Trump Completes His ‘Friendship’ Tour of Asia: Now Spread the Momentum for a New Era
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will arrive back in Washington, D.C. from a five-nation Asian tour, including the formal ASEAN and APEC summits, characterized at every stop on the way, by his expressions of personal friendship, and good will on behalf of the American people. As he said in Manila today in his remarks to the ASEAN plenary: “I’m honored to represent the United States of America at this U.S.-ASEAN Commemorative Summit. We gather today at a time of great promise and great challenge. I speak to you on behalf of 350 million Americans with a message of friendship and partnership….”
Over the past 36 hours, Trump met in Manila for private discussions with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte and others, as well as exchanging a hand-shake greeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Trump, in his ASEAN speech, warmly thanked “Rodrigo,” for “your success as ASEAN chair,” and “for your incredible hospitality,” and also for Duterte’s “fantastic” singing at the gala dinner last night!
Before Manila, Trump was in Hanoi for an official state visit to Vietnam. There, in addition to economic and security discussions, he struck a special theme, referring to the fact that it was Veterans Day in the U.S. He pointed out that, “out of war and conflict, we have achieved a deep friendship, partnership and we have achieved peace.” He spoke of the horrors of the Vietnam War, and he expressed deep respect for independence, which is a “sentiment that burns in the heart of every patriot and every nation. Our hosts here in Vietnam have known this sentiment not just for 200 years, but for nearly 2,000 years….” This was applauded.
The President’s other theme throughout his entire trip, was “fair” trade. Commercial deals were signed in Vietnam and other places, besides the raft of $253 billion worth of commitments announced between Chinese and U.S. companies on Nov. 10 in Beijing. All these business deals, in themselves, do not add up to a new economic era, nor even to a threshold for that. But they do signify the potential of the moment. Millions of Americans in the regions of new trade pledges are rejoicing at the prospect of getting some economic activity going, e.g. in the energy states—Alaska, Texas, West Virginia; in the farm/food states—Montana (beef), Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri (the soy belt), and others.
Our task is to take this momentum to a much higher level, to do what is required for the new era, described by President Xi Jinping, as “building a community of shared future for mankind.” We can do this heavy lifting by both 1) spreading the word of what has actually happened in these positive events of the past 10 days of the Trump Asian tour, whose “news” is being blacked out; and 2) by spreading the understanding of the concepts required for the science of economics, as laid out for decades by Lyndon LaRouche, and most urgently, in his 2014 “Four Laws,” for what must be done now.
The present historic opportunity for mankind was directly promoted over the past half-century of work by Lyndon and Helga Zepp LaRouche, as seen in the markers of proposals, including the 1975 International Development Bank (IDB), Operation Juárez (1982) in the Americas, the Productive Triangle, the World Land-Bridge, and up through the New Silk Road paradigm.
Spread the momentum.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
The Belt and Road and ASEAN Integrating Development Strategies, Says China’s Envoy to ASEAN
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—In an interview just ahead of the Nov. 10-14 31st ASEAN summit, China’s Ambassador to ASEAN Xu Bu told Xinhua that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made remarkable progress in ASEAN nations, and that ASEAN’s development plans, including Community Vision 2025, AEC Blueprint 2025, and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, are all compatible with the BRI. ASEAN’s development projects will be integrated with the BRI, which both sides will promote, Xu said. He outlined five areas of progress the Belt and Road has made among the 10 ASEAN countries, and plans for new cooperative activities:
- BRI and ASEAN countries are forming a multi-level inter-governmental communication mechanism;
- infrastructure connectivity is speeding up;
- China-ASEAN free trade agreement is formally going into force;
- cultural exchanges and tourism are becoming increasingly active;
- the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has attracted participation and support of all ASEAN countries.
A recent UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates that ASEAN countries will need $60 billion to $146 billion per year in infrastructure investment, Xinhua reports. It then enumerates railway projects underway in ASEAN countries for which China is providing assistance.
Finland-China Rail Freight Route Opened
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—With more than 40 containers, a cargo train bound for Xi’an, China departed Kouvola in southeastern Finland, on Nov. 10. It will take 17 days to run 9,000 km distance across the Eurasian continent, passing through Russia and Kazakhstan among other countries, before reaching its final destination in northwest China.
