This Has to Happen Now!
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—In the next 48 hours, the LaRouche Political Action Committee will issue a policy statement on the necessary action that must be taken by the United States—its people, and its government—to address the existential crisis which has been brought to the fore by the multi-state disaster wreaked by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. The United States can no longer live in the delusional domain of soaring speculative assets and a collapsing physical economy. We can no longer act like we can somehow survive without bothering to invest in bridges, dams, railroads, nuclear energy, canals, levees… and people.
The requisite policy measures were laid out by Schiller Institute chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche in her remarks to the Aug. 26 Manhattan Project meeting, and they are contained fully in Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws. A sea-change in national economic policy is required, and it has to happen now.
The Belt and Road Initiative is already bringing a hopeful future to some of the most benighted and war-torn regions of the planet. The Transaqua project in central Africa has a green light, and it will proceed with the participation of the same Chinese company responsible for the Three Gorges dam. So too the Kra Canal, one of the great World Land Bridge projects needed to create a single world ocean for trade and development, as statesman Lyndon LaRouche has long specified. And in Syria—where Russian military/diplomatic action combined with China’s Belt and Road initiatives have begun to turn the tide away from genocidal war and terrorism—the Schiller Institute is bringing the full scope of LaRouche’s World Land Bridge policy to the highest level of that country’s government and educational institutions. This is a true proof of principle of LaRouche’s policies and method.
If central Africa, Thailand, and Syria can wake up and act, then why not the United States? Is that not the real message and lesson of Hurricane Harvey? By getting the United States to adopt LaRouche’s Four Laws, and cooperate fully with the Belt and Road Initiative, the nation—and with it, the world— can be catapulted onto an entirely different plane. Now.
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
China’s Foreign Minister Previews Next Week’s BRICS Summit in China
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—At a briefing for the media this morning in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi put a focus on China’s invitation to five non-BRICS nations to attend the Sept. 3-5 summit in Xiamen, China: “We need to have some further explanation about the BRICS Plus to help people better understand the rationale of this idea,” Wang said. He explained that the host BRICS country has the option of inviting non-members, and previous hosts have done that, by inviting neighboring countries. Those discussions, he said, have been “very effective.”
Regarding China, he said: “Our practice is a little bit different; we are not just inviting countries in our neighborhood, but also countries from around the world that are interested in the BRICS mechanism.” The purpose, he explained, is to turn the partnership into the most important platform for South-South cooperation, CGTN reports. This is evident from the geographic breadth of the invited nations: Mexico, Tajikistan, Egypt, Kenya, and Thailand.
The invitations have been very well received, by the countries themselves, and internationally. Yaroslav Lissovolik, chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank, told Xinhua that the initiative is “aimed not at expanding the very core of the association and including the largest developed countries, but at increasing its openness and accessibility to integration for the states of the developing world.”
Egypt is willing to further contribute to cooperation within the BRICS framework, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi told Chinese media before his trip to China for the BRICS summit. “Our participation in the meetings with the BRICS countries is of great importance, especially as Egypt enjoys promising economic capabilities and provides an outstanding strategic location that can help it effectively support the BRICS community and its priorities,” Sisi told Xinhua in the recent interview. The Egyptian president said he expects the summit to contribute to the further understanding of major issues concerning developing countries, as well as the political, economic, and social challenges facing them. He also expressed his great appreciation of Chinese President Xi Jinping for inviting him to attend the BRICS summit, “which reflects the special bond between the two countries, as well as their strategic partnership.”
To Thailand, the upcoming ninth BRICS summit means much, reports Xinhua today. It is expected to witness the signing of draft contracts of a railway project vital to the Southeast Asian nation. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will attend the dialogues on political and security issues on the sideline of the summit. The Thailand-China railway project has been a focus of widespread attention in Thailand. “It will be the first standard gauge high-speed railway of Thailand and will greatly shorten the traveling time from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima,” said Huang Bin, head of the Chinese department at the Kasikorn Research Center, a Thai think tank. During the BRICS Xiamen summit, Thailand and China are expected to sign the design and supervision draft contracts for the first phase of the railway project, according to Thai officials.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has left Dushanbe for China for a state visit ahead of a summit of the BRICS. Several cabinet members are accompanying him on his visit, which ends on September 5. Chinese media reported that Rahmon was expected to attend a summit-related Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries.
Will China and India Fully Cooperate at the BRICS Summit at Xiamen?
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—The 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops over a border dispute that also involved Bhutan, has come to an end less than a week before the 9th BRICS Summit hosted by China at Xiamen on Sept 3-5. Although the standoff has ended, many observers wonder whether these two key nations in the 5-member BRICS organization will be able to join hands to push forward the BRICS agenda of a better economy and security for the world. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at a news briefing at Beijing, however, expressed optimism and said these two large Asian nations have a great potential for cooperation.
