EIR Daily Alert Service
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2017
Volume 4, Number 42
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—In the hours before President Donald Trump’s first address to the Joint Session of Congress tonight, high-level envoys for Russia and China each stated their nation’s interest in collaborating with the United States in strategic affairs. These developments are indicative of the potential to pull the world out of the danger of geopolitical confrontation—the hallmark for centuries, of British Empire practices, and into a new era of beneficial relations the world over. There are also initiatives for making a break into a new era of mutual economic benefit—“win-win,” as Chinese President Xi Jinping calls it. But time is very short.
In Moscow today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov addressed the Duma, the lower house of Parliament, stating that Russia would welcome the U.S. to collaborate against terrorism, and also to conduct a dialogue on the danger of nuclear weapons. He confirmed that “practical preparations” were underway for a meeting between President Trump and President Putin.
In Washington, D.C., yesterday, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, met with Trump at the White House, conveying greetings from President Xi. He reported China’s willingness “to enhance exchanges with the U.S. at all levels, from top down,” and to “expand coordination and cooperation with the U.S. on bilateral, regional and global issues.” There are discussions about a possible meeting of the heads of state in May.
Thus, whatever President Trump’s exact words and stress to Congress tonight, the present moment of potential is manifest and precious. But nothing is settled. There are other elements in play in the Trump camp, which are fighting for dominance.
Look at the continued U.S. involvement in the Bush-Cheney-Obama policy of perpetual warfare in Southwest Asia. At the UN Security Council this morning, Russia and China had to vote down a wrongful resolution to penalize Syria, originated by Britain and France, and stupidly backed by the United States. (The resolution, which imposes sanctions and bans, alleges, without proof, that the Syrian government gas-bombed its people in 2014 and 2015). President Putin spoke out, from his trip in Central Asia this morning, to denounce attempted sanctions against the Syrian leadership. “I think the move is totally inappropriate now. It does not help, would not help, the negotiation process. It would only hurt or undermine confidence during the process.”
The realization of potential to end the current era of warfare and misery depends on the intervention of ourselves and our collaborators. In a Day of Action called by LaRouche PAC this week, a show of force on Capitol Hill will take place Wednesday, by delegations from the Eastern Seaboard, pushing Congress to move on reinstating Glass-Steagall, and LaRouche’s Four Laws package. Some 5,500 signatures for Glass-Steagall were already delivered through today, to various Congressmen, as well as to the White House. In addition, dozens of selected Congressional offices are receiving copies of the EIR dossier released last week, “Obama-Soros Color Revolution—Ukraine, 2014; U.S.A., 2017?”
Trump himself denounced Obama and this color revolution crowd, in a Fox News TV interview, referring to the protests, fake news, and incessant accusations on Russia. Trump said, “I think he [Obama] is behind it. I also think it is politics; that’s the way it is. You never know what’s exactly happening behind the scenes…. I think that President Obama is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, which are really serious, because they are very bad in terms of national security….”
Many Americans now begin to see, for the first time, a Maidan against their own government. Plans are now in motion to release “truth dossiers” each of the coming weeks, to get out the truth on what was perpetrated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The series will begin with documentation of the genocide in Yemen.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump met on Monday with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the White House, pledging to enhance bilateral high-level exchanges and cooperation in all areas, according to Xinhua. In the course of the day, Yang also met with several Trump advisors and Vice President Mike Pence.
Today, Yang met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which meeting, according to the State Department, “affirmed the importance of a constructive bilateral relationship and of regular high-level engagement between the United States and China.” The two leaders also, “discussed the importance of improving and maintaining a mutually beneficial economic relationship between the two largest economies in the world.” In particular, they discussed relations with North Korea. Tillerson thanked Yang for inviting him to visit Beijing soon.
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—Moscow is looking to U.S. President Trump to do what he promised to do on U.S.-Russia relations, and is open to a renewed dialogue with Washington.
