EIR Daily Alert Service, THURSDAY, May 21, 2020
THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2020
Volume 7, Number 117
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
- To Fight the Pandemic, Combat the British Empire’s Anti-China Witch Hunt
- Pompeo Expands for Trump the Ways China Must ‘Pay’ $9 Trillion for Pandemic Damages
- Pompeo Adds Taiwan Provocation, Seeking to Force China-U.S. Decoupling
- Two Aged Dams Broke Under High Water in Central Michigan, Forcing 10,000 to Be Evacuated
- Lavrov Warns U.S. Policy Towards Russia Is a Standoff, Not Strategic Stabilization
- U.S. Navy Even Using Submarines To ‘Signal’ China
- African Union Chair Ramaphosa Urges Debt Relief and Universal Health Care at WHA Summit
- Group of Seven Central Banks’ Multi-Trillion QE Are Heading Outside the Stratosphere
- Chang’e-4 and Jade Rabbit Still Going Strong on the Far Side of the Moon After 500 Earth Days
- Fight for Control Over Vaccine Production Looms
- Thinktanks in U.S., China, and South Africa Work on Multinational Cooperation Against Coronavirus
To Fight the Pandemic, Combat the British Empire’s Anti-China Witch Hunt
May 20 (EIRNS)—The epic problems we face of combatting the pandemic, initiating a new world economy, and minimizing chaos and suffering in the meantime, require one additional task: calling out the current, intense anti-China campaign for what it is—a black-propaganda operation. It is stoked from the same British networks that instigated Russiagate, the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and all such operations to prevent the potential collaboration between the United States, Russia, China and other nations toward a new alignment for world benefit. This would mark the end of London’s control based on geopolitics and monetarism; and Trump’s early disposition toward friendship diplomacy has been anathema to that crowd.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche in her weekly Schiller Institute webcast today discussed these British networks, including their push for splitting China and the U.S. and bloc-building, as during the Cold War. She warned, this will lead to collapse of economic functioning entirely and hyperinflation. She cited among the shrillest voices those of Trump’s economic and trade adviser Peter Navarro, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
She said, “It is obvious that President Trump is being put under enormous pressure, because he is up against the pandemic; there are incredible economic consequences—the Federal Reserve just said that the collapse of the U.S. economy in the second quarter will be 30%; unemployment is going up; and obviously the fact that there were several people who tested positive and actually became sick with coronavirus in and around the White House, has created an atmosphere for President Trump where he is really put under enormous pressure.
“I think anybody who is interested in solving humanity’s problems should make their voice heard, that this witch-hunt against Chinese, the McCarthyite style of arresting Chinese scientists, or even American scientists with Chinese backgrounds, that is really extremely dangerous and forebodes very bad! It has to be stopped and people should not fall for this propaganda, because it is completely unjustified.”
She called on people to look at what gets presented as facts against China, or other targets, and see that they are really geopolitical attacks. They involve repeating “big lies.”
Pompeo at today’s weekly State Department briefing outdid himself this way. He asserted that China owes the world “as much as around $9 trillion, according to our estimates,” in jobs and lives lost in the United States and globally. Pompeo said that he has proposed to Trump different ways that China could be made “to pay” for the COVID-19 pandemic. The President is “beginning to think about responding…. I don’t want to get ahead of him in terms of talking about how…”
Pompeo prefaced these remarks with a diatribe. “First, basic facts. China’s been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime since 1949…. We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile to free nations. The whole world is waking up to that fact.”
In complete opposition to this vitriol, Zepp-LaRouche stressed that the idea of United States and China collaborating, is “probably the most important strategic question, because if the two largest economies, the previously strongest economy and the rising economy, which after all, has 1.4 billion people, if they work together, you can almost solve any problem of the entire world; if they clash, it could lead to the destruction of all of humanity.”
