MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
NATO’s meeting in London. We’ll talk about one of the hot topics: that of NATO member Turkey and its offensive in Syria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Our Mindy Belz is back from a reporting trip in Syria and I’ll talk to her about the effects on the people there.
Also World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.
Plus we’ll visit with a college basketball coach who left a successful legal career to build into the lives of young men…
GRIFF: Billy Graham said, you know, that a coach will impact more, more people in a year than a pastor may…
And WORLD’s founder on accountability in the media.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, December 4th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House Intel panel issues report is Judiciary Committee takes up impeachment » The House Judiciary Committee will gavel in its first impeachment hearing this morning—taking the baton from Democrats on the Intelligence panel.
The Intel Committee released its 300-page report on Tuesday, laying out its case for impeaching President Trump. Committee chairman Adam Schiff summed it up this way…
SCHIFF: The president of the United States solicited foreign interference in our election, and used the power of his office, the power to convene a meeting in the Oval Office, the power to provide or withhold hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to an ally at war to get his political dirty work done.
One day earlier, Republicans issued a report of their own. Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn said it made three key points:
BLACKBURN: That not any of the Democrat witnesses found any kind bribery or extortion or collusion, second point is that they are biased against the president, and third is that these guys have a different worldview. They don’t like the president, so they’re going to try to boot him out of office.
The Judiciary Committee is now tasked with weighing potential articles of impeachment ahead of a possible full House vote by Christmas. That would send it to the Senate for a trial in January.
Trump butts heads with French president at NATO summit » President Trump again blasted the inquiry. Speaking from London, he said Democrats are misusing the impeachment process.
The president is in London for a NATO summit where he butted heads with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Tuesday morning, he chastised Macron for an earlier remark when he warned that NATO could no longer depend on America to defend it. Macron said we are now experiencing “the brain death of NATO.”
TRUMP: You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO. It’s very disrespectful.
When the two met hours later, they shared a tense exchange. Trump said many captured ISIS fighters come from France and other parts of Europe and put Macron on the spot.
TRUMP: Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I could give them to you. You could take every one you want.
MACRON: Let’s be serious.
Macron disputed Trump’s remark, saying only a small percentage come from Europe.
U.S., France clash over proposed tariffs » Trump and Macron met just hours after the Trump administration proposed new tariffs on $2.4 billion in French imports. The tariffs would hit French champagne, cheese, and other products.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday that his country won’t take it sitting down.
LE MAIRE: If the U.S. at the end of the process refuse international solution, and decide to put new sanctions on France and to hit France by new sanctions, we would not have any other choice but to retaliate at the European level.
But the Trump administration says the tariffs are the U.S. response to France’s new tax on digital services. U.S. trade officials said the tax will unduly burden U.S. tech companies including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.
White House, RNC: No press credentials for Bloomberg reporters » President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee will no longer give press credentials to Bloomberg News reporters to cover campaign events until it reverses a controversial policy. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Last week, the founder of Bloomberg News, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, announced he’s running for president. And shortly thereafter, the news service said it would not investigate him or his Democratic rivals. But it would continue to probe the Trump administration, as the sitting government.
That drew a swift response from Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. He said Bloomberg has now formalized its “preferential reporting policies.” He added … “we are accustomed to unfair reporting practices, but most news organizations don’t announce their biases so publicly.”
Parscale said the campaign will not issue press credentials to Bloomberg reporters as long as that policy remains in place.
And the Republican National Committee quickly followed suit.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted “Media outlets should be independent and fair, and this decision proves that Bloomberg News is neither.”
But Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said the accusation of bias is just plain wrong. He said “We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Kamala Harris ends White House bid » Another Democrat is dropping out of the presidential race. California Senator Kamala Harris told supporters on Tuesday that she was ending her White House bid.
She called it “one of the hardest decisions of my life.” But she conceded… “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”
Her campaign started strong. She raised an impressive $12 million in the first three months and quickly locked down major endorsements. But as the field grew, her fundraising remained flat. And she never caught up to top tier candidates in national polls.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Turkey’s attack on Syria is creating strife at the NATO summit. Plus, WORLD founder Joel Belz on why we value constructive criticism. This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Wednesday the 4th of December, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s Washington Wednesday.
Turkey’s invasion into northeast Syria is not generating the headlines it did six weeks ago. But the fighting there continues. And civilians in the region are still fleeing homes and villages to try to escape the violence.
