EIR Daily Alert Service
THURSDAY, MAY 25 2017
Volume 4 Number 103
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
May 24 (EIRNS)—The historic visit to holy sites of the three Religions of the Book by President Trump concluded today at the Vatican. Readouts from both the Vatican and the White House report that cooperation in achieving peace in the Middle East was the central topic of discussion—“the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue,” as the Vatican put it.
The difference now, from all the failed efforts under previous Presidents, is the fact that the British division of the world between East and West, the “free world versus Godless Communism,” created by the British after the death of FDR, is being smashed by the cooperation among Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Xi Jinping. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has served as a primary cockpit for that division of the world, just as North Korea has served the same purpose in Asia. In both cases, the British and their dupes in the U.S. and Europe would take all possible measures to prevent any solution to these festering crises, despite the fact that their existence spawned terrorist chaos, and constantly threatened to spark the outbreak of nuclear war.
Now, there is a new world economic order in place, demonstrated by the success of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14-15. While China and Russia were the central drivers of this process, President Trump sent a high-level representative, created a “U.S. Belt and Road Committee” to follow through, and invited China to join in planning and building the desperately needed reconstruction of the rotting infrastructure in the United States.
With President Trump heading for Brussels on May 25 for a NATO meeting (the anti-Russia fanatics are holding their breath in anticipation of what Trump might say), Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu today presented an extremely positive view of the U.S.-Russia cooperation in the war on terror in Syria. “We are talking with them on a round-the-clock basis,” Shoigu said of the U.S. military, “during the day and night, and we are meeting at different venues.” U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford last week described the close cooperation with the Russians in Syria, even though U.S. law prevents actual joint military deployments.
This is the new global environment, based on cooperation, in which President Trump is calling on Islam, Judaism and Christianity to come together for peace. As to terrorism, Trump told the meeting of leaders from nearly 50 Islamic nations in Riyadh on May 21, that it is not a conflict between religions, but between good and evil.
In a similar vein, the potential for peace is breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. Newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in is openly promoting a restoration of the Sunshine Policy of economic cooperation with the North, both for joint development, and to establish the trust necessary for an agreement to end the North’s nuclear program, in exchange for a peace agreement and a non-aggression pledge from the United States.
President Moon’s envoy to Russia, Song Young-gil, held extensive discussions with Russia’s Minister for Far East Development Alexander Galushka this past week. Song told Yonhap: “Minister Galushka suggested the trilateral economic cooperation of the South, North and Russia, which has been in stalemate due to the nuclear issues, be pushed forward independently, and I agreed to that.” This has been the core of Lyndon LaRouche’s proposals regarding Korea for the past 20 years. As in the Middle East, the New Silk Road is the platform upon which peace can finally be established.
China’s Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi told the Security Council meeting on North Korea May 23 that “there is no reason why dialogue is not taking place in the current situation. It takes political will.” Every forward step in the Korea crisis has come through dialogue, he said—and, he could have added, that every step forward was sabotaged by the war parties in the West, first Bush and Cheney and then Barack Obama.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
May 24 (EIRNS)—Addressing a Senate hearing Tuesday, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was asked about the claims by Centcom chief Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, and Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr., commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who said last month that the Russians were supporting the Taliban, and perhaps arming and funding them. This has been played as part of the McCarthyite hysteria against the Russians by all the proponents of color revolution.
Perhaps to the surprise of the Senators, General Stewart replied: “We have seen indication that they offered some level of support but I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred.” He said the Russians were talking to the Taliban to facilitate peace talks, and want to be sure they are part of any such talks.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
May 24 (EIRNS)—Speaking this morning before Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of the national legislature) this morning, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported that in Syria, the U.S. and Russian militaries are in constant, round-the-clock contact, TASS reported.
“We did not lose contact with them,” he said. “We are talking with them on a round-the-clock basis, during the day and night, and we are meeting at different venues…. A great work is underway with them,” Shoigu added, explaining that, “We would like it to be completed and presented as a project ready for implementation. We are working on the southern zone of de-escalation.”
He pointed out, however, that Russia seems to be doing much more, with much less, than the U.S.-led coalition in Syria. “The comparative analysis of results of actions in Syria by Russia’s aviation and the international coalition shows that our Aerospace Forces, which had fewer aircraft, carried out three times more sorties and delivered four times more missile and bomb attacks,” Shoigu said. He also summarized what has been accomplished on the ground in western Syria from the time of the liberation of Aleppo.
