The World and Everything in It - May 4, 2021
WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - May 4, 2021
Taiwan and its allies are increasingly worried about a possible Chinese invasion; how those fears are affecting life in Taipei?; and The Apostle: A Life of Paul is our Classic Book of the Month. Plus: the Tuesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
China ramps up aggression against Taiwan while the island nation prepares to defend itself.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also what life is like for Christians in Taiwan’s capital.
Plus our Classic Book of the Month.
And commentator Kim Henderson on Mother’s Day.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, May 4th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Blinken meets with Raab, other top diplomats in London » Secretary of State Tony Blinken and British Foreigh Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday jointly refuted once more an Iranian state TV report of a prisoner swap with the United States and Britain.
And after meeting in London, the two top diplomats also touted a joint response to China’s persecution of Muslim minorities and it’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong.
BLINKEN: Our two countries recently took measures to prevent British and American business from inadvertently supporting forced labor in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. We’ll continue our robust cooperation to address the atrocities in Xinjiang, a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and politicians in Hong Kong.
Blinken met Monday with his counterparts from seven of the world’s richest countries, the so-called Group of Seven or “G7,” in London. The top diplomats met in person for the first time in two years amid COVID-19 concerns.
BLINKEN: There’s nothing quite like being face to face or sometimes mask to mask.
It was Blinken's first visit to London as secretary of state.
U.S. Army to kick off drills in Europe, northern Africa » The U.S. Army is set to begin a series of military drills this week in Europe and northern Africa. And some see it as a message to the Kremlin … in response to Russia’s troop buildup on its border with Ukraine. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The Pentagon says the Army will carry out the drills into the month of June in Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Morocco, and Poland.
Brig. Gen. Christopher Norrie said “These exercises demonstrate our ability to command and control long-range fires across continents.”
He said “from towed artillery to long-range rocket systems,” the U.S. Army has the ability to rapidly deliver support to allies anywhere in Europe and Africa.
Secretary Blinken said Sunday that the United States is watching Russia very, very closely. Many of the Russian troops massed on the Ukranian border have pulled back in recent days, but thousands of troops remain in the area.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
Mourners honor Andrew Brown at private service » Mourners gathered in Elizabeth City, North Carolina Monday to remember Andrew Brown. Brown was a 42-year-old black man shot and killed by deputies in the coastal town last month.
Brown’s grandmother Sandra White said Brown did not die in vain.
WHITE: There is none like God. He is in control. Let’s look how he sent Andrew home. Now Andrew is resting, but he left some fighters and he left prayer warriors.
Speakers at the private funeral service, including Al Sharpton, called for the release of video footage from the April 21st incident.
A judge ruled last week that the videos would not be made public for at least a month to avoid interfering with an ongoing investigation.
The shooting occurred as deputies tried to serve drug-related warrants.
Family members who were privately shown a portion of the body camera video say Brown had both hands on the steering wheel of his car and was no threat to the deputies.
But Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble said it was only when his car struck one of the officers that the deputies opened fire.
The shooting sparked days of protests in Elizabeth City.
Biden formally lifts refugee cap » President Biden is formally lifting the nation's refugee cap after bipartisan criticism. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN: The president is now raising the cap to nearly 63,000 this year, weeks after taking heat from both sides of the aisle for an initial delay in raising the limit.
The move will more than quadruple the cap of 15,000 set by former President Trump.
Biden last month moved to expand the eligibility criteria for resettlements. But he initially stopped short of lifting the annual cap, with aides saying they didn’t think it was necessary. But the president faced blowback for not at least taking the symbolic step of authorizing more refugees to enter the country.
In a statement, Biden said Trump’s cap “did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.”
The White House says Biden remains committed to setting the cap at 125,000 for the 2022 fiscal year that starts in October.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Racing icon Bobby Unser dies » Racing icon Bobby Unser has died at the age of 87.
Unser was a member of one America’s most famed racing families and one of the most accomplished drivers in the history of the Indianapolis Speedway.
He won the Indianapolis 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981.
Unser was one of six members of the Unser family to race in the Indy 500. His older brother, Jerry, died in a crash preparing for the race in 1959.
His brother Al Unser is one of only three drivers to win the Indy 500 four times. The family tradition stretched to Bobby’s nephew, Al Unser Jr., who won Indy in 1992 and 1994.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Taiwan prepares for a possible Chinese invasion.
Plus, Kim Henderson on the difficult task of mothering.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 4th of May, 2021.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
First up: defending Taiwan.