Pointing out that it was normal for the two neighbors to have differences, Wang Yi said: “What’s important is that we put these problems in the appropriate place, and appropriately handle and control them in the spirit of mutual respect, and based on the consensus of both countries’ leaders,” Reuters reported. “There is huge potential for cooperation between China and India,” Wang added, without giving details.
Former Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, talking to Reuters, said that, “The forthcoming summit can provide an opportunity to begin that restoration process when the leaders of the two countries meet.” Diplomatic and not military maneuvers must be the name of the game in this relationship.
Schiller Institute in Syria
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—In a nine-day trip to Syria with a delegation of Swedish businessmen, Schiller Institute activist Ulf Sandmark took part in the first International Trade Fair since the war started in Syria. The trade fair was organized by the government with military precision, in only four months, to relaunch international economic contacts. It turned out to be a huge success for Syria, with international participants from 43 nations and overwhelming support from the population. There were 300,000 visitors per day, in spite of the fairground being part of the Syrian war zone.
Sandmark participated in several high-level meetings, including one in which representatives of delegations from the old Silk Road countries enthusiastically announced their intention to reopen their trade and exchange with Syria. The Swedish delegation was received with much interest in all of its meetings, and the work in Sweden and Syria by the Syrian Support Committée, of which Sandmark is a leading member, was discussed in interviews with all existing TV-channels and other media.
Notably, a total of 40 copies of the Arabic edition of EIR’s World Land Bridge report were distributed to representatives of government institutions and to the universities of Damascus. In subsequent private meetings, Sandmark had the opportunity to discuss EIR’s report in greater depth, as well as the challenges that lie ahead for Syria. The importance of a credit system was stressed in all these meetings, and also the need for a national mobilization on the highest cultural level to situate Damascus as a central point for the dialogue of civilizations.
Chinese Government Very Focused on Campaign to End Poverty
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—A number of recent government meetings have kept up the pressure and focus, coming from President Xi Jinping on down, to completely eradicate poverty in China by 2020. For example, at the 38th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, Xi spoke about the need to deepen reform and build development priority zones. Xinhua reported that “the meeting acknowledged that results have been seen in poverty alleviation, after measures to clarify responsibilities. The next stage should solve existing issues and improve mechanisms.”
An Aug. 29 meeting on east-west collaboration (inside China) for poverty reduction, received a written message from Premier Li Keqiang calling for “improved poverty reduction campaign through regional collaboration,” Xinhua reported. Li said that “China’s poverty relief campaign is going through a critical stage, and government agencies should keep up the fight for progress,” Xinhua wrote. China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang attended the meeting, and said that east-west collaboration has to be strengthened to meet the poverty reduction goals. Xinhua elaborated that “to achieve the target [of eliminating poverty by 2020], China needs to bring more than 10 million people out of poverty every year, meaning nearly one million people per month or 20 people per minute.”
U.S. POLITICAL & ECONOMIC
Terrible ‘Infrastructure Lesson,’ as Tropical Storm Harvey Now Wanes in Mississippi-Tennessee Valleys
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—As of Thursday, Tropical Storm Harvey is on its track arcing northeastward from the Mississippi River Valley into the Tennessee River Valley, then up into Kentucky (due to arrive very early Saturday), weakening as it goes, but leaving a mounting toll of damage and death in its wake. Around 4:00 a.m. this morning, the storm made a new landfall in the region of the Texas-Louisiana border (30 miles SE of Port Arthur, Texas.) Several parishes in Louisiana are under evacuation orders. In Texas, the flooding and related effects continue. The total so far of 52+ inches of rainfall this week, is a record.
President Trump mooted on Monday that he might visit Louisiana this weekend, and otherwise he has spoken twice with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, to assure the state of Federal support. It is notable, with grim irony, that today the White House hosted a prescheduled conference on infrastructure, the lack of which can be seen in the needless wreckage and suffering now playing out from the storm.
The rivers are still rising in eastern Texas, with crests not expected until later this week. Levees are breached at many points. On the San Jacinto River system, the Conroe Dam (1973) has water higher than ever before, with record releases requiring evacuations.
On the Buffalo Bayou system, Addicks and Barker Dams (1940s) west of Houston, are still holding, with the Army Corps of Engineers cautiously hopeful the peak has been reached. These earthen structures were undergoing rehabilitation, but the process was barely 10 percent completed. Already in 2009, they had been declared “extremely high hazard” structures, in part because of the high density population downstream.
As of early Wednesday, there were 240 shelters in operation, caring for 30,000 people. Three mega-shelters are set up in Houston, and FEMA is operating central commodities distribution centers, where the lesser flooding allows it, so people can get food and supplies. Overnight curfews are in effect to deter looting. As of early today, some 200,000 individuals had registered with FEMA for assistance.
