The U.S. Must Join the New Silk Road, the Dominant Dynamic on the Planet
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—The train has left the station, but there is still time for the United States to get on board.
The Chinese-led New Silk Road global development project, the largest infrastructure endeavor ever undertaken on the planet, is well underway on almost every continent on the globe. Even Africa, almost driven to the point of extinction of late by British, Dutch, French and other imperial looting, is undergoing a transformation with Chinese help—both of its infrastructure grid per se, and of its sense of optimism about the future.
The recently inaugurated Djibouti-Addis Ababa rail line, built with Chinese help, is one such project which has led to jubilation in the region. As the chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, explained to the Feb. 7 New York Times, that rail line is “just the first leg of a long-dreamed trans-Africa route, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. The train is already a game-changer.”
Hadi then pointed to what is actually a global reality: “We approached the U.S., and they didn’t have the vision. They are not thinking ahead 30 years…. The Chinese have vision.”
As part of China’s vision, the Xi Jinping government has convoked a world summit of leaders of nations participating in the New Silk Road project, which will meet in May in Beijing. Chinese authorities have announced that already over 20 leaders have accepted the invitation, from Asia, Europe, Africa and Ibero-America. Two weeks ago, a top Chinese scholar from Renmin University reported that China is also “looking forward to welcoming Mr. Trump’s participation at the international cooperation summit on the Belt and Road this May.”
Will Trump accept, and realize that the only way to actually “Make America Great Again” is by joining the New Silk Road initiative?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche told associates today to put this on the table. The U.S. must join the New Silk Road, which has now become the dominant dynamic on the planet.
The United States joining with China and Russia in that global purpose, is the most essential strategic matter facing Mankind. Such action is the basis for correcting American policies on other matters, and makes it possible to provide a vision for our nation that is otherwise lacking.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
‘The Chinese Have Vision’ in Africa; the United States Does Not
Feb. 8 (EIRNS) —“Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, with Chinese Help,” is the headline on a major, and uncharacteristically truthful, article in the Feb. 7 New York Times. The feature showcases the newly opened rail line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, which was built with Chinese financing and construction help, but draws a much broader point:
“Few places are being reshaped by China’s overseas juggernaut like Africa, a continent that has seen relatively little new railroad construction in a century…. [China is] spending some $50 billion a year on new ports, highways and airports across the continent…. Many of the projects are part of Beijing’s new Silk Road initiative, a $1 trillion effort intended to deepen ties between China and its trading partners in the developing world.”
The article contends that the United States is being left in the dust: “China’s enthusiasm for constructing railroads, schools and stadiums in Africa stands in marked contrast to the role of the United States … [although] it remains unclear how that calculus might change under the Trump administration.” The chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, told the Times that the new Djibouti-Addis Ababa rail line “would be just the first leg of a long-dreamed trans-Africa route, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. ‘The train is already a game-changer,’ he said ‘We approached the U.S., and they didn’t have the vision,’ he said. ‘They are not thinking ahead 30 years. They only have a vision of Africa from the past, as a continent of war and famine. The Chinese have vision.’ ”
The Chinese have launched more than just rail lines in Africa. They are rekindling a renewed sense of optimism there, which will drive the British Empire particularly mad. Djibouti’s Finance Minister Moussa Dawaleh was asked by the Times about the risk of taking on excessive debt. He dismissed the concerns, noting Djibouti’s 6.7% annual growth rate.
“If we don’t take this risk now and develop our infrastructure, we will remain stuck in poverty. Come back in a few years, and you will find that Djibouti has become the logistics hub of the continent.”
While Kenya presently is the hub of the African extensions of the Belt and Road Initiative, other, bigger projects will be specifically undertaken in Bizerte, Tunisia; Dakar, Senegal; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Djibouti; Libreville, Gabon; Maputo, Mozambique; and Tema, Ghana.
