Resolution for Those with Responsibility To Lead: Give Up Geopolitics in 2018!
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—EIR and the LaRouche Political Action Committee have taken the point in exposing, bringing under attack, now weakening the unconstitutional “Russiagate” coup attempt against President Trump fronted by Robert Mueller.
But to defeat that attack against the President—for attempting positive relationships with Russia and China—another flank is needed where the target is geopolitics itself. The United States must become a partner in the “New Silk Road” economic and scientific development policy launched by China, and pursue peace and reconstruction for the Mideast and Africa.
The British-originated doctrine of geopolitics has started two world wars, and created a state of almost perpetual war, with the idea of “national interests” which says that for one nation or group of nations to advance, another must fall; for one to win, another must lose; and ultimately, wars will determine the outcome.
But with the conference of more than 100 nations in Beijing in mid-May 2017, on China’s Belt and Road Initiative—great projects of world land- and sea-bridges—the new paradigm of nations’ cooperating in economic and scientific progress began, potentially, to replace geopolitics for good. Those who have responsibility to lead in their nations, or who take that responsibility on themselves, must make that happen in 2018.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who spoke at that conference and many others leading to it over 30 years, notes that the Trump Administration is still divided between geopolitical rivalries on one hand, and common economic progress on the other. In the President’s presentation of a National Security Strategy doctrine, he may have called China and Russia “rivals” rather than the doctrine-writers’ ”adversaries” and “enemies”; but this is still geopolitics. A fight for America joining in the New Silk Road, Helga Zepp-LaRouche says, is what must decide this.
The attempt to drive Trump from office with “Russiagate” is pure British-instigated geopolitics, claiming that Russia and China, as great powers, are America’s great adversaries, and if Trump wants collaborative relations with them, he must be stopped—or, geopolitics is abandoned.
The “next big issue” in the United States is not whether President Trump and Congress agree to discuss a small infrastructure proposal in January, but whether the geopolitical disease can be defeated.
Consider: China has invested the equivalent of some $350 billion in new transportation infrastructure in 2017, and at least $50 billion more outside China. Does this make it an adversary of America, which is about to debate a mere $200 billion such investments over a decade, and where China committed to President Trump some $80 billion in investments in new energy resources and industries for West Virginia alone?
Or must both President and Congress realize how small they are thinking, with a new financial crash threatening them, and other major nations willing to take joint action to stop a crash and accelerate real economic and productive growth?
What will actually defend the Presidency is a new paradigm of economic and cultural “win-win” cooperation. Lyndon LaRouche has presented the substance of that cooperation as “Four New Laws To Save the Nation,” just published again by LaRouchePAC for national circulation as 2018 begins. To reach the President it must reach the nation.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
As ‘Muellergate’ Builds, Justice Department Inspector General Probe May Be ‘Landmine’ for Mueller
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—Attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller continue to grow, coming from conservative Republicans who call for Mueller to step down, given the obviously political nature of his investigation and the corruption of the FBI agents and Department of Justice personnel who are part of it. Panicked voices, meanwhile, shriek that Trump is planning to fire Mueller, and warn that should he do so, hundreds of thousands of people around the country will pour out onto the streets to protest.
USA Today has a long analysis piece by Kevin Johnson today pointing out that the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal being carried out by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, could be a “potential landmine” for Mueller. It was Horowitz who unearthed the scandalous anti-Trump texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. When the IG’s final report is issued, Johnson argues, it will provide fresh evidence of wrongdoing, that will create real problems for Mueller.
From Texas, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert warns that Mueller is not the “upstanding, fair guy that people have painted him as being … he’s bad news.” In an opinion piece in USA Today, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona demands that the witch-hunt be stopped and that Mueller resign. “His investigation is clearly careening far beyond the scope of his original charge…. We should be deeply concerned with Mueller’s unlimited reach and unvetted hires.”
The growing chorus of attacks on Mueller has worried his defenders. The Huffington Post today quotes former President George W. Bush’s ethics chief Richard Painter, who warns FBI Director Christopher Wray to get his act together—tell Trump to back off and stop targetting the FBI, or else resign. He whines that Wray “is allowing himself and the FBI to be humiliated by Trump and by political hacks in Congress.”
