EIR Daily Alert Service
TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017
Volume 4, Number 116
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
June 12 (EIRNS)—For six months American voters have been waiting for President Donald Trump and the Democrats to take action: Get Federal credit flowing to renew the nation’s infrastructure at a higher level. There have been promises, but no credit, and no design of how it will be used.
Much of America’s early 20th-century economic infrastructure is not just “crumbling” quietly; it is threatening lives. The most dangerous case is the transportation breakdown crisis hitting more than 20 million people in the New York Metropolitan Area. The “Summer of Hell” that has begun on New York’s transportation arteries actually threatens the entire U.S. economy.
EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche on June 12 called time on all the infrastructure “talk”: “There must be Federal government funding immediately to build new infrastructure in New York City,” LaRouche said. “The Federal government must take over this crisis; it is the only source of an orderly form of credit for this problem. This is a major national crisis, the U.S. economy depends on solving it. We have had enough talk without any specifics, without any real payment coming on.
“Put it on the table—both the funds, and the use of the funds—now.”
Meanwhile Democrats have consumed the government with “Russia-gate,” the conspiracy to drive the President from office for wanting cooperative relations with Russia. Fired FBI man James Comey’s testimony has made very clear what this was: a staged intelligence agency attempt to entrap and depose the President; in the words of one political veteran, “a nothingburger” for a wildly distracted Congress.
Drop “Russia-gate.” White House and Congress must gear up to prevent the economy from collapsing and Americans from becoming further impoverished and dying. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act so banks will lend. Set up a national credit institution to build what must be built; whether a Hamiltonian national bank for infrastructure and manufacturing; a new Reconstruction Finance Corporation based on FDR’s; or a project grants agency with Federal funds. Invite cooperation from the champions of new infrastructure platforms, China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
June 12 (EIRNS)—An article entitled “U.S. Engagement with Belt and Road a Strategic Imperative” in the June 9th issue of Journal of Commerce by Tony Padilla, a senior adviser for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, warns that the United States will only continue to ignore the Belt and Road at its own peril. “While the U.S. Congress grapples with the best way to rebuild aging U.S. infrastructure, in part by what would be a $1 trillion investment over a 10-year period, reports indicate that the China-led Belt and Road Initiative has already committed nearly $2 trillion over the past three years from a variety of sources, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s policy banks, and multilateral and bilateral co-financing,” Padilla writes.
And while Congress has been holding hearings on infrastructure, Padilla notes that many of the participants at an Infrastructure Week reception on Capitol Hill had never heard of the Belt and Road. Padilla then goes on to quote retired American diplomat Chas Freeman that the project is “the largest and potentially the most transformative engineering effort in human history.”
Padilla does grumble about how the U.S. will be sidelined by the Belt and Road, if it continues to ignore it, and laments China’s “aggressive mercantilism,” even quoting Admiral Mahan and one of our present-day Cassandras, Adm. James Stavridis. But his response seems not a war-cry, but rather a call for America to get out of the sack and do something, to join the Belt and Road rather than trying to undermine it. “Addressing these issues requires a portfolio of solutions, which may include lobbying for transparency in the bidding for contracts in Belt and Road-related markets while focusing on the formidable problems of international material movement and supply,” Padilla writes.
“As an Asia Pacific power with enormous economic and strategic stakes in the Belt and Road region,” Padilla continues, “the United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and watch these infrastructure developments abroad unfold. By accepting Belt and Road, the United States could ensure that companies and investors are able to participate in what might become the biggest economic development project in history. But it must do so cautiously, balancing the benefits of greater access to developing markets while taking a leading complementary role with our Chinese counterparts to help shape a transparent, frictionless, and equitable trade network.” He concludes again with his warning that if the U.S. does not get involved, it would “ultimately enable China to unilaterally draw the contour lines of the world’s next epic chapter of geopolitics and geo-economics.”
