EIR Daily Alert Service, Thursday, September 14, 2017

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

Volume 4, Number 183

EIR Daily Alert Service

P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390

EDITORIAL

What’s So Scary About an Idea?

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—“We want a new paradigm in politics—away from geopolitics, to the common aims of mankind,” Helga Zepp-LaRouche stated in an interview published by Germany’s Junge Welt in its Sept. 13 edition, as we reported in yesterday’s Alert. “We believe that a continuation of geopolitics holds the danger of confrontation with Russia and China. That is one of the reasons we support the initiative of Xi Jinping to create a New Silk Road on the basis of win-win cooperation among all the nations of the world.”

Zepp-LaRouche added that “the vision of the New Silk Road was an idea of ours,” and its full implementation will finally put an end to “the consequences of colonialism and the IMF credit conditionalities that followed it. Only development of infrastructure creates the preconditions for a real development of the entire continent” of Africa, and of the world.

But within hours of publishing Zepp-LaRouche’s interview, Junge Welt unpublished it—and removed all traces of it from their website!

What’s so scary about an idea, you might ask, that it would cause such a pathetic, ham-fisted display of censorship?

Start with the fact that the entire trans-Atlantic financial system is dangling by the thinnest of threads, and could plunge into chaos at any moment. In fact, even the ultra-liberal Adam Smith Institute of Great Britain had to admit in a report published today that the global financial system is an “accident waiting to happen,” and that the so-called “stress tests” of the banks are a fraud which are covering up the fact that the banks today are leveraged far more than they were a decade ago, right before the 2007-2008 blowout.

The British Empire decidedly does not want the New Silk Road idea on the table as an alternative, as its financial system goes down in flames.

Then, if you are London, you definitely have to worry about what President Trump might do on his upcoming November trip to Asia, where he is scheduled to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping, and will come in personal contact with other world leaders—including Russia’s Vladimir Putin—at the U.S.-ASEAN and APEC summit meetings. All of London’s efforts to “tar and feather” Trump have failed so far: as Politico noted in an article headlined “Teflon Donald Trump,” “Democrats have attacked the President every which way, but polling and focus groups show none of it’s working.” It seems normal Americans are not as stupid as the British would like, and still want skilled jobs, serious investment in infrastructure, and cooperation with other nations to achieve those results—policies which Trump promised voters, but has yet to deliver on.

As Helga Zepp-LaRouche emphasized in discussions with colleagues today, what the British, Wall Street, and the European Union are offering people on both sides of the Atlantic, is only to stick to the existing rules and standards of the financial system, but that is “all built on sand.” It amounts to nothing more than keeping the speculative bubble intact, and to ensure there is no cooperation with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But with every day that passes, that New Silk Road and its win-win approach to global relations, and the prospect of real investment in great infrastructure projects, becomes more and more attractive.

And that is an idea that the British fear—and with good reason. As Lyndon LaRouche famously said in a speech in São Paulo, Brazil in 2002: “Why can’t we change the rules? Aren’t we human beings? … Are man and woman not made equally in the image of the Creator of the Universe, and endowed with these powers? Do not we have the authority, above anything on this planet, to change the rules? We have the power. That’s what sovereignty means. Sovereignty means the power to make the rules by means of which we can survive.”

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Intense U.S.-Russian Diplomacy Underway

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—The two-day discussions in Helsinki between U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov concluded yesterday, with Ryabkov making comments to the press afterwards, in which he characterized the discussions as “not without debates and clashes of opinions,” but that “in some aspects Russia and the U.S. have opportunities for practical progress.” He commented that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York later this month: “The course is towards their meeting during the high-level week at the UN General Assembly session New York.”

Ryabkov called on U.S. authorities “to stop destroying Russian-American relations and undermining international law, which is fraught with grave consequences, and start to search for solutions to problems that have accumulated through no fault of ours.” He said Moscow needed to see positive signals from Washington to be able to proceed with the improvement of relations. “Positive signals are crucial to tackling the major issues on the international agenda, be it Syria, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, or Ukraine.” Referring to the upcoming Lavrov-Tillerson meeting, Ryabkov said that there is still time to “finalize such signals and present proposals to the leaders precisely from the angle of how that meeting might cause a direct, healing effect on the situation in bilateral relations and become a tangible contribution to addressing major issues.”