Goods packed in the containers are all made in Finland, ranging from machinery, timber, workwear, and ship components, according to Jari Gronlund, chief operation officer of Unytrade company. Founded just this past summer, Unytrade especially serves the newly-opened route, said Gronlund, who believes the only railway route linking the Nordic countries and China will open a new channel to bring more Nordic products to nations along the route.
Olli-Pekka Hilmola, logistics professor at Lappeenranta University of Technology, told Finnish national broadcaster Yle that a regular train connection from Kouvola to China would be important to the Finnish economy. Li Zhao, Assistant of the General Manager of Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group, explained that goods will be further transported to various markets in China from the terminus in Xi’an.
As planned, a total of five trains will run between Kouvola and Xi’an by the end of this year. At the same time, a train would depart from Xi’an to Kouvola every week. Li said the trips may start to increase if trade goes smoothly; hopefully a train of goods would be sent every day in the near future.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Puerto Rico Needs $94.4 Billion To Rebuild, Governor Rosselló Tells Washington
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—In a press conference today at the offices of the National Governors Association in Washington, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said that the island needs $94.4 billion to rebuild, following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Maria. He told the governors: “This is a conservative estimate, “based on similar efforts that have been done in New York, New Jersey and of course in Texas, most recently,” Reuters reported.
In a letter to President Trump, Governor Rosselló said that funds needed for the island’s rebuilding, exceeded the resources of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund, and associated programs—underscoring once again that without a new Hamiltonian credit institution, and a shift away from Wall Street’s priorities, under current conditions the necessary funding won’t be made available.
The island government’s top priority is $31.1 billion for housing, and $17.8 billion to rebuild a more resilient power grid. But Rosselló enumerated “agriculture, infrastructure, social services, sanitation and education” as in urgent need of funding. According to the Department of Energy, to date, 47.8% of power has been restored to the island.
According to NBC News, on Capitol Hill, legislators have introduced a bill seeking changes to the Stafford Act, which, as now written, specifies that natural disaster financial assistance for critical infrastructure must be aimed only at restoring it to its “pre-disaster mode”—clearly untenable for the island’s outmoded and destroyed power grid. Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) have introduced a bill that would allow Stafford Act relief funds to be used to build a fully modernized power grid.
Puerto Rican officials are also lobbying Congress to reject a provision in the GOP tax plan, which would impose a 20% import tax on products manufactured in Puerto Rico, claiming absurdly that the island is a “foreign jurisdiction”—only inhabited by 3.4 million American citizens! Federico de Jesus, a former Deputy Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, told NBC that if Congress doesn’t make an exception for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories “they will be putting the final nail in the coffin of the Puerto Rican economy.” Hector Ferrer, head of the Popular Democratic Party told El Nuevo Dia that imposition of the 20% import tax “would be like a second hurricane” hitting the island.
Washington Examiner Timeline Indicates British/Fusion GPS Dossier Set Off FBI Trump-Russia Probe
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—Writing under the title “Did Dossier Trigger the Trump-Russia Probe?” in the Nov. 12 Washington Examiner, chief political correspondent Byron York presented a timeline for 2016, indicating that the dossier material fabricated by “ex”-British MI6 spy Christopher Steele, was fed into the United States to trigger the Trump-Russiagate operation. Drawing from court documents to fill in the timeline, York opens by stating, “The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia affair shortly after receiving the first installment of an anti-Trump dossier from a former British spy working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. What Congressional investigators want to know is whether that was a coincidence or not.
“The first report in the dossier compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele was dated June 20, 2016…. Steele [himself said] that he took the first part of his dossier to the FBI ‘near the start of July’…. [then-FBI Director] James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee the Trump-Russia investigation began ‘in late July.’
“So the timeline is: The first dossier report was June 20, Steele approached the FBI near the start of July, and the FBI began its investigation in late July.”
