The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Air Date: 
April 05, 2017

Photo, left: Mar-a-Lago site for Xi-Trump summit.
Co-hosts: Gordon Chang, & Daily Beast.  Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.
Hour One
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block A: Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, in re: the Trump-Xi summit.  How to help China quit sponsoring North Korean barbarism.
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block B:  Fraser Howie, co-author of Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise, in re: Trump-Xi summit from the trade angle and how the region looks at this. Help cure predatory Chinese behavior (North Korea, money laundering, et al.) by sanctions on selected Chinese banks?
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block C: Richard Fontaine, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), in re: China’s policies toward terrorism in various places.  Uyghurs. Why should China bother to send help to the international coalition already fighting IS? China wants better relations with Pakistan, Saudis, Israel Palestinians, Iran — oops; a difficult mixture.  China has pledged multiple billions to many countries for infrastructure; not clear that the funds will arrive (depends also on the condition of the Chinese economy). In Syria, for example, they present themselves as disinterested, but in fact support Assad. In Djibouti, China blds its first offshore military base (very near the US base there).  Upgrade widespread ports for commercial and eventually naval use.  In the UN. China stays in the Russian slipstream; in commercial diplomacy, more of a free-for-all. Want a balancing act of good ties with all countries.  So does everyone else.  Intractable conflict at some point will oblige China to take positions.
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block D:  Ethan Epstein, Weekly Standard, in re: South and North Korea.
Hour Two
Wednesday  5 April 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: the latest on North Korea. Missile tests – during Trump-Xi meeting at Mar-a-Lago?  Will Kim test a nuke during that meeting?
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block B:  Scott Harold, full political scientist and deputy director, Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at The Rand Corporation, in re: Trump-Xi summit from the perspective of Japan and South Korea.
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block C:  Michael Austin, AEI, in re: China.
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block D:  Pravin R. Jethwa, writer on defense and international security based in London, in re:   Secretary of State Rex Tillerson concluded his maiden visit to China on March 19 in cordial tones and warm handshakes.  Following his talks with President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese leaders on March 19, Tillerson said he placed "very high value” on communications and diplomacy between the United States and China. 
But whilst extolling the virtues of diplomacy between the two countries, Tillerson may also have missed a strategic opportunity to place Beijing on notice – namely, that America will no longer tolerate China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and, more generally, in the western Pacific. 
While America’s Far East policy is understandably preoccupied with countering North Korea’s serial nuclear and missile provocations against South Korea and Japan, it is China’s continuing push in the region that arguably poses a more serious and long-term risk to America’s Far Eastern alliances and geostrategic influence in the western Pacific.
What to do?
The Trump administration could consider the following steps: 
Establish deterrence: The administration should, first of all, jettison former President Obama’s policy of vacillation and wishful thinking in America’s policy against China’s encroachment and militarization of maritime and air spaces in the Far East and Western Pacific regions.
Secondly, the administration should craft and implement a clear, bold and bipartisan “Pacific Doctrine” which would stipulate the following:
Any attempt by an outside or a regional power to impede, block or jeopardize America’s freedom to navigate or overfly any of the maritime spaces in the western Pacific, at any time or anywhere, including the South China Sea, now or in the future, (a) will be resisted by force, and (b) that America will seek to impose an unmistakable military defeat on the aggressor to preserve and protect America’s access and alliances in the aforementioned regions.
A clearly articulated and nationally agreed doctrine along these lines would not only proclaim America’s purpose, but at an operational level, establish, for the first time, red-lines and explicit deterrence vis-à-vis the Chinese regime, much like the Truman doctrine of 1947 which laid the foundations for the historically successful containment policy against the Soviet Union.
Military strategy: The Obama administration’s belated and hesitating response to China’s militarization and island-building activities in the South China Sea was based on a few, largely toothless “freedom of navigation” operations (FONOPs) by U.S. Navy vessels.
Not only did China’s decision makers remain unimpressed by such antics, but also such weak signaling may have inadvertently misled Chinese generals and admirals into believing that America increasingly has neither the national will nor the wherewithal to counter China’s ascendant military might. The Chinese Navy’s brazen seizure of a U.S. naval drone in international waters off the coast of Philippines in December, which elicited no more than a muted diplomatic protest by the Obama administration, will have reaffirmed the Chinese general staff's calculations that it can safely continue to push, probe and embarrass the United States with impunity.
To dispel any such misperceptions or ideas about U.S. weakness in Chinese minds, the Trump administration should boldly consider forward deployments of U.S. naval and air forces (a) throughout the South China Sea and (b) in contested maritime and air spaces in the western Pacific. These deployments would be backed by explicit public warnings that any deliberate interference with, or unsafe maneuvering, near U.S. forces by Chinese ships or aircraft will draw American fire. This should, at a minimum, place China’s military leaders on firm notice that the days when America repeatedly turned the other cheek at Chinese bullying are firmly over.
Diplomacy: Engaging China through traditional diplomacy, however, must remain a constant in America’s foreign policy. Richard Nixon, before he became president, wrote presciently in Foreign Affairs in 1967 about the need to engage with China, warning that the world’s most populous country cornered in “angry isolation” posed a regional and global danger. “We simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its neighbors.”
A half-century has elapsed since Nixon offered his geopolitical vision. China is now an economic powerhouse, deeply engaged in the global economy and armed with nuclear weapons.
It remains a glaring and disturbing fact that despite the countless trade, commercial and diplomatic ties that inextricably bind the America and China together, none of these have turned China into a “responsible stakeholder” in international affairs. Its behavior, on the contrary, has increasingly grown to resemble that of an aspiring, belligerent power seeking to displace and overthrow the existing international order. Think Wilhelmine Germany.