Turkey continues to insist it’s simply protecting itself from Kurdish terror groups. And this week the president of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demanded his NATO counterparts abandon their support of the Kurds. These are erstwhile allies who had been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO troops against ISIS.
REICHARD: In an interview between official meetings, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the disagreement over the conflict in Syria.
STOLTENBERG: It’s well known that we have some issues related to how to designate the YPG PYG organization in Syria. There are different views among NATO allies…
And as those different views persist, Turkey continues its military campaign against Kurdish, Christian, and Yazidi communities.
EICHER: We slotted this in for this week’s Washington Wednesday, because this topic certainly touches on the role the United States plays in affecting policy.
WORLD’s senior editor Mindy Belz recently traveled to northeast Syria to see for herself and for us what’s going on there. And she’s here now, and probably still sorting out what’s morning and what’s evening. But good morning to you, Mindy.
MINDY BELZ, SENIOR EDITOR: Good morning, Nick.
EICHER: I’d like to start with some of your personal experiences from this trip.
Mindy, let’s talk about the car bombing that you witnessed while staying in Quashmili. Am I saying that right?
BELZ: That’s right. Quashmili.
EICHER: This was serious: it killed seven; it wounded dozens.
Tell us about that experience—so out of the ordinary, thank the Lord, for Americans; but sadly a too-common facet of life in northeast Syria.
BELZ: That’s right. And I’ve been in close calls before, but never one that close. I had only been in Syria for a couple of hours and had only been in Quashmili under an hour. So I was still getting my bearings and sitting by a window fronting a street talking to a source on the phone, taking notes, when there was a loud explosion over my shoulder. And it was really not even maybe 40 or 50 yards away. Maybe not that far away. It was the hotel across the street. And it was a car bombing that was set off by remote.
And quickly the street was in utter chaos. And I realized that I had glass coming in on me. It blew out the windows in the room where I was sitting. It also blew out a glass partition behind me. And sent glass into my lap and around my feet. And mysteriously I didn’t have a scratch.
But, as you say, I was able to make contact with families and business owners who were affected by this—businesses destroyed, people killed, as you mentioned—the kind of chaos that Syrians live with every day. It felt really important to be there and kind of live through that with them—as hard as it was.
EICHER: You also met with several U-S-based organizations working in this war zone. I understand they’re doing their best to provide relief to those fleeing to relative safety, but describe what it is about Syria that makes this kind of work so much harder.
BELZ: I was really glad that I was in this exact region earlier this year—about 9 or 10 months ago so that I had a little basis of comparison. Because this region was actually coming back from nine years, now, of what we’ve called a civil war but has become a proxy war with these outside forces like Turkey moving in and trying to stake a claim on this very important part of the world.
And I was able to see how what had been months ago a region that was stabilizing with people moving back, with villages starting to return to normal life is now a war zone again. And these groups—groups that have been there throughout this time—are again on a war footing. And it’s interesting that when Turkey crossed the borders, began to launch air strikes, arm drones—I saw drones almost every day I was there and tried to learn to spot the ones that are armed because they are simply buzzing above you and it is terrifying. And I began, again, to understand what people are living with there.
What’s striking is that the large groups left—groups like Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, and others. It was too dangerous. They didn’t know who was going to be in control tomorrow. The groups that have stayed are small groups—some that are familiar to our listeners. Groups like Free Burma Rangers. You had them on earlier. Groups like Partners Relief and Development out of Grand Rapids. The Danish group DanChurch Aid, Open Doors, Operation Mobilization.
These groups are working with churches, with pastors, with the Kurds—across ethnic and religious divides—and bringing aid. And what is an incredibly difficult situation where people are suddenly without resources, roads become impassable, a road that’s open an hour later is closed. You see military convoys moving about. It might be Americans. It might be Russians. It might be the Turks.
It’s very hard to know where the front line is and who’s shooting at you. But there’s a lot of shooting and a lot of civilian harm that’s happening.
EICHER: While all of this is happening in Syria, NATO leaders, as you well know, are meeting this week in London. You recently wrote that the action in Syria effectively marks the end of a functioning NATO. And the U-S decision to pull back from Kurdish allies is certainly causing friction among member nations. Talk about the implications of all this.
BELZ: Well, I might have been trying to be provocative. But I do think that this is a very consequential moment. NATO partners are all gathered in London right now for what is the 70th anniversary summit. It’s been something that’s been building for a long time. And we have this operation going on that is an invasion by a NATO ally and happening with NATO permission. You can’t deny that.
