Helga Zepp-LaRouche Tells Xinhua: ‘ “Belt and Road” Initiative Is a Recipe for Peace’
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)—The German-language service of Xinhua, China’s official news agency, published the following interview on Sept. 17 with Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche, under the headline “German Expert: China’s Proposed ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative Is a Recipe for Peace.” (http://german.xinhuanet.com/2017-09/18/c_136618053.htm) EIR provides here a draft English translation:
BERLIN, September 17 (Xinhuanet)—China’s “Belt and Road” initiative can promote world peace and reduce geopolitical rivalries along its route, said Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the German Schiller Institute think-tank Sunday.
“Many of today’s world crises have their roots in the lack of economic development. Economic development is today a new synonym for peace, and the Chinese ‘Belt and Road’ initiative offers them development,” Mrs. LaRouche said during an interview with Xinhua.
She noted that the initiative proposed by the Chinese government, seen in the large, makes the interest of mankind as a whole the priority, before national and regional interests. She said that if leading world forces like Russia and Germany are able to actively join these efforts, this will solve many of the existing problems.
“It is a recipe for peace, development, and the overcoming of poverty,” she said.
According to the statistics, China’s direct investments into countries along the “Belt and Road” initiative have amounted to more than $60 billion over the past four years, while Chinese businesses have set up 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in over 20 countries, which have generated almost $1.1 billion in tax-receipts and created 180,000 workplaces.
The Schiller Institute, an international “bank” for political and economic ideas headquartered in Germany, has published a report which describes the New Silk Road as a land-bridge, while forecasting that the Chinese initiative would have no limits, and might tie all five continents together, and allow them to cooperate in a “win-win” perspective, Mrs. LaRouche said.
Discussing the upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany on Sept. 24, Mrs. LaRouche said that the competing parties, like the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former European Parliament President Martin Schulz, had not made their views clear on prospective cooperation with China. Mrs. LaRouche, who leads a smaller party called Civil Rights Movement Solidarity, (Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität, BüSo), called on the incoming German political establishment to engage itself further in the “Belt and Road” initiative.
Although the election results “are fairly clear and Merkel will probably be re-elected as Chancellor,” Mrs. LaRouche suggested that the new government should focus more on what China has offered and is offering.
“The Eastern European countries, the Balkans, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Austria are already acting with more enthusiasm than the current German government…. People will recognize that cooperation with China is in their fundamental interest, especially in industry,” she said.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Lavrov on Obama Legacy: ‘He Planted a Delayed-Action Mine under Russian-American Relations’
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed the legacy of the Obama administration for the poor relations between Russia and the United States. “Russian-American relations suffer not only because there are conflicts, but because the previous administration behaved meanly, vindictively, planting a delayed-action mine under Russian-American relations,” Lavrov said at a press conference at the close of his activities at the United Nations General Assembly meetings, reported TASS. “I did not expect this from a Nobel Peace Prize winner,” he said ironically. Lavrov said he was convinced that “it is very bad that a vast potential of our bilateral relations has been mothballed due to Russophobic hysteria and that global issues suffer since Russia and the U.S. cannot coordinate.”
Lavrov said he could not believe U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he claimed he has evidence of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election. “When I asked Rex Tillerson how his words could be confirmed that Russia’s meddling in U.S. election is well documented, he said, ‘I cannot show you anything as it is classified information,’ ” the Russian foreign minister said. “You know I cannot believe it.”
“A campaign has been ramped up over legality of President Donald Trump’s election and over the fact that Russia had ensured his becoming President by meddling in the election campaign, but they have failed to produce any single fact,” Lavrov said. “About the interference in the election, although a year has passed since various commissions started working, nobody, nowhere, has presented any single fact to us.”
“We have the so-called deconflicting, but this is probably not enough when fight against terrorism is in progress, when we destroy terrorist hotbeds in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor,” he said. “In order to deal a final blow to terrorists in fact, not just deconflicting is need, coordination is necessary. However, American military are forbidden from coordination.”
Lavrov said Russia has informed the United States that any attempts to hamper the counterterrorism operation in Syria will not be left without reaction. “We have regular talks with the Americans, the Department of State and Pentagon. We have explained what is going on, as the Russian Defense Ministry had earlier announced publicly,” he emphasized. “We have sent a clear message that if there are attempts to complicate the end of the counterterrorism operation from the areas that are close to American ‘friends,’ or what else they can be called, it will not be left without reaction,” Lavrov concluded.