But, for whatever reasons, there seems to have been some hesitation at Comey’s FBI to go whole hog with this British operation. Steele’s own comments from a subsequent interview, reveal that the FBI’s reaction was one of “shock and horror,” at the revelations, suggesting that “the FBI was surprised by the dossier report’s contents, which in turn suggested the FBI wasn’t already on the case when Steele approached the Bureau near the start of July.” Still, the reports continued to come—“July 30; August 5, 10, and 22; September 14; and October 12, 18, 19, and 20.”
“The challenge [for British operatives Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS] was to get the dossier’s charges out in public, where they might influence the presidential race. As the election approached, the Clinton campaign, through Fusion GPS, directed Steele to give the dossier information to a few journalists. At the ‘end of September,’ and again in October, according to British court papers, Steele personally briefed reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, the New Yorker, and Yahoo.”
On Oct. 31, the interview with Mother Jones appeared, under the provocative title, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation To Cultivate Donald Trump: Has the Bureau Investigated This Material?”
“Ultimately more will become public,” says York. “But if the past months have shown anything, it is that the FBI will not reveal its secrets, even to its legitimate congressional overseers, without a fight.”
Spirit of Friendship, Cooperation Characterize President Trump’s Asia Tour
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump’s 12-day tour of Asia, which concludes today with his attendance at the East Asia Summit, was, by any measure, extremely successful. Forget the claptrap about how he “was played” by China’s Xi Jinping or cozied up to “dictators” and “human rights violators” such as Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. The reality is that Trump was warmly received by Asian leaders and established genuine friendships with many of them, as well as a commitment for future cooperation on issues of trade and security, among other things.
Unquestionably, the President must have felt liberated by his experience in Asia, away from the Washington swamp. He will certainly return to Washington energized from his tour and optimistic about his own Presidency—much to the horror of the media whores who insist that when he returns, he’ll be “more vulnerable than ever” to legal assassin Robert Mueller’s coup offensive.
As reported below, Trump was warmly welcomed at the ASEAN summit, hosted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (with whom he later held a friendly meeting), describing it as a “vital assembly of nations,” to whose central role “as a regional forum for comprehensive cooperation” the U.S. is committed. The partnership with ASEAN, he said, “contributes to the security and prosperity of the American people and the people of all Indo-Pacific countries. We are looking for an economic partnership based on reciprocity and justice. We want our partners from the region to be strong and prosperous.”
Trump’s flurry of diplomatic activity included a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a quadrilateral meeting with the heads of state and government of Japan, Australia, and India, and a state visit to Vietnam. He even managed a handshake with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The President’s state visit to Vietnam was particularly striking, and moving in many regards, in his effusive praise for the “great beauty and splendor” of the “beautiful” Vietnam, and affirmation that out of the “horrendous” Vietnam War, “we have achieved a deep friendship, partnership, and we have achieved peace.” Notably, in one of his speeches, Trump repeated the quote “independence forever,” which an elderly John Adams had proclaimed when asked to offer his thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the Independence of the United States, observing that this same fierce sentiment for independence has burned in Vietnamese hearts going back 2,000 years. Implicitly, Trump affirmed that it was the Vietnamese drive for independence that was behind their success in the Vietnam War.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Evidence Against Mario Draghi Produced in Milan ‘Santorini’ Trial
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—An official paper produced in court Oct. 3, but revealed only now by Bloomberg, shows that in 2010, then-Bank of Italy head Mario Draghi covered for Monte dei Paschi (MPS) derivatives scam with Deutsche Bank, known as “Santorini.”
The paper, produced by Giuseppe Iannaccone, attorney for former MPS employees in the ongoing Milan trial against 16 former MPS and Deutsche Bank managers, is a “private” marked Bank of Italy document dated Sept. 17, 2010 that shows Bankitalia was aware of the fact that a derivative sold by Deutsche Bank to MPS aimed at covering the losses of a similar derivative sold earlier by DB to MPS. The Italian bank was losing about €370 million ($431 million) on the earlier transaction, dubbed Santorini, as of December 2008. The new trade posted a gain of roughly the same amount and allowed losses to be spread out over a longer period, the document shows.
In the Milan court hearing Oct. 3, Iannaccone asked a Bank of Italy official whether the central bank knew the loss was offset. “That’s correct,” responded the bank’s official Mauro Parascandolo. Asked if the Bank of Italy sought to probe or file a complaint against Monte dei Paschi after its inspections, Parascandolo responded: “No.”