Every single day when Turkey sends a jet over Syria or drones into the region that are attacking civilians and hospitals and other things I saw, they’re doing that because the United States has given them permission. NATO has given them permission to do that.
So this coalition that we saw for years fighting ISIS, dislodging them from the cities that ISIS controlled, now is standing back while Turkey does something very similar, while Turkey attacks civilians, while Turkey harms and empties cities. I mean, it’s striking that a whole city along the Euphrates River has been emptied by Turkey.
And I found residents in refugee camps in Iraq, in schools living in northeast Syria, in villages living in abandoned houses, and living out on the open ground because they don’t have anywhere else to go and there’s been no plan for how to accommodate them.
EICHER: And maybe it’s a provocative statement—it is a provocative statement—to say that they’re doing it with American permission.
But it brings me around to the last question that I want to ask and it comes up to something we were talking about before we turned the microphones on here and that is this seeming idea that Turkey has us over a barrel. Not doing these things with American permission, but America can’t do anything about it. We’re over a barrel.
Can you describe how we got to that point where Turkey holds the—for lack of a better term—trump cards?
BELZ: It appears that it comes down to maybe two key things. One is that Turkey since 2015 has had three million refugees—
EICHER: In Turkey?
BELZ: In Turkey. They’re from Syria. They’re from Iraq. They’re from other places. They’re from the war with ISIS. And at any point—and Turkey has actually threatened to do this—they can unleash those three million people into Europe.
EICHER: Which, Europe, as liberal as they are, don’t want that.
BELZ: Exactly. And we’ve seen a direct turn away from accepting refugees on the part of almost every country in Europe. The second thing is that Turkey has been very savvy. Turkey is certainly positioning itself under Erdogan as this neo-Ottoman empire. They have regional ambitions that do not coincide with NATO. And those ambitions have made them much more open to Islamic groups, to even al-Qaeda linked mercenary groups and terror groups, made them accommodating of Islamic jihadism—something that we’ve been fighting.
And one of the things they have done is acquired this Russian-built air defense system. This is a system that will not talk to NATO military equipment and forces. And so it is directly contradictory to the goals of NATO.
EICHER: So, he can pivot either way. That’s the point.
EICHER: Mindy Belz is WORLD’s senior editor. Thanks so much for joining us today! Tough story, but thanks for bringing it.
BELZ: Thank you.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Rally in Paris over Iran violence—We start today in Europe.
AUDIO: [Sound of music, singing at rally]
Hundreds of people rallied in Paris on Monday to call attention to violence against protesters in Iran. According to Amnesty International, more than 200 people have died since protests began.
Iranians took to the streets on November 15th over an increase in gas prices. But they are also angry about the country’s stagnating economy.
AUDIO: [Iranian state TV newscast in Farsi]
Iranian officials admitted on Tuesday that security forces shot and killed some protesters. A report on state-run television called them “rioters” and praised police for their actions. Officials rejected Amnesty’s death toll estimate but did not provide a count of their own.
Tuesday’s admission came as the government began to restore internet access throughout the country. Officials blocked access after the protests started in an attempt to contain news about the violence. Iranians now coming back online are sharing their own stories and videos of the brutal crackdown.
IAEA gets new director general—Meanwhile in Austria…
GROSSI: I solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience, the functions entrusted to me as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency…
Veteran Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi became the new director general of The International Atomic Energy Agency. Grossi told reporters that Iran’s nuclear program was the root of a growing international crisis.
GROSSI: I think it’s self-evident that it is something that we are working on very seriously with Iran and we have to continue. It is really a priority and that is something I can say.
Iran continues to violate the terms of the 2015 agreement that limited its nuclear production capacity. But it so far has not blocked international inspectors from visiting the country.
Last month the IAEA said its inspectors found traces of uranium at a site not previously declared as a nuclear facility. It called on Tehran to explain the discrepancy. So far the country’s leaders have not responded.
Political turmoil in Malta—Next we go to the island nation of Malta.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Maltese]
The country’s prime minister resigned this week, leaving the small Mediterranean country in political turmoil. Joseph Muscat said he would leave office in January, but protesters want him to step down immediately.
They accuse Muscat of interfering in a police investigation into the assassination of a well-known journalist in 2017. Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating government corruption. Her family claims she was killed because of what she discovered.
Corinne Vella is Galizia’s sister.