He also said all troops not invited by the Syrian government would have to leave Syria after ISIS is defeated. “There is legitimate presence based on an invitation from official authorities, but there is illegitimate one, namely presence of the U.S.-led coalition and special forces’ troops from a wide range of foreign countries whom nobody has invited,” Lavrov said. “After terrorism is defeated, the first step should be the pullout of those who stay illegitimately in Syria.
“As for those, who were invited on a legitimate basis, leaders of the Syrian state will take a decision upon results of the political process.”
Asserting that now is the time to begin the process of assuring the unity of Syria, Lavrov said it was “necessary to start thinking how to restore Syria’s unity. No division must be allowed, a chain reaction will sweep the Middle East. This is what some would seek to achieve, those for whom it is advantageous to maintain here constant chaos, a mess.”
U.S. Politicians Outdo Stalin Prosecutor Vyshinsky, According to Russian Foreign Minister
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)—At his press conference at the United Nations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said U.S. prosecutors have outdone Joseph Stalin’s notorious Prosecutor General Andrei Vyshinsky who presided over the “enemies of the people’ trials between 1935-39.
“You know, we in the Soviet Union had the Prosecutor General Andrei Vyshinsky once in the past,” Lavrov said. “When he presided over trials—and they lasted one or two days, not more than that, he said that confessions is the queen of all proofs.
“Today’s politicians in the U.S., who fan various campaigns, have gone much further than Andrei Vyshinsky,” he said. “For them, it’s the accusation, not even confession, is the queen of all proofs. They simply don’t find it necessary to manhandle the defendant for getting confessions.”
Pat Buchanan: Trump Is an American Gaullist
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)—Syndicated columnist Patrick J. Buchanan titles his column today “Trump—American Gaullist.” He warns that the President’s UN General Assembly speech calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man … on a mission to suicide,” may tend to “eclipse many other things in the speech and that would be unfortunate: for “buried in Trump’s address is a clarion call to reject transnationalism and to re-embrace a world of sovereign nation-states that cherish their independence and unique identities.”
Woodrow Wilson said America would fight in World War I to “make the world safe for democracy,” following which our “imperialist allies” ripped apart the losing nations and feasted on their colonies, says Buchanan. Europe’s nations would dissolve into a single political entity, and that would mark a giant leap toward world government. But, wrote Buchanan, “Charles de Gaulle led the resistance, calling for ‘a Europe of nation-states from the Atlantic to the Urals.’ ”
In his Sept. 19 UNGA speech, Trump said, “We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions or even systems of government. Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect….
“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”
Trump continued, “In foreign affairs we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people … to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.”
Buchanan’s assessment is that, “Trump is repudiating the New World Order of Bush I, the democracy crusades of the neocons of the Bush II era, and the globaloney of Obama.”
Trump is saying with John Quincy Adams that our mission is not to go “abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” but to “put America first.”
Trump is also following through on this: the action is evidence from Rex Tillerson’s directive to his department to rewrite its mission statement, which currently reads: “The department’s mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic world.”
Buchanan says Tillerson should stand his ground. “America has no divinely mandated mission to democratize mankind. The hubristic idea that we do has been the cause of all the wars and disasters that have lately befallen the republic. If we do not cure ourselves of this interventionist addiction, it will end our republic.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Serious Doubts About U.S. Missile Defense Capacity
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)—Several experts are warning that the overestimation of the effectiveness of the U.S. missile defense capacity could lead to reckless thinking about going to war. Joe Cirincione, in an article posted in Defense One on Sept. 17, asserted that in actual, operational conditions, there is no way that U.S. missile defenses will protect anybody from a North Korea missile launch. “Yet, reporters routinely use words like ‘shield’ and ‘dome’ to describe our supposed capability, giving us a false sense of security,” Cirincione wrote. “Officials make the matter worse with exaggerated, if carefully constructed, claims.” He quotes Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford at the annual Aspen Security Forum in July as an example, who said: “The United States military can defend against a limited North Korea attack on Seoul, Japan and the United States.”
Cirincione calls for the Pentagon to abandon the “testing for success” that has characterized U.S. missile defense testing, and instead test for operational capability. “North Korea’s ballistic missile threat is real,” he concludes. “We need to know if our missile defenses are for real.”
The Arms Control Association’s Kingston Reif warned in a Sputnik article: “Misplaced overconfidence in missile defense could prompt U.S. leaders to think that we can escalate in response to North Korean provocations without having to worry about a potential North Korean nuclear response…. This would greatly increase the risk of conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”
Other voices are calling for a change of approach to quickly hold off North Korea’s announced intention to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.
