NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Zepp-LaRouche: War Danger Is ‘Acute’; World Needs a Leibnizian ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ Policy
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—In her weekly international webcast today, Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche pointed to the very “acute” war danger provoked by the crazed neoconservative sectors in the U.S. and Europe, who are willing to blow up the world—take the situation in Ukraine, for example—rather than give up their imperial policies. She reminded people again of the warnings made by former Defense Secretary William Perry, regarding the so-called “false alarm” in Hawai’i in which he pointed out that “we are minutes away, because all the nuclear arsenals are ‘launch on warning.’ ” And then, Zepp-LaRouche pointed out, there is the “really terrible” new National Security Strategy, which identifies Russia and China as the U.S.’s most dangerous security problems, even worse that terrorism.
“So, I think a change of this policy is really urgently needed,” she concluded.
Add to this the looming financial blowout, of which the former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements, William White warned this week in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “We have said it many times,” Zepp-LaRouche noted, “but it’s good to hear it from at least one prominent economist, and he blames the quantitative easing for that coming crash, basically saying this policy of pumping money has created a ‘Catch-22’ because the central banks really cannot forever continue with the zero interest rate policy and the quantitative easing,” yet White warns that even the slightest increase in interest rates could also trigger a crash.
One would think Zepp-LaRouche said, that at the current meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, where there are 2,500-3,000 top bankers, government officials, CEOs, etc., someone might propose a solution. But so far, only Chinese representative Liu He, said to be the most influential advisor to President Xi Jinping, gave a decent speech, warning of the problems in the financial system. All others, Germany’s Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, had nothing useful to say.
Contrast this to which the Chinese are doing, Zepp-LaRouche said. China has now officially stated that the country has only 30 million poor people left, while Europe has 90 million. “Why can’t Europe say, like China, that poverty is going to be eradicated by 2020? And obviously, for the United States, that should be done as well.”
“I think we have to have the commitment to have a decent living standard for all human beings on this planet, and this is not just a question of justice, this is also the question that the human potential which is being wasted when people are hungry, and people cannot develop their creative potential because they are poor, and for their livelihood they have to go to three jobs a day, or other conditions … the human potential which can be developed once everybody has a decent living standard, we have to have an idea that we need a new paradigm of a completely different thinking…. Obviously, it is much more sensible to have a meaningful life, being a scientist, being an artist, being a good teacher, have the fulfillment of your life by contributing to the continued development of mankind as a whole, with whatever potential you have, whatever share you can contribute.”
There must be a “rethinking,” Zepp-LaRouche intoned, to eliminate the idea that money controls the world and “that money is what makes you happy.” This has to be replaced by other ideas, like the Leibnizian idea of the pursuit of happiness, which is in the Declaration of Independence of the United States, and Leibniz did not mean making a lot of money. “What Leibniz meant by happiness, was the idea that the creative potential of each person has to be guaranteed and must be realized. And I think with the New Paradigm pushed with the Belt and Road Initiative, and Xi Jinping has said many, many times that this is not just ‘infrastructure,’ but that there is a cultural dimension to the Silk Road and a space dimension to the Silk Road, and this all pertains to the creative potential of human beings.
“We need to have a political discourse of where the future of humanity should be in 50 years, in 100 years from now, and do we not want to become adult, as a species, where people treasure other things than just material things? I think people should think about the fact that we are at the crossroads where, if we do our job right, right now, and bring the United States and European nations into collaboration with the New Silk Road, then we can have a completely new era of civilization, probably in our lifetimes.”
Zepp-LaRouche pointed out that what China is doing today is in fact the implementation of the plans which she and her husband, statesman Lyndon LaRouche, had pushed at the beginning of the 1980s. Look at what China is doing to develop Africa, and now it is offering similar opportunities to the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean which are enthusiastically looking forward to collaborating with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. In the early 1980s, LaRouche collaborated with Mexican President José López Portillo, and produced the Operation Juárez report outlining a development perspective for the entire Caribbean/Latin American region.
“The Chinese model of economic transformation, of turning poor countries into countries where people have a future, and also a future orientation in advanced areas, like joint space exploration, space research, this is a very positive development and it is the leading dynamic in the world, and nothing will derail that, except if some people cause nuclear war. But short of that, I don’t think anything will stop this.”
Arctic Northern Sea Route of the Maritime Silk Road
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—The world’s largest-ever conference on the Arctic, with 3,000-3,500 participants from all over the globe, is now underway in Tromso, Norway, more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Tromso is famous as the jumping-off point for great Arctic exploration missions, and the center for Arctic hunting in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The focus of interest of the Jan. 21-26 Arctic Frontiers 2018 Conference going on now, is the Northern Sea Route, or the Arctic Route, as an alternative sea route between Europe and Asia. The ongoing melting of the Arctic ice—a phenomenon of the far North not to be confused with non-existent global warming—makes this sea route practicable already today. As EIR has reported, Russia is building a series of the world’s largest icebreakers in order to expand the use of this route. China officially included the Arctic Route as part of the Maritime Silk Road in its “Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative” on June 20, 2017.
In an interview with TASS at the conference, Keiji Ide, Japan’s Ambassador for International Economic Affairs, Ambassador for the Japan Year in Russia, and Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs, said that Japan was enormously interested in the development of the Northern Sea Route, gas projects in Yamal, and long-term cooperation with Russia.
“Unconditionally, there is enormous interest in the Northern Sea Route. Business people from Hokkaido were speaking about it at today’s conference,” said Ide, who speaks fluent Russian. “Of course, it is just a beginning. People assess risks and calculate what is profitable or not. They are considering them very carefully.”
