on the Edge