‘Abject Poverty Is Absolutely Conquerable’
June 25 (EIRNS)—In a few short decades, China has accomplished economic feats that have left the world stunned in happy amazement: bringing 700 million Chinese out of poverty; increasing average life expectancy from 35 years in 1949 to 76 years today; launching world-class scientific work in space exploration and nuclear fusion energy development.
But China is not resting on its laurels. President Xi Jinping’s government intends to totally eliminate poverty in China—there are still 40 million in that category—by the year 2020. Xi recently met with Communist Party leaders in China’s northern Shanxi province, and told them: “As long as we pay great attention, think correctly, take effective measures, and work in a down-to-earth way, abject poverty is absolutely conquerable.”
Nor is China limiting its ambitious intention to China alone. Foreign Minister Wang Yi was at a two-day conference June 21-22 with the African Union in Addis Ababa, where he stated that “Close to 400 million people in Africa live under the poverty line, and more than 40 million Chinese need to be lifted out of poverty. China and Africa need to join hands in fighting poverty and achieving common development. This is our responsibility to the future generations, the shared objective of Chinese and African people and the inherent part of human progress.”
Wang Yi went from Ethiopia to Lebanon, where he stressed that “China advocates more actions to curb the deterioration of a refugee crisis in the Middle East and find a solution as soon as possible,” adding that China is willing to enhance cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
As Schiller Institute founder and chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche has repeatedly emphasized in recent weeks, last month’s May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing—in which she was a prominent participant—was a turning point in modern history, to make this intention a global reality. With the important indications earlier this week of growing U.S. involvement in the Belt and Road project, we stand at the threshold of that planetary change.
EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche and his wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche have been at the forefront of many of these developments, way before they ever happened. It was Lyndon LaRouche who first stated that the U.S. joining the Belt and Road Initiative was the key to the strategic crisis, and he provided the programmatic basis for doing that with his Four Laws. It was Helga Zepp-LaRouche who, in a 2015 speech in Chongqing, first urged China to help resolve the crisis of wars and emigration in the Middle East and Northern Africa, by bringing the Belt and Road into that region. It has been the Schiller Institute, which has pioneered the spread of classical music and culture as the basis for a dialogue of civilizations to bury British geopolitics once and for all.
Now we stand less than two weeks from the start of the July 7-8 Hamburg, Germany G20 summit, which will see historic summits between and among Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe and others. But regardless of the outcome of those meetings, Helga Zepp-LaRouche stressed today, the planet is now moving under the overwhelming dynamic of the Belt and Road Initiative. Its successful outcome depends, as it has from its inception, on the singular strategic and policy-making conceptual input provided by the LaRouche movement. And it is that movement’s special responsibility, Helga Zepp-LaRouche stated, to use its organizing effort to introduce beauty into the political debate.
Now is the time, as Lyndon LaRouche has been fond of saying for decades, to have fun.
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
The U.S. Is Joining the Belt and Road—Ideas Move the World!
June 23 (EIRNS)—Four events this week have demonstrated that the United States is now responding to the call issued by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche three years ago: The U.S. is joining the China-led Belt and Road Initiative—or the New Silk Road as it’s also called. Here are highlights:
On June 22, China’s top foreign policy official Yang Jiechi met with President Trump, who said that the United States is willing to cooperate on projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry. Yang Jiechi was in Washington to co-chair the first China-U.S. diplomatic and security dialogue, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Yang told President Trump at their White House meeting that China greatly appreciated his sending one of his top advisers, National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matthew Pottinger, to attend the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, and that Beijing is willing to work with the U.S. on the initiative.
On June 20-21, “The Ninth U.S.-China CEO and Former Senior Official Dialogue,” co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Congress and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, met in Beijing, declaring in a Joint Statement that, “Both sides agreed that the two countries can engage in full cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and through a number of other means.” It also says that the Belt and Road Initiative will “considerably broaden the space for Chinese and U.S. investment, and open many opportunities for Chinese and U.S. companies to cooperate in third countries.” Moreover, “Chinese investment in certain areas of U.S. infrastructure development has the potential to help to strengthen business relations between the two sides.” They further agreed to hold a joint BRI conference within the next 12 months, either in China or the U.S., “which will allow the Chinese side to brief the U.S. side on the B&R plans.”
On June 22, in San Francisco, over 200 Chinese and American government officials and infrastructure company representatives participated in the “2017 U.S.-China Transportation Cooperation Forum,” where the Chinese consul general said that, “China and the U.S. cooperation on the infrastructure front is poised to become the new highlight in the trade engagement between the two countries.” Chad Edison, Deputy Secretary at the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), said at the forum that “The One Belt, One Road Initiative was conceived in China, but it provides a global platform for economic development for all the countries participating.”