The Shannon-Ryabkov talks did not include regional issues such as Syria or North Korea, but focused on strategic matters such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, and “themes that we find ever more worrisome—the emergence of attack weapons in space, where the American side is unequivocally moving. We warned them that such actions will entail destructive effects,” Ryabkov said.

Russian, Chinese, and U.S. Officials Comment on the UN Sanctions against North Korea

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—The day after the UN Security Council voted up new sanctions against North Korea, spokesmen for the major powers involved in the compromise statement—the U.S., Russia, and China—promptly clarified their respective positions. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Sept. 12 emphasizing that the purpose of the sanctions “should be geared exclusively at pushing [Pyongyang’s] its authorities to abandon their missile and nuclear activities that are prohibited by UNSC resolutions,” and not to impose economic devastation on the country. The Russian statement explained that “Russia and China managed to adjust the U.S.-initiated tough text seeking to worsen North Korea’s economic situation and fraught with catastrophic humanitarian impacts on the North Korea’s population. As a result it has become possible to continue the implementation of the biggest Russian-Chinese coal transit project, Hassan-Rajin, and to continue direct air communication between the two countries.” Moscow also reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov met with visiting U.S. Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Geng Shuang also commented on the UNSC resolution, emphasizing that the purpose is to safeguard peace and stability, denuclearize the peninsula, promote international non-proliferation, and that the resolution also called for the resumption of six-party talks. “The Chinese side hopes that this resolution will be implemented comprehensively and completely,” Geng said.

On the U.S. side, President Donald Trump downplayed the significance of the sanctions.

“We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal. I don’t know if it has any impact. Those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.” Trump did not elaborate any further. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shot his mouth off on the subject in his typically provocative fashion, telling a conference in New York City on Sept. 12: “We sent a message that anybody who wanted to trade with North Korea—we would consider them not trading with us.” He then issued specific threats to China: “If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar.”

Trump’s view of U.S.-China relations is manifestly different from what Mnuchin voiced.

Turkey Buying Russian S-400 Air Defense System

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—Documents have now been signed on Turkey’s intent to buy Russia’s S-400 air defense system. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced yesterday that “Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. A deposit has also been paid, as far as I know. Mr. Putin and myself are determined on this issue,” he told Turkish journalists traveling with him.

The Pentagon, not surprisingly, is not pleased. “We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400,” a Defense Department spokesman told TASS. “We have an open dialogue on this issue, and have emphasized the importance of maintaining NATO interoperability on any major defense systems procurements.”

Interoperability with NATO seems to be the least of Erdogan’s concerns, however. “We make the decisions about our own independence ourselves; we are obliged to take safety and security measures in order to defend our country,” he said.

Syrian Army Prepares To Finish Off ISIS in Deir Ezzor

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Damascus yesterday, where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The sides discussed current issues of military technical cooperation in the context of successful actions of the Syrian government forces with the backing of the Russian aerospace force to exterminate the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria,” the Russian Defense Ministry reported. Shoigu also conveyed Putin’s congratulations for the breaking of the siege of Deir Ezzor.

On the ground, Syrian army units are launching new offensives, both south of Deir Ezzor and into the northern districts of the city still held by ISIS. No gains have yet been reported, but Al Masdar News reports that Syrian reinforcements are pouring into the city now that the highway from Palmyra has been secured for its entire 200-km length. Al Masdar also reports that the Syrian army “did score an important advance near the military airport, which leaves the Islamic State [ISIS] forces in serious trouble along the western bank of the Euphrates River.”

Syrian army units, with Russian backing, also continue to reduce the pocket that they closed on ISIS in central Homs province.

“On Monday alone, Russian planes flew more than 50 sorties near Akerbat to wipe out nearly 180 terrorist targets—terrorists’ pockets of resistance and strongholds, underground shelters and command center … reported Lt. Gen. Alexander Lapin, the chief of staff of the Russian military force in Syria.” Al Masdar estimates that it will take about another two weeks to eliminate the pocket, but “It should be noted that the central Syria front nonetheless remains of secondary importance in terms of the investment of pro-government military resources. To this end, operations in and around the strategic city of Deir Ezzor continue to be of top priority.”

Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Zakharova Ridicules U.S. Excuse for Closing Consulate

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—Russia’s San Francisco Consulate General accused of violating garbage incineration ordinances? Yes, that is the latest piece of “anti-Russia performance” that U.S. authorities have come up with, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, TASS reports.