Turkey, Iran, Iraq Vehemently Oppose Iraqi Kurdish Independence Referendum
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)—The Kurdish Regional Government (K.R.G.) of Iraq is set to conduct an independence referendum on Monday, Sept. 25, a referendum that has no support from any government in the region, with the exception of Israel. Earlier in this week, Ankara, Tehran, and Baghdad—countries, which in addition to Syria, have significant Kurdish minorities—had issued a joint statement denouncing the referendum. “The Iraqi Constitution is clear. The referendum is illegal and invalid. Still, they resist. As far as I can see, the U.S. agrees with us,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sept. 21 before he left New York to return to Ankara after the UN General Assembly general debate. The Turkish government, after a meeting of its National Security Council yesterday, declared in a statement that the referendum directly threatens Turkey’s national security and is “a grave mistake that threatens Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity as well as peace, security and stability of the region.” Therefore, “Turkey reserves its rights originating from bilateral and international conventions if this referendum is held despite all of our warnings,” it stated.
K.R.G. President Masoud Barzani is determined to go ahead with the referendum despite the international opposition. He told a rally in Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, yesterday, that the “free union” described in the Iraqi Constitution has failed and that the path ahead is for the Iraqi and Kurdish nations to part. “We no longer can live with Baghdad,” he said. “The referendum is out of my hands now, or the political parties. It is now in your hands—the people of Kurdistan.” As for the threats coming from Ankara, Baghdad, and Tehran, he said the Peshmerga military forces “will not allow Kurdistan to fall to the enemy.”
The Iraqi Kurds are stressing that the referendum is nonbinding and won’t result in immediate independence, but is clearly meant to establish that as a directionality.
Lt. Col. Daniel Davis: United States Has No Military Option on North Korea
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)—Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis (ret.) rebuts National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster’s Sept. 15 claim that “there is a military option for North Korea.” It appears in the Sept. 20 issue of the National Interest in an article titled, “How North Korea Plans To Survive a U.S. Attack.”
Colonel Davis, who retired from the Army in 2015 after serving 21 years and 4 combat tours, cites the fact that intense American bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan did not produce surrender, and would certainly not produce victory over North Korea, but rather hundreds of thousands, or millions, of casualties. Davis says the U.S. objective must be to prevent war, secure the lives of American and allied (South Korean) citizens, and keep sustained economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to eventually give up its nuclear weapons.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Puerto Rico Cries Out for LaRouche’s Program—It’s the Only Option
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)—When the U.S. Congress opens for business tomorrow, Puerto Rican officials and legislators, and their U.S. Congressional allies, will be on hand not only to demand increased allocations of emergency funds to address the estimated $30 billion in damages to Puerto Rico wrought by two major hurricanes, but also a change in policy, to provide the basis for Puerto Rico’s economic growth.
Congress’s egregious PROMESA bill, passed last year supposedly to stabilize the island’s fiscal and debt crisis, included no provisions whatsoever for economic growth, but instead set up a financial control board to impose draconian austerity on the island—cutting pensions, wages, public health and vital services. As the Business Insider news site pointed out today, now the whole bankruptcy proceeding, and by implication the control board, are “on the back burner.” There will be no debt payments. There will be no revenue or tax collection for months.
This discussion begs the question of what Lyndon LaRouche has proposed to deal with these emergency situations—new federal credit institutions, national banking, Glass-Steagall reinstatement and the Four Laws. In 1965, Puerto Rico had a functioning nuclear plant, which shut down in 1968. Why not build another one? There’s an urgent need for port construction, schools, hospitals, highways, railroads. Puerto Rican can play a role in connecting to the New Silk Road. PROMESA should be flushed down the toilet.
The Washington Post reports today that large amounts of federal aid are pouring into the island, but the major emphasis is still on assessing damage and rescuing people, and parts of the island still remain incommunicado. Power restoration is still “a long way off,” according to Mike Highland of the American Public Power Association, who is working with the Department of Energy and the New York Power Authority, to assess damage to Puerto Rico’s power grid.