June 12 (EIRNS)—Vice-President Michael Pence spoke to a White House luncheon during “Infrastructure Week,” pledging that “America will once again turn our attention to truly transformational projects—the ones that enrich the American spirit and ensure a brighter American future.” The vice-president did not cite or discuss the design of any transformational projects today, however.
Pence chose the extraordinary Hoover Dam project, one of the “Four Corners” infrastructure works brought to fruition by President Franklin Roosevelt, as his subject. “It was exactly 86 years ago last month, in the midst of the Great Depression, that American workers broke ground on a project unlike anything our nation had ever built. America had a vision to bring irrigation and electricity to vast swaths of the American Southwest, to make the desert bloom with crops and hum with industry. This required something not just new, but, frankly, revolutionary. No structure of its kind had ever built—in size had ever been built. And the feats of engineering necessary to complete it had only been written down on paper and theorized; it had never been tested.
“Many said it was impossible…. Our people rose to the challenge and completed their work in just five years, ahead of schedule and under budget. And when the waters of the Colorado River poured forth from the Hoover Dam, the world looked on with wonder at what America had done.”
Pence called today’s infrastructure challenges “larger than any we’ve ever faced in the modern era…. We have an opportunity and an obligation to accomplish great things in our time—to rebuild our streets, to renew our cities, to usher in a new era of opportunity for the American people and our posterity.”
The Trump Administration has circulated and adopted a list of 50 priority infrastructure projects developed by the National Governors’ Association, which focuses on waterways projects as President Trump did June 7 at the Ohio River. But it has not adopted a “transformational” new infrastructure platform as immediately crucial; this would have to be a new transportation infrastructure to prevent complete breakdown in the nation’s economically most important city, New York.
June 12 (EIRNS)—Those were the words of former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman, referring to former FBI Director James Comey’s staged testimony before the House Intelligence Committee June 8. Interviewed by CNBC the next day, Stockman said, “First of all, I think the testimony was one big, fat nothingburger. There was nothing new. There was nothing about obstruction of justice. It was the same self-serving tommyrot that Comey has been leaking for weeks.”
Stockman, no friend of Trump, nonetheless drew the lesson from the hype: distraction, from both foreign and domestic agendas. “If the Senate can involve itself in something this groundless,” Stockman said, “that’s backed in more hysteria about Russia-gate that holds no evidence…. If they can bog themselves down in this, we have a dysfunctional, ungovernable situation in Washington.”
June 12 (EIRNS)—In the days since James Comey’s media event June 8, Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert has made it his mission to keep his lies from doing more damage. Beginning Friday, June 9, and several times since, Gohmert has been on FoxNews, highlighting the inconsistency of Comey’s actions between his meeting with Trump and his interaction with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, claiming, their “hypocrisy knows no bounds.” In that critical case, Lynch, then Comey’s boss, requested that Comey refer to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as a matter, rather than an investigation, even though Clinton was officially under investigation at the time. During his testimony, Comey said that it was this (July 2016) request that led him to cancel the FBI’s investigation, clearing Clinton of a huge weight just before her coronation as Democratic Presidential candidate at the Democratic Convention.
“At best,” Gohmert said, “it was an attempt to manipulate the election, not by the Russians in this case, but by the Department of Justice—the Attorney General herself—because that came from Comey. He totally ruined his own credibility—or what was left of it. He did vast damage and raised big red flags and questions over Loretta Lynch’s job as head of the Justice Department. [Lynch] was using her official position to help the campaign of Hillary Clinton and that didn’t seem to bother him enough to do a memo.”
Addressing the larger picture, Gohmert said, “We need to round up all those people [Comey] talked to, because we have a conspiracy remaining afoot in the Department of Justice that is going to be out to destroy this president and they’ve got to be fired— if not worse.”