All told, 50 counties in Texas are affected, with 33 declared as emergencies; at least five parishes in southwest Louisiana likewise.
New disaster instances are occurring by the hour. In Montgomery County, at Crosby, an ammonia plant (fertilizer) is expected to explode soon. Evacuation orders are in effect within a 1.5 mile radius. The components of the process must be kept cool, which is impossible as refrigeration is out. Even the core personnel are gone. The explosion is imminent. Chemicals will dump into the waters. At other points, industrial waste and toxic chemicals that had been in deep storage, are now entering into the floodwaters.
The vulnerability of the entire Gulf Coast to storms has been studied for decades, with action taken only in a few places, and earlier in the 1900s. And over the last 60 years of the Wall Street/City of London regime, practically nothing was allowed to be done.
Senator Feinstein: If Trump “Can Learn and Change, He Can Be a Good President”
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—In remarks that shocked her ultra-liberal San Francisco audience at the Commonwealth Club of California yesterday into silence, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) yesterday declined to call for the impeachment of President Trump, and then stated: “The question is whether he can learn and change. If so, I believe he can be a good president. We’ll have to see if he can forget himself enough and have the type of empathy and direction the country needs.” If he doesn’t, “there are things that can be done.”
Feinstein had received a standing ovation when she walked on stage, but these remarks were met by stunned silence, followed by some hissing and shouts of “no,” according to sfgate.com. Perhaps having taken cognizance of the fact that Trump-bashing may play well in the liberal media, but not among most Americans, Feinstein added that it does Democrats no good to have a strategy of all attack all the time. “I have to work with people, and a punch in the nose is not going to do it.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Russia, China Weigh in on Korean Crisis
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Both Russia and China issued warnings on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. It is “now at a tipping point approaching a crisis,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, but added that “at the same time there is an opportunity to reopen peace talks.” She called on the “relevant parties” to deescalate the situation.
Hua criticized both the joint U.S.-South Korea military drills and the deployment of the THAAD missiles in South Korea. The U.S. and South Korea “held one round after another of joint military exercises and they exerted military pressure on the D.P.R.K.,” adding that “the facts have proven that pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve the issue.” On the THAAD system, she said it will not allay security concerns, but “instead, it will obstruct the regional strategic balance, damage security interests of regional countries including China, and intensify tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”
Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, made the same point: “Sanctions alone are not the way out of it. We have to be innovative and inventive.” He also said that there should be no sanctions imposed outside of the UN, without specifically naming Washington. Russia and China made certain that the UN Security Council, in the Aug. 29 special meeting on the North Korean missile test, denounced the North Korean test but did not impose any new sanctions.
Russian Foreign Ministry: Trump’s Afghan Policy Ignores “Combatting the Afghan Drug Threat”
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement on President Trump’s announced new Afghan strategy, which adds to their earlier criticisms of the plan’s emphasis on a military solution and its continuity with Obama’s failed policy, the fact that it totally ignores the issue of the huge Afghan opium and heroin trade—which EIR has described as the elephant in the room which dominates the Afghan situation.
The Russian comments were made in an official Foreign Ministry report on the meeting held this week between U.S. ambassador John Tefft and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, at the former’s request, to discuss Trump’s new policy towards Afghanistan. The Russian side asked for clarification about “the modalities of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan,” the Foreign Ministry stated. “It was noted that the new strategy is aimed at resolving the Afghan problem through the use of force, its consonance with the ‘recipes’ of the Obama administration, which, as is known, have yielded no positive results.”
The Foreign Ministry statement added that “Moscow does not share Washington’s policy aimed at exerting pressure on individual countries in the region”—a reference to Pakistan—and then stated: “Among the obvious flaws of this strategy is the absence of the task of combatting the Afghan drug threat and a comprehensive approach towards countering the spread of the influence of ISIL in Afghanistan.”
The two sides did, however, “discuss the opportunities for cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on Afghanistan in bilateral and multilateral formats.”
PKK Controls a Large Share of the Narcotics Market in Europe
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) controls 80 percent of the narcotics market in Europe, according to a new Turkish police report entitled “Turkey Drug Report.” The PKK earns $1.5 billion annually from heroin production in northern Iraq, according to the report.
According to the daily Milliyet and the Hurriyet Daily News, the report states that “The heroin material produced in Asia is transferred to the West, and synthetic drugs and chemicals produced in Europe are transferred through Turkey to countries in the Arabian Peninsula.” Under the subhead, “Narcoterrorism,” the report states that the income for drug trafficking is the PKK’s “most profitable criminal activity;” this included smuggling of drugs produced in Pakistan, refined in Iraq and sold in Europe.
