The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 12 July 2018

Air Date: 
July 12, 2018

Photo:  The sinking of the Cunard ocean liner RMS Lusitania occurred on Friday, 7 May 1915 during the First World War, as Germany waged submarine warfare against the United Kingdom, which had implemented a naval blockade of Germany; illustration of the sinking by Norman Wilkinson.
Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Hour One
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block A:  Christopher Whiton, State Department senior advisor in the Trump and Bush administrations; senior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and the author of Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War;  in re: the NATO-Trump summit yesterday.  “Keep the Russians down, keep the Americans in, and ____.”  
“Three Reichs and you’re out.”
“The Soviet Union is long gone, and NATO’s [original purpose is outdated.]”   Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova . . .  Was plausible when it included Holland, England and France, and maybe when it added Poland, but with Macedonia and so many more, needs reorganization.
Who defends Europe when we turn our back?  Europe can defend Europe and we’re not entirely leaving.  Europe has a $10 trillion economy – ten times that of Russia  The real threats to the US are China and Iran, and a few others. We need more planes, more satellites, et al., or else add another $100 bil to our defense budget,. The idea that our economic [stability] depends on our having 35,000 troops in Europe is [arcane].  We create a moral hazard by essentially discouraging Europe from defending itself.  Russia is trying to discourage Scandinavia from joining NATO – Kaliningrad, et al.  . . .  I don't think we can argue that kids from Iowa need to put their lives on the line when Europe prefers that it not do that sort of thing.
I agree with you, but Congress doesn't.  Congress will continue this hawkish path.   . . . Driven by yellow journalism.   The money that Russia puts into our elections wouldn’t elect a dogcatcher.  Radio Free Europe [is a shadow of its former self], while Russian propaganda is ham-fisted.   
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block B:  Mary Kissell, WSJ editorial board, in re: Tariffs.    China gave tit for tat against initial US tariffs; now, with another $200bil (incl dog collars), China is kind of low on or out of ammo?   Maybe it’ll launch investigations of US banks doing bz in China, or jailing US execs. 
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block C:  Gordon Chang, Daily Beast, in re: Letter from the disgraced dictator of the failed state of North Korea — Kim’s “Dear Donald” letter.  North Korea insults, provokes, and reverse. What in heqq is this letter about? Just part of DPRK’s propaganda efforts.  Km insulted the US three times in two days – blew off a mg with Pompeo, then later issued a scornful propaganda blast, then today for a mtg on returning remains of US soldiers was a no-show.  From Kim’s POV, he doesn’t want the US to lose patience; but is trying to stall and simultaneously insult the US.
Trump shd have cancelled discussions.
Mon Jae-in is censoring conservative or sceptical voices in South Korea. His advisors in their youth advocated overthrowing the South Korean govt and unifying under the North; and have in no way disavowed their youthful positions.  Koreans don’t play chess, they play Go – surrounding. This feels like surrounding.
Looks t me as though Pres Trump has lost patience with the Chinese, which is [smart].   We spoke w Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon: “The commander [Vice Chairman of the Military Commission] of all the Chinese armies addressed Secy Mattis and asked for friendship; Mattis was entirely uninterested – which spooked the Chinese.
..  ..  .. 
The English translation of the four-paragraph document was tweeted by Mr Trump on Thursday.   In it, Mr Kim says: "I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr President.
He also says that bilateral trust should be "further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions".   Mr Kim says that "the epochal progress" in promoting bilateral ties "will bring our next meeting forward".  In publishing the letter, President Trump tweeted: "Great progress being made!" He did not elaborate.
..  ..  ..
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block D: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, in re: Peter Strzok.  Even watching it with sound off, it did not come across well; not helpful to his cause.
To boot, his answers were contradictory and oftimes unbelievable; e.g.,  explaining, “We’ll stop it” as the “we“ being the American people.  Not credible. “All the trees do make a forest after a while.” . . . Amazingly, the Democrats turned that hearing into a circus. Never seen anything like it.