USA Today also leaps to Mueller’s defense in its main editorial, “Smearing Robert Mueller,” howling about “contemptible efforts to discredit Mueller’s investigation…. There is zero evidence that Mueller has done anything wrong and every indication he is making headway into the vital issue of foreign intrusion into American elections.”
Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks is trotted out by Newsweek to warn that Trump’s attacks on the FBI are tantamount to obstruction of justice, as they are essentially threats against potential witnesses. Trump’s attacks on FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could be seen as “witness intimidation,” Wine-Banks intones darkly. And, in statements to the liberal, Trump-hating MSNBC, neo-con Bill Kristol spouted a similar line, wailing that Trump is trying to “systemically discredit” the FBI and charging that he is trying to shut down Mueller’s investigation and might even fire Mueller.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Reaches Record 1 Billion Tons in Annual Cargo, with More To Come
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—Xinhua reports, today, that the port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, located in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, has reached the unprecedented annual rate of 1 billion tons of cargo, the first port in the world to exceed such volume.
According to Mao Jianhong, chairman of the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Group, the port has expanded cooperation with major shipping companies and harbors along the Belt and Road, and has added five new sea routes to bring its total to 86. It has also signed cooperation agreements with 20 other ports.
The Ningbo-Zhoushan port is located at the meeting point of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, directly south of Shanghai and southeast of the port of Hangzhou. It is China’s busiest port, with 242 sea routes linking more than 600 harbors around the world.
In the course of 2017, Mao explained, Ningbo-Zhoushan handled over 10 million standard containers from countries and regions along the Belt and Road, a 16% year-on-year increase. Moreover, the port launched sea-rail transport services with 11 trains providing services to 36 cities in 14 Chinese provinces, as well as to countries in Central and Northern Asia and Eastern Europe. In 2018, container and handling volume of the port’s sea-rail transport is expected to exceed 400,000 standard containers, a 60% increase year on year.
China’s Investment in New Transport Networks Can Set a Mark
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—China’s Ministry of Transport held a conference, reported in the government newspaper People’s Daily, on the Ministry’s planned 2018 investment in transportation infrastructure. The scale of new infrastructure in 2017 gives an idea of what it takes to build out new national transportation networks rapidly, at a time when the United States, for one, is about to hold a debate on this subject.
People’s Daily reported China’s transportation infrastructure investments were $323 billion equivalent in 2017 through November, or would roughly total $350 billion for 2017 as a whole. This equals about seven years’ of surface transportation bills in the United States.
The plans for 2018 are for 5,000 km of new roads, renovation of 216,000 km of roads, 4,000 km of rail, and increasing container port freight-handling volumes by more than 15%.
Reuters reported that at this conference, the Ministry said it intended to speed up the construction of logistics hubs and inland waterways, build more roads to reach rural areas, and concentrate on accelerating the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin urban triangle plan, mainly by improving roads and rail lines. It writes: “Infrastructure investment is expected to be among the biggest drivers of China’s economic growth in coming years.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Trump Could Enlarge Much-Too-Small Infrastructure Proposal
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—In a long report Dec. 27 on the infrastructure legislation debates expected to start in early January, CNN reported that President Trump is ready to push his infrastructure Federal spending proposal higher than $200 billion over 10 years. “A White House official said on Tuesday the current proposal … would propose spending at least $200 billion on infrastructure projects over the next decade, with the hopes of spurring an additional $800 billion in state and local funding. The White House official characterized the figure as a floor, not a ceiling.”
According to CNN, Trump will “finalize” his own initial proposal before meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Jan. 6-7.
From other sources, the proposal will basically be a discretionary grant program similar to, but larger than those that currently exist for transportation building projects, “New Starts” and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER). These grants help city and state transportation projects. This is supposed to be accompanied by “a few,” perhaps very few, “transformative national projects” to get overwhelmingly Federal funding.
But when one considers that an actually transformational national network of 25,000 miles of high-speed rail would require an investment of at least $300 billion, it is clear how small the President is still thinking; the Congressional leaders, smaller still.
Moderate Democrats like Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI) and Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair Josh Gottheimer (NJ) have been announcing they are ready to work with the President. But a more important question than whether some House Democrats will work with him, is whether any House Republicans will support him against Speaker Ryan’s “entitlement cuts in 2018” agenda, and Ryan and the conservative think-tanks’ opposition to any such legislation.