The opening of San Juan’s port allowed 11 ships to bring in 1.6 million gallons of water, 230,000 cots, and dozens of generators and food; and dozens more shipments are expected in next few days. But there is a race against time to avert a growing humanitarian crisis. Dr. Natalie Nierenberg, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, told the Boston Herald that communicable diseases are a huge threat, when people are living in close quarters, using generators, and without having been vaccinated against influenza. She warned that infectious and respiratory illnesses could “skyrocket” in Puerto Rico, along with water-borne or mosquito-borne diseases. Massachusetts General Hospital is sending a group of staff volunteers to Puerto Rico to try to keep fatalities down.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
China, Iraq Expect To Join Astana Peace Process for Syria as Observer
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)—China is ready to join the Astana de-escalation process for Syria once an invitation is extended, reported TASS. Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese special envoy for Syria, met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow this week, during which they discussed “what China and Russia can do to promote peace dialogue among the different parties.” He indicated that “We want to continue discussions with our Russian colleagues on every aspect of the Syrian issue either in Moscow or in Beijing, in Geneva or New York.” He said that China has not yet received an invitation to become an observer at the peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, where Russia, Iran, and Turkey are guarantors, but said, “If China officially receives such a suggestion, then we will have very positive considerations and respond accordingly.”
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari told Sputnik that Iraq will also become an observer of the Astana peace process. “We are going to contribute to anything that would resolve the problem in Syria and would achieve stabilization in the region,” he said.
France’s de Villepin Announces International Marco Polo Society To Promote Belt and Road
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)—In an important op-ed carried by the online English-language site of People’s Daily Sept. 21, former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced the foundation of the International Marco Polo Society, whose initiators are former prime ministers and foreign ministers committed to mobilizing public opinion to support the Belt and Road.
“The current diplomatic situation of our world and the unpredictability of some of the major powers call for a new multilateral dynamic,” Villepin writes. While expressing concern about the attitude of the Trump Administration to free trade and environmentalism, he says, “It has become crucial to foster new poles of stability and prosperity interconnected in a comprehensive scheme of cooperation.”
“In this context, China is offering a new chance to achieve this common ambition through the Belt and Road initiative. This promising project not only strives to support infrastructure development from Asia to Europe and Africa, but aims at reviving the spirit of multilateral partnerships to serve cultural dialogue and stability as decisive common goods,” he writes. He then goes through a short description of the history of the project since President Xi Jinping’s announcement in 2013. He describes how it will help revive the industry of the Eurasian countries, increasing connectivity, renewing a culture of multilateral cooperation, and ensuring the conditions of international recovery and development.
“Over the last few years, fruitful exchanges with global decision-makers have reinforced my impression that the Belt and Road should be broadly and further promoted. We need a platform to discuss ideas; create synergies, and raise international awareness about the initiative. We need to share principles for a shared destiny and ensuring the respect of people, the respect of sovereignty and the respect of history. We need an exemplary dynamic based on showcase projects involving the largest number of actors; like States, companies, civil societies, think tanks and universities.
“That’s why, with a group of qualified personalities from Europe and Asia, we have created the International Marco Polo Society, in tribute to the most famous bridge-builders of the Middle Ages. The International Marco Polo Society is a circle composed of former Prime Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers eager to mobilize public opinion in their home countries and push innovative propositions. Because we have a common conviction: every energy should be welcome to make the Belt and Road initiative a successful reality and contribute to what President Xi described as the ‘project of the century.’ ”
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Preparation for China’s Mars Mission Is ‘Well Underway’
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)—China hosted the International Forum on Lunar and Deep Space Exploration on Sept. 19-21 in Beijing, sharing more details and providing status updates on its 2020 Mars mission. Scientists responsible for the very challenging mission made the point that unlike the other nations that have sent missions to Mars, this first Chinese mission is not just an orbiter, but also a lander and a rover.
Zhang Rongqiao, mission chief, reported that work on the mission is “well underway.” It will include 13 payloads among the three vehicles, including a high-resolution camera. In his report on the conference, Andrew Jones from GBTimes media describes the camera as comparable to the HiRise camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), but able to cover a wider area in each image. HiRise has sent back more than a quarter-million spectacular images of Mars.
Dr. Tanya Harrison, Director of Research for Arizona State University’s Space Technology and Science Department, says that China’s camera will make an important contribution “to look at things like change monitoring, including phenomena such as [sand] dune movement, gully activity, polar avalanches, and future landing site characterization.” She also points out that MRO has already been operating for over a decade, so China’s camera will be “a good complement” to the MRO and ESA’s ExoMars Orbiter to “have another [high-resolution] camera in orbit at the time Mars 2020 is operating,” referring to NASA’s rover mission.
In addition to high-resolution images, the Chinese orbiter will also try to detect methane in the atmosphere. The mission will include a ground-penetrating radar on the rover. Tests are underway on a parachute landing system. Zhang told the press at the forum on Sept. 20 that “the Mars exploration program is well underway.”