The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Air Date: 
June 21, 2017

Co-hosts: Gordon Chang, and David Livingston, The Space Show
Hour One
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block A:  Lee Sung-Yoon, professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, in re:  Otto Warmbier.   North Korea sexually tortured the American student Otto Warmbier. “This was premeditated”—the death of Otto Warmbier was second-degree murder. North Korea uses hostages as pawns. In Malaysia, they went so far as to murder Kim Jong-nam. The US has to pressure North Korea and keep raising questions. Although China is DPRK’s biggest supporter, they’re being somewhat more pressured to speak up on North Korea. Trump has been giving China another chance. North Korea has learned that holding hostages has been effective; “the incentive is there.” 
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Steve Yates, former chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney; currently international business and politics professor at Boise State University, in re:   Note Pres Trump’s 11 April tweet: “If China doesn't solve the North Korea problem, the US will do so alone.”  At Mar-a-Lago, Trump told Xi that he had a hundred days to get this working; that’d be until 16 July.  Otto Warmbier’s death may have changed the timetable.  Not a lot of great near-term option; onerous banking sanctions may be the [wisest].  . . . Bad actors get the full focus of top leaders.  This most often leads to negotiations and the bad actor gets rewarded in some fashion. Kim Jong-eun is moving farther and faster than did his predecessors.
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Josh Rogin, Washington Post, in re: India’s new ambassador.  Kenneth Juster, worked for Eagleburger in the W Bush Administration, was at White & Case; has been in Washington for decades.  Deeply status quo establishment. (Consider McMaster, Mattis, Nikki Haley, et al. Some agree with Brookings, some with Heritage; some hope both those will go away.) The untouchables – Bannon, et al. – see Juster’s departure for India as a triumph for them, as there’s one fewer globalist in the White House.  Since January has been a senior advisor to Gary Cohn; was advocating for more traditional trade and economic policies.  Has basically been kicked out of the White House and into the ambassadorship to India – which is excellent.  Good that we have an ambassador to the world’s most populous democracy. However, we seem to have no overarching policy for India or the region. New Delhi holds that the most important issue on the plate with Washington is: Trump Adm relations with China.  However,  the first thing to do is establish amiable relations.
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Kenneth I. Juster is the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in the United States Government.
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to the United States; in re: Amb Suleymanov agreed to welcome Jim Jefferies of Comedy Central* to the embassy In Washington. Jefferies wanted to talk to Azerbaijan because he understood the geopolitical centrality of the country.
-       Azerbaijan enjoys good relations with Georgia and all the South Caucasus except Armenia, although Azerbaijan wants to have friendly relations with Armenia.
-       Gen Dunford [Joseph Francis Dunford Jr, US Marine Corps general; 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] was in Baku earlier this year; testified before the House on the Northern Distribution Network of material to Afghanistan, which has been operating since 2001.  Excellent relations with US Transcom. Also Silk Road Airline. About 40% of NDN traffic goes via Azerbaijan, which is well situated for multimodal transport (air, sea, land). 
-       Russia and US chose Baku for meeting on a neutral site. It's noteworthy that the Russian military trusted Pres Aliev and the country for this purpose.   
-       Azerbaijan receives man different meetings, games, expositions, and intends to increase that in the future. 
South Caucasus: a bridge to a successful Middle Eastern peace?
* ”The Jim Jefferies Show is here to shake up the humdrum formula of the political late-night show. Jim tackles the news of the day with candor, piercing insight and a uniquely Aussie viewpoint.”
Hour Two
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:  Su Mi Terry, managing director at Bower Group Asia, formerly CIA senior analyst on Korean issues, in re: Otto Warmbier.  Trump will meet with Moon Jae-in, who wants a peaceful solution to defuse North Korea. At this stage, Moon simply wants a successful meeting with Trump; however, they have fundamentally different agendas. With Warmbier’s death, the meeting will be even more challenging. 
South Korea will make its NK policies independent of the US. This may seem as though it does not want the powerful THAAD missile system to which the US may allow access. It almost seems as though there’s no way for Moon to win this. South Korea has many things to juggle—especially since Moon’s reputation as a new president is also on the line. Park had a good relationship with the US administration—RoK has had almost ten years of good relations. Concerns for future relations between the two.  RoK needs a sign that the government is willing to work with the US on directly pressuring DPRK, such as a nuclear test or taking back the three captives held in NK. 