On June 20-21, in Detroit, 3,000 participants packed into Cobo Center to a conference sponsored by Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma. Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, speaking at the event, said of trade with China: “It’s the traditional win-win situation.” Ma told the crowd, “If you miss China, you miss the future.”
In a discussion of these historic events, Schiller Institute Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche noted that the LaRouche movement has been fighting for the United States to join the New Silk Road for at least three years, since the publication of the book-length EIR Report, The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge. She stressed: “At first we were the only ones, but now it has become commonplace. We should take credit—think how many events we sponsored, all over the world, with this idea. This shows that ideas work!
“People should certainly be optimistic. If this is further developed, then all other problems can be solved. Go out with an optimistic report for the population: Our policy is working!”
China and Africa Join Hands To Eradicate Poverty From the World
June 25 (EIRNS)—In the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, high-level officials, civil servants, poverty fighters and policymakers from Africa and China met June 21-22 for the “China-Africa High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum on Fighting against Poverty for Common Prosperity.” The beautiful commitment of those who participated is nothing less than to replicate China’s “miracle in world development history” of eradicating poverty at home, in Africa, and in all countries.
African Union Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chad’s Foreign Minister, opened the forum, co-chaired by the African Union Leadership Academy and the Institute of African Studies of China’s Zhejiang Normal University, by telling participants that China and Africa are united in their determination to eliminate poverty. “It is a two-way relationship and we can learn considerably with humility from one another,” he said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi set the highest goals for the meeting in his keynote. “Peace and development are far from being achieved in many parts of the world. Close to 400 million people in Africa live under the poverty line, and more than 40 million Chinese need to be lifted out of poverty. China and Africa need to join hands in fighting poverty and achieving common development. This is our responsibility to the future generations, the shared objective of Chinese and African people and the inherent part of human progress,” he said. “China and Africa have always been a community of shared interests and future.” Now, “we stand ready to seize the opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.
China, he promised, “will actively encourage the international community to support Africa in scaling up efforts against poverty. We welcome diversified partnerships for Africa and call on all parties to reject the outdated mentality of zero-sum game and embrace the new thinking of win-win cooperation. Developed countries, in particular, should further increase their attention and input to Africa’s poverty reduction cause, truly honor their commitment, and jointly help Africa achieve durable peace, development and prosperity.”
Wang centered his discussion of how China carried out its “miracle,” on a book by Xi Jinping, Up and Out of Poverty, which is based on the Chinese President’s speeches and actions nearly 30 years ago when, as local leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he led the effort to pull Ningde, in Fujian province, out of impoverishment.
The principles outlined in this book of speeches, continue to guide China’s anti-poverty campaign, Wang said. The book was released in French and English translation at the end of 2016 in response to interest from African leaders, Wang said. He cited one of Xi’s speeches to local authorities about getting out of poverty, carrying the captivating title “How Can a Weak Hatchling Bird Be the First To Fly?” This week, Lovemore Chikova, the China-Africa Focus columnist for Zimbabwe’s Herald, published a full speech from that book titled “Economic Chorus,” calling it “a must read for development enthusiasts.” There, Xi insisted local officials understand that, without promoting economic development, they were “simply tinkering.” The future President of China continued:
“To sing in unison, a choir must focus on the theme and the rhythm. The same is true of economic work. If every entry only stresses the importance of its own work, each following its own score and singing a different tune, the performance will inevitably fail…. We must all sing together, focusing on the theme of economic work…. For the economic chorus to have strong artistic value, it must adhere to choral discipline, as well as to technique. Each department and every individual must therefore be conscious of the overall strategy. With the same goal, concerted efforts, and a unified voice, we will produce a melodious, resonant and beautiful song.”
Belt and Road Fever Reaches Spain: A Bridge to Africa and Ibero-America
June 23 (EIRNS)—On June 12, the Chinese shipping and port giant COSCO announced that it would be purchasing a controlling 51% interest in Noatum Ports, a Spanish company which currently operates the port of Valencia (the largest port in the Mediterranean), the deep-water port of Bilbao on Spain’s northern coast, and a half-dozen additional port facilities in the country. The €203 million deal has many similarities with COSCO’s earlier €360 million deal involving the Greek port of Piraeus, in that they involve priority hubs for the Belt and Maritime Silk Road.