She raised the example of the need to develop nuclear fusion power—the basis for entirely new realms of productivity for the future. China is working on this, and China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) is progressing as a crucial project. Describing CGTN’s TV feature “Power of Artificial Sun: Fusion” she said that, “what they say is that fusion is revolutionary, for the very reason that once you can make a breakthrough and have commercial use of fusion power, it will provide energy security not only for 1.4 billion Chinese, but for the whole world for millennia to come. And that is why China right now is uniting the best minds of the world to get exactly such a crash program.
“They say that fusion is as important, and as great as man’s landing on the Moon. People who know this program will recognize that is exactly what the fourth point of Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws is all about, namely that we have to have international cooperation for a crash program for fusion power, that we need a new platform of the fusion economy, and that we need international cooperation space exploration. And that is the way to go!”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Pompeo Expands for Trump the Ways China Must ‘Pay’ $9 Trillion for Pandemic Damages
May 20 (EIRNS)—Mike Pompeo reported a few days ago that he had submitted various proposals to President Donald Trump of how China could be made “to pay” for the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, he told the weekly State Department briefing that China owes the world “as much as around $9 trillion, according to our estimates,” in jobs and lives lost in the United States and globally.
Pompeo said that “the President talked about how we’re going to respond, how he’s beginning to think about responding to the calamity that has befallen the world as a result of the actions of the Chinese Communist Party. I don’t want to get ahead of him in terms of talking about how the administration will respond to that,” but rest assured the U.S. will respond “to these risks that the Chinese Communist Party presents to the United States in an appropriate way.”
That gem followed the maniacal rant against the government of China (representing 1.4 billion people, mind you) with which he began the briefing. “First, basic facts. China’s been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime since 1949…. We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile to free nations. The whole world is waking up to that fact.”
The briefing shut down quickly, however, as State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus whisked him out as soon questions turned to what exactly Pompeo was being investigated for before President Trump fired the Inspector General at Pompeo’s request.
Pompeo Adds Taiwan Provocation, Seeking To Force China-U.S. Decoupling
May 20 (EIRNS)—Mike Pompeo yesterday sent a greeting to Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen on the occasion of her being sworn in for a second term, with clear intent to threaten U.S. commitment to the “One China” policy which is an inviolable foundation for U.S.-Chinese relations. It was the first time in decades that a U.S. Secretary of State had congratulated a Taiwanese leader, and he did so in the most provocative manner possible, repeatedly referring to Tsai, who advocates independence from China, as “President” and Taiwan as a “partner” of the United States.
Pompeo praised Tsai’s “courage and vision” as “an inspiration for the region and the world. The United States has long considered Taiwan a force for good in the world and a reliable partner,” he wrote. He asserted that “support for Taiwan in the United States is bipartisan and unanimous, as demonstrated by the recent enactment of the TAIPEI Act which strengthens our overall relationship and supports a closer economic partnership” (true as far as Congress and the two parties are concerned, but there is no “unanimous” support by the American people for treating Taiwan as a separate nation).
“We have a shared vision for the region,” Pompeo concluded. “As we look toward the future, I am confident that, with President Tsai at the helm, our partnership with Taiwan will continue to flourish.”
Pompeo’s message, read at the inauguration, was buttressed by similar taped video messages to the virtual ceremony from Matt Pottinger, senior director of the U.S. National Security Council (his in Mandarin) and David Stilwell, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Both China’s Foreign and Defense Ministries warned the United States that such stoking of separatism in Taiwan threatens U.S.-Chinese relations and peace.
“There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” as is stipulated in the China-U.S. Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, Foreign Ministry press spokesman Zhao Lijian reminded today. “Practices that undermine China’s core interests and intervene in China’s domestic affairs will be met with forceful fightback…. China will take necessary measures in response to the U.S. erroneous practices, and the consequences will be borne by the U.S. side.”
A statement from China’s Defense Ministry warned that Pompeo’s message “seriously endangered relations between the two countries and two militaries and seriously damaged peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” The People’s Liberation Army has a “firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capacity to frustrate any form of external interference and Taiwan independence plots,” it specified.