In 1949, Taiwan faced defeat during the Chinese Civil War. The Nationalist army escaped to Taiwan and set up a government in exile called the Republic of China.
Ever since then, communist leaders in mainland China have plotted to bring the island into Beijing’s fold.
REICHARD: The first threat of invasion came in 1950, but the Korean War scuttled those plans. After that the United States bolstered Taiwan’s military weapons. The island’s topography helps deter invasion, too: a rugged coastline with high waves and strong winds.
Meanwhile, China’s preparing for invasion or U.S. intervention. China’s invested heavily in ships, warplanes, missiles, and weapons, such that it now has the world’s largest navy.
Nobody knows what would prompt Chinese leader Xi Jinping to order an invasion. But U.S. and Taiwanese officials hope to hold him off by making sure they’re prepared for any possibility. WORLD’s Angela Lu Fulton reports.
ANGELA LU FULTON, REPORTER: On April 12th, 25 Chinese warplanes breached Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. That’s an area beyond the island’s air space that’s designed to identify threats before they get too close.
The Taiwanese army quickly issued radio warnings, scrambled jets, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the Chinese planes. They eventually turned back … but left behind lingering fear over the possibility of a future invasion.
And those concerns extend beyond Taiwan. Here’s White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
PSAKI: We have been clearly, publicly and privately expressed, our concerns are growing concerns about China's aggression towards Taiwan. China has taken increasingly coercive action to undercut democracy in Taiwan. We've seen a concerning increase in PRC military activity in the Taiwan Strait, which we believe is potentially destabilizing.
Three days later, an unofficial U.S. delegation visited the island to pledge the Biden administration’s support. Former Senator Chris Dodd led the group.
DODD: I can say with confidence that the United States' partnership with Taiwan is stronger than ever. We share deep economic ties and mutual commitment to democratic values and a critically important security partnership.
China’s April 12th incursion was not an isolated incident. Beijing’s warplanes have breached Taiwan’s identification zone more than 70 times just this year. And Washington’s top military officer in the Asia-Pacific issued a dire warning in March: China could launch an invasion of Taiwan in the next six years.
But not everyone thinks an invasion is imminent. Russell Hsiao is executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute.
HSIAO: I do think they would still prefer to resolve and unify Taiwan without the use of military force. And it would do so largely through means of economic coercion, political warfare, psychological intimidation. And I think there are clear signs that China is ramping up its activities in those areas.
Hsiao believes the military exercises are mostly psychological warfare.
HSIAO: They are more intended, I think, to intimidate the Taiwanese people and also to constrain the resources of the Taiwanese government. And it’s also a signal to Taiwan’s partners, namely Japan and the United States, that if they were to intervene it could result in a military conflict.
But that doesn’t mean that some level of military clash won’t happen eventually.
HSIAO: While I think a full-scale invasion is unlikely in the near term, I’m concerned that conflict of a more limited scale is increasing. And such a scenario seems increasingly more likely especially as Beijing ramps up its military exercises around Taiwan and in doing so I think it raises the potential for miscalculation, for accidents that could precipitate a limited conflict.
In early April, Beijing sent one of its aircraft carriers and associated vessels to hold drills near Taiwan. Beijing said the exercises were meant to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security, and development interests.
A few days later, the U.S. Navy sent one of its destroyers through the Taiwan Strait. A Chinese military spokesman condemned the move, saying it willfully disrupted the regional situation by endangering peace and stability.
But Taiwan isn’t just relying on Washington for protection.
SOUND: CLAPPING, PAPER "FIREWORKS"
Earlier this month, the island launched a new amphibious transport ship, a first for its navy shipbuilding program.
TSAI: SPEAKING MANDARIN
President Tsai Ing-wen said the 10,000-ton vessel would strengthen the island’s defense capabilities.
While the threat of invasion features prominently on local political talk shows, it hasn’t slowed the pace of daily life.
Pastor Alexander Wu says that’s because an invasion still doesn’t feel like a pressing issue, outside or inside the church.
WU: The possibility of an invasion doesn’t quite, right now at least, seem to play in the overall scheme of ministry in Taiwan. We’re just going to take day by day, each day at a time because I don’t even know how many days, that’s numbered for me. Whether there’s an invasion or not, it’s day by day to be faithful to that.
Wu leads Taipei’s Pearl Church and says China’s aggression isn’t something his congregation is asking him about. But if an invasion comes, Wu says the island’s people will defend their home.