VELLA: I have mixed feelings because while I feel this is a vindication of everything Daphne wrote about, because this is all due to her work exposing corruption, I am so sorry that she can’t see it for herself.
A businessman arrested last month in the case claims the prime minister’s top aid ordered the reporter’s killing. Critics accuse Muscat of interfering in the investigation to keep more incriminating evidence from coming out.
China-Russia pipeline opens—And finally we end today in Asia.
XI: [Speaking Mandarin]
Chinese Secretary General Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin officially opened a gas pipeline between the two countries this week. The pipeline stretches for nearly 4,000 miles between Siberia and the Chinese border. It will carry 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China every year for the next 30 years.
The $400 billion energy deal strengthens ties between the two countries at a time when their relationships with the West have become more strained.
That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER: Police in Brookhaven, Georgia lamented a terrible mishap. It happened on Atlanta’s Peachtree Road.
Now, nobody was hurt. But the cargo—oh, that was another story. It was scattered all over the road. Police called it a total loss.
We’re talking about Krispy Kreme donuts here, and the Brookhaven police, very self-aware, indulged in some self-deprecating humor.
You know, cops and donuts.
On Facebook, the police reported: “As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time, and the … loss of these delicious pastries has deeply affected all of our officers.”
But in true holiday spirit, the Gainesville, Georgia Police Department sent them a batch of sympathy donuts.
Such a brotherhood!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, December 4th. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re glad you are! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming up next: off the corporate ladder and onto the basketball court.
Griff Aldrich is a successful businessman and lawyer who left the private sector to pursue his passion: coaching basketball.
WORLD’s John Vence traveled to Longwood University to hear how he learned that life isn’t just about wins and losses.
JOHN VENCE, REPORTER: Griff Aldrich spent most of Longwood University’s first game of the 2019 season on his feet. His periwinkle tie thrashed around as he pinwheeled his arms and shouted to his team. Even with 10 seconds left on the clock, when the Marymount Saints had no chance of catching up.
AUDIO: [Sound of basketball game]
You wouldn’t suspect that this man, flailing on the sidelines, spent more than 15 years working as an international lawyer and businessman. In 2016, he left that all behind to coach college basketball.
GRIFF: I think, I think a lot of people, um, didn’t understand it. I think a lot of people questioned that. I think a lot of people, um, you know, couldn’t relate to why you would kind of take this gamble or this level of what they perceive to be a gamble…
Coach Griff’s story seems like a feel-good family movie: a successful, white-collar character returns to his roots in a sleepy town—not exactly the life he envisioned. After all, coaching basketball was the very thing he ran away from. He left a coaching position at Hampden-Sydney College to pursue a different career instead.
GRIFF: But I think one of the main reasons I left at that time was a fear that I wouldn’t achieve enough as, as a college coach and that I wouldn’t climb the ladder. It wasn’t about being excellent and working as if working unto the Lord, but it was more my identity demanded that I be successful.
Just a few years ago, he was a partner in a multi-billion dollar international law firm. He had started an oil and gas company. He was a CFO for a private investment firm. Life seemed to have settled for him and his wife, Julie, and their three kids. But Julie said Griff wasn’t exactly content.
JULIE: I mean I think that for a period of time it was, you know, this isn’t satisfying to me in a deep way. Um, you know, for him. Maybe I’m actually supposed to do something different with my life.
Griff had never lost his love for basketball. In fact, he coached on the side for years. He even started a basketball ministry called His Hoops for the inner-city kids of Houston.
GRIFF: And I think it really more got to a place where I think the Lord had brought me to, Hey, your identity really is supposed to be in me. And, and for the first time, probably my heart was saying, well, if my identity is really in Christ, then it really doesn’t, it doesn’t matter as much. My title, my salary, professional achievements, you know, what matters is, am I walking with the Lord? Am I, you know, doing what he’s asking me to do?
So, he took a step of faith, and returned to the basketball court full-time. After a few seasons coaching in Baltimore, he eventually moved his family to Farmville.
GRIFF: Okay. You have some on your plate. All right, hold on. Stop. Sit down, Scott. Let’s pray. Okay. All right, dear Lord, we thank you for this day…
The Aldrich family lives just a few minutes away from campus and, ironically, six miles from Hampden-Sydney College. That’s where he first quit coaching.
You can often find Julie and the kids in the stands at home and away games. Last week, the Longwood Lancers played two games in California, so the family spent Thanksgiving on the West Coast.
