In 10,000 Years, Will We Still Be Barbarians, Or Will We Be Humans?
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—While the City of London and Wall Street are busy with one last-gasp effort to salvage their (unsalvageable) financial system, with an ECB bail-in plan designed to seize all financial assets for themselves—their earlier “Cyprus Template” writ large—Russia, China and allied nations are instead orchestrating a Grand Design for Middle East and world stabilization and peace, as suggested by what might be called a “Syria Template.”
We refer to the Nov. 21 discussions in Sochi, Russia among visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that country’s top military command, in which they discussed their successful cooperation to bring Syria back from the abyss. Describing the moving exchange, Helga Zepp-LaRouche today commented: “This is an incredible idea, because in two years a completely hopeless situation was turned around. There was unbelievable human suffering, with the Syrian people being exposed to an enormous ordeal, but they came out victorious.”
If that can be achieved in Syria, a microcosm of the worst horrors that the dying world order of geopolitics and looting has created, then there is no reason that a similar about-face cannot be achieved globally, building a New Paradigm around China’s keystone Belt and Road Initiative. Helga Zepp-LaRouche summarized the strategic situation as follows:
“The main dynamic of change has to come from the United States. The follow-up from the Trump visit to China is really what will determine the situation. This is a unique moment in the history of mankind, not just of the U.S. That is the sense that we must get across to people.
“There is an enormous potential. You can see that in the dynamic which was shown between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, which was a historic meeting. You can see it in Panama now joining with China on the Belt and Road Initiative, and the President of Panama saying this is where all of Ibero-America will go. It’s there in the rapprochement between Japan and China; in the Astana-Putin process for the consolidation of the situation in Syria and beyond; and in the profound changes underway in Africa through China’s investments there.
“All of these elements are moving in a very positive direction. But the Sword of Damocles of a potential financial crash is still hanging over the world. The instruments to move the U.S. in the direction of Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws are there, but they are not yet sufficient, by any means. The potential is very clearly there, and it has never been greater. But it would also be a big mistake to think that we have won already, just because we have helped to create this potential. Until we have a complete victory of the New Paradigm, we should not have one resting minute,” Zepp-LaRouche stated.
She concluded: “Nor should we give in to the idea that you need some sort of ‘national expression’ of sane interest. We really have to fight with people that we need a New Paradigm, a completely new set of relations where geopolitics is simply thrown out the window. Because Mankind should be defined from the future, from 10,000 years from now, looking back at the present: How do we want to live 10,000 years from now? Will we still be barbarians or will we be humans?”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Putin Meets Assad and Briefs Trump
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—History is being written in Sochi, where Russian President Vladimir Putin held an unannounced meeting with Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Nov. 20 and then introduced him to the Russian military leadership who “helped save Syria.” Today Putin briefed President Donald Trump about his discussions with Assad. Tomorrow, Nov. 22, Putin will chair the Astana Talks for the Syrian peace process, with the other two guarantor countries Iran and Turkey, and will consult with Assad during the course of the talks. Putin yesterday also spoke by phone with the Emir of Qatar.
The focus of the Putin-Assad exchange was that the victory against ISIS was the start of a political process to bring peace and reconciliation to Syria. The Kremlin website posted long excerpts of the exchanges between the two leaders, which we excerpt here to convey a sense of the historical importance of the talks:
Putin began: “First, let me congratulate you on Syria’s results in combatting terrorist groups as well as on the fact that the Syrian people, despite a very difficult ordeal, are gradually moving towards the final and inevitable defeat of the terrorists.
“Mr. President, as you know, I will meet with my colleagues—the Presidents of Turkey and Iran—here in Sochi the day after tomorrow. We have agreed to hold additional consultations with you during our meeting. Of course, the main subject on the agenda is a peaceful and lasting political settlement in Syria after the routing of the terrorists.
“As you know, in addition to the partners I have mentioned we are also working closely together with other countries, such as Iraq, the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. We maintain constant contact with these partners.
“I would like to talk with you about the basic principles of the political process and the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, the idea of which you have supported. I would like to hear your opinions on the current situation and development prospects and your views on the political process, which should ultimately be implemented under the UN auspices. We also hope that the UN will join the [political] process at its final stage.”