From Bloomberg: “The Bank of Italy conducted another inspection of Monte Paschi in September 2011, and in November of that year, two weeks after Draghi became president of the ECB, the Italian central bank’s new leadership summoned Monte Paschi’s management to Rome.
“The bank’s top executives resigned, and less than a year later, on Oct. 15, 2012, Monte Paschi told the Bank of Italy it had found previously undisclosed paperwork squirreled away in a safe at its Palazzo Salimbeni headquarters in Siena. That document, a framework agreement, was key to understanding a similar derivatives deal involving Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings Inc., as well as the Deutsche Bank trade, the central bank said in 2013.”
EIR has earlier reported how Mario Draghi’s responsibility in the Monte dei Paschi crisis is even larger. Draghi, in fact, ignored an opinion drafted by his own institution in 2008, which warned against the MPS takeover of Banca Antonveneta from Spain’s Banco Santander. Instead, Draghi gave the green light, signing a letter which falsely understated the real cost of the acquisition (manipulating the very different terms of “price” and “cost”). The exorbitant cost of the Antonveneta takeover ultimately bankrupted Monte Paschi, which covered the losses with the Santorini and other derivative scams bought from Deutsche Bank.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Saudis Call for Emergency Arab League Meeting, as British, Israelis Heat Up Conflict over Iran
Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—The Saudis, pushing for further escalation against Iran in Southwest Asia, issued a call yesterday for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss “violations” committed by Iran in the region. A date has now been set for Nov. 19, according to AFP and other media, which report that the meeting will be held in Cairo, at the Arab League headquarters.
This Saudi call comes amidst developments in which the British and Israelis are prominent. BBC issued a report on Nov. 10 claiming that Iran is building a military base in Syria south of Damascus, about 50 km from the Israeli border with Syria, where it occupies the Golan Heights. BBC’s claim is based on satellite photos of a compound that the BBC commissioned. The photos, taken in January, July and October of this year show a compound with what appears to be a headquarters building on one end, several buildings that could be vehicle garages on the north side and a similar number of buildings on the south side that look like they could be barracks. Over the period from January to October, new construction in the compound is visible. But the BBC itself states, “However, it is impossible to independently verify the purpose of the site and the presence of the Iranian military.”
Despite the lack of certainty about the alleged Iranian military base in Syria, the BBC report was enough to prompt Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eizonkot to fly to Brussels for what Arutz Sheva Israel National News described as a “secret meeting” with NATO Commander Gen. Curtis Scapporotti over the Nov. 11-12 weekend, the second such meeting in two weeks. “The two military leaders reportedly discussed the Iranian military build-up in Syria as the country’s civil war winds down,” says Arutz Sheva. “The speed with which the second meeting was held indicated that a significant development had taken place which affects Israel and America’s strategic position,” the report continues, that “The meeting follows a report by the BBC that Iran is establishing a permanent military base in Syria.”
Eizonkot’s flight to NATO headquarters also came on the heels of the new de-escalation agreement announced over the weekend between Russia, the U.S. and Jordan, as several media have noted. A State Department background briefer told reporters during a telephone briefing on Nov. 11, that, among other things, Russia agreed to work with the Syrian government to remove Iranian-backed forces from within a defined distance of the Israeli border. Regardless, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Associated Press that while the agreement is a positive development, Israel is not a party to the agreement and will defend its interests.
At the same time, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is touring Arab capitals in a bid to “reduce tensions in the region,” reports Al Jazeera. The Qatar-based network also notes that while Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has condemned the alleged Iran interference in Arab affairs, he has also said more than once that he is against any war in the region, and that he will not take action against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
Saad Hariri, the resigned prime minister of Lebanon, meanwhile gave an interview from Saudi Arabia to his party’s Future TV on Nov. 12, vowing that he will return to Lebanon within a few days. Despite his assertions to the contrary, there remains a great deal of doubt within Lebanon that Hariri is able to speak freely while he is in Riyadh. This is indicated, reports Turkey’s Daily Sabah, by the fact that five Lebanese TV broadcasters, including the state broadcaster and Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV, have refused to air the Hariri interview.