EIR DAILY ALERT SERVICE
THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2017
Volume 4, Number 143
EIR Daily Alert Service
P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390
July 19 (EIRNS)—The chaos and panic that the collapse of New York City’s infrastructure is producing—the onrushing “Summer of Hell” that New Yorkers have been promised, and has now arrived—is a very real daily nightmare for area residents. Fires on subways; closed bridges and hours of traffic gridlock; lengthy delays on stopped, sweltering trains, with many cases reported of panic attacks among riders; no reliable way of getting safely to work or school.
But New York’s nightmare is also a microcosm of what the entire trans-Atlantic sector is facing, if the United States and the nations of Europe don’t immediately bury Wall Street and the City of London, and join with China’s Belt and Road Initiative— as Lyndon LaRouche, alone among American statesmen, has tirelessly argued.
We are heading towards the close of the fiscal year at the end of the third quarter, and the September-October period has historically been one of extreme instability, bankruptcy, and crises in the financial system, Helga Zepp-LaRouche warned today. An imminent collapse of the entire trans-Atlantic banking system is hanging over our heads like a sword of Damocles, with a $1.5 quadrillion derivatives bubble which cannot conceivably be sustained, even if Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were all wiped out three times over—which seems to be the outlook of many of our Congressmen and Senators.
The Trump administration, for all of its excellent work in standing up to British geopolitics and re-establishing working relationships with China and Russia, has not delivered on its promises to pass Glass-Steagall, and to rebuild America’s infrastructure. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin—a banker’s boy, if ever there was one—is still in the government. It is sheer folly to pretend that we can somehow stumble along without investing in 50-, 75- and 100-year-old infrastructure. If we don’t replace it, it will crumble, whether we like it or not, and perhaps when we least expect it. That is one of the lessons of New York’s Summer of Hell.
But it need not be so: The solution is, quite literally, sitting right in front of us today in Washington, D.C. Today is the meeting of Chinese and American authorities on the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue between the two nations, which was set up at the April Mar-a-Lago meeting of Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese have repeatedly extended an offer to the United States to join the Belt and Road Initiative: the U.S. could both participate in global infrastructure projects in other countries, and get urgently needed help to rebuild our own crumbling infrastructure here at home. What are we waiting for?
China is taking that approach into the most devastated corners of the planet, with undeniable success. Africa is beginning to see progress in reducing poverty, for the first time in decades, if not centuries—with Chinese help. China is offering its “wisdom” and its Belt and Road Initiative to help solve the numerous crises in the Middle East as well.
THE NEW GLOBAL PARADIGM
July 19 (EIRNS)—The talks are underway in Washington, D.C., today, between China and the U.S., for the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue (CED) following the end of the 100-day period of negotiations mandated by President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump at their Mar-a-Lago meeting in April. Various trade initiatives came out of that 100-day process, including China importing U.S. beef for the first time since 2003, and pledging U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports. The U.S. is to accept imports of Chinese canned chicken, among other measures.
The expectation now, according to widespread media reports, is that a one-year China-U.S. plan for economic talks will be agreed upon.
In today’s meeting, Vice Premier Wang Yang represents China, and the U.S. leaders are Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Both in the preliminaries, and in the earliest reports today, Chinese spokesmen are striking the theme of measuring success in terms of starting an ongoing dialogue, that is, proceeding to identify common ground, no matter the many frictions. Vice Premier Wang spoke of this yesterday, in a keynote speech to the U.S.-China Business Leaders Summit in Washington. At a reception for him, hosted by Ross and Mnuchin, Wang made reference to a 2009 book by Trump, in which Trump quoted Henry Ford. Wang repeated Ford’s words, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Secretary Ross yesterday likewise struck that theme, stressing, according to today’s Global Times, “the importance of Sino-U.S. trade ties and the bilateral relationship on the whole.”
It is to be expected that Mnuchin will push for Wall Street demands—regardless of China’s stance—for more unrestricted “financial services” access in China. This is in line with Mnuchin’s attempted domestic decree that Glass-Steagall cannot be reinstated, nor any other sound banking reorganization taken. Joining Mnuchin at today’s CED discussions will be Jamie Dimon, of JP Morgan Chase, among many other bank and business leaders.
Yesterday’s summit was hosted by Jack Ma of Alibaba, and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group. Participating firms today include Caterpillar, General Motors, and Walmart. The Bank of China and other Chinese firms are represented.