Ide said there was great interest in the Yamal LNG project, which began last year (which also enjoys significant Chinese investment), as well as the idea of building infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG) production in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, which is in the Pacific near Japan.
“We want to collaborate with our Russian friends pursuing a long-term goal,” the diplomat stated. “Regardless of a rift between our countries in politics, we cannot say we do not want to develop our relations. On the contrary, if we come across either difficulties or disagreements, those need to be overcome.”
“Thank God, your President [Vladimir] Putin and our Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe enjoy warm, good relations, so we will be developing economic cooperation with Russia,” he said.
The independent Russian natural gas giant Novatek was represented in Tromso by the Norwegian Bjorn Gundersen, Deputy Director of its LNG Projects Department. Novatek’s Yamal and associated Murmansk projects are the largest construction projects underway in Russia, and perhaps in the world. Novatek’s partner Total, of France, states on its website that “At the start of the project, there were no access routes to the site by land or by sea. To facilitate the transportation of equipment and staff, construction began on a large-capacity regional transportation hub in 2011, comprising the port of Sabetta and an international airport.
“To unlock access to the vast gas resources of Russia’s Far North, the Yamal LNG project has inaugurated a new LNG shipping route. Known as the Northern Sea Route, it enables vessels to reach Asia in 15 days via the Bering Strait, compared with 30 days using the conventional route through the Suez Canal. The journey can be made between May and November, when the ice is thin enough to navigate. This feat is only possible thanks to a new breed of versatile LNG carriers, which feature ice-breaking technology.”
The Yamal project’s entire LNG production of eventually 34 million tons per year, will all be carried to customers in both Asia and Europe via the Northern Sea Route.
Wang Yi Tells China-CELAC: BRI Cooperation Is a ‘Golden Key To Unlock a Brighter Future’
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—In his opening speech to the Second Ministerial Summit of the China-CELAC Forum, held in Santiago, Chile on Jan. 22, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi laid out an exciting perspective for the future of relations between these two regions of the world: China, and the Latin American and Caribbean Countries (LAC), the latter grouped in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The speech, entitled “Join Hands Across the Ocean in a New Era,” describes, among other things, the essential points of the final 2019-2021 Action Plan, whose text is not yet available. He emphasizes that “China stands ready to share in the development dividends with all other countries and achieve common prosperity together with fellow developing countries…. The consensus we will reach on Belt and Road cooperation at this meeting will be reflected in a special declaration…. As we see it, China and LAC countries are well placed to take full advantage of the BRI.”
The mission of China’s diplomacy, he said, “is to work with all other countries to forge a new form of international relations, featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation…. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China is aimed at providing the world with public goods…. Geopolitical contest or zero-sum game is neither our purpose nor our practice. We invite all countries, big and small, to discuss the BRI as equals….” [emphasis added]
Wang outlined five key areas that will be the basis of cooperation between China and the LAC countries, emphasizing that “Belt and Road cooperation will be a ‘golden key’ that unlocks a brighter future for both sides…. I think it would be appropriate to compare China-LAC cooperation to a fruit tree. If we can nourish it with Belt and Road cooperation, it will be more exuberant and bear more fruit, both bilaterally and collectively….” The five areas are:
1) building a transportation network connecting lands and oceans, emphasizing China’s support “in building the bioceanic railway and bioceanic tunnels, and open more sea routes and direct air links…. China also stands ready to conclude Belt and Road agreements with more LAC countries, and launch more Belt and Road projects with a view to reaping an ‘early harvest.’ ”
2) Fostering a large market that is open and beneficial to both sides.
3) Developing competitive and sovereign home-grown industries, based on the most advanced technologies. “China has the equipment, technology, funding and training opportunities you need. Our two sides may speed up industrial cooperation, work to build logistics … and explore establishment of a consortium of development financial institutions, and build more industrial parks and special economic zones….”
4) Seize the opportunity of innovation-driven growth. Enhance coordination between the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan and development strategies of LAC countries, and build a China-LAC online Silk Road and a digital Silk Road. Both sides “may advance cooperation in the emerging areas such as aerospace and aviation…. China is ready to help train more researchers from LAC countries through the China-LAC Science and Technology Partnership and the China-LAC Young Scientists Exchange Program.”
5) Extensive exchanges, especially in cultural and people-to-people areas. “China is ready to share more governance experience with LAC countries, enhance… exchanges between our political parties” and other national organizations of media, youth, etc. as well as establish more culture centers in each other’s countries and more Confucius Institutes in LAC countries “to deepen mutual understanding and friendship.”
Wang concluded: “As a Chinese poem reads, ‘True friends value their promises to each other and will travel a thousand miles to be together.’ Let us make this meeting a new starting point in our relations, seize the opportunity offered by the Belt and Road Initiative, and join hands across the ocean to open a splendid new era of China-LAC relations.”
Wang’s remarks are posted to China’s Foreign Ministry website and also to the website of China’s Embassy to the United States.
Belt and Road May Be Next Phase of Global Growth, Says Singapore Minister in Davos
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Speaking at a session on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 24, Singapore Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, a former Chief of the Army, described the Belt and Road Initiative as “a potential catalyst for the next phase of growth in the global economy,” AFP reported today.
Pointing out that he has heard people in the region are hesitant about China’s massive economic growth, Chan said: “But this is an important historical opportunity for China to convince the rest of the world that actually its actions have a broader perspective. If China is able to use its power and capacity to catalyze this, it will win the trust and confidence of the world.”
The panel was attended by Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun, Caixin Global Managing Director Li Xin, Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev, AECOM CEO and Chairman Michael Burke, Singapore Minister Chan Chun Sing, and China National Machinery Industry Corp. Chairman Ren Hongbin, Pakistan Today reported.