Hour Two
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  Ambassador James Jeffrey, in re: Iran, Syria, Turkey.
Ambassador James F. Jeffrey is the Philip Solondz distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on U.S. diplomatic and military strategy in the Middle East, with emphasis on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. In addition to his service as ambassador in Ankara and Baghdad, he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, with a special focus on Iran.
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block B: Mike Pregent, senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute; a senior Middle East analyst, former adjunct lecturer for the College of International Security Affairs, and visiting Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University;  in re: Iraq. Land bridge.  Qassem Soleimani. AHH to form this new militia during the heydays of the JCPOA. Twice attacked by US forces as a test; 200K individuals in a camp. 
Khatab Hizbollah; led by the Deputy Commander, who gets a US paycheck. Hit by Israeli aircraft; US denies any role whatsoever. Syria has become a free fire zone.   Border crossing sites.  Can shore up Assad, threaten US presence, and threaten to destabilize Jordan and Israel.
Badr is the Fatih Party, within it is [Kess Kazali], who leads AHH to kill Americans, and another terrorist. Four Shia political parties, can now form govt with 169 seats – first time can do without Kurds or Sunnis.  There exist no good options in this formation. Destabilizing.   First time hat the IRGC has a role right out in the open.
JJosh Rogin: John Bolton objected to the Tanff border-crossing trade in exchange for peace in Syria.
Mike Pregent, senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute; a senior Middle East analyst, former adjunct lecturer for the College of International Security Affairs, and visiting Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Pregent is a former intelligence officer with over 28 years’ experience working security, terrorism, counter-insurgency, and policy issues in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. He’s an expert in Middle East and North Africa political and security issues, counter-terrorism analysis, stakeholder communications, and strategic planning.
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block C: Danielle Pletka, AEI, in re: Syria. The US misunderstands Putin’s intentions, and everything from there to circumstances in Syria and Jordan.  US has some forces on the ground, working with some people there; so far, Iranian forces remain there on the border with Israel – once we withdraw, there’s nothing we’ll be able to do about it. Why has the president decided to oppose his Natl Security advisor and other leading advisors? Netanyahu for some reason has reposed some hope in Russia.  . . . Russia is  interested in having a port on the Med and pushing back against the US. This is been very, very low-cost for Russia. I fear that the president has been blinded by ambition, missed that a l Q and ISIS [will not withdraw].  Turks have been playing a pernicious role on both sides – want to curb the Kurds, promote their friends the Muslim Brotherhood and Sunni extremists. I understand that Turkey has borne a huge burden with refugees, but they don’t have US interests at hear. Useful to see Syria not as foreign policy for Putin but as domestic policy: looking good to the Russian people.  US president appears to have no strategy.
Danielle Pletka is senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she oversees the Institute’s work on foreign and defense issues. Ms. Pletka writes regularly on national security matters with a special focus on Iran, the Middle East (Syria, Israel, ISIS), and South Asia. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. 
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block D: Tzvi Kahn, FDD, in re:  Iran sanctions.  I saw a video of a young man in a Teheran high-rise turning on a tap and getting brown water.  The protests have been about the broke economy; but the recent ones and the water crisis: is the regime weaker now than before, or ready to outlast the protests?  Certainly weaker; the ultimate outcome is unclear, but on the ground we see expressions of dissatisfaction in water, in the economy, and in the decades-long brutal oppression, incl women who refuse to wear the hijab. 
regime shot and killed one of the protesters of nonpotable water.
Have forces in Iraq,  Syria, Lebanon; a priority of the regime for many year. Has no plan how to stop the protests and continue Middle Easern adventurism.  Achilles heel.  Risk self-destruction – and of the Iranian people along with them.
I heard that “the big stuff” is coming in August. What?  Renewal of sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sector; oil is the lifeblood of the Iranian economy.  Coming: secondary sanctions o Europe: can do bz with Iran or with the US, not both.; so European bz have already begun to pull out.  Once Total pulled out, everything else began to flow out.