WU: Taiwanese people will not run away. They would hold to this land, and for generations this land has been occupied by different nations. As a people they have been resilient for generations.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Angela Lu Fulton in Taipei, Taiwan.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Well, as you just heard, life in Taiwan is proceeding pretty much as normal despite the ever-present threat from China. Joining us now for an even more personal look at the situation is our reporter on the ground in Taipei, Angela Lu Fulton.
Good morning, Angela!
ANGELA LU FULTON, REPORTER: Good morning, Myrna.
BROWN: I’d like to start by asking you about comments made by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, late last week. Let’s take a listen:
WU: This is our country, this is our people, and this is our way of life. And we will defend ourselves to the very end. And I should also point out that Taiwan happens to be on the frontline in China's expansion of its authoritarian order. And if Taiwan is taken by China, I think the consequences will be global.
You can really hear the tension in his voice there. He seems quite concerned. Is that the same type of message Taiwan’s political leaders are sending at home?
FULTON: Yeah, this is the kind of strong response towards China, that is what helped Presidents Tsai Ing-wen win reelection in January last year. At that time, the Hong Kong protests were going on. So that painted a very obvious picture to Taiwanese people of what it would look like if China were to take over. There's no way that the Chinese Communist Party could coexist with Taiwan's democracy.
BROWN: Does the rest of Taiwan share those concerns? Is this something you hear friends and neighbors discussing?
FULTON: I think yes and no. Everyone here knows that Mainland China is the biggest threat. And Taiwan's political parties capitalize on that during election season, with each side saying that they would be best at keeping Taiwan safe. Political talk shows can go on and on about discussing the possibility of an invasion, if the US would intervene, who would win, on and on because it makes for good TV. But in everyday conversation, it doesn't come up all that much. I think the threat has just been there for so long that people don't consciously think about it often. So recently, The Economist had a headline that said Taiwan is the most dangerous place in the world. And that received a lot of pushback because Taiwan is a very safe place to live. And especially in the last year, it's done such a good job combating COVID that it's one of the few places in the world that didn't shut down or even stop school. And the death toll today is still 12.
BROWN: Just as a reminder for listeners who might not have a map in front of them, Taiwan is an island. It sits 100 miles off the coast of mainland China. So, pretty close! The Chinese military wouldn’t have to travel far for an invasion. Does Taiwan have any kind of warning system in place? Drills or anything like that?
FULTON: Definitely. I think it's important to remember that the military here in Taiwan has one purpose and that is to defend itself from China. And so the military is always doing drills and exercises and purchasing weapons and aircraft to prepare for an invasion. And every year there is a military air drill across Taiwan where a siren goes off and for 30 minutes, all pedestrians and vehicles need to clear the streets. It's kind of a surreal sight to see streets completely empty in the middle of the day. I remember one year I was at a sushi restaurant when the drill happened. And everyone there just had to stay in their seats until 30 minutes were over.
BROWN: I can imagine that that was a sight to see. Well, Angela, as we noted at the beginning of your piece, China’s Nationalist army fled to Taiwan and set up a government there in 1949. Do people in Taiwan consider themselves Chinese or Taiwanese?
FULTON: In Taiwan, there's basically three groups of people. There's the indigenous people who have been on the island the longest. Then there are people who came over to Taiwan from China's coastal cities hundreds of years ago. So they've been in Taiwan for generations. And then there's a group that came over with the nationalists in 1949. So those people who were in Taiwan before general Jiang Kai Shek came are more likely to see themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese, even though they are ethnically Han Chinese. They just have a different experience, and they connect more with the land here. Those who come over later would more likely see themselves as Chinese. However, a lot of the young people today grew up in Taiwan and had never been to China, and more and more of them are identifying as Taiwanese. And so you can see this in the latest polls. Last year, the Pew Research Center found that two thirds of people in Taiwan see themselves as Taiwanese, while only 4 percent see themselves as Chinese, and the rest of them see themselves as both.
BROWN: One last question before we let you go. Obviously we know Christians face extreme persecution in China. What is life like for Christians in Taiwan?
FULTON: Taiwan has religious freedom. So Christians are able to worship to evangelize and to live out their lives without any fear of persecution. There's also missionaries, Taiwanese missionaries that go around the world to share the gospel. And in Taipei, it's common to see churches and crosses and big signs that say, "Yesu ai ni," which means, "Jesus loves you." But still only about 5 percent of Taiwan is Christian. And I think some of the hindrances to the gospel is just how comfortable and convenient life is here that people don't really see the need for God or the gospel in their lives.