Assad replied, acknowledging Russia’s role in helping Syria win the war against terror. “Over this period, we have achieved major success both on the battlefield and on the political track. Many regions in Syria have been liberated from the terrorists, and the Syrians who had to flee from these regions can now return there.
“It should be acknowledged that the operation brought progress to the political settlement in Syria. And the process which was started and which Russia promoted with various efforts continues, above all, based on respect for the UN Charter, the state’s sovereignty and independence. This stance has been defended at various international platforms, including the talks in Astana. The same goes for the plans to hold the Syrian National Dialogue Conference in a few days. Today we have an excellent opportunity to discuss both the upcoming conference and the upcoming summit, and to coordinate our views on the next steps.
“First, I would like to take an opportunity and pass congratulations and gratitude from the Syrian people to you, Mr. President, for our joint success in defending Syria’s territorial integrity and independence. We would like to extend our gratitude to those institutions of the Russian state that provided assistance—primarily, the Russian Defense Ministry that has supported us throughout this operation. Also I would like to pass our gratitude to the Russian people who remain a friendly nation to us. They have supported us all along.”
Putin responded, remarking that thanks to the Astana talks, de-escalation zones could be built and preconditions for the political process were laid. “Based on the outcome of this meeting [with Assad], I will consult further with the leaders of the countries I just mentioned. A conversation with the Emir of Qatar is scheduled for today. Tomorrow, I am speaking with U.S. President Donald Trump. After that, I am speaking with the leaders of the countries in the region.”
Assad said: “At this stage, and especially after our victories over the terrorists, we are interested in promoting the political process. We believe that the political situation that has developed in the regions offers an opportunity for progress in the political process. We hope Russia will support us by ensuring the external players’ non-interference in the political process, so that they will only support the process waged by the Syrians themselves. We do not want to look back. We will accept and talk with anyone who is really interested in a political settlement.”
“I am glad that you are ready to work with anyone who wants peace and conflict resolution,” Putin responded.
Syrian Mission ‘Almost Accomplished,’ Declares Putin
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—After his talks with Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced the Syrian President to senior officials of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, leading to a solemn but moving exchange.
“I have asked the President of Syria to attend our meeting,” Putin said to the gathered military leaders. “I want him to see those who have played the key role in saving Syria.
“Of course, Mr. Assad knows some of you personally. He told me at our talks today that the Russian Army has saved Syria as a state. Much has been done to stabilize the situation in Syria. I hope that we will close the chapter on the fight against terrorism in Syria, although some seats of tension will remain or will flare up again.
“There are more than enough problems with terrorism in the world, including in the Middle East and Syria. But our main mission is almost accomplished, and I hope we will be able to say that we have accomplished it soon.”
Assad stated that he conveyed to Putin, “and on his behalf to the Russian people, our gratitude for Russia’s efforts to save our country. I would like to highlight the contribution of the Russian Armed Forces and the sacrifices they have made to achieve this goal. I was very glad to learn that you, those of you who were directly involved in the operation and who commanded the activities of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria will be present here today.
“The operation barely started when I met with President Putin in Moscow two years ago. In the two years since then we can see the success that has been achieved thanks to cooperation between the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Army. Nobody can deny this success in the fight against terrorism now. Thanks to your actions, as well as the actions of the Syrian Army and our allies, many Syrians have returned home.
“Speaking on behalf of the Syrian people, I would like to express our gratitude for what you have accomplished. We will never forget this. Also, I would like to thank personally President Vladimir Putin, [Defense Minister] Sergei Shoigu and [Chief of the General Staff] Valery Gerasimov for their direct involvement in this operation.”
Presidents Trump and Putin Spoke by Phone for an Hour
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone today for an hour, during which Putin informed Trump of the results of his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Both the White House readout and reports from the Kremlin carried by TASS and Sputnik concur that the two Presidents affirmed their support for the Joint Statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, issued at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit on Nov. 11, and noted the encouraging reaction it produced in the Middle East. Both spoke of the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and of moving forward towards a durable political settlement, to “ensure the stability of a unified Syria free of malign intervention and terrorist safe havens,” in the words of the White House readout.