July 19 (EIRNS)—China continues to forcefully promote its stated policy of helping to solve the war and refugee crises in the Middle East and North Africa, by bringing in Belt and Road infrastructure projects to develop the area’s economies.
The latest of these multiple initiatives came with a meeting in Beijing between visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who thanked Abbas for his support for the One-China policy, and said that China was launching a major initiative to work with Israel and Palestine on great projects to help bring peace to the area.
According to the account published by Xinhua, “China proposes to launch a tripartite dialogue mechanism with Palestine and Israel to advance major projects to assist the Palestinian side, Xi said.” Xinhua also reported that “China will host a symposium on peace between Palestine and Israel later this year to contribute wisdom to resolving the Palestinian issue.” Xinhua further reported Xi’s view that “China regards both Palestine and Israel as important partners under the Belt and Road Initiative,” and that “China will cooperate with Palestine in industrial park development, personnel training and solar power plant construction to help the country improve its self-development capacity.”
Abbas responded that “Palestine admires China’s achievements in economic and social development and is willing to have closer high-level exchanges with China and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative,” according to Xinhua.
Immediately before traveling to Beijing, Abbas had met in Palestine with Qiangba Puncog, the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples’ Congress, who was on a tour of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan to discuss cooperation in the framework of the BRI. Qiangba was in Israel July 9-12, in Palestine July 13-14, and then in Jordan from July 14-17.
In Israel, he called for the two countries to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the BRI. And in Jordan he called for linking “Jordan 2025,” the country’s national development plan, with the BRI for the mutual benefit of the two countries. The Jordanian authorities stated that they wished to participate in the building of the BRI, and hoped that China would play a greater role in regional and international affairs.
July 19 (EIRNS)—Having previously explicitly supported the Trump-Putin meeting in Hamburg as being in Germany’s interest, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) has now called for a new approach toward Russia, telling Focus magazine: “Why can we not dare to lay a new foundation to the disarmament and arms control [policy] instead of rushing into a giant arms race?… Even though it goes against many things nowadays, I ardently support the idea of the new eastern and détente policy.”
He said he would like to see less tension in relations between Moscow and Berlin but that the Ukrainian crisis should first be resolved in order to create a climate for friendlier relations between the two countries.
Gabriel recommend that “everyone” take a more empathetic approach towards Russia and try to understand Moscow’s position on a range of international issues.
“Putin is disappointed with the West. The EU had held association talks with Ukraine [in 2014] without discussing the issue with Russia,” Gabriel pointed out, and saying that “there are a lot of disappointed expectations about Germany in Russia.”
He further urged a change in the sanctions policy: “In accordance with the EU decision, the Minsk agreements should be implemented 100% before the sanctions [against Russia] could be lifted 100%. I think it is unrealistic. It would have been right to gradually remove sanctions in order to show that we should take steps toward peace… Despite the fact that there are many reasons against it now, I advocate for the new Eastern policy and the policy of resolving tensions.”
The Foreign Minister called for a gradual step-by-step lifting of sanctions following every positive development in the Ukrainian crisis, regardless of how small this development might be. He also said that Europe should “demonstrate that movement towards peace pays off.” Russia has been a reliable and reasonable partner, particularly in the gas trade, and cooperation with Russia in that field is profitable for Europe. He criticized the U.S., where the Senate made attempts to hamper gas trade between the EU and Russia and to force Europe to buy American gas instead. Gabriel said U.S. foreign policy should not turn into an “extension of U.S. economic policy.”
He said, “It is totally unacceptable that [the U.S.] should drive Russia further into the corner by pressing Russian gas [companies] out of Europe and forcing the Europeans to buy American gas,” referring to a recent U.S. bill threatening to punish European companies taking part in the construction of a Russian gas pipeline under the Nord Stream 2 project. “Ask the French, Austrian, or Dutch industries—they all want the project because Russia is a reliable gas transporter that offers reasonable prices” for its services.
Gabriel emphasized that it is possible to discuss contested matters with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He defends Russia’s interests and has his own point of view on the conflict” in Ukraine, he said. Nonetheless, Putin is a man with whom contested problems can be discussed clearly and unequivocally. “That is why I appreciate conversations with him,” and stressing how important it is to understand Russia’s point of view.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
July 19 (EIRNS)—Chinese Navy ships will enter the Baltic Sea on Friday for the first time, to hold joint exercises with Russia, amid Western suspicions over the exercises’ purpose, Global Times reports.