BROWN: Well, that helps us know how to pray. Angela is a senior reporter for World living in Taipei, Taiwan. Angela, thanks so much for joining us today.
FULTON: You’re welcome.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Well, a newly married lady in Texas got quite a shock when she went to renew her driver’s license with her new last name.
MCBRIDE: And they told me I had an issue in Oklahoma, and this is the reference number for me to call this number, so I did. Meanwhile, I’m a wanted felon—for a VHS tape.
REICHARD: A wanted felon! For a VHS tape she rented and failed to return to the video rental store in 1999!
That store in Norman, Oklahoma went out of business in 2008. Even so, McBride had to jump through some legal hoops and eventually got the charges dropped.
Oh, and that old VHS tape? She never watched it.
MCBRIDE: I mean I didn’t try to deceive anyone over Samantha the Teenage Witch!
REICHARD: [LAUGH] I believe her. The TV show to which she refers was Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, May 4th.
You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are!
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: our Classic Book of the Month for May. Our book reviewer Emily Whitten explores a biography of a founder of the Christian faith.
EMILY WHITTEN, REPORTER: Have you ever known someone, maybe for years, only to suddenly find out they used to be a Navy Seal? Or an Olympic athlete? Suddenly, someone you thought you knew becomes more interesting than you ever imagined.
In our Classic Book of the Month, The Apostle: A Life of Paul, British biographer John Pollock introduces us again to the man who carried the gospel throughout the Roman world. Here’s a passage from the audiobook version read by Kirby Heyborne.
CLIP: One of the most frequently mentioned figures in history, whose writings are read by millions everyday, is little known to this generation as a person. The name of Saint Paul the Apostle is familiar to all Christians, to most Jews and Muslims; he is quoted, argued about, attacked, and defended. Yet even those who read his words and adventures with unfailing regularity have scant idea of what he was like…
Since publishing The Apostle in 1969, Pollock has helped bring the real Paul into focus for new generations.
John Pollock would go on to write more than 20 books over his lifetime. They may have grown out of his pastoral work in the 1950s when he served as a rector in a rural English church. By the mid-1960s, Pollock had penned an authorized biography of Billy Graham and a biography of Hudson and Maria Taylor. When his publisher suggested a biography of Paul, Pollock dug in.
CLIP: I decided to accept the New Testament as I had accepted the boxes of letters and papers that formed the source material of my other subjects, use it in the same way, and see what happened. It was not long before I was struck by the credibility, the genuineness of the person who was emerging…
Pollock didn’t just read about Paul, though. He walked or drove his Volkswagon down many of the same rocky Roman roads Paul traveled. You can get an eye-opening glimpse of some of those places in Constantine Campbell’s 2017 video series, In Pursuit of Paul. It’s a great companion to The Apostle, and you and your family can watch it for free on Our Daily Bread’s Youtube channel. Here’s Campbell in Episode 1.
CAMPBELL: It’s pretty special for me to be here and to think about the fact that somewhere along this plain Paul traveled to Damascus. Somewhere along here he saw a bright light, and he heard a voice speaking to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Paul’s encounter with Christ along the road to Damascus really began his Christian journey. Paul had been persecuting Christians, but after Jesus appeared to him, Paul realized his sin. The light of Christ’s glory blinded him, and someone had to lead him to Damascus where he waited for a Christian named Ananias to pray for him and advise him.
Thankfully, Pollock doesn’t just offer a straight biography. He writes in part like a novelist, drawing scenes and describing what Paul may have thought or felt. Here’s how he paints the scene in Paul’s room back in Damascus:
CLIP: Paul heard the evening trumpet, the cock’s crow the next morning, the rumble of carts on the paving, shopkeepers shouting their wares, the distant murmur of bargainers, and the occasional bray of an ass. Then the stillness of mid day. He lay on his bed, wide awake except for an hour or two of sleep, or knelt long at the bedside and then lay down again.
Pollock also helps us imagine how mentally excruciating Paul’s waiting must have been, in the dark, his entire world turned upside down. Hearing the piercing words of Jesus, ringing in his ears, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
CLIP: He had imagined that he served God. But now he knew his purity was a counterfeit of the inexpressibly Pure. Yet Jesus had grasped hold of him. God, incredibly, had raised the shattered body of Jesus from the grave; He was alive and had confronted Paul, not to crush and destroy, but to rescue the persecutor and overwhelm him with love and forgiveness.