“From the testimonies of detained suspects, it is understood that the PKK gets a share from heroin production per kilogram from villages on the Iran-Iraq border. The money that the PKK gets from drug transfers, under the name of ‘taxes,’ and the income it receives from drug smuggling in the regions under PKK control in our neighboring countries is one of the most significant sources of finance for the group,” the report states.
“The PKK terrorist group’s members have an important role in the European narcotics market. It has been stated in international reports that 80 percent of the narcotics market in Europe is under the PKK’s control,” the report reads. Citing EUROPOL’s “Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT),” the report states that the PKK is involved in drug smuggling “in order to finance its terrorist activities,” and is “earning profit from the transfer, distribution, and sale of drugs and in return it offers drug dealers to be mediators in order for European countries to provide them with security.”
The PKK produces heroin in northern Iraq with unprocessed morphine from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Germany’s Harvey is called Austerity; Blocks Key Transnational Projects
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—The Aug. 27 edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung carried a half-page article with a map, documenting Germany’s refusal to build its own sections of numerous crucial transnational railway connections in Europe. All neighbors of Germany are complaining about years of delay in construction on the German side. In the case of one modernized track in Belgium that leads up to the border with Germany, the delay has been 22 years-long, and there is still no indication when the Germans will finally begin to do something. One has to also be aware that most rail projects in Germany are not new construction, but only upgrades of existing old tracks. Thus, progress in the work is slow, since ongoing transport depends on these same tracks for lack of alternate tracks, and therefore upgrading work is difficult to handle. There are seven spectacular cases of blocked transnational routes addressed in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article:
1) On June 1, 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the opening of the Gotthard tunnel, noting that the “aorta is still missing.” The “aorta” is the Rhine Valley line from Karlsruhe to Basel, a crucial rail freight corridor, the German part of which will not be completed for another 10 years; and there is likely more delay, because at Rastatt, a tunnel project failed, so that existing tracks of that section above the tunnel collapsed. The Rastatt repair will take until at least October 7, which means that all rail freight on that route will have to be transferred to trucks. Italian media already estimate that this would require 20,000 truck loads.
2) The above-said disaster already affects Switzerland’s rail transport into and from Germany. A second connection, from Munich to Lindau on Lake Constance, is not modernized yet, and the section on the German side has to be serviced with diesel locomotives. This route will not be completed before 2020. Switzerland even offered to shoulder €50 million of the cost to speed up the work, to no avail.
3) Austria is upset about the German refusal to comply with its part of a signed treaty, to build the route between Munich and Kiefersfelden on the border with Austria, a crucial section of the envisaged north-south corridor leading through the Brenner Base Tunnel between Austria and Italy in the Austrian Alps. Apart from the fact that many local and regional German policymakers do not even know about the project, most argue that the route would never be profitable because the transport volume would stay low. The Austrians’ view is the complete opposite.
4) The Dresden-Breslau route, addressed in a German-Polish treaty of 2003 (!), shows no progress on the German side, where slow diesel locomotives do the transport job, whereas the Polish trains are electrified and run at speeds of 160 km/hour.
5) Denmark is furious at Germany’s snail-pace, which delays the completion of the Femer Belt route: the tunnel section on the Danish side is done, but the tracks from the German side, which is a one-track diesel operation, will take another seven years.
6) Czechia’s speedy Supercity train from Prague can run at high speed only until Chleb on the border with Germany; from there on, a one-track diesel locomotive pulls the train.
7) The French TGV from Paris is forced to slow down considerably upon arriving at the German border, because the route from there to the ICE stop in Ludwigshafen has not been completed yet, and that will still take a couple years more.
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Russia and China to Qualitatively Upgrade Their Space Cooperation
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—For the past few years, as their strategic relationship has advanced, Russia and China have started cooperative relationships in space technology, such as the interoperability between their two satellite navigation systems. As virtually all space technology is dual use, any level of cooperation requires at least some level of trust.
An agreement is being formulated to be signed in October, to run from 2018-2022, for the first time, covering a five-year period, which is long enough to allow for cooperation on longer-term, that is, more ambitious projects. Various sticky issues have to be worked out, but such an agreement is to the advantage of both sides. The Chinese benefit from Russian experience and infrastructure, and avoid overlapping investments. And Russia’s space industry will benefit from China’s investments in its ambitious plans, such as its space station. “China’s and Russia’s respective cooperation with some Western countries in aerospace sometimes is hindered by trust issues, as aeronautic and space developments are closely related to military fields,” Wang Ya’nan, from Aerospace Knowledge magazine told Global Times yesterday. Cooperation between Russia and China would be easier, since they share deeper mutual trust, Wang noted.
Areas of potential cooperation include lunar and deep space exploration, developing space materials, satellite systems, Earth remote sensing, and research in mitigating space debris.