Two Aged Dams Broke under High Water in Central Michigan, Forcing 10,000 To Be Evacuated
May 20 (EIRNS)—Under high water from heavy rains, two dams breached May 19 on the Tittabawasee River in central Michigan. Some 10,000 people have been evacuated, and 3,500 homes ruined. The two dams are the Edenfield Dam (1911) and the Sanford Dam (1920s), both rated fair to poor in structurally. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared an emergency affecting the whole region around Midland. The river has reached a record height over 38 feet, and is expected to crest this evening.
This is, unfortunately, a story that will likely occur more often. There are a large number of privately owned dams along Michigan’s rivers, built just after the turn of the 20th century, like Edenfield Dam, built in 1911. They don’t meet Federal standards and are past their design lives. The owner of Edenfield Dam, Boyce Hydropower LLC, had lost its license in 2017. It was in the process of selling the dam to a Michigan state consortium when the breach occurred.
Many of the original, low head hydroelectric dams should be removed, and replaced with a system of dams designed to modern standards for water management, energy and environmental restoration.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Lavrov Warns U.S. Policy Towards Russia Is a Standoff, Not Strategic Stabilization
May 20 (EIRNS)—The U.S. administration is replacing the stabilization of international relations by strategic rivalry among great powers, thus forming a standoff concept, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS yesterday when asked about the development of a “super-duper” missile in the United States. “The current U.S. administration is phasing out the term ‘strategic stability’ from its vocabulary. Instead of strategic stability as a goal to be sought in relations between our countries and relations among all leading powers of the world a new notion, a new term has begun to be used: strategic great power rivalry. In other words, it is standoff, and not stabilization of the situation that is used as the conceptual basis,” he said.
Lavrov believes that for understanding the reasons behind such transformation of fundamental terms “there must be a direct dialogue, which regrettably does not exist yet.”
He said that he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to establishing a stability dialogue to include direct contact between U.S. arms control envoy Marshall Billingslea and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, but that Moscow is waiting for the U.S. side to propose a date for it. “They held a telephone conversation on May 8,” Lavrov said. “A rather preliminary one. The Americans promised that as soon as they are ready, they will propose specific dates for holding the videoconference to discuss strategic stability issues—all those ‘supers’ and ‘dupers’ and everything else that concerns nuclear arms control, with officials from the ministries of defense and security services taking part. We are now waiting for such a proposal regarding the date of our video consultations.”
U.S. Navy Even Using Submarines To ‘Signal’ China
May 20 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Navy is so intent on sending loud messages to China that it is even resorting to its submarine fleet, a very unusual tactic, to do so. The Pacific Fleet Submarine Force took the unusual step this month of announcing that all of its forward-deployed subs were simultaneously conducting “contingency response operations” at sea in the Western Pacific, reported the Honolulu Star Advertiser, yesterday. The sub force said the missions were mounted in support of the Pentagon’s “free and open Indo-Pacific” policy aimed at countering China’s alleged expansionism in the South China Sea. At least seven submarines, and likely more—including all four Guam-based attack submarines, the San Diego-based USS Alexandria and multiple Hawaii-based vessels—are part of the effort.
“Our operations are a demonstration of our willingness to defend our interests and freedoms under international law,” Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Pacific sub force commander, who is based at Pearl Harbor, said in a May 8 release.
In Beijing, meanwhile, military leaders are said to be seeking a large increase in the PLA’s budget, arguing that the world’s largest standing army needs more resources to cope with volatile challenges at home and overseas, reports South China Morning Post, which writes that the leading challenge is coming from the U.S. From Beijing’s viewpoint, the military threats are surfacing on its doorstep with U.S. bombers running about 40 flights over contested areas of the South China and East China Seas so far this year, more than three times as many in the same period of 2019. U.S. Navy warships have sailed four “freedom of navigation operations” in the area in the same period, compared with eight in all of last year. There is, of course, no equivalent Chinese threat in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of California.