“Russia is open to a full-fledged discussion on strategic issues with the U.S. We need to take into account all factors influencing strategic stability and our security,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said this morning, during a roundtable discussion at the Duma, reports TASS. Ryabkov noted that among such factors are “the creation of the global missile defense system by the Americans and the development of non-nuclear strategic offensive weapons as part of the Prompt Global Strike concept by them.”
Ryabkov indicated that Moscow also welcomes Trump’s statements about improving U.S.-Russian relations more generally. “Trump has confirmed his intention to build practical cooperation in his two telephone conversations with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, held on Nov. 14 and Jan. 28,” TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying.
What has not been discussed, so far, Ryabkov continued, is a mechanism for the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Russia, though the modalities of a Trump-Putin meeting are being discussed.
“There is no understanding yet on the date and place for such a meeting, but practical preparations for it have been launched and there is mutual understanding with the U.S. side on this score,” Ryabkov said. “Naturally, at this initial stage of a dialogue with the new administration, it is difficult to make a conclusion about how work will proceed further on specific issues,” the diplomat said. “The forecasts for a perspective will become possible when we see Washington’s practical actions.”
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met on Monday with U.S. Gen. Paul Vallely (USA, ret.) at the Sixth Conference of the Valdai Club Middle East Dialogue according to TASS. Vallely is the founder and chairman of the Stand-Up America non-profit organization; he is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and strongly supports improving relations with Russia. Bogdanov is also President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa.
Vallely and Bogdanov discussed prospects for Russian-U.S. cooperation on Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry reports. They “discussed the situation unfolding in the Middle East, including ways to overcome Sunni-Shi’a differences in the region, as well as prospects for Russian-U.S. cooperation with an aim to contribute to an early settlement of the crisis in Syria,” the Ministry said.
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump blasted failed President Barack Obama for organizing protests and leaking fake news. In an interview with Fox News aired on Tuesday morning, Trump was asked if Obama was behind the attacks on him.
“I think he is behind it. I also think it is politics; that’s the way it is,” Trump said. “You never know what’s exactly happening behind the scenes. You know, you’re probably right or possibly right, but you never know,” Trump continued. “No, I think that President Obama is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, which are really serious, because they are very bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that is politics. In terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.”
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—George W. Bush, who remained completely quiet during Obama’s Presidency, as Obama continued and escalated Bush’s wars, killing, and collapsing the economy, has come out publicly attacking Trump.
First he came out on NBC’s “Today” show, yesterday, defending the media against Trump’s attacks.
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need the media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”
Of course, Bush doesn’t mention the role the media played in pushing his lies that created the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—The Asian Development Bank (ADB) released a study today, “Meeting Asia’s Infrastructure Needs,” which estimates that “Infrastructure needs in developing Asia and the Pacific will exceed $22.6 trillion through 2030, or $1.5 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain growth momentum.” They increase this figure to $26 trillion “when climate change mitigation and adaptation costs are incorporated.”
The report, according to its press release, focuses on “the region’s power, transport, telecommunications, and water and sanitation infrastructure.
“The demand for infrastructure across Asia and the Pacific far outstrips current supply,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao. “Asia needs new and upgraded infrastructure that will set the standard for quality, encourage economic growth, and respond to the pressing global challenge that is climate change.”
The report notes that “Infrastructure development in the 45 countries covered in the report has grown dramatically in recent decades—spurring growth, reducing poverty, and improving people’s lives. But a substantial infrastructure gap remains, with over 400 million people still lacking electricity, 300 million without access to safe drinking water, and about 1.5 billion lacking access to basic sanitation. Many economies in the region lack adequate ports, railways, and roads that could connect them efficiently to larger domestic and global markets.”
The report says that the region now invests annually an estimated $881 billion in infrastructure, counting only 25 countries for which there are adequate data, but comprising 96% of the region’s population.
What the authors call the “infrastructure investment gap,” is 1.2% of GDP in China, but for the rest of Asia Pacific, it is 5%.