The two leaders otherwise discussed crucial issues they would have addressed had their face-to-face meeting occurred as intended during the APEC meeting: cooperation in fighting terrorism throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, the Korean crisis, and how to implement a lasing peace in Ukraine.
Turkey’s Erdogan Denounces NATO for ‘Putting Us on a Target Board’
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—Turkey’s relationship with NATO is now in question, after Turkish officers participating in a NATO exercise in Norway discovered on Nov. 17 that a poster depicting NATO enemies included imagery of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This prompted the Turkish military to immediately withdraw from participation in the exercise.
NATO fired the individual who was said to be responsible for the depictions, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg personally delivered an apology to Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Hulsi Akar in Halifax, Nova Scotia where both were attending the Halifax International Security Forum.
But Turkey has no doubt the “enemies” designation was sent as a deliberate message.
President Erdogan was clear: “They know that they cannot stop our country, which is why they are putting us on a target board. I hope that those who welcomed attacks against us before now understand the real face of the matter, as Ataturk was also included,” he said on Nov. 19. “The issue is not a personal or party issue. The target is Turkey and the Turkish nation.”
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters in Ankara yesterday, that “This is one of the biggest scandals in NATO’s history. We state clearly that this incident should not be swept under the rug.” RT quotes a top advisor to Erdogan, Yalcin Topcu, as saying that Turkey should reconsider its membership in NATO. “The presence of the great Turkish nation in this institution [NATO] has become questionable,” Topcu said, branding the alliance’s behavior towards Ankara as “brutal and dishonorable,” Haberturk daily reported.
President Erdogan has been increasingly coordinating his country’s strategic activity with that of Russia, particularly in Syria, and this NATO attack is the latest of a long series of angry disagreements between Turkey and NATO.
First U.S. Airstrikes on Heroin Labs and Opium Storage in Afghanistan
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—After religiously ignoring the opium and heroin explosion in Afghanistan for 16 years since 2001, on Nov. 19, in an apparent policy shift, U.S. B-52s and F-22s, along with Afghan A-29s, took out ten opium-refining facilities on the first day of Operation Jagged Knife in northern Helmand province. Helmand province produces about 70% Afghanistan’s opium, which in turn is about 85-90% of world opium production. Unofficially, this year’s opium production in Afghanistan has broken all records, and is expected to weigh in at 9,000 tons. Prior to the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the largest recorded amount ever was 2,000 tons. The Taliban, in power from 1996-2001, had raised the production to 2,000 tons and then brought it down to around 100 tons before they were ousted.
U.S. Forces Afghanistan commander Gen. John Nicholson said “U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies estimate that the Taliban earns about $200 million a year from opium production in Afghanistan”—probably a significant understatement. The strikes are focused on the drug production facilities, not Afghan farmers growing opium poppy. Nicholson estimated that there are about 400-500 opium production facilities in Afghanistan, Navy Times reported.
During these 16 years of the Afghan war, the U.S. and NATO troops (who used to work together as the International Security Assistance Forces until 2014, when it was scrapped), opium storage and refining facilities were out of bounds for the ISAF. This order was put in place by George W. Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said the only focus of the Pentagon in Afghanistan was to defeat the Taliban, and not get engaged in such “mission creep” as destruction of narcotics. As a result, opium cultivation in Afghanistan exploded; the Taliban never got defeated, but they instead acquired more and more money to bring in more arms and explosives to secure control of almost 40% of Afghanistan’s land area.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Helga Zepp-LaRouche Webcast Theme, ‘Thanksgiving Message: We Are Not In Safe Waters Yet!’
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—The Schiller Institute today announced that this will be the theme of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s Thursday webcast (noon EST, 6 p.m. CET) on the Schiller Institute’s New Paradigm website and Schiller Institute YouTube channel.
“The reverberations from President Trump’s trip to Asia and in particular, to China, continue to shake-up U.S. and world politics, as a growing number of ‘mainstream’ political figures and think tanks are now taking notice, with some even seeming to have been won over by the Spirit of the New Silk Road. Trump told his cabinet that his trip to Asia was ‘an historic 12-day trip,’ with ‘more than $300 billion worth of deals … [which] means jobs for the United States at a very high level,’ ” it wrote.