Late today, Gohmert went the next step, and called for Mueller to recuse himself, telling the Blaze “it’s time for [former FBI director] Bob Mueller to recuse himself” from the special counsel investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Kremlin, “since Comey has testified to how cozy their [Mueller and Comey’s] relationship was.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
June 12 (EIRNS)—The year of 2016 saw China pushing ahead of leading Western industrial nations in terms of investments abroad (FDI). An UNCTAD report shows that Chinese companies saw a massive increase in investment in other countries last year.
Chinese companies, in many cases led by state-owned enterprises, were responsible for some $183 billion (€163 billion) of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, a 44% increase over the previous year, which saw China rise from fifth to second place in the ranking of the world’s largest foreign investors, behind the U.S. As China keeps the momentum, it is expected that during 2017, China will overtake also the U.S.
FDI by German companies, however, shrank from $93 billion to $35 billion in 2016—a drop by two-thirds. Apparently, there is a big problem. The problem could be solved easily, with massively increased investments along the New Silk Road including its African aspects. For the German government that means: The nice words about the Silk Road must finally be followed by constructive deeds.
June 12 (EIRNS)—In two articles published in the Dominican Republic daily Listin Diario, May 26 and June 8, Manolo Pichardo, president of the Permanent Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Political Parties (COPPAL), expressed great excitement about the potential that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) represents for Ibero-America and the Caribbean—a sentiment shared by many of the region’s media, government and political leaders. A commentator writing in the Cuban magazine Bohemia, points to the Great Nicaragua Canal and the Peru-Brazil bioceanic railroad as projects envisioned as part of the Belt and Road.
Having attended the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Pichardo argues that China’s magnificent project will cause colonialism “to sink into obsolescence,” as it “redefines the concept of globalization from the standpoint of open participation, without exclusion and without the West’s bias of domination, subjugation … geared toward its interests in terms of trade, economics, culture, and politics.” China’s concept of globalization “is an unstoppable process,” Pichardo emphasizes. It has a human orientation, “linked to the advance of science and technology, to the development of maritime and air navigation, communication, above all satellite [communication] which can cause humanity to converge in a space-time that mocks distances….”
Uruguay’s government and business leaders are already enthusiastically organizing for the late-November China-Latin America-Caribbean Business Summit to be held in the resort city of Punta del Este. Antonio Carambula, director of the Uruguay XXI Investment and Export Promotion Institute, who attended the May 14-15 Beijing forum, told Xinhua that important topics at the summit will be the Belt and Road Initiative, as “we Latin Americans are very interested in seeing how we can insert ourselves in it.” Uruguay’s ambassador to China Fernando Lugris affirmed that “Uruguay is betting on innovation, on science and technology, and having China as our primary commercial partner is fundamental.”
Also interviewed by Xinhua, Argentine China expert Gustavo Girado, founder of the Asia&Argentina NGO, stresses that the BRI “aims to develop ties that span political, cultural and social relations with all the nations” making up the Silk Road, and will go far in reviving emerging markets, particularly through infrastructure construction. Argentina’s participation in this project is crucial, he underscores, and says he has pushed very hard for it to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)—this is in the works—as it will be key in helping to finance infrastructure development.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
June 12 (EIRNS)—Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and a sharp critic of U.S. policy towards both Syria and Russia, has charged that the Saudis are waging cultural warfare all over the globe with the intent of radicalizing Islam in their image. In a June 11 op-ed in the Boston Globe entitled “Saudi Arabia Is Destabilizing the World,” Kinzer, using the Saudi financing of religious schools in Indonesia as his starting point, reports that “Saudi Arabia has used its wealth, much of which comes from the United States, to turn entire nations into hotbeds of radical Islam. By refusing to protest or even officially acknowledge this far-reaching project, we finance our own assassins—and global terror.”