CBS News had apparently reported that authorities from one of San Francisco’s districts had notified the Russian Consulate General that it was in violation of local garbage incineration ordinances, for which it will be fined. On Sept. 1, firefighters were sent to the consulate building to deal with smoke coming from the Russian consulate’s chimney. On Sept. 2, the consulate was closed.

Maria Zakharova responded that what is now going on is “an anti-Russian performance … the Russians Poison San Francisco” show! This is being used to cover up the “barbaric” actions of U.S. secret services on the premises of the Russian consulate general, she said.

NEW WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER

Trump Likely To Visit China and Other Asian Countries in November

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to visit China and other Asian countries in November. Citing an unnamed U.S. official, Reuters reports that President Trump is likely to make a stop in China in November; the visit is a follow-up to the invitation that Chinese President Xi Jinping extended during their April meeting in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, and also their July meeting in Hamburg on the sidelines on the G20 summit. The visit would be either right before or right after the U.S.-ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines, Nov. 13-14, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Nov. 6-11, in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK, also citing unnamed diplomatic sources, reports that Trump was also considering visiting Japan and South Korea during his Asian tour in November. In February, Trump accepted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s invitation to visit Japan by the end of the year.

“The February agreement is still valid. We would definitely like to make it happen within this year. But no specific timing has been fixed yet,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun said that Japan, the United States, and South Korea could hold a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 21.

The APEC summit could also be the site of various bilateral meetings between Trump and other heads of state and government. TASS has mooted the possibility that one of those might be with Russian President Putin.

China Steps Up Diplomacy in Central America, Caribbean

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Panama this weekend, the first high-level bilateral meeting to take place in the country since the establishment of diplomatic relations three months ago.

During his visit, Wang will participate in the first meeting of the China-Panama Political Consultative Mechanism, also including several cabinet members, and will be hosted by President Juan Carlos Varela on a helicopter tour of the Canal Zone and other areas deemed attractive to Chinese investors, Critica reported.

Now that Panama has broken with Taiwan and established diplomatic ties with China, there are signs that other nations in the region may follow suit. The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, has taken note of the just-announced $4.7 billion Chinese investment to rebuild Port-au-Prince (although Haiti still maintains relations with Taiwan), and has signalled that its ties with Taiwan may be cooling. When Taiwan’s Foreign Minister David Tawei Lee visited Santo Domingo last month, he was publicly snubbed by his Dominican counterpart, who left the country. After Lee cautioned the Dominican government about breaking diplomatic ties, his own government sent the head of the Army and then a large business delegation to Santo Domingo to promise new investments.

The Chinese are expanding their economic and political ties with several other Caribbean nations—Jamaica, Bahamas, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago—where there is enthusiasm about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). On Sept. 11, China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi, accompanied by a 12-person delegation, visited Jamaica for a one-day working meeting, during which he met with Prime Minister Andrew Holness to discuss a range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues, including Chinese investment projects in the island and the Belt and Road Initiative.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, Holness vowed that “we will continue to ensure that the projects undertaken between our countries are aligned, not just for our development but for the development of China as well, so that the development is mutual.” He reported that Jamaica has benefitted from China-financed infrastructure development, and said he sees the bilateral relationship as a means by which Jamaica can significantly expand its manufacturing sector.

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

European Commission President Juncker Proposes EU Anti-China Mechanism

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—This morning, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker adopted the proposal, forwarded by France, Germany, and Italy, to create an anti-China screening mechanism in the EU.

In his “state of the union” speech in the European Parliament, Juncker said that “Europe must always defend its strategic interests. This is why today we are proposing a new EU framework for investment screening. If a foreign, state-owned, company wants to purchase a European harbor, part of our energy infrastructure, or a defense technology firm, this should only happen in transparency, with scrutiny and debate. It is our political responsibility to know what is going on in our backyard so that we can protect our collective security if needed.”

Juncker also proposed to include all members of the EU in the euro single currency and to intensify climate policies; to create a “common labor authority,” and establish an EU finance minister.

The EU proposal was prompted by a joint paper, “European Investment Policy: A Common Approach to Investment Control,” sent to the Commission by France, Germany, and Italy on July 28, 2017, which was revealed by Politico’s European edition today.

