The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Air Date: 
August 28, 2013

Photo, above: The Hindu shows a signpost at the India-China border in Bumla, Arunachal Pradesh.


Co-hosts: Gordon Chang,, and Dr. David M. Livingston, The Space Show.

Hour One

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 1, Block A: John Lee, Michael Hintze Fellow for Energy Security at the University of Sydney, in re: Australia's mining boom rolls on for Chinese entrepreneur in the outback  A former Chinese commodities trader Jerry Ren, who is quietly building a mining empire in the Australian outback, scoffs at talk the resources boom is over. For him its just moved north. As some mining firms clock up billions of dollars in losses, Ren has secured millions of acres of exploration rights in Australia's most remote regions that could soon make him a billionaire, helped by his connections in the world's biggest consumer of minerals China.  Ren, now an Australian resident, has already been dubbed the "$900-million-dollar-man" for his estimated net worth.  "There's still plenty of money and opportunity in Australia if you know where to look," says Ren, the son of a steel mill engineer who . . .   [more]

        In theory, Australian economy will recover . . . in fact, a lot of headwinds for Aussie mfrg.  Dutch disease: how to manage a post-commodities boom. Is Jerry Ren welcome? He brings in a lot of capital to open new mines; he has to talk it up a lot in order to attract funding; however, the timing as all wrong. Darwin, in Northern Territory (pop: 125,000 ) has very poor infrastructure; getting rights to mine is easy, but getting the funds to build ports and mines  is e hard part.  Where does Mr Ren find his capital?  Currently huge funds flights out of China – people show up with millions in cash. Election 7 Sept; the last two were during he boom; this time, it's under managing a correction. Right now, looks as though the conservative candidate will win: Tony Abbott, Liberal.

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 1, Block B: Kelley Currie, Senior Fellow with the Project 2049 Institute, in re: Aung San Suu Kyi, now elected, travels the world and is celebrated.  However, there's trouble:  "ethnic cleansing" in Kanbalu and elsewhere, vs all Chinese Muslims, not really the Rohingya right now. Violent and alarming.  Many Burmese people understand that this is dangerous for the future of the nation, esp the women's organizations. Who makes money on these attacks?  Buddhist monasteries and leaders who've led the 9-6-9 movement (basically fascistic thugs, who, inter al., prevent Buddhist women from marrying non-Buddhist men), the ideological basis , gets money from alms and donations.  Are cronies from the old regime angered at the transition to democracy?  Tis wd have been nipped in the bud ore swiftly by the mil govt – not wanting to lose control – but current govt is weaker. Note that Buddhist karma holds one responsible for the results of actions one puts in motion – the leaders are trying to distance themselves from the violence while keeping the hatred roiled.

Burma violence: Rioters burn Muslim homes and shops Rioters have burnt Muslim-owned houses and shops in an outbreak of apparent sectarian violence in Burma (also known as Myanmar).   The trouble broke out overnight around the central town of Kanbalu, when police refused to hand over a Muslim man accused of raping a Buddhist woman.  It is the latest in a series of attacks on the Muslim community that police have failed to control.  The state government has sent reinforcements to the area. The violence is a stark reminder of how much anti-Muslim sentiment there is in Myanmar and how little the authorities are doing to contain it, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok.  Earlier this week, a car carrying UN human rights rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana was attacked by a crowd in the central town of Meiktila as he tried to investigate sectarian attacks there in March.  He has accused the country's government of failing to protect him when his convoy came under attack as some 200 people surrounded his car, punching the doors and windows.  [more]

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 1, Block C:  David M. Livingston, The Space Show, and Mark N Sirangelo, SNC's Space Systems/Sierra Nevada Space Systems, in re: low-Earth orbit – launch vehicle and shuttle transport; a "mini-me shuttle."  Dreamchaser. Orbital space tourism.  Bring America's space program out to America. Launch system: Atlas 5, out of Florida; Atlas has successfully flown in 35+ missions.  United Launch Alliance.  Russian news articles: thinkining of banning the RD180 engine for political purposes.  We designed it rocket-agnostic.  First learn how to land, then work backwards to take-off. Optionally piloted vehicle  (OPV) – autonomous or human-directed. Captive carry: lift it from ground, carry it under helicopter, then  . . .   In the next month or two will start flight tests, then go higher and faster; then through MACH barrier to hypersonic, and then suborbital, flight. The first orbital test (unmanned, then later with pilot).  . . . 