The first stage of Joint Sea-2017 will be held on July 21-28 in the Baltic Sea, Sputnik cited reports from the Russian Defense Ministry. Nearly 10 ships and more than 10 aircraft and helicopters from the Russian and Chinese Navies will join these exercises. China’s most advanced guided-missile destroyer, the 052D, which is equipped with phased-array radar and a vertical launching system, will also participate in the drills.
“This is the Chinese Navy’s first time to enter the Baltic Sea, a high-latitude sea,” Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times, and saying that the drills will help China manage any future maritime threats. The Baltic Sea is a significant trade route between Russia and Europe, with possible confrontations among countries, such as the U.S. and Russia, Li said. He noted that Russia had shifted its attention from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, due to U.S. pressure, and it wants to use the region as a breakthrough to deal with the U.S.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had said in June that NATO would closely monitor Russia’s military exercises close to the Baltic countries’ borders, and called for transparency in the joint China-Russia drills and joint drills between Russia and Belarus in the Zapad 2017 exercise in September.
However, Li stressed that the Sino-Russian Baltic Sea drills are meant to help them deal with possible threats, protect ships and cargo in waters in the future with the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. China and Russia have held joint drills every year since 2012. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense said that this year’s exercises will focus on joint rescue efforts and protecting cargo vessels.
July 19 (EIRNS)—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, following talks in Beijing with Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui, stated that China is prepared to work with regional partners to seek a political settlement to the Libyan crisis. According to Voice of America, he warned that it is urgent that efforts be made to prevent the unstable Libya from becoming “a new source of international terrorism…. We should prevent Libya from becoming the next Syria,” he said, with the humanitarian disaster that would involve.
Tunisia’s Jhinaoui, whose nation borders Libya, concurred that a political, negotiated settlement is necessary. He praised China’s initiative on Libya, and said he hoped China would play a more active role in bringing about a peaceful solution: “Libya should realize its security, independence, and territorial integrity and avoid the misfortune of national disruption.”
Wang Yi was emphatic that Libya’s future must be determined by its own citizens—by all parties—with respect for that nation’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity as well. “China is committed to a political settlement of the crisis,” he underscored, that must be achieved through dialogue and negotiation.
Wang also stressed the importance of promoting international cooperation to fight terrorism, warning that as the war against terrorism in Syria and Iraq has made progress, Libya has now become a potential target for terrorism.
Reuters quoted Jhinaoui warning that “terrorist forces are overflowing in the direction of Libya. Therefore, international society should work together on preventing Libya from becoming a new source for international terrorism.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
July 19 (EIRNS)—The corporate news media exploded with indignation last night, with reports that President Donald Trump had had a “second, previously unacknowledged,” meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the July 7-8 G20 summit in Hamburg. What emerges, even from the outraged Washington Post story, is that the two Presidents had a chat during the closing dinner of the summit, as did many other leaders over the course of the night, and that there was nothing hidden about it.
The Post claimed that Trump’s dinner conversation with Putin was first reported on July 17 by Ian Bremmer, president of the New York-based Eurasia Group, in a newsletter to group clients. Bremmer said the meeting began “halfway in” to the meal and lasted “roughly an hour.”
The White House issued a statement blasting the story. “There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd,” it said. “All the leaders” circulated around the room throughout the dinner, and “President Trump spoke with many leaders. As the dinner was concluding,” Trump spoke “briefly” with Putin, who was seated next to First Lady Melania Trump.
Bremmer’s poison-pen account was that leaders who witnessed the meeting were “bemused, nonplussed, befuddled” by the animated conversation, held in full view—but apparently not within listening distance—of others present, Bremmer told the Post. He claimed he spoke with two participants at the dinner.
The New York Times account is particularly amusing, with its white rage that this was simply not supposed to happen, what with the FBI investigation against Trump and all that. “Those inquiries,” the Times article stated, “have made what normally would be seen as an attempt at diplomacy between world leaders politically toxic.”
But apparently not toxic enough. Trump himself took aim at the reporting, in two tweets issued shortly after the story exploded into the headlines. “Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is ‘sick.’ All G20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!” This was followed by: “The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!”
July 19 (EIRNS)—A group of 15 survivors and family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. has written a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May strongly urging her to make public a Home Office report on Saudi financing of Islamist extremism in the United Kingdom.