“China and Russia, the two nations with which Trump wishes to increase collaboration, continue to engage in significant diplomatic and economic initiatives to promote peaceful cooperation and development, with new proposals coming from them virtually daily.
“Yet, as Zepp-LaRouche said on Monday, ‘We’re not in safe waters yet. One can see a British imperial hand in the Middle East, with war talk coming from Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the financial system remains “one bad trade away” from a total meltdown. And, as she stated in last week’s webcast, the attempt by Chancellor Merkel to pull together a ‘Jamaica Coalition’ [government with the Free Democrats and Greens] has collapsed, meaning that Germany will be without a real government at this time of opportunity, and crisis.”
Japan Moves To Join New Silk Road
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—On Nov. 18, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono praised the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), calling it “very beneficial to the global economy if it is open and available to all,” as reported today on China’s CGTN television network.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang responded today, saying that China is “pleased to see” Japan’s enthusiasm for the BRI, adding that the project will not only facilitate China’s opening-up and development, but also create greater opportunities for Japan and other countries as well as the world economy.
On Nov. 20, a record 250 leading Japanese business representatives began the annual visit to China sponsored by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the same time, the Chamber has set up a committee to report on the potential for Japanese cooperation in the BRI.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addressed the Japanese delegation, saying that “China and Japan should view each other’s development as opportunities and contribute to the building of an East Asian economic community,” according to CGTN.
Japanese economist Daisuke Kotegawa has often told EIR that Japan would quickly follow suit if the U.S. were to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRI. The Trump visit continues to spark new developments toward the New Paradigm.
ASEAN, Philippines ‘To Benefit Hugely’ from Belt and Road, Says Finance Secretary Dominguez
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—Addressing the 7th Executive Board Meeting of the China-ASEAN Bank Association (Caiba) in Shangri-La on Nov. 20, Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said: “The nations of Southeast Asia stand to benefit hugely from the Belt and Road Initiative. That complements our own efforts at regionalization. It will help make regional integration and economic cooperation more intensive. This convergence is the central dynamic that will shape the development of the region’s economy through the length of this Asian Century. The Belt and Road Initiative is the most significant enterprise since the construction of the Great Wall. Unlike the Great Wall, however, this initiative enhances cooperation instead of repelling interaction,” the Manila Times reported.
Dominguez also said that “the ongoing economic integration of ASEAN and China’s plan to invest heavily in its trading partners’ infrastructure via its Belt and Road Initiative will shape the development of the region’s economies,” and that will bring tremendous benefit to the Philippines.”
He said the economic strategy of the Philippines administration aims precisely to achieve high and equitable growth for its people through the modernization of infrastructure. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans a $168 billion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure campaign in his six-year term, Xinhua reported.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
European Central Bank ‘Opinion’: Bank Bail-In ‘Tools’ Mean No Deposit Insurance
Nov. 21 (EIRNS) —The EU is testing the possibility under the bank bail-in regime to confiscate deposits under €100,000, or “covered deposits.” Now, the European Central Bank has given a positive opinion to the scheme, in a paper reporting ECB “opinions” requested by the European Commission and European Parliament, and dated Nov. 8, 2017.
The measure is called “Pre-Resolution Moratorium Tool” and consists in freezing deposits, allowing customers to withdraw a small, discretionary sum for daily expenses, and that only after waiting five business days to get anything. The “Moratorium Tool” is praised by the ECB in its opinion as giving the authority resolving the bank “more flexibility.” It recognizes explicitly that the effect is to end deposit insurance, currently on up to €100,000 of deposits in a bank.
The ECB is well aware of the illegal nature of the measure, and therefore “expects these far-reaching powers to be exercised only in extreme circumstances”; and “the maximum period for a moratorium should be five working days in total, a limitation which is also necessary considering the severe impact of a moratorium on creditors’ rights. The ECB cautions that prolonged periods during which depositors have no access to their deposits undermine confidence in the banking system and might ultimately create risks to financial stability.”