The announcement came less than a month after the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, which was attended by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, among the 29 heads of state and government, among 1,500 official, business, and think-tank delegates. According to Pedro Nuevo, a Spaniard who heads the China-Europe International Business School of Shanghai, at the BRF summit “Rajoy was told that it [Belt and Road] does not end in Spain, but that it goes on to Latin America. That means that Chinese companies are to move out, and that furthermore, Spain is a bridge to Latin America and Africa. It should not be viewed as a logistical project, but rather as a conceptual one…. You have to understand that the Road goes beyond infrastructure.”
Spain’s Economic and Trade Attaché in China Javier Serra Guevara, last year had emphasized a similar point: Spain should not view itself merely as a Western terminus of the Belt and Road, “but should propose itself as a hub to link that corridor with North Africa and Latin America.”
This focus on Spain’s broader role in the BRI parallels that proposed in 2012 by EIR in its Special Report Program for an Economic Miracle In Southern Europe, The Mediterranean Region, and Africa, which includes a chapter on “Spain: The World Land-Bridge’s Bridge to African Development.”
Italy’s ‘Project ARGE’ Proposes To Make Sicily and Mezzogiorno Silk Road Hub
June 23 (EIRNS)—Prof. Pier Paolo Maggiora, the architect who won the Chinese contest to design cities for “The 100 Cities Project,” told EIR that he sees “definitively the possibility of relaunching” the project to include Sicily and Italy’s Mezzogiorno in the Maritime Silk Road component of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Maggiora is the author of a “Project ARGE,” for a comprehensive plan of infrastructure, both hard and soft, to integrate Sicily into the European mainland as a Mediterranean terminus of the Maritime Silk Road and as the logistical and economic center of the Mediterranean.
Professor Maggiora said that the Chinese, with whom he speaks frequently at a very high level, had never dropped their interest in Sicily. So far, it is the Italian political side which has shown disinterest, greatly disappointing Beijing and southern Italy alike.
Maggiora’s ARGE Project includes an intercontinental airport at Enna, Sicily, from which all major Sicilian cities and ports could be reached within a half-hour by road or high-speed railway, and the bridge over the Strait of Messina which would connect the new Sicilian logistical platform with mainland Italy. Moreover, ARGE is conceived of as a “symphony,” or a “dialogue” among top experts in all fields of technology, economy, science and culture, in order to shape what Maggiora calls “Earth-tecture,” in terms of transforming the territory. Former Polish President Lech Walesa and former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali are part of the project, which interprets the idea of the Baltic-Mediterranean corridor.
The Project includes three levels of infrastructure: logistics, innovation, and culture. Logistics plays an essential role in transforming Sicily economically and productively. The airport hub in Enna could become the most important hub of the entire Europe-Africa system, for all routes coming from Asia and the Americas, to depart from there towards Europe, Africa and the rest of the Mediterranean.
U.S. POLITICAL & ECONOMIC
Poll Shows Most Americans Are Sick and Tired of the ‘Russia-Trump Nothingburger’
June 25 (EIRNS)—Finally waking up to the reality which LaRouche movement organizers have found over the recent weeks in their field deployments around the country, the Washington, D.C. Beltway “insider” newspaper The Hill of June 24 acknowledged how disgusted Americans outside the Beltway bubble world are with what Dave Stockman dubbed the Russia-gate “nothingburger.”
In a lengthy article, “Dems Push Leaders to Talk Less About Russia.” The Hill reports that a new poll by Harvard-Harris—a prominent Democratic polling agency run by Mark Penn, who was Hillary Clinton’s 2008 pollster—was shocked to discover that, of those polled, “73% said they’re worried that the ongoing investigations [of the Russia-Trump matter] are preventing Congress from tackling issues more vital to them.” Penn himself had to confess: “While the voters have a keen interest in any Russian election interference, they are concerned that the investigations have become a distraction for the President and Congress that is hurting rather than helping the country.”
The base of the Democratic party is in growing revolt against their leadership, and wants economic issues addressed. The Hill reported that “rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare…. In the wake of a string of special-election defeats, an increasing number of Democrats are calling for an adjustment in party messaging, one that swings the focus from Russia to the economy. The outcome of the 2018 elections, they say, hinges on how well the Democrats manage that shift.”
What The Hill and its fellow media are too frightened to report, is that the majority of the population are strongly in favor of a return to Glass-Steagall, and other crucial development policies.
This has put the Democratic leadership in quite a quandary. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, for example, continues to insist that Democrats all focus on the Trump Russia-gate “narrative.” But a growing number of Democratic Congressmen are opposed to this suicide for the party, especially after talking to their constituents. For example, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)—an early cosponsor of the fellow Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur’s and North Carolina Republican Walter Jones’s H.R.790 to return to FDR’s Glass-Steagall Act, and who challenged Pelosi for the Democratic House leadership last November—observed: “We can’t just talk about Russia, because people back in Ohio aren’t really talking that much about Russia, about Putin, about Michael Flynn. If we don’t talk more about their interest, then we’re never going to be able to win elections.”