According to its proposal, the Commission should take on a new role in judging whether a foreign takeover is subsidized, or has a “degree of state influence.” The paper said member countries should then have the right to “prohibit” takeovers in strategic sectors, which the paper says “still need to be more clearly defined.” While the ultimate power to veto an acquisition would remain with national governments, the rules grant the EU new powers to judge whether an investment is in line with the free market.

Earlier, Politico noted that Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda had campaigned for blocking China’s market economy status last year, and Italian media report that Calenda was a leader in organizing the trilateral position paper.

Calenda is an “EU nationalist” and an anti-Italian. While tagging China as an enemy, he is not worried about predatory acquisitions in banking, infrastructure, transport, communications, industry, etc. by EU corporations in Italy.

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

‘Teflon Donald Trump’

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—That is the headline on a lengthy Politico article today, which says: “Democrats have attacked the President every which way, but polling and focus groups show none of it’s working.” The Democratic Party has been conducting all sorts of private polls and focus groups, especially in swing states, which confirm what LaRouche PAC organizers know from daily organizing activity across the country: That the attacks on Trump as “unfit” for office, as “ineffective,” as being “out to enrich himself,” and as being “in cahoots with Russia,” are all falling flat.

“None of it is working,” Politico reports, and continues: “Pollsters are shocked by how many voters describe themselves as ‘exhausted’ by the constant chaos surrounding Trump [who is] still viewed as an outsider shaking up the system, which people in the various surveys say they like, and which Democrats don’t stack up well against.” Trump is given credit “for the improving economy,” and Politico says “voters are also generally unimpressed by claims that Trump exaggerates or lies, and they don’t see the ongoing Russia investigation adding up to much.”

All of which bodes very poorly for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, since none of their hot-button issues are viewed favorably by voters, and Hillary Clinton’s obsessive and unending sour-grapes pronouncements are only making things worse for them. Well-informed Democratic Party sources tell EIR that all factions in the party have been pleading with Clinton to just “put a lid on it,” since she’s done massive damage with her sore loser statements. But rather than scaling back, she’s getting worse.

President Emphasizes Bipartisanship on Key Policy Issues

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—Over the past 24 hours, President Donald Trump has hosted bipartisan meetings of legislators from the Senate and House to address his administration’s priority policy issues, tax reform key among them. Tonight, he will dine with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to continue the discussion. According to the Washington daily, The Hill, the two Democrats want to use the meeting to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and stabilizing the health insurance market.

This afternoon, Trump met at the White House with a group of 13 moderate lawmakers from both parties, opening that meeting, according to Associated Press, with the statement that, “More and more we’re trying to work things out together…. We should be able to come together to make government work for the people.” While tax reform was the main focus, Trump added that he wants to see “if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion so that we can solve the DACA problem and other immigration problems.” Trump added that “some of the greatest legislation ever passed” was done in a bipartisan manner.

Attending today’s meeting, among others, were Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), a leader of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, who said he’d been invited to the White House to discuss healthcare, tax reform, and infrastructure. Gottheimer attended last week’s bipartisan meeting at the White House on infrastructure projects for New York and New Jersey.

Commenting on last night’s dinner meeting of seven Senators with Trump, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” broadcast that he sensed a new bipartisan spirit of Democrats and Republicans who attended. “We started with a lot of talk about infrastructure,” he said. “The President basically [went] back and forth about the exciting things that can happen, how we can work together.” Trump emphasized, Manchin said, “that he was not proposing a tax cut for the rich. We’re talking middle class, Main Street. This is what they were talking about. I’m thinking, ‘hey, I’m excited about this. Let’s see what happens…I’m open-minded about this.’ ”

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

China’s Cargo Craft Makes Its Final Docking with Space Lab

Sept. 13 (EIRNS)—Tianzhou-1, China’s first unmanned orbital cargo spacecraft, launched in April, has completed its third docking with the Tiangong-2 lab module. It will carry out the final set of tests of orbital refueling, which will be needed to periodically reboost China’s future space station. The two craft have been orbiting separately for the past three months.

This docking used a new process, which took 6.5 hours, as compared to the previous two days, using a more sophisticated and precise rendezvous technique. The new procedure will be used when crew dock with the station.

Following this final series of tests, Tianzhou-1 will be de-orbited, to burn up in the atmosphere. In the future, the cargo craft will be loaded up with trash from the station, and burn up in the atmosphere, similar to the cargo craft that service the International Space Station. Orbital module Tiangong-2, which was launched one year ago, will continue to carry out a series of remote-controlled scientific experiments.

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