JULIE: The positive side of it has been that now our whole family gets to be involved in his work, which I love. So I get to know the players and be involved with the team. We have them over to our home, the coaching staff and their families. Like I love that this is basically a family ministry.
Coach Griff doesn’t just want to improve dribbling or 3-point shots. He’s using this position as a platform to impact his team for life.
ALDRICH: You’re just not locked in. Amazing. First half. Awful second half. Awful. Awful!
GRIFF: Billy Graham said, you know, that a coach will impact more, more people in a year than a pastor may…My ultimate desire is to, to help provide these guys with a great experience … where they’re shaped in a positive light.
PHILLIPS: He always cared about me. He always cared about character…
Shabooty Phillips has been on the team for only a year, but he first met Griff Aldrich on the basketball court 10 years ago. He was shooting hoops at a community center when Griff beat him in a one-on-one game, all while wearing what Shabooty calls “church shoes.”
PHILLIPS: I mean, he loved basketball, but he always care about how you, how we grow as young men. So he preached it to us every day. He said, show on the court, just like it’ll show in real life. Well, most of the time … we’ll come out and be a winners, but he don’t focus on that. He says: “show on the court, just like you show in real life.”
Shabooty says Coach Griff can be a perfectionist sometimes, and that he occasionally gets too caught up in winning. Aldrich admits it’s a recurring struggle, but that he’s learning to shake off that need for success.
GRIFF: In many respects you’re measured by wins and losses and, and a particular outcome, it’s, it’s hard to, you know, adjust and say: “Hey, let’s just focus on the process…” Again, there are days where I do that and there are days where, you know, I probably really don’t…but I’m striving and um, you know, I hope that there’s more, more of the good days than the bad days.
GRIFF: Together on three. One, two, three.
For WORLD Radio, I’m John Vence, reporting from Farmville, Virginia.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, December 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s crucial that we in the media get things right, and accountability is a must.
WORLD founder Joel Belz says accountability is a two-way street.
JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: We launched WORLD Magazine 33 years ago. And it seems helpful to once in awhile make an editorial confession.
You may remember I’ve said it’s uncomfortable to report on the negative behavior of some Christian leaders or organizations. Well, it may startle you to know that we have devoted some 1,800 WORLD pages to open evaluation and criticism of just one organization.
Some of that criticism has been sharp. In some cases, we’ve had to tone it down before we felt right sending it off to the printer.
But we do print it, because that organization needs accountability. And as you may have guessed: that organization is WORLD itself. Our “Mailbag” section has appeared in every print issue since March 1986.
Does this mean WORLD thinks it has some exclusive handle on God’s truth? Hardly. I mention it here because, as WORLD’s founder, I’ll admit I still feel self-conscious when we report on the failures of other Christians.
But it’s not just a one-way street. The fact that we provide a forum in every issue where readers can lob rocks back at us demonstrates some equity in the process. We’ve carried on that tradition here at WORLD Radio, where we include corrections and criticisms in our listener feedback segments.
Of course, none of us enjoys bad publicity. We aren’t thrilled when people point out that we dropped the ball. But we remain committed to provide a forum for people to make those points for a very simple reason: It adds to our overall credibility.
In the end, it helps us earn your trust. And that’s one of our core values.
Oddly, many Christians leaders and organizations think the opposite. They believe an open forum for criticism injures their credibility. So they sit on the facts and suppress discussion. Such folks forget that light always trumps darkness. Truth always wins the argument with ignorance.
Yes, light and truth can sometimes hurt. But it’s far better than enduring the festering cancer of a dark coverup or an uncorrected wrong.
And, yes, light and truth must be what they claim to be. That’s why we adhere to the Biblical standard of two or more witnesses when it comes to reporting misdeeds. Publishing shadowy rumors or assertions unfounded in fact is wrong.
We take seriously the Apostle Paul’s command to “speak the truth in love.” Such provocations aren’t always comfortable, but they’re necessary for the ultimate good of the body.
Here at WORLD, we’ll continue to poke, probe, and tickle—always trying to encourage the body of Christ to be what it is supposed to be. And we’ll encourage you to poke, probe, and tickle back.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Joel Belz.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow we’ll tell you about a popular tax exemption that’s making its way across the country.
And, a small but growing number of Americans are paying for holiday shopping with personal loans. Not a great idea. We’ll talk about why.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Galatians says let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
Thanks for listening today, and please join us again tomorrow.