White House Spokesman Mum with Media on Trump’s Plans toward Russia and China
June 25 (EIRNS)—White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s June 23 press briefing gave little satisfaction to the media piranhas regarding President Donald Trump’s plans for relations with Russia and China, answering their questions with the media equivalent of monosyllables.
To repeated questions about a possible Trump-Putin summit in Hamburg at the July 7-8 G20 meeting, Spicer would only say: “We have a lot of countries that we will probably have bilaterals with on the sidelines of the G20.” On U.S.-Russia relations more broadly: “We continue to have deconfliction with them in Syria. I think that’s a positive thing. I think we enjoy normal diplomatic relations with them…. If we can find areas of agreement with Russia, especially with respect to the fight against ISIS, safe zones in Syria, then we’ll do it.”
On China, a journalist raised the meeting between State Councillor Yang Jiechi and President Trump June 23: “President Trump expressed his interest in joining the Belt and Road Initiative. Could you tell us more about their meeting?” Spicer responded: “I can’t. I mean, obviously we sent a representative to that conference, but I’m not going to get any further than the discussion that they had.” Then came a question asking if Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka, née Trump, had accepted an invitation to visit China. Spicer: “They have.”
Spicer responded much more fully to a question on the provocative performance of Julius Caesar which portrays the murder of Caesar as Trump, and “is the Secret Service investigating it?” Spicer deflected on the Secret Service angle, but stated: “Look, I think it’s troubling, whether it’s that or Johnny Depp’s comments…. But it is, frankly, my belief, a little troubling—the lack of outrage that we’ve seen in some of these instances, where people have said what they’ve said with respect to the President, and the actions that should be taken. The President has made it clear that we should denounce violence in all of its forms. And I think that if we’re going to hold to that standard, then we should all agree that that standard should be universally called out…. And I think that it’s concerning when you see a pattern that these comments get made, these actions get depicted, and the lack of attention that they get when it’s on our side.”
Russia Expert Rahr Says, Putin and Trump Will Have a Long Meeting at G20
June 24 (EIRNS)—In an interview in Potsdam with RT at the July 22-23 Russian-German Forum, Research Director and Russian expert Alexander Rahr said he is confident that the G20 meeting between Putin-Trump will take place and the two leaders will have a long talk. “I hope that the meeting takes place. There are forces that want to prevent that meeting from occurring. I think that it will take place and the two of them will have a long talk,” discussing cooperation on main strategic issues.
Rahr also said that concerning the EU-Russia dialogue, “Russia is hostage to EU internal conflicts.”
There are currently no dialogue channels between the EU and Russia, Rahr said, but fortunately we have the Potsdamer-Dialog and many networks in Germany, where people who have known each other for 40 or 20 years, can talk to each other.
“If Germany could decide alone on bilateral relations with Moscow, Germany would have done it long ago. But we have a situation in which Germany is embedded in a EU consensus. This makes things difficult. People in Moscow don’t always understand this, but the German elite won’t change it, do not want to change it. They will always seek the consensus in the EU.”
And in the EU, he continued, we have five states which want no relations with Russia, and even want to increase sanctions. And we have five other states that would lift sanctions tomorrow. Rahr named Poland and the Baltic states as the hardliners. The EU is split on many issues, and “Merkel’s policy, as I understand it, is to keep the consensus at all costs. Germany is afraid that, if it takes a strong position on an issue, which is strongly opposed by others, the EU could end up in a crisis.”
“Russia is hostage to these internal conflicts or, let us say, of these difficulties inside the EU.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Lavrov’s Message to Tillerson: Does U.S. Want To Improve Relations with Russia, Or Not?
June 23 (EIRNS)—The Russian Foreign Ministry summary of Sergey Lavrov’s June 22 phone conversation with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, initiated by Tillerson, makes clear that the Russian government drew the line, after the combination of the imposition of yet more sanctions against Russian individuals and companies on June 20 by Steven Mnuchin’s Treasury Department, and the U.S. shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet in Syria two days before.
Lavrov’s discussion with Tillerson followed Russia’s cancellation of a St. Petersburg meeting between U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, scheduled June 23.
The Foreign Ministry statement speaks for itself:
“While discussing the prospects of bilateral dialogue, Mr. Lavrov described as delusional the attempts to exert pressure on Russia with sanctions as Washington did again on June 20. Such actions subject to serious risk the entire range of Russian-U.S. relations that are already going through a difficult time.