The Ministry of Intelligence and Security.  Yes we shd continue w the economic sanctions – and also focus on individuals and key entities: esp the Iranian Min of Intell led by ______, who’s not well-known but presides over a vast intell apparatus worldwide – in N & S America, Europe Asia, Africa Sponsored numerous terrorist attacks globally, attacked Iranian dissidents; arrested and torture countless Iranian citizens at home. This is just one fellow – many other officials. 
Need a name an shame campaign: Iranians are very sensitive to this because they ir ideology holds that they're creating a glorious new civilization; criticism of their morals hurts their feelings.  
 Tzvi Kahn is a Senior Iran Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He previously worked as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative, where he published extensively on Iran’s nuclear program and regional ambitions. Tzvi also served as Assistant Director for Policy and Government Affairs at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). From 2013 to 2014, he was an FDD National Security Fellow.
Hour Three
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: Seven hundred fires, incl nature reserves and 8,000 acres of ag land plus poisoned atmosphere – all from fire kites sent over from Gaza into Israel.  Also, 18000 Gazans have fled, incl physicians   . . .  Two Norwegian ships intended to participate in a flotilla in sympathy with Hamas.
Putin agreed to limiting Iran’s capacity on the Syrian border near Syria. BDS: hurts Palestinians even more than Israelis.  All targetting Israel, pretending to be anti-Israeli-state, but is fact simply anti-Jewish.  A new Irish law is a clear violation of US law.  Escalates tensions. 
Argentine govt seeks answers to the attack on the AMIA Center; asked Russia to arrest Ali Akhbar Velyati, who was in Moscow to meet Putin. Iranians have Interpol Red Cards (for arrest). 
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block B: Itai Pesach, in re: Israel’s medical treatment of Syrians.  On example: Malika, ten years old living in Dara in Syria, was sitting hin her living room when the roof fell down; she was gravely injured, and stabilized in Syria by the EMS; her baby sister was killed; her brother and father were injured The Syrian health system was unable to help her so reached  out to Israel through the IDF , asked for help. Israeli army asked us for help; we were overfilled, but our Director-General said we couldn't refuse this, so we mobilized reams to hel the child. About an  hour’s flight. Our Director-General happened ot b at a Babar0-mitzcavah and joined the troops awaiting he child; IDF carried her over hre border, was re-stabilized b and flown by mil helo to the Safra Children’s Hosp9tal, with her mother; here for hee past week.
The mother and girl had never been out of their small village; were carried by plane and helo to this advanced medical canter. Mother has just lost one child, and her husband and son are in bad shape in Syria. Mother arrived with only the clothes on her back.  Child first to trauma room, then critical care dept.  Mother helped by a social team.  Child is improving; tonight was disconnected from the ventilator; awoke and recognized her mother. We’re very hopeful.
Many ill children are discreetly transferred to Israel.    Every family that gets here sees that Israelis deeply care about them, so when they return to Syria they're ambassadors of good will.
Itai Pesach is a pediatrician from Safra Children’s Hospital, in the the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer; he’s also a Fellow in the Department of Immunology and Allergy at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. During his three-year fellowship he’ll participate in extensive basic research and in clinical exposure in order to gain proficiency in advanced and new technologies used to treat severe primary immunodeficiencies.
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com, in re:   NASA, Russia.  . . .   Elon Musk; preserving the farings   “Mr Steven” as the name of rockt? Who's he?  Maybe a scifi character.  The Phantom Express s’posed to be able to launch ten times in ten days. 
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block D:  Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com, in re:   NASA, Russia
Hour Four
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block A:  Asperger’s Children, by Edith Sheffer
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block B:  Asperger’s Children, by Edith Sheffer
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block C:  Asperger’s Children, by Edith Sheffer
Thursday 25 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block D:  Asperger’s Children, by Edith Sheffer
..  ..  ..