So good luck to Mr. Tillerson for his diplomacy to engage with, moderate and find common grounds with China where possible. However, armed strength being the ultima ratio regum of statecraft, America should also now load its guns against China.
Hour Three
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block A:  Lee Smith, The Tablet, in re:  Did Rice spy on the American opponents of the Iran Deal? @LeeSmithTWS @ThadMcCotter  ; Despite this reporting, it seemed inconceivable at the time that—given myriad legal, ethical, political, and historical concerns, as well as strict National Security Agency protocols that protect the identity of American names caught in intercepts—the Obama White House would have actually spied on American citizens. In a December 31, 2016, Tablet article on the controversy, “Why the White House Wanted Congress to Think It Was Being Spied on By the NSA,” I argued that the Obama administration had merely used the appearance of spying on American lawmakers to corner opponents of the Iran Deal. Spying on U.S. citizens would be a clear abuse of the foreign-intelligence surveillance system. It would be a felony offense to leak the names of U.S. citizens to the press.
Increasingly, I believe that my conclusion in that piece was wrong. I believe the spying was real and that it was done not in an effort to keep the country safe from threats—but in order to help the White House fight their domestic political opponents.
“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism—activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block B:  Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes, in re: in re: Rice.  Ben Rhodes: “Trump attack on Rice for doing what countless officials of both parties have done is authoritarianism. Media shouldn't enable this garbage.” @brhodes
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block C:   African Kaiser: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and the Great War in Africa, 1914-1918, by Robert Gaudi  Part II of IV; segment 3 of 8
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block D:  African Kaiser: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and the Great War in Africa, 1914-1918, by Robert Gaudi  Part II of IV; segment 4 of 8
Hour Four
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block A:  Tunku Varadarajan, Hoover, in re: Delhi lynchmob, African victims, & What is to be done? @Tunku Varadarajan @HooverInst.  If the fact that large numbers of Indian people were prepared to believe that some African students in their midst had eaten an Indian teenager does not speak of racism, I’m not sure what else India’s foreign ministry would want by way of clinching proof. (The teen, whose disappearance on a drug binge had sparked xenophobic talk of his having been cannibalised, died later of an overdose. Angry residents speak of his having been supplied drugs by Africans in the vicinity. These are, of course, charges that must be addressed by the police and courts, and not by bloodthirsty vigilantes.)
The ministry’s see-no-racism position shouldn’t surprise us. I have yet to hear any Indian government department concede that India has a problem with other forms of intolerance or violence: not against the country’s northeastern racial minorities; not against religious minorities; and not, by any means, against the country’s Dalit and Adivasi plurality. This refusal to acknowledge racism against Africans is not a blindness that afflicts the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party alone. There have been attacks on Africans in all parts of the country in which they reside in numbers, usually as students registered at local universities; attacks have taken place in states ruled by governments of almost every major party, and have been taking place for at least a decade. What has changed in recent times is the ferocity and frequency of these attacks. African men have been beaten and stoned to death. Last year, an African woman in Bangalore was pulled from a car and stripped naked by a mob.
The latest near-lynching of an African in Greater Noida – in a commercial mall of all places, the Temple of New India’s economy, where young citizens and families go to pass a pleasant time in a climate-controlled space that’s far sprucer than the India outside – has been more than a civic and moral nadir for the country. It has grown into a diplomatic catastrophe. The association of African ambassadors to India has gone public with its anger, and demanded that the violence against Africans in India be addressed at the United Nations. In cold, unforgiving words – intended as a slap to India’s MEA – the ambassadors state that they have “reviewed” recent racist incidents and “concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India.” This is the diplomatic equivalent of going nuclear: a body representative of some 50 embassies and high commissions in New Delhi has told the government of India that it is entirely derelict in its duty to ensure physical protection to Africans in India.  (1 of 2)
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block B:  Tunku Varadarajan, Hoover, in re: Delhi lynchmob, African victims, & What is to be done? @Tunku Varadarajan @HooverInst.   (2 of 2)
Wednesday  5 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block C:  —  John Batchelor, in re: First People 14,000 years ago, Western Stemmed Tradition. Via: Lizzie Wade, Science magazine
—Stephen Louis Brusatte, paleontologist and evolutionary biologist specializing in the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs;  in re: For years archaeologists have searched for a sign o Spear tips point to path of first Americans.  If the earliest Americans—the mysterious newcomers who, it’s generally believed, set out from Asia and spread down the Pacific coast by boat more than 14,000 years ago. Last week, at a jammed session of the meeting of the Society for American Archaeologists here, researchers proposed that such evidence has been under their noses all along. They argued that a staple of museum collections known as Western Stemmed points—roughly pinkie-sized stone spearpoints with a chunky stem—are the handiwork of those first arrivals. 
The Western Stemmed tradition “is finally coming into its own,” says Michael Waters, an archaeologist at Texas A&M University in College Station. Stemmed points—which have been found up and down the Pacific coast and across the western United States—and the methods associated with making them appear to be coalescing into “an ancient coastal tradition,” says Quentin Mackie, an archaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada. 
Archaeologists once thought the so-called Clovis people were the first in the Americas. These big game hunters spread their Clovis spearpoints—long and thin with distinctive hollows carved into both sides of the base—across the United States and northern Mexico starting about 13,000 years ago, when they arrived via an ice-free corridor through glacier-covered Alaska and western Canada.  (1 of 2)