“Beijing feels security threats posed by the U.S. and other foreign countries are increasing, so the People’s Liberation Army wants a budget increase to support its military modernization and combat-ready training,” said Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong military commentator and former officer in the PLA. Military insiders told SCMP that the PLA is seeking at least to match last year’s 7.5% growth in the PLA’s budget, with one even estimating a 9% jump, as tensions escalate with the U.S., despite the fall in the economic growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
African Union Chair Ramaphosa Urges Debt Relief and Universal Health Care at WHA Summit
May 20 (EIRNS)—In his address to the World Health Assembly, May 18, South African President and African Union chair Cyril Ramaphosa drew attention to the interconnection between economics and health care, and that any recovery must ultimately address both aspects of the problem. Addressing the Assembly opening session, the President of this BRICS country recognized the “profound social, political, economic and security implications” of the virus; that it was affecting not only the health, but also the livelihoods of millions, particularly in Africa.
“Although the virus has impacted both developed and developing countries,” Ramaphosa said, “it is the poor who suffer the most. The pandemic has highlighted the dangerous and growing differences that exist between countries and within them.” The health care systems of many countries are struggling to cope, he emphasized, some because of underfunding, others because “they were designed to serve the select few.”
Recognizing that the crisis was going to be with the world for some time, Ramaphosa raised the issue of debt relief. “We need to prepare to adapt accordingly…. The African Union has made a call for developing countries to be assisted in their efforts to combat the pandemic, and to re-build their economies. This assistance needs to include debt relief….”
Looking toward the future, Ramaphosa described a global health outlook similar to that elaborated by Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, saying: “To turn back the frontiers of the pandemic, we also need to deepen international collaboration around research and development and investment in essential medical technologies, in COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics and in vaccines….
“In this final decade towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, we must press ahead with our goal of making universal health care a reality for all the people of the world. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the essential value of universal health coverage and should propel countries to act with greater urgency to make it a reality….
“Let us continue to be bold and courageous in confronting this pandemic.
“Let us continue to collaborate and to act in the best traditions of social solidarity.”
Group of Seven Central Banks’ Multi-Trillion QE Are Heading Outside the Stratosphere
May 20 (EIRNS)—The latest figures for bond and asset purchases under quantitative easing (QE) by the Group of Seven central banks—Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, and Bank of England—are impressive, but the rate of increase is insane. For April and March combined QE was $2.5 trillion, with $1.3 trillion in April. But the March volume was way higher than February, and at the current rate of increase, the global QE is headed toward $30 trillion by the end of the year, in other words, out of control.
Yesterday, the new ECB pandemic money pumping started with €851 million ($931 million) worth of PELTRO issuance (Pandemic Emergency Long-Term Refinancing). This isn’t so big, but financial media report some banks plan to get involved in June when another type of long-term refinancing comes available.
In contrast to all the QE and related mega-bailout, thousands of smaller and mid-level U.S. enterprises remain without credit access in the crisis; so Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell took some heat over this at a May 19 Congressional hearing. But no light shone on the deliberations.
This bottomless bail-out spectacle is covered today in an article, “Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus” by Ellen Brown, posted on Counterpunch website. She writes, “[I]n September 2019 and again in March 2020, Wall Street banks were quietly bailed out from a liquidity crisis in the repo market that could otherwise have bankrupted them.” Founder of the Public Banking Institute, Brown addressed the panel on “The Science of Physical Economy” at the April 25-26 Schiller Institute international conference, “Mankind’s Existence Now Depends on the Establishment of a New Paradigm!”