One example from this extensive network is the port of Bagamoyo, in Tanzania. Construction on development of the port, financed by China and Oman, began in 2016. Once complete, the port is expected to become the biggest in Africa, handling 20 times more cargo than Tanzania’s port at Dar es Salaam. With links to the central corridor railway and the TAZARA Railway—Tanzania-Zambia Railway, also known as Uhuru Railway—as well as a parallel highway linking the port to the Uhuru-Zambia Highway, the plan is to construct Bagamoyo as a strategic pillar of the African Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road. The port will be connected with other Central and East African countries, including Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Comoros, Madagascar, and Seychelles.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Trump and Erdogan: New CIA Chief First Overseas Visit Is Ankara
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump held his first phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Feb. 7. While he reiterated support for Turkey “as a strategic partner and NATO ally,” Trump also spoke about the two countries’ ”shared commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms” and welcomed Turkey’s contributions to the fight against the Islamic State, the White House said in a statement.
Concretely, Trump has agreed to send CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Turkey, where he will arrive on Feb. 9 in his first visit abroad under the new U.S. administration.
The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Fethullah Terror Organization (FETÖ) will reportedly mark the top of Pompeo’s agenda during his discussions with Turkish officials. The Turkish government considers Fethullah Gulen, a founder of the ruling AKP party now in self-exile in Pennsylvania, to have played a major role in the July 15, 2016, aborted coup.
Russian Government Draws Sharp Lines Between U.S. Administrations
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in an interview with TASS on Feb. 7, said: “To my mind, the incumbent U.S. administration is far less ideologized and far more focused on specific results. I’m confident that with this approach, the result will be more significant and weightier.”
One example he cited is Syria. Lavrov said that during the Obama period, the most cooperation achieved regarding Syria was de-confliction, “procedures of avoiding unforeseen incidents,” but that Obama rejected the idea that “we should establish real coordination for agreeing on targets and delivering strikes against terrorists’ positions.” But the Trump administration “took a specific, even if a one-off action already in the first days of its work in the White House,” by providing Russia with terrorist coordinates in Aleppo on Jan. 22. “I believe this characterizes the one and the other administration.”
There is also a “qualitative change” on Ukraine. Trump, Lavrov stated, “wants to come to grips with problems in Ukraine to be able to see how the parties are behaving. So, I think it is a big qualitative change as compared with the Obama administration, which sought to demand everything from us and exculpate” Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
China-U.S. Cooperation Is in the Long-Term Interests of Both Countries, Says Wang Yi
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on an official visit to Australia, used the opportunity of a joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, to underline the stability of U.S.-China ties. Wang referred to the “important conversation” President Xi Jinping had had with President Donald Trump shortly after the U.S. election, which Wang characterized as “positive” and in which the two Presidents agreed that U.S.-China relations would be on a better path.
While noting some of the harsh rhetoric that had come out of the Trump Administration, Wang said that the new Administration needs “more time to know about China.” He believes that as long as China and the United States abide by the pledges which have been made so far by the two sides, Sino-U.S. relations would see their way through the break-in period and step onto a better development route, which “meets the common wish of the two peoples and is in accordance with the long-term interests of both sides.” He stressed, “Our two countries are committed to the new model of major power relations. Our relations are very close and our interests are closely intertwined. If we end up in conflict, both sides will lose, and both sides cannot afford that.”
Wang also underlined the importance of the economic and other ties that have already been established between the two countries.
“Almost every state in the U.S. has been doing business with China, every university has cooperated with China, and the number of personnel exchanges between the two countries has risen to more than 4 million last year,” said Wang.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Kiev Regime Fueling the War in the Donbass
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—Recognition that the Kiev regime is behind the recent escalation of the fighting in the Donbass is coming to some in the West. An article in Foreign Policy by Isaac Webb, a freelance writer based in Kiev, not only connects the renewed fighting to the arrival in office of President Trump, but it also notes that it is the Kiev regime that has been moving heavy weapons into areas along the line of contact where they are banned by the Minsk agreements. He furthermore states that “there’s no evidence that regular Russian troops are involved in the current fighting,” though he otherwise places equal blame for the recent escalation in fighting on Russia. At the same time, the Ukrainian President’s office has used the escalation to “remind” Trump of the “costs” of rapprochement with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “The shelling is massive. Who would dare talk about lifting the sanctions in such circumstances?” Poroshenko said on Jan. 31.