The Dream Chaser is a crewed suborbital and orbital vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing (VTHL) lifting-body spaceplane being developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems. The Dream Chaser design is planned to carry up to seven people to and from low earth orbit. The vehicle would launch vertically on an Atlas V and land horizontally on conventional runways.

SNC's Space Systems produces satellites, space transportation vehicles, propulsion systems and space sub-systems.  Mark Sirangelo was chairman & CEO of SpaceDev prior to its merger with SNC.

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 1, Block D: Bret Stephens, WSJ GLOBAL VIEW, in re: Target Assad

Hour Two

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 2, Block A:  Christian Whiton, principal of D.C. International Advisory, author of Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War, in re:  China and Syria.   . . .  Syria has not signed the chemical weapons convention. Pres Obama speaking of "norms and decency" – sounds same as Bush Administration.  The barely-hidden hand of Iran via Hezbollah; gone on for a long time; Tomahawks, etc., do not address the larger problems in the Middle East.   Iran + North Korea + China.  In 2007 DPRK was caught red-handed bldg a nuclear plant for Syria – which the Israelis blew up, thank Heaven.  No nation is talking about the critical connections.  Bush: "We're fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here."  Wouldn't it be better if the [pugilist] countries felt a little bit worried?  Just toppling Assad doesn't solve it; there are still secular fighters in Syria, could prevail if they –not al Nusrah and the like – were supplied and aided.  US needs to question the legitimacy of the Iranian regime.

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 2, Block B:  Maura Moynihan, journalist and researcher who's worked for many years with Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal, in re: China intends to dislodge Tibetans and pursue them to the ends of the Earth. After China invaded Tibet, an uprising till 1962; China declared victory, Tibet put behind the Bamboo Curtain; China developed a military-industrial complex to subjugate Tibet. War of religious persecution waged vs the Buddhist faith.  Tibetan Buddhism has now become a world religion.  "Chinese came first with smiles, next with gold, next with guns."   China enters all proximate Buddhist countries, is in a war to crush and extirpate Buddhism. India is a great big messy democracy, is not a military imperialist country, which China is.  Genghis Khan: "He who controls Tibet controls the world" – as well as the headwaters of rivers that feed a billion people.  The Indian people are very much on the side of Tibetan people; but China has appeasers in Delhi. "Core interest" is Chinese Communist Party talk for: You lose.

Conquering Tibet’s Five Fingers  (Ladakh, Bhutan, Nepal, Arunachal Pradesh, Kashmir)

 China seeks to dominate south Asia while ending Tibetan resistance. In recent months, there has been extensive press coverage of Chinese military maneuvers in the South China Sea, targeting Japan and the Philippines. However, the world media has largely ignored what China is doing on its western front. Since April 2013, the People Liberation’s Army (PLA) has made several incursions into India and Bhutan, setting up military encampments, hoisting the Chinese flag, and interfering with Indian patrols. While these incidents may appear to be small skirmishes, they are part of a larger pattern of Chinese military expansion into South Asia that began six decades ago, when Chairman Mao annexed Tibet. The elemental facts about Tibet are not widely known, but any map reveals the enormous resources and strategic advantage gained by its capture. Tibet gives China a continuous border with Burma, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Kashmir, access to Asia’s largest mineral deposits, and control of the headwaters of Asia’s great rivers. These rivers flow from the Tibetan Plateau through 11 nations, sustaining 3 billion people from Peshawar to Beijing. In the coming water wars, China has a firm grip on the water tower of Asia. 

Chairman Mao in Nepal / In 1950, Mao invaded Xinjiang, and in 1951, he invaded Tibet, doubling the size of the People’s Republic of China. Mao imposed “democratic reforms” throughout Tibet, seizing property and subjecting thousands of people to “thamzing,” or “struggle sessions,” wherein victims were publicly tortured and murdered. [more]

From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood 

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 2, Block C:   Abheek Bhattacharya, WSJ Heard on the Street, in re: "Emerging stocks, emerging problems"   Mantra; "Decoupled" – esp from the US; but all Bernanke  ahs to do is hint he'll cut back and panic abounds. There never was a decoupling.  . . .  If I'm a foreign investor in New York, pulling my money out of Indian stock, am thereby selling rupees.  Bonds collapse, then currency, then stocks.  . . .   China has currency controls; Beijing 24 hrs ago issued warnings to Bernanke not to taper!  Does Beijing get a vote in the Fed?  It’s been lecturing the US for while, trying to get the ren min bi as the world's reserve currency .   Rupee is protected by India's 280 billion in forex reserves; not bad. 