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Chang’e-4 and Jade Rabbit Still Going Strong on the Far Side of the Moon after 500 Earth Days
May 20 (EIRNS)—China’s Chang’e-4 mission on the far side of the Moon is still going after what amounts to 500 Earth days. The lander and Yutu-2 rover (“Jade Rabbit”) have resumed work for the 18th lunar day; a lunar day equals 14 days on Earth. The Yutu-2 rover has traveled a total of 447.68 meters and has conducted scientific experiments on lunar rocks, soil and impact craters. The Yutu-2 rover has a lunar penetrating radar that is designed to study the geological structure up to 40 meters down, revealing a lot of history about the structure and makeup of the Moon. Other scientific experiments include the finding from the infrared spectrometer on the Yutu-2. The Chang’e-4 mission is also conducting scientific missions which include low-frequency radio astronomical observations, surveying the terrain and landforms, and detecting the mineral composition of the lunar surface. Many of the instruments on the Chang’e-4 mission are the result of cooperation and contributions for many nations.
Fight for Control over Vaccine Production Looms
May 20 (EIRNS)—A fight over whether the production of vaccines will be determined strictly on the basis of the public good or by the financial interests behind Big Pharma and “venture capital” came to the surface around World Health Assembly discussions over the urgency of assuring “universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products including their components and precursors” as a global priority.
The U.S., U.K. and Switzerland are reported to be the only three nations which objected to the implication in the World Health Assembly’s COVID-19 resolution that Big Pharma’s patent rights might be overridden without their consent. Discussion of “patent pooling mechanisms” which might not be voluntary raised hackles.
The dispute echoes the fierce fights in the 1980s and 1990s over the right of developing nations to break Big Pharma’s iron grip on production and sale of antivirals for HIV, which were only sold at prohibitively exorbitant prices. Nations such as Brazil, South Africa and India insisted on their right to manufacture and sell their own generic antivirals to save their populations from HIV, and where required to save their people, to activate clauses in World Trade Organization intellectual property rights regulations (TRIPS) which allow for breaking patents in cases of public emergency. Big Pharma (and Vice President Al Gore) fought viciously against any such steps.
The U.S. “Explanation of Position” on the COVID-19 Response resolution asserts that the United States must disassociate itself from “unbalanced and incomplete” language on TRIPS regulations which it found in the WHA resolution. The Explanation emphasizes “the critical role that intellectual property plays in incentivizing the development of new and improved health products.” In Wall Street’s world, nobody does anything except if they can make a killing on it.
The resolution wording “sends the wrong message to innovators who will be essential to the solutions…. We are concerned that a misinterpretation of international trade obligations in non-WTO multilateral fora may negatively affect countries’ abilities to incentivize new drug development,” the statement warns.
Countered to such proposals, is the recently announced ACTIV Partnership with private capital as the model for “incentivizing” innovation and “galvanizing the world beyond bureaucracy and UN bodies” (see EIR Daily Alert, May 19, 2020).
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Thinktanks in U.S., China, and South Africa Work on Multinational Cooperation against Coronavirus
May 20 (EIRNS)—Beijing Youth Daily raised a question two days ago at the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s press briefing about a virtual workshop held by the Carter Center, South Africa Institute of International Affairs, and the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) on May 14, on the subject of cooperation on COVID-19 among China, the U.S., and African countries. Spokesman Zhao Lijian noted that such discussions among thinktanks in these areas are helpful, because “the current situation in Africa is grim. Closer cooperation between China, the U.S. and Africa can play an important role in African countries’ fight against COVID-19.”
It is urgent. As of yesterday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reported that the continent had registered 91,598 diagnosed cases and 2,912 deaths. Cases “increased by 19% last week, with deaths rising by 23%,” it reported, with urban areas mainly affected at this time. So far, Northern, Western and Southern Africa have registered more cases than Central or Eastern Africa. “Cases are concentrated in 10 countries, with the three highest totals in South Africa, Algeria, and Nigeria. However, nine countries saw sharp increases last week, including Mauritania, Zambia, Burundi, Gabon, Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Madagascar, and Togo. Community transmission is under way in 25 of the continent’s countries.”
• Watch the Morning Briefing with Harley Schlanger on Thursday, May 21: Every weekday morning Harley will brief you on what you need to know to start your day. Subscribe to the LaRouchePAC YouTube channel and hit the notifications button to be notified when Harley’s briefings are posted. Or you can listen to the audio file on SoundCloud.
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