Shoigu also emphasized that the Russian Defense Ministry knows which groups in Syria possess chemical weapons and called for joint action against them. “There is information that Daesh [ISIS] and Al-Nusra terrorists have components of chemical weapons. Who can give assurances that chemical weapons won’t appear in other countries tomorrow?” he asked. As for the propaganda videos that claim that the Assad government is responsible for chemical weapons attacks, this is all staged, Shoigu said. “Based on those games with chemical weapons in the information field … some argue, without proof, that the Syrian government uses [chemical weapons]…. But we have already reached the point where we are absolutely convinced today that most of the films and reports are staged,” he said, as reported by Sputnik.
May 24 (EIRNS)—Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte left Russia today, cutting short the planned five-day visit, to deal with the terrorist attack in the town of Marawi in Mindanao. He moved his meeting with President Vladimir Putin up to Tuesday night, May 23, rather than Thursday, and cancelled his meeting with Premier Dmitry Medvedev and his planned speech at the Moscow State University of International Relations. The economic and military deals he was expected to sign will be signed by Ministers on May 25.
“I came to secure your support and to confirm our friendship,” Duterte told Putin, calling Russia a “reliable partner.” “Of course, our country needs modern weapons. We had orders in the United States, but now the situation there is not so smooth, and in order to fight with ISIS, with their units and factions, we need modern weapons,” Duterte told Putin. The agreements are expected to include small arms, helicopters and jets to be used in the war on terrorists.
Putin said that in addition to military assistance, the two countries have “many other prospective areas of cooperation, including in the areas of power, engineering, energy and transportation. Your ministers will stay here and tomorrow this package of documents which is aimed at the development of our bilateral relations, will be signed,” Putin said.
The government says it is in full control of the situation in Mindanao, but is holding its positions until reinforcements arrive to retake the areas of the city occupied by the terrorists, which include both the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group, both claiming association with ISIS.
On returning to the Philippines, Duterte said that the martial law he declared for Mindanao for 60 days will be “harsh,” saying it will be extended if necessary to other areas of the country and for a longer time.
“If it would take a year to do it, then we will do it. If it’s over within a month, then I’ll be happy,” he said. “I will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
May 24 (EIRNS)—In the course of his four-nation tour of Africa—Mauritania, Cape Verde, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is emphasizing that China seeks to strengthen cooperation with African nations, within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinhua reported.
In a May 22 press conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Wang stressed that Africa and China “can combine the 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans proposed by President Xi Jinping with the Belt and Road Initiative,” and make them complement each other. Xinhua emphasized that Africa is anxious to leave behind the “single growth mode” of exporting raw materials, and achieve economic independence through industrialization. China is viewed as the most reliable partner to achieve this goal.
In his remarks, Wang emphasized that Africa’s growth is also key to the growth of the overall strength of developing countries, and that this is in the common interest of both Africa and China. He pointed to the long history of China’s friendship with Africa and the importance of infrastructure projects it helped build going back decades—Mauritania’s “port of friendship” built in the 1980s is a case in point—and are still going strong. What used to be known as the “triangle of poverty” in southern Mauritania is now known as the “triangle of hope,” thanks to roads and other infrastructure which China helped to build.
Yesterday, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the headquarters of the African Union, the Chinese Director General at Policy Planning of the Foreign Ministry Wang Yajun presented a book on the building of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA), entitled A Monument to China-Africa Friendship, which was inaugurated in 1976. A report on the website of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, notes that the TAZARA project covers 1,860 kilometers from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in the east to New Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia to the west. It is known as the “Railway of Freedom” and the “Railway of Friendship”—completed in five years and eight months.
May 24 (EIRNS)—For the first time since 1989, and a little over a week after the successful May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded China’s credit rating to A1 from Aa3, and changed its outlook from stable to negative—placing China on the same level as Japan and the Czech Republic and below that of such Asian economies as Taiwan and Macau. Moody’s also downgraded a number of Chinese state enterprises. S&P is reportedly considering following suit.
The Wall Street- and City of London-linked Moody’s, naturally stuck in the muck of the old paradigm, said it expects “China’s financial strength will erode somewhat in the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows.” This, Moody asserts, “will place a burden on state finances” and raises concerns about the government’s ability to manage these “challenges.” Wishful thinking, no doubt.