The report was originally commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron, as part of a deal he struck with Parliament, and was completed six months ago. But last week, the Independent reported today, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that the report cannot be made public “because of the volume of personal information it contains, and for national security reasons.” This has provoked widespread anger, among the political opposition, but more broadly, in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom.
Among the 15 signers of the letter is Sharon Premoli, national co-chair of the American 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism, which was instrumental in forcing the Obama administration to release of the classified 28-page chapter of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. That chapter revealed the Saudi Embassy’s involvement in financing the San Diego 9/11 terrorists, and the FBI’s knowledge of it. Both the British Labour Party and the Green Party have expressed support for the survivors’ letter, charging that May is suppressing the report because of her government’s relationship with the Saudis.
The letter warns that the U.K. “now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the U.K. government’s report on terrorism financing in the U.K. which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its center of culpability. The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue. They must be stopped; but who will stop them? We submit that you are uniquely situated to shine the cleansing light of public consciousness. We respectfully urge you to release the report now, finished or unfinished. We ask you to consider all the victims of state-sponsored, Saudi-financed terrorism, their families and their survivors in the U.K. and all over the world.”
Premoli, who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center, told the Independent, that for 16 years, she and others have “pursued the money trail…. We are always led to the source: Saudi Arabia.” She also pointed out that U.S. and U.K. weapons sold to Riyadh, are now being used in the Saudi war against Yemen “to devastating effect.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN SYSTEM
PARIS, July 19 (EIRNS)—While French President Emmanuel Macron has reoriented his foreign policy in a very pragmatic way towards Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Xi Jinping, in an effort to get out of the present wars in the Middle East and avoid new ones, he seems to believe that salvation will come from the financial sector and, in particular, from the too-big-to-fail banks.
France, under Macron, is making a big bid to become the financial hub in Europe, following the Brexit, which removes the City of London from the running. Many of the Macron’s economic “reforms” are aimed at making France “compatible” with the desires of large international banks, with that aim in mind. Following trip of French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire to the U.S., where he delivered to the six largest Wall Street banks a personal letter from Macron, calling on them to invest in France because France has made its labor code more flexible, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe decided to participate on July 11 in the yearly meeting of Paris Europlace International Financial Forum, where he outlined the main elements of the “package” by which France seeks to attract the big banks. It is the first time that a Prime Minister has participated in that meeting. Present were Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, and Stuart Gulliver of HSBC.
Whether Macron will manage to turn Paris into Europe’s financial hub, following the projected demise of the City of London in that role, is not yet clear, as the other competitors are also going all-out.
Can Macron change? That can’t entirely be ruled out. While in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal had picked up on the following statement, when asked to comment on his former job with the Rothschilds: “One is a sort of prostitute, our job is to seduce.”
Jacques Cheminade’s Solidarité et Progrès party is not planning to “wait and see,” and is already out with a new campaign for a Glass-Steagall Act in France, with a new webpage, a petition that all Frenchmen can sign and address to their deputies, especially the 433 freshmen. The petition is already racking up signatures in the streets of France where Cheminade and his supporters are deploying.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
July 19 (EIRNS)—Following a speech in Huntsville, Alabama, on July 14, former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was interviewed by Lee Roop from the Alabama Media Group, which publishes the Huntsville Times. A most interesting point was made regarding the Moon, where Bolden proposed that a manned lunar mission should be carried out, and that in cooperation with China—tossing aside years of having to defend the Obama space program takedown, which had removed manned lunar missions. “We don’t need them to go to Mars right now,” he said. “We do need them to help get humans back on the surface of the Moon in this 10-year decade of time, the ’20s, when we really need to be making sure that the technology to take us to Mars is going to work.”
By the end of his years at NASA, which stretched through both of Obama’s terms in office, Bolden saw every other space-faring nation start planning manned lunar exploration missions. Over the years, he had become increasingly frustrated with the Congressional ban on space cooperation with China, which he expressed in public, with no way to do anything about it.
Bolden’s advice to the President was blunt. “Everybody likes space,” he said, but “put your money where your mouth is. If you want to know what’s important to you, look at the budget.” He also advised that former Huntsville Marshall Space Flight Center Director Robert Lightfoot, who has been NASA’s Acting Administrator, be appointed as administrator, so that NASA has the leadership it needs to accomplish the task.