Don’t be cheated by the cautionary words in the ECB paper: those “extreme circumstances” are expected in the near future, as more and more experts are warning about a coming collapse of the financial system.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Britain’s New Opium War: Drug Purity and Potency Are Soaring in the U.S.
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—Narcotic drug purity and potency are soaring in the United States, while prices are dropping, according to a thorough article published in the Nov. 20 San Diego Union-Tribune, based principally on official statements and reports by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This is precisely the intended result of the British Empire’s Dope, Inc. “marketing strategy,” as EIR has uniquely reported over the years—an apparatus which is at the very heart of the bankrupt trans-Atlantic financial system.
After recapping the opioid crisis, including the fact that “drug poisoning deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the U.S., surpassing car crashes, suicide, homicide and guns,” author Kristina Davis turns to DEA publications and comments by DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick to document the shocking across-the-board rise in drug potency and purity. The role of Mexico stands out in the Dope, Inc. apparatus—the same Mexico that would be a booming industrial economy today, had the policies of Lyndon LaRouche, and not those of Wall Street, been implemented.
Methamphetamine, a stimulant, used to be produced largely in domestic home labs, but it is now being churned out in massive labs in Mexico. Purity in 2016 was around 93-96%.
Fentanyl: Most of the U.S. opioid pain killer, fentanyl, is also coming from Mexican cartel labs, with precursor chemicals reportedly coming largely from China—which underscores the importance of the Trump-Xi agreement to address this problem. A wholesale kilogram of fentanyl goes for some $31,000 in San Diego.
Heroin: Mexico is by far the main source of U.S. heroin, and “Mexican powder heroin is extremely pure, especially on the East Coast, more than the typical 40-50% dilution in that market,” according to the DEA. Heroin is increasingly being cut with fentanyl, and “the illicit fentanyl and heroin markets are so intertwined, it is difficult to gauge how much heroin market share fentanyl has gained,” the DEA’s 2017 assessment states.
Cocaine, another stimulant, “is really coming back with a bang,” the DEA’s Roderick said. Author Davis reports that coca production has been soaring in Colombia in recent years, due to “the end of aerial fumigation”—which is part of the British Empire’s drug legalization policy being implemented in that country. The average purity jumped sharply to 56% in 2016.
Marijuana: Potency of marijuana’s psychoactive constituent, THC, had soared to an average of 11% by 2015, three times the amount in 1995. “The legal market shows even higher typical potency levels—20% in traditional marijuana and 60% in concentrate being commonplace in Washington state,” where marijuana is legal. Most U.S.-consumed marijuana is now grown inside the U.S. itself, after legalization progressed under Obama.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
U.S. and China Setting Up Joint Lab for Ocean Study and Meteorology
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)—The joint International Laboratory for High-Resolution Earth System Prediction, with offices in both China and the United States, is being planned, it was announced on Nov. 16. The lab will coordinate the study of the oceans, and extreme weather, such as hurricanes, storms, and flooding, describing changes on a regional and global scale. It will concentrate on the development of high-resolution Earth system frameworks for simulation and prediction, in order to provide more reliable data on multiscale geographic levels. The Chinese participant is the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, and on the U.S. side, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Texas A&M University. The three parties signed the agreement for the new project in Qingdao on Nov. 16.
“Each side brings its advantages in this cooperation, and excitedly this is one example of the two countries really partnering with their expertise and benefit with each other,” China Daily quotes Michael Benedik, vice-provost of Texas A&M, as saying. NCAR carries out state-of-the-art oceanic and climate modeling with many years of experience, and Texas A&M also has expertise in ocean modeling. The Qingdao National Lab has the fastest supercomputing capability in marine research, the article reports. “This new laboratory is going to be very critical for improving the ocean component in our modeling systems,” said NCAR Director James Hurrell. Hurrell explained that the importance lies in the fact that much of the memory of Earth systems and climate resides in the ocean.
Wu Lixin, director of the Qingdao Lab, said that the laboratory is planning to also partner with the U.S. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts to build a center on deep-sea research, and also join with a Russian research center on Arctic studies.