In yesterday’s TASS interview, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov appeared to be responding, at least in part, to Webb’s article. “If someone hopes that all Ukraine’s problems will be solved as soon as Kiev regains full control of Donbass, they are wrong, for it is impossible.” This is why Kiev must settle for implementing the Minsk agreements, Lavrov said.
At the Pentagon, Defense Department spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis admitted: “We haven’t seen any sort of large-scale movement of Russian forces that would suggest this is a part of something bigger,” he told reporters yesterday. “This is a flair-up of violence, but at this point we see no reason to believe it is a part of a broader problem or preparation for something bigger.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone yesterday on the Ukrainian situation; the two are part of the Normandy Four contact group on Ukraine, along with France and Ukraine. Merkel called on Putin “to use his influence on separatists in eastern Ukraine to stop the violence there, and the two agreed on the need for new cease-fire efforts, a German government spokesman said,” reports Reuters. Putin clearly disagreed with the notion that Russia is controlling events on the ground. “Vladimir Putin drew Angela Merkel’s attention to the data of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission as well as statements by official Kiev representatives, which indicate attempts by the Ukrainian security forces to change the situation at the contact line in their favor by military means,” reports the Presidential website.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
‘Think Big, Long-Term About Space,’ Says Rep. John Culberson
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—Speaking on Feb. 6 at a Space Transportation Association briefing on Capitol Hill, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, described NASA as a “strategic national asset.” He defended the need for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket, which has been under attack by “commercial” space industry moguls, like SpaceX’s Elon Musk, who Boast they can do it faster, cheaper, better. They have been backed up by some Trump Administration space advisors, who are also pushing to cancel the NASA rocket program.
It was noted, however, by Andy Pasztor in a Wall Street Journal article yesterday, that these privateers are backing off somewhat from calling for the cancellation of the rocket program that Republican lawmakers saved through a fight with the Obama Administration for eight years. The head of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Alan Stern, told Pasztor that the private companies would instead call for a “public-private partnership” with NASA on the SLS, rather than get into a “food fight” on the issue.
Culberson, having to deal with the constraints on NASA funding through his responsibility in the appropriations process in the Congress, made a very interesting proposal—that SLS should be included in President Trump’s infrastructure program.
Culberson also correctly defended NASA’s Earth science programs, which Trump supporters have said should be cut drastically, saying, “NASA’s Earth science continues to do great work. We have to have the facts…. The role of NASA’s Earth science division should be to provide us good data free of any political filter or agenda. Work that’s done there is essential.”
On long-term goals, Culberson said that NASA should have a 100-year plan, including the development of new propulsion technologies. He said he is talking to industry experts about such an R&D program, and wants NASA to submit an “interstellar roadmap to send a probe to Alpha Centauri in 2069,” on the 100th anniversary of the first lunar landing.
Nuclear Physicist Debates Greenpeace: Nuclear Power Is Best Option for South Africa
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—In a debate organized by the Power Technology journal of South Africa, between Penny-Jane Cook, a leading representative of Greenpeace, and Dr. Kelvin Kemm, CEO of the energy consultancy Nuclear Africa and a nuclear physicist in his own right, the latter pointed out that “South Africa is vast, has a population of around 55 million and is predominantly powered by coal. There is currently only one nuclear power plant in Africa, Koeberg in Cape Town, and it supplies around half the power to the Western Cape region—the equivalent of channelling half of London’s electricity from Rome—as well as African neighbors such as Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
“What South Africa needs is additional base-load power for key industrial infrastructure such as mines and ports, and to drive electric trains across a country that is as large as Western Europe.”
The South African government plans to build three power stations with up to three reactors per site, starting later this year with Oyster Bay, some 75km south of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.
“The story that the three nuclear power plants have been delayed to beyond 2030 is untrue,” Kemm said. “The first new facility is scheduled for 2026, with all three operational within the subsequent ten years. If you are going to build multiple plants, it is best to do it in a production-line process to minimize the cost.