“Under the circumstances and in order to assess the situation, the Russian side felt compelled to suspend the meeting scheduled for June 23, at which Deputy Foreign Ministers were supposed to discuss the problems that have accumulated in Russian-U.S. relations. Mr. Lavrov emphasized that Moscow was waiting for a response to its proposals to Washington on normalizing bilateral relations.
“During the discussion of international issues, Mr. Lavrov reaffirmed Moscow’s assessment of the actions of the U.S.-led coalition that violated the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, making it more difficult to suppress terrorism and impeding the settlement of the Syrian crisis. Moscow is calling on Washington to strictly observe the earlier agreements on various aspects of the Syrian settlement process.”
Beijing’s Wang Yi Urges World To Bring Middle East Development and Secure Peace
June 25 (EIRNS)—Fresh from his 12th visit to Africa, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Jordan and Lebanon on June 22-23, to discuss with leaders of both countries means to finally secure peace for their region, focusing in particular on resolving the crises in Palestine and Syria.
China has clearly made itself an important “player” in the region, offering cooperation on economic development, and adding its weight to efforts to end the wars and terrorism which have created misery and inhuman refugee crises.
External interventions and conflicting geopolitical interests escalate tensions; the international community must dedicate more attention and efforts to support development in the Middle East, in order to address the threat of terrorism more effectively, Wang said in a press conference in Jordan after his meetings with King Abdullah II and other officials on June 22, the Jordan Times reported.
Among the most interesting areas for increased economic cooperation with Jordan reported, is the establishment of a Jordanian-Chinese technical university.
In Lebanon, where Wang met with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and others, the great Belt and Road Initiative was at the center of discussions. Xinhua reports that Aoun praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and said Lebanon is ready to actively participate. Aoun thanked China for what it has done for the stability of Lebanon and the Middle East, and welcomed more investment from China in the region. For his part, Wang called Lebanon “an important station on the old Silk Road,” and said “we welcome Lebanon’s support and participation in the Belt and Road initiative.” Wang pointed to Lebanon’s policy of keeping national unity and maintain security and stability through dialogue and negotiations, as “providing useful experiences in how different civilizations could coexist peacefully.”
In his Beirut press conference with Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Bassil, Wang addressed the refugee crises, for both Palestinians and Syrians.
“As the situation in Syria gradually becomes stable, Syrian refugees who are compelled to flee to various places should go back to their homeland and rebuild their homeland. Refugees are not migrants. The refugees’ direction is to go back to their country again, which is every refugee’s wish from the bottom of their heart…. China will work hard with Lebanon and every country to play a constructive role in this direction,” CGTN, China’s TV network, quoted Wang as saying. “Solving the refugee problem thoroughly requires developing and improving people’s livelihood to create a necessary environment for the refugees to get rid of poverty,” he argued.
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Russia and China Are Discussing Building the Next Space Station Together
June 24 (EIRNS)—Discussions are underway between Russian and Chinese space officials to evaluate the pros and difficulties in Russia joining the space station China will start assembling in 2019. Speaking to reporters on June 19, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said that cooperation on a new station would benefit both sides. The Chinese “have made an offer,” he said, “we are exchanging proposals.” Although there have been references periodically in the press to Russian plans to create their own station, starting with modules attached to the ISS before it is deorbited, Komarov has dispelled that option.
Andrei Ionin, from the Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, speaking to Russia’s Svobodnaya Pressa online newspaper, noted that considering the Russian space program’s financial difficulties, cooperation with China is essential, reported Xinhua June 23. He noted that with all the sanctions imposed on Russia by the ISS partners, in the future, cooperation “looks rather difficult.” He proposed: “Either we agree with China, or we try to attract other players for a joint project,” as the follow-on to the ISS. “Otherwise, we will lose our manned space flight capabilities altogether, because on our own, we do not have the resources for big projects.”
Ionin said, regarding the future Chinese station, Russia spent many decades “perfecting technology for the long-term operation of space stations … I strongly doubt that [China] will be able to implement it immediately, and over the long term [without help]. But if a strong player like Russia joins the Chinese space station project, it would immediately transform.”
One challenge is the difference in orbital inclination between launches from China and from Russia. The degree of inclination to the Equator of an object in Earth-orbit is determined by the latitude of the launch site. For China, that is 40° North latitude, and for Russia, it is 51.6°N. For the Russians cargo ship to link up with the Chinese station, their ship would have to expend additional energy in order to change planes, meaning it would have to reduce its payload. It’s a challenge, but not insurmountable. This had to be done when the Space Shuttle docked with the Russian Mir and the ISS. The benefits potentially include saving China time and resources, and ensuring the survival of Russia’s manned space program.