The report peddles public-private partnerships, PPPs, calling on nations to “implement PPP-related reforms such as enacting PPP laws, streamlining PPP procurement and bidding processes, introducing dispute resolution mechanisms, and establishing independent PPP government units. Deepening of capital markets is also needed to help channel the region’s substantial savings into productive infrastructure investment.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn granted an interview to the Wall Street Journal Feb. 1, in which he called on Trump to follow China’s model in boosting domestic manufactures and infrastructure, and to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. Desalegn said that “China has become a model not only for Ethiopia but now even for the new administration of the United States.” At the same time, he called for cooperation against terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
After harping a lot on so-called human rights, the WSJ reports about the success of Ethiopia’s economy and writes that state-backed infrastructure development would continue to be at the center of Ethiopia’s growth strategy. It mentions two among the most important Chinese projects in Ethiopia: the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and the Renaissance Dam.
The government has liberalized many sectors, but it keeps strict control over, among other things, the financial sector. Desalegn “insisted the 20 commercial Ethiopian banks would be swallowed if the market opened to foreign banks. ‘Until they flex their muscle, we shouldn’t open up.’ ”
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—Initiated by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the biggest opposition group in the national parliament of the Netherlands, a special commission has been mandated to inquire into the benefits of an exit from the euro system for the country. Pieter Omtzigt, CDA member of the committees on finance, EU affairs, and foreign relations, charged the ECB with “causing losses to Dutch savers with its low-interest policy” and destroying property.
The report of the commission is expected for a date only after the March 15 national elections, but its existence, and the role of the CDA in the campaign, naturally, may affect the voting of large parts of the electorate.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—On March 1, Argentine scientists affiliated with the National Science Research and Technology Council (Conicet), the premier scientific institution in the country which trains young scientists, will go on a nationwide strike, joined by the Association of State Workers (ATE), to protest continued slashing of the Conicet budget and science-and-technology budget generally.
“A country without scientific development is not sovereign,” said Nicolas Ramos, a Conicet doctoral candidate, who told “Info Blanco Sobre Negro” news agency that the assault on science is related to the “profound change in the country’s economic model,” imposed by neocon President Mauricio Macri. “It’s a model centered on the private sector and the major economic groups,” he stated. “The state only serves as a guarantor of big business.”
Although scientists forced the government to back down a few months ago on its plan to drastically reduce the number of Conicet grant recipients, Macri and his Science Minister Lino Barañao, have continued to slash budgets and argue for a “reorientation” of science toward the private sector, telling scientists they will have to work wherever there is a “demand” for them.
Macri has tossed out the window the idea of training scientists as part of a national mission, coherent with a program to industrialize and develop the country.
A petition circulated by scientists demands that the budget for science, technology, and universities be increased, and that 508 researchers already approved by Conicet in 2016 be incorporated and granted funding, among other things. It warns that scientific institutions will have difficulty operating because of a declining number of scientists; that many existing research teams won’t be able to sustain their work or hire new people; and that many young scientists will be forced to leave the country, as occurred in the 1990s.
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)—The states of Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have now joined the fight to prevent operating nuclear power plants in their deregulated states from prematurely shutting down. Utilities with nuclear plants are losing money, due to the temporarily “cheap” price of natural gas, thanks to fracking, and the “cheap” renewables, which are subsidized through legal mandates to “stop global warming.” New York and Illinois have already passed legislation that will allow utilities to charge customers a fee or receive subsidy support to keep their nuclear power plants in operation.
Over the past five years, five nuclear plants have unnecessarily shut down. The Nuclear Energy Institute reports that there are 15 plants that are now in danger of being shut down for purely “economic” reasons. Although there has been hand wringing, there has been no federal action, so laws will have to be changed, state by state.
There is also a study reported in “Next Big Future” comparing energy costs in Germany and France, which shows that (non-nuclear) Germany’s cost of electricity is double that of nuclear France, and that solar and wind did not make up for the loss in nuclear, but that actually their production of electricity declined last year, as compared to 2015.