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 2, Block D:  Joseph Sternberg, WSJ Asia editorial board, in re: . . . If you apply Western standards to Chinese banks, you find a problem too big for China to deal with.  . . .  Bad loans on books constitute a much higher proportion than the govt cares to admit. AMCs – old bad loans - on the books.   Chinese govt did not want to acknowledge the losses from the 1998 mess; problems never went away. Every debt that the Chinese govt holds decreases the ability of the central govt to deal with the new bad debt. Layers. Beijing 24 hrs ago issued warnings to Bernanke not to taper!  Chinese system just abt reaching the limits of the possible.  Don’t have the capacity to create the foundation for needed growth.

Hour Three

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 3, Block A:   Neha Thirani Bagri, NYT, in r:   Two More Arrests Made in Gang Rape in India The five suspects are accused of assaulting a 22-year-old photojournalist on assignment for an English-language magazine.


 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 3, Block B:  Aaron Klein, author and WABC radio, in re:

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 3, Block C:  Amos Guiora, University of Utah, in re: the responsibilities of sovereign states toward populations being brutalized by a sovereign government: Humanitarian Intervention and Sovereignty Under the Umbrella of Geo-Politics.

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 3, Block D: Kori Schake, Hoover, in re: 

Hour Four

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 4, Block A: The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia by Gregory Johnsen (1 of 4) While U.S. foreign policy focuses on Iraq and Afghanistan, Yemen presents a mounting threat as al-Qaeda grows in strength and influence in the remote regions of the Arab world. Johnsen, an expert on Yemen, draws on al-Qaeda battle notes to deliver a detailed analysis of how a nation that had been a success story in the U.S. effort to defeat al-Qaeda and stabilize the region has been the site for resurgence instead. He examines the historical factors that have contributed to the buildup of al-Qaeda in Yemen as young men were recruited by the government, Yemeni tribes, and mosques in a concerted effort to turn the war in Afghanistan into a broader jihad. Johnsen explores the motivations of major figures, including tribal loyalties, old rivalries, new oil revenue, and geopolitics. Most compelling are the details of recruitment and training of young men vulnerable to appeals to righteousness and adventure as they are drawn into the training campuses and safe houses, where terrorists plot their attacks on the U.S. and its allies. Gripping and insightful. --Vanessa Bush

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 4, Block B: The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia by Gregory Johnsen (2 of 4) The Last Refuge is an authoritative and deftly written account of al-Qaeda’s Yemeni incarnation. The book is dense with terrorist genealogies, but it also offers a lively portrait of the American government’s stumbling efforts to understand and influence a profoundly alien culture. His account, starting in the 1980s, implicitly places Yemen near the center of the global jihadi movement; it may not be where al-Qaeda started, but it has always furnished many of the movement’s foot soldiers, and it has now succeeded Afghanistan as the US government’s most urgent concern about counterterrorism.” (Robert R. Worth - The New York Review of Books)

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 4, Block C: The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia by Gregory Johnsen (3 of 4) “Gregory Johnsen has written a break-through book on one of the most under-reported and misunderstood stories of the post 9-11 era. Penned in gripping prose and with incredible attention to detail, The Last Refuge unfolds with the pace of an action novel. But this story is all too true. If we ignore the widening covert war in Yemen and fail to learn from its complicated history, we do so at our own peril. Years from now, Johnsen will be seen as one of the few who got it right.” (Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army )

 Wednesday  28 August  2013 Hour 4, Block D: The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia by Gregory Johnsen (4 of 4)


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Hour 1: The Expendables, The Day the Earth Stood Still

Hour 2: Dark Knight Rises, Shaolin, Passage to India 

Hour 3: Game of Thrones, Bourne Legacy

Hour 4: Gears of War 2