When Ananias does arrive, of course, the scales fall off Paul’s eyes, and he rises to be baptized. This radical conversion propels him to become perhaps the greatest Christian missionary of all time. Throughout his story of beatings, shipwrecks, and glorious glimpses of Christ, we see Paul grow into a humble man who loves more, forgives more, and delights in the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Much of this book is speculation, but Pollock doesn’t invent scenes out of thin air. Like a good historian, he’s done the research—albeit back in the 1960s—and he bases his scenes on evidence and careful deduction. Best of all, he often tells the reader when he makes an educated guess.
One minor criticism—Pollock doesn’t go deep into Paul’s theology here. But that’s easily remedied by reading Paul’s letters alongside the book.
Who should read our Classic Book of the Month? I suspect thoughtful high school and college graduates might enjoy this as a graduation gift.
Sonya Shafer of the homeschooling website Simply Charlotte Mason recommends it for older high schoolers and their parents. Here’s a clip from a video titled Favorite Living Books for Teaching History.
SHAFER: This book is a superbly crafted, extensively researched, living narrative of the life of Paul. It fills in those spaces between those intermittent glimpses of Paul’s life we see in Acts, painting a fuller picture.
I should note, as Shafer does, that Pollock matter-of-factly describes some of the sin of ancient cities, and that’s one reason I don’t recommend it for younger readers.
One last testimonial—author and blogger Tim Challies picked the book up when he realized that as an adult, he’d never read a biography of Paul. Back in 2016, he wrote on his website, “I found The Apostle a joy and a blessing to read...It makes me want to know more about this man Paul and the God he served.”
John Pollock’s The Apostle: A Life of Paul may not cause Damascus road experiences for everyone, but I do hope it will help you see Paul in a new way.
I'm Emily Whitten.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Tuesday, May 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner. And for some moms, that day can bring with it a sense of longing. Here’s World commentator Kim Henderson.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: The siren song outdoors seems set to constant replay. That’s why I had to research the source and make some sense of the sound, make some sense of creatures that are apparently born to serenade, then become mere shells of themselves.
After some reading, I clarified that our bug-eyed visitors are cicadas of the periodic variety, grown to maturity during 13-year stretches underground.
Thirteen may sound like a lot in cicada years, but not so much in the human life cycle. Just ask any mom who’s had a teenager suddenly emerge and start stretching his wings. Thirteen years goes by way too fast.
Which brings us to the other drone that’s inescapable this week—the sounding approach of another Mother’s Day. From the radio host to the friend asking about your plans to celebrate, they’re talking it up, this holiday that honors family matriarchs. The only problem is, not all mothers like the spotlight.
That’s because there’s nothing like a round or two of cicada cycles to reveal your regrets. That bad habit you failed to conquer? Passed it on to your daughter like an eye color. The character issue you couldn’t find time to address when your son was little? He (and it) are now full-grown.
And then there’s this paradox: All the hours you spent cleaning toilets and buying groceries and changing sheets is something your children simply cannot recollect, but the time you lost your temper at the Fourth of July picnic 15 years ago? Well, it’s ingrained in their memory like Teddy Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore.
So while there will be accolades this Sunday, there are also mothers who would rather skip the corsage. We know we’re not perfect moms. We’ve neglected teachable moments and snooze buttons and children who needed our undivided attention. We’ve failed. A bunch.
I have a friend who is, right now, regretting the waste of a year’s worth of time. She has turned in her resignation at work and told the nanny she’s coming home. “It’s not that we don’t like her,” my friend says of the nanny. “She’s been great. It’s just she’s got the job I want.”
I smile at the way she describes the job she wants—that 24/7 role of wiping noses, spooning up cereal, lavishing love. That kind of talk is refreshing to a regretting mom who is long past the nose-wiping season but realizing the lavishing love part is lifelong work.
The Bible says, "Better is the end of a thing than its beginning." There’s hope in that, especially on a day like Sunday. Moms, that whisper in your ear, the one that tells you “it’s too late,” is a lie. As long as you and your child have breath—as long as there are Mother’s Days and fascinating insect cycles to mark the seasons—there’s still time. Time to forgive, time to mend, time to change. Begin your best mothering now, even as the cicadas sing.
I’m Kim Henderson.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Tomorrow: shuffling seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census brought changes to political districts. We’ll talk about how that could affect the midterm elections.
And, we’ll introduce you to an acrobatic pilot who turned her love for death-defying moves into a lifelong career.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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