China’s Finance Ministry was quick to respond. arguing that it’s “absolutely groundless” for Moody’s to claim that local government financing vehicles and state-owned enterprises’ debt will swell the government’s contingent liabilities. Moody’s used “inappropriate methodology,” and has overestimated the difficulties the Chinese economy will face, the Finance Ministry said. “The downgrade by Moody’s was based on an inappropriate pro-cyclical rating measure. Its views that the debt scale of the real economy will grow rapidly, that reforms are having difficulties showing effects and that the government will continue to stimulate growth, overestimated the difficulties China is confronting and underestimated the government’s capability in deepening structural reform and appropriately expanding aggregated demand,” the ministry said.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also issued a statement today, emphasizing that the government is deleveraging its economy “in a proactive and stable manner … it’s a strategic decision … a host of measures have been put into place, yielding positive results.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
May 24 (EIRNS)—In an article published May 23 in Foreign Affairs under the headline “Atoms for Pyongyang—Let North Korea Have Peaceful Nuclear Power” authors Richard Rhodes and Michael Shellenberger, argue for using the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1953 Atoms for Peace program as a sane approach to resolving the North Korean crisis.
Rather than the hard line used by the Bush and Obama administrations, what is needed is “constructive engagement,” the authors assert, emphasizing that current leader Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, only wants two things: assurance that it will not be invaded again, and electricity for economic development. North Korea’s hydropower capacity was destroyed during the first years of the Korean War by U.S. strategic bombing.
Rhodes and Shellenberger recall the 1994 agreement forged by the Bill Clinton administration, by which North Korea pledged to stop producing plutonium in exchange for nuclear power plants. South Korea, with U.S. aid, actually began building a nuclear plant in North Korea, but it was abandoned after 9/11 when the Bush-Cheney policy went into full swing. Nor is it just the neocons who are to blame, the authors argue, excoriating liberal Democrats who have restricted access to nuclear energy by poor nations.
Threatening North Korea with military action—as Trump did initially—only deepens Pyongyang’s conviction that it needs a nuclear deterrent, the authors warn. But, by promising not to attack, and helping it gain access to nuclear power in exchange for limiting its nuclear arsenal and missile development, “gives it reason to stop threatening its neighbors and creates a powerful economic incentive for it to cease exporting missiles and other military contraband.”
“As an outsider, Trump has the opportunity to break from both extremes and finally realize the ‘Atoms for Peace’ vision” that President Eisenhower presented to the UN in 1953, the authors recommend. “In seeking an Atoms for Peace deal with North Korea, Trump can build on humankind’s successes in reducing the threat of nuclear conflict.”
May 24 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin today warmly welcomed South Korean presidential envoy, legislator Song Young-gil, who delivered a message from his President Moon Jae-in, according to the Kremlin website.
Song thanked Putin for meeting with his delegation, and for his congratulatory message to President Moon. “Our new President,” he said, “has a strong will and a great interest in, and love for, Russia, and for relations between Russia and Korea. I have a feeling that it will be very easy for you to work with our new President.” He then passed along the message from Moon on his government’s intentions and political goals.
Prior to meeting with Putin, the Yonhap news agency reported, Song met with Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka to discuss potential trilateral economic cooperation—the two Koreas and Russia—-as a means of dissuading North Korea from its nuclear weapons development. Song told reporters afterwards that Russia stressed the importance of dialogue and negotiations in dealing with North Korea, and also agreed on the possibility of trilateral cooperation. “Minister Galushka suggested that trilateral cooperation of the South, North and Russia, which has been in stalemate due to the nuclear issues, be pushed forward independently, and I agreed to that,” Song told reporters. Both agreed “in principle,” to move forward to resume several three-way projects now on hold, Yonhap reports.
Meanwhile inside South Korea, Xinhua reports, “expectations are running high” that Moon Jae-in will resume the Sunshine Policy toward the North. Moon Chung-in, a special presidential aide for unification, security and foreign affairs, told the local daily Chosun Ilbo that previous governments had imposed “unnecessarily excessive” sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and proposed that South Korea carry out normal economic transactions with the D.P.R.K., and move in the direction of dialogue. Chung Eui-yong, a top national security advisor to President Moon, said on May 22 that the government will seek a way to resume the two stalled projects—the Kaesong industrial park and the Mount Kumgang resort—within the framework of “undamaging” the sanctions imposed on the D.P.R.K. by the international community.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
May 24 (EIRNS)—Philippines ABS-CBN reported May 23 that the Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said Russia is offering to sell “portable nuclear energy barges or capsules” to the Philippines in the near future. “Russia is a major power in terms of energy, not just on fossil fuels but renewable resources and more modern forms of energy…. Russia can provide a whole range of nuclear energy…. They were able to develop this commercially,” Sorreta said, speaking during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Russia. It is not clear if this is one of the deals to be signed on May 25.
Sorreta also said: “They want to sell energy products to the region. We have not had as deep an exchange with Russia even though we have had 40 years of relations, but that’s going to change.”