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block B:  Cleo Paskal, visiting Trudeau Fellow, University of Montreal; Chatham House assoc Fellow; John Batchelor Show guide to Oceania;  in re:  The many islands constituting the Third Island Chain constituting the Third Island Chain – the staging ground fro China to the Americas (Giberts, Solomons); Chinese see that and want to militarize the whole area. Cover one-sixth of the Earth’s surface. At the end of the Cold War when Britain and the US pulled out, it was all viewed as an economic zone.  Note eight of the island countries are [obliged] to sign an agreement . . .  Pacific Trade Agreement; Pulau, Marshalls, FSM.  Washington is starting to realize that something much bigger is going on here. India does not ant to set up a base; China does.  Atoll that has a military-grade runway for an aquaculture project. India’s engagement: an attempt to meet China in another area? Yes, and block space a bit so there’s not just a vacuum for China to flow across the Pacific to the Americas. The Islands do yes, see what’s going on.  The US tends to turn to/outsource to Aussie and NZ think tanks for analysis. Tonga just set up its own think tank [Royal Oceania Institute] in order to get its information out to the world.  See:
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Richard Fontaine, president, Center for a New American Security (CNAS); in re:  “Networking Asian Security.” Historically, hub and spokes with US as centerpiece, which grew episodically over the years and kept nations separate largely because of suspicions among themselves.  Instead, we argue in favor of deepening the current networking among Japan, Korea, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, et al.
Japan to deal directly with Australia; we need to make this a more deliberate American policy and we need to foster these linkages.  Wide concern about China’s aggressions; countries want closer relations among themselves with intell sharing, trade, etc. 
North Korea is the thing that doesn’t fit in here.  China will not solve the problem for the US.  Moon Jae-in.  South Korea-Japan squabbles need to be intermediated, probably by US.  Matters of Korean comfort women and other outstanding issues. 
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Omar Al-Ubaydli, Mercatus Center, Senior Affiliated Scholar; Bahrain Center for Strategic, Intl, & Energy Studies senior Fellow; & George Mason University affiliated assoc prof of economics; in re: Mohammed bin Salman promoted to be dauphin, the new Saudi crown prince. Has the potential to be king well into the Twenty-first Century.  His appointment is not really a surprise in the Arabian peninsula; observers expected it.  Saudi Vision 2020: Saudi dependence on oil revenues, which enter the govt coffers and are distributed via public sector employment and govt projects. Falling oil prices scotch that; now, an effort to restructure the economy to more private-sector employment and entrepreneurship.  Until now discouraged intl investment, but that’s changed to a regulatory framework that entices investors; also, Visio 2020 will generate a stabler economy, no more swings based on oil prices.  Resistance to date has been from the public sector and its fiefdoms.  It’s hard to measure productivity in the public sector, and thus easy for entrenched interests to defend their position without normal capitalist reviews. Those used to cushy jobs. low hours, high salaries, are unhappy, whereas recent graduates are excited.
Yemen: Saudis and Iran, inter al., are fighting using surrogates.  Mohammed bin Salman was in charge of the Yemen conflict, so probably no changes here.  Diplomatic embargo of Qatar:  the antagonism has been in place for years. Relations with Israel? Too early to say but, overall, Saudi will be a much more open country under the younger crown prince.  Will offer the Saudi analogue to Green Cards, much greater participation by women in the workforce; eventually also in foreign policy.
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King Salman of Saudi Arabia promoted his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, to be next in line to the throne on Wednesday, further empowering a young and ambitious leader who has upended the ruling family at a time of deep Saudi involvement in conflicts across the Middle East.  The king’s decision to remove the previous crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, capped two and a half years of dramatic changes that have erased decades of royal custom and reordered the power structure inside the kingdom, a close American ally.
Hour Three
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, in re:  Russiagate and the special elections.  Thaddeus is tasked with watching Russiagate move around in the bushes. The attribution of malfeasance by the Democrats to the Trump Adm—collusion, sabotaging, and everything in between—was supposed to have paid off last night with a win in Georgia-6. 
All politics is local because people measure their happiness by conditions at hearth and home. The more you speak of Putin and the less of prosperity, the more voters tune you out. 