“One of the tricks employed by the anti-nuclear lobby is that they use figures based on the upfront capital cost of a power station, calculate that out and then project it as the permanent cost lifetime of electricity supply. If you talk about the cost of nuclear, you have to be fair and base it on a plant’s total operational lifetime, which includes the extremely low-cost of fuel for half a century.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Wall Street’s Only Proposal: More ‘Financial Methadone,’ i.e., QE
Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—Bill Gross, Wall Street’s “Numero Uno” bond trader, who now heads Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, has issued a call for the world’s central banks to keep pumping QE into the system at a mad rate, or face a global collapse.
In a note to investors, Gross, who previously was PIMCO’s head of trading, wrote that the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have to keep up their quantitative easing (QE), or else U.S. interest rates will rise and a “recession” will ensue. His choice of words is notable:
“Without that financial methadone, both bond and stock markets worldwide would sink and produce a tantrum of significant proportions,” Gross said, and insisted that it is impossible to reverse QE. “A $12 trillion global central bank balance sheet is permanent—and growing at over $1 trillion a year, thanks to the ECB and the BOJ,” he said.
France Threatened by Implosion as Grave Political Crisis Unfolds
PARIS, Feb. 8 (EIRNS)—France has been thrown into a deep political crisis by the brutal targetting of the right-wing favorite Presidential candidate François Fillon of Les Républicains by the ruling elites, their media outlets, and their controllers in the British oligarchy.
While the particular violence of the attack can only be explained by the fact that a President Fillon would add an unpredictable element for the oligarchy, in particular because of his pro-Russian views, and his openness to working with Russia in the Syrian and Middle East situations, Fillon, himself, is no great gift to the French nation.
The series of corruption revelations leveled against Fillon and his wife, Penelope Clarke Fillon, have revealed to the French public a senior political figure who, for more than 30 years, has been using funds earmarked for National Assembly Deputies to pay for their aides and experts, to pay an exorbitant salary to his wife, in particular, and to two of his adult offspring, totalling more than €1 million. While Deputies can legally to employ family members, they do have to actually perform the job for which they are hired. So far, there is nothing that to show that Penelope Clarke Fillon and their employed children did so.
The corruption becomes even stronger when looking into a consultancy Fillon founded, C2F, through which he earned some €18,000 per month. In one of its deals, the world’s leading private health insurer, AXA, paid Fillon €200,000. One of Fillon’s major proposals is to privatize France’s world-famous social security system, and rumors had it that he wanted to name Henri de Castries, AXA’s CEO until last July, as his prime minister.
Having been thrown to the wolves, with new elements coming out every day, Fillon’s popularity is collapsing, with his poll ratings plunging from 26% after his nomination, to a low 17% today, behind the Front National’s Marine Le Pen (26%) and former Socialist Party member, independent Emmanuel Macron (22%). Fillon’s political friends are at this point rather paralyzed, realizing that they will probably have to replace him, but having no other candidate and hardly any time to organize a new primary. The first round of the election will be held on April 23, i.e., some 75 days from now.
On the left, the volatility is also very great. Emmanuel Macron has been catapulted into fame by the media among the younger and well-to-do liberals, without anybody knowing what his program is. Besides being thoroughly liberal and Europeanist, the only two measures he has announced are that he is prepared to cut employees’ monthly payments into the unemployment fund and similar social security pay-ins, which would result in a “bonanza” of €500 a year per employed person; and promised €500 as a gift for every 18-year-old to use for some cultural activity (concert, theater, opera, etc.).
Never has the outcome of the Presidential race been so undetermined with a scant two-and-a-half months to go before France goes to the polls. This has even prompted cartoons and jokes appearing on the theme: If Le Pen takes the votes of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, if Macron takes the votes of Fillon, if Hamon takes the votes of Mélenchon, maybe Jacques Cheminade of Solidarité et Progrès and a friend of Lyndon LaRouche’s, will finally have a chance! The joke may be on the French elites.