If there is no bipartisan idea, but rather a Trump/GOP proposal and bigger Democratic proposals with no idea of funding, an “infrastructure debate” can drag on and become a 2018 election debater’s point. Such an idea can only work along the lines of Lyndon LaRouche’s national “Hamiltonian” bank or credit institution, which also brings in joint-credit collaboration with other nations on great infrastructure projects. Such a credit institution to fund even triple Trump’s 10-year investment can win bipartisan support.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Gerasimov Charges U.S. with Training Former ISIS Fighters at Two Syria Bases
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—Senior Russian officials in both the Foreign and Defense Ministries have been putting pressure on the U.S. military to withdraw from Syria for the past few weeks, particularly with the fight against ISIS practically wrapped up in the Euphrates River Valley. Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, added his voice to the pressure, today, in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda, in which he accused the U.S. military of training former ISIS fighters in at least two bases in eastern Syria. In effect, Gerasimov is charging that the United States is remaking the remnants of ISIS and redeploying them to hold areas of eastern Syria not under government control.
U.S. military and State Department officials have repeatedly rejected the Russian charges regarding ISIS. While EIR has no independent confirmation of the specific claims made by Gerasimov, it is, indeed, clear that the U.S. military is not turning sovereignty of areas of eastern Syria back to the Syrian government.
Gerasimov said that U.S. forces have effectively turned their military base near the town of Al-Tanf in southeastern Syria into a terrorist training camp. “According to satellite and other surveillance data, terrorist squads are stationed there. They are effectively training there,” Gerasimov said, when asked about what’s going on at the base, reports RT.
The general also said the U.S. has been using a refugee camp in northeast Syria, outside the town of Al-Shaddadah in Al-Hasakah province, as a training camp for the remnants of ISIS, including those evacuated from Raqqa, and other militants.
“This is essentially ISIS,” he said. “They change their colors, take different names—the ‘New Syrian Army’ and others. They are tasked with destabilizing the situation.” Some 400 militants left Al-Shaddadah for Al-Tanf, launching an offensive on the Syrian forces from the eastern bank of Euphrates, after the main ISIS forces were routed there, Gerasimov said. At the moment, there are about 750 militants in Al-Shaddadah and 350 in Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian border, according to Gerasimov, who said the Russian military has been watching the training at the Al-Tanf base for some time.
China Halts Refined Oil Product Exports to North Korea
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—Going beyond the stipulations of the current sanctions against North Korea, China did not export any oil products to North Korea in November according Chinese customs data. Iron, coal and lead were not imported from North Korea either.
November was the second straight month China exported no diesel or gasoline to North Korea. Since June, state-run China National Petroleum Corp. has suspended sales of gasoline and diesel to North Korea, concerned that it would not get paid for its goods, Reuters previously reported.
Industry sources say China still supplies about 520,000 tons, or 3.8 million barrels, of crude oil a year to North Korea via an aging pipeline. That is a little more than 10,000 barrels a day, and worth about $200 million a year at current prices. North Korea also sources some of its oil from Russia.
In November, China’s trade with North Korea totaled $388 million, one of the lowest monthly volumes this year, reported TASS.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
China Promotes Nine Pioneer Manufacturing Technology Areas
Dec. 27 (EIRNS)—China will enhance key manufacturing technologies in nine areas as the government aims to drive the country to be a top manufacturer by accelerating technology upgrading, reports Xinhua.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, has made three-year (2018-20) targets for railway transport, advanced shipping and maritime engineering, intelligent robots, smart cars, modern agricultural machines, advanced medical devices and medicines, new materials, smart manufacturing and key equipment. The targets are aimed at catapulting China into the top league of manufacturing nations.
China expects to succeed in producing maglev trains that can run at 600 kmh and in automating the operations of railways in the next three years. It also expects to “realize significant achievements in producing large cruise ships” and building a vessel capable of carrying 22,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), which will be the world’s largest container ship. China is also expected to expand its global market share in advanced agricultural machines.
The NDRC aims to cut domestic medical expenses by introducing at least 10 new medicines to the domestic market and has plans to sell them abroad. The targets furthermore include intensifying the development of key components for smart manufacturing, such as programmable logic controllers and robots. Development of artificial intelligence and augmented reality will also be vital under the plan.
New materials such as graphene, specialty steel, advanced organic and composite materials are identified to help the development of advanced machines, save energy and cut carbon emissions.
Editor’s Note: As usual, we will skip the EIR Daily Alert issue for Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.