DHS  has evidence of Russia meddling last autumn??  Any evidence?  Why would Russians try to undo Hillary Clinton?  Need a lot more information.  “Going after voter registration data base.” 
Pathfinder Schiff and ___ meeting with Mr Mueller, who’s chasing something that so far doesn't exist. No evidence; is that why they’re not leaking? Hired fourteen attorneys; a criminal investigation? A counterintelligence investigation? 
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block B:  Salena Zito, CNN, New York Post, Washington Examiner, in re:  GA-6, Ms Handel.   PA. MI: WI: it's still 11:55 PM on Nov 8, 2016, in this country; nothing has changed: pro-Trumpits are excited and rather amazed; anti-Trumpits are still dismayed and incredulous. Voters understand that Trump is working on tax reform and revised healthcare; as long as he’s doing something, his supporters will consider him successful by his supporters.
Citizens who voted for Obama twice then shifted to Donald Trump:  knew that the Washington establishment would be deeply dissatisfied, so are not surprised to keep hearing about Russiagate and other problems.  Percentage ratings from the Coasts are not good indices; better to measure sentiments in Ashtabula or central Georgia.
Note that GOP lost all six special elections in early 2010 then went on to crush the Democrats in the fall. Gossip that the Democrats can't win with Pelosi in charge of them in the House, but she’s a powerhouse money-raiser and irreplaceable in that respect.
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:  Monica Crowley, senior Fellow at London Center for Policy Research, in re:  Special elections in GA-6 (Atlanta suburb) & SC-5; also Montana & ___.   Mr Ossoff loses in Georgia: “As darkness has crept across the planet, you’ve been a beacon of hope.”  . . .  The traditional political calculus no longer applies.  Completely new dynamic.  From the advent of Barack Obama in 2007 I’ve been saying that he’s fundamentally changed the Democratic Party, now it's the far left.  New Yorker piece encourages future Dem candidates to be more like Kamala Harris Bill DeBlasio, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren.   This is not were most people are in the US; although it raises money from rich donors. What beat Ossoff last night was the Trump agenda, which in fact is moving forward.
Democrats say that what went wrong was Nancy Pelosi (who has a 91% disapproval rating in GA-6).  If she’s jettisoned, she’d be the second senior female figure rejected by the Democrats, the first having been Mrs Clinton. Anti-Trump plays well in Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the vast majority of Americans aren’t interested in that. If they replace her, they’ll bring in a farther-left person. However, absent a real message, that won’t win. Sen Murphy of Connecticut says that what went wrong is that we don’t have a message, we have only No Trump—which is not an agenda. 
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Hotel Mars, episode n. David Livingston, The Space Show; and Linda Spilker, Cassini Project Scientist, in re: Cassini has a dish antenna; Linda talks about the recent discoveries concerning the rings around Saturn, previously unknown moons found by the spacecraft, and Cassini’s final orbits around Saturn.
The Cassini spacecraft uses a laser spectrometer to collect data on nearby particles. Although recently-found particles could potentially damage Cassini, Linda remains optimistic, especially about the also-recently-found moons around Saturn. One of the most dramatic discoveries has been finding active geysers instead of the hard ice that her team had expected on the moon Enceladus. Beneath the crust of ice surrounding the moon, they discovered a global ocean.
Significant findings have been made on Saturn’s Ring A and Ring B. The team has discovered that almost 99 percent of these enormous rings is composed of water and ice. Linda mentioned her excitement to see Cassini’s use of dust analyzer technology in the upcoming weeks to analyze precisely the other components of the rings. Suspicion that they may include organics and silica.
Furthermore, infrared studies have shown that the outside edges of the rings are “more like fluffy snowballs.” The molecules that make up the rings often clump together, and create big particles that make “propellers,” spinning formations that rotate quickly while flying around Saturn. Linda is determined to learn more on how the propellers develop and how they affect Saturn’s rings.
Finally, on orbit No. 293—the last one—Cassini will fly by near Titan and take data of Saturn’s atmosphere. Cassini will then vaporize because of the density of the atmosphere, and become part of Saturn, collecting and sending us data until its last seconds.
Hour Four
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block A:  Andrew RobertsNapoleon: A Life (part VII of VIII)
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Andrew RobertsNapoleon: A Life (part VII of VIII)
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block C:  Peter Snow, When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington
Wednesday 21 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block D:  Peter Snow, When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington