China

Confirming one of the week's less-secret secrets, the White House announced Friday morning that President Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be the next ambassador to the People's Republic of China.

The 72-year-old Baucus has been in the Senate since 1978. He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Rod Waddington / Flickr Creative Commons

Despite radically different cultures, climate, geography, and levels of government involvement in improving the lives of its citizens, Ethiopia, India, and China all face similar water issues.

KGOU’s World Views host and the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies Suzette Grillot recently gathered three engineers together for a conversation about water, sanitation, and hygiene concerns in their respective countries of expertise.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss China 's move to grab airspace over the East China Sea, and ongoing protests in Ukraine over a jailed political leader, and a scuttled trade pact with the European Union.

The Dallas Morning News Mexico Bureau Chief Alfredo Corchado joins Grillot to talk about his 20-year career. His memoir Midnight in Mexico chronicles his coverage of the country’s war against the drug cartels.

Vice President Joseph Biden shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after their meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday.
William Ng / U.S. Department of State

China says it is fully capable of enforcing its newly-declared maritime air defense zone above disputed islands in the East China Sea that has drawn strong denunciations from the U.S., Japan and other nations.

“They're [the islands] not all that impressive, but they happen to be on top of what looks like oil reserves or natural gas,” says Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. “There are a lot of people in this part of the world that are needing energy, and the demand there rises, so this becomes about resources, and about power.”

China has been building up its military strength for some time now, and pushing ever farther from its coastline and into international waters. The real concern now is for miscalculation — particularly with Japan — that ends up in gunfire.

Just six months ago, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military. Its defense budget was growing. The country was building more stealthy aircraft and submarines. It even bought an aircraft carrier from the Ukraine.

Pentagon official David Helvey highlighted particular areas of concern.

Kicking off a weeklong trip to East Asia, Vice President Joe Biden urged China and Japan to put in place new mechanisms to reduce the chance of an escalation in tensions.

A little over a week ago, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, leaving thousands dead and devastating the city of Tacloban. Suzette Grillot also talks with Joshua Landis about a so-called "wild card" in Syria's civil war - private funding by wealthy donors.

Later, Adriana Beltrán from the Washington Office on Latin America joins Suzette Grillot to discuss how clandestine criminal organizations infiltrate Guatemala’s judicial system.

Marines and U.S. Army Soldiers load supplies onto an MV-22 Osprey assigned to assist the Philippine government in response to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan - November 14, 2013.
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman / U.S. Navy

Thousands have died, and millions more have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall in the Philippines earlier this month, and significant aid has poured in from the United States, Australia and Japan.

But paltry support for the Philippines from its neighbor China could negatively affect that country’s image on the diplomatic stage.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss record levels of smog that are forcing the closure of schools and businesses in Northeast China, and heavy-handed tactics by Russia toward its former Soviet neighbors.

University of Oklahoma historian Kyle Harper joins the program to talk about how smallpox and the bubonic plague contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. His latest project focuses on the effects of disease and climate change on the history of civilization.

Nicolò Lazzati / Flickr Creative Commons

Severe smog has reduced the visibility of a northern Chinese city to less than half a football field.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, says Chinese authorities blame the increase on two things: a lack of wind, and more smoke in the air.

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