The Saudi government, Kinzer writes, “is an absolute monarchy supported by one of the world’s most reactionary religious sects [Wahhabism]. It gives clerics large sums to promote their anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic brand of religious militancy abroad. In exchange, the clerics refrain from criticizing the Saudi monarchy or its thousands of high-living princes. Saudis with close ties to the ruling family give crucial support to groups like al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS. This fact should be at the front of our minds whenever we consider our policy toward the Middle East—including when we decide whether to side with the Saudis in their new dispute with neighboring Qatar.”
Kinzer attributes the growth of radical Islam, and in particular, the violence unleashed against the Governor of Jakarta during his re-election campaign, last month, directly to the Saudis, who finance a tuition-free university, known by the acronym LIPIA, to turn Indonesians to Wahhabism. Its student body is fed by some 100 boarding schools supported by the Saudis and 150 mosques that they’ve built. “The most promising are given scholarships to study in Saudi Arabia, from which they return fully prepared to wreak social, political, and religious havoc in their homeland,” Kinzer writes.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
June 12 (EIRNS)—China and Russia are each planning a series of increasingly challenging robotic lunar exploration missions over the next decade. Considering their recent plans to upgrade cooperation, there are discussions on areas of cooperation, Sputnik reported June 7. China has Chang’e-4, 5, and 6 in the pipeline, and Russia plans to launch its Luna 26 orbiter and 27 Luna Resurs mission, (orbiter in 2020 for remote sensing, and lander and rover in 2021 to conduct in situ composition studies), and Luna 29 (Lunar-Grunt), to bring back samples, now scheduled for 2024.
Sergei Lemeshevsky, Director General of the Lavochkin company, which for decades has designed and produced Russia’s planetary probes, said that Russian scientists “are ready to discuss the variants of mutual cooperation.”
He explained that “cooperation with China on Luna-Glob,” referring to the upcoming Russian mission, which is an orbiter, “is not very likely because we have already made great progress [with ESA]; a new partner would require augmenting the spacecraft, which may delay the launch deadlines.” But for the missions to follow, there, cooperation would be fruitful.
June 12 (EIRNS)—The British Labour Party is preparing to win the next election which could be as early as this autumn, and new polls show they would.
Speaking to BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he expected there would be another election before the end of the year because the country could not continue with such an unstable government: “We have a program, we have support and we’re ready to fight another election campaign as soon as may be, because we want to be able to serve the people of this country on the agenda we put forward, which is transformative and has gained amazing levels of support.”
Asked if he was prepared to lead the party for the long term, Corbyn smiled and joked, “Look at me, I’ve got youth on my side,” not referring to his age of 68 years, but the fact that his party managed to mobilize the youth vote as no other party have been able to do, and which was decisive in Labour’s gaining 47 new seats in the Parliament.
A new poll released by the Mail on Sunday projected Labour Party support at 45% and the Tories at just 39%, with Theresa May and Corbyn neck-and-neck as to who would make the best prime minister, with both leaders at 39%.
In an op-ed in the Guardian, Tom Watson, a leading Labour Party Member of Parliament, wrote that the party is fully mobilized for another general election. While the party would need to win an additional 64 seats in order to form a government, he said they have already identified 70 seats held by the Liberal Dems, the Conservative Party, and the Scottish National Party that were won in the last election with majorities of less than 4,000 votes. They will mobilize to win these seats.
Commentators have called the electoral success of the Labour Party the third political earthquake after the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. Presidency. Indeed, although the Labour Party did not win, it received 40% of the vote, its largest share of the vote since 1945. Furthermore its ability to mobilize the youth vote is unprecedented.
The Labour Party’s election manifesto underscores rolling back the effects of globalization with heavy emphasis on infrastructure, as well as key social issues such as health and education. It calls for ending tuition at universities. While in the past Corbyn has called for Glass-Steagall banking reform, the manifesto calls for a “strong” ring fence. On Brexit, they call for a Brexit that protects jobs with the emphasis on negotiating a new trade agreement as priority.
Corbyn is the last Labour Party leader the British establishment would want to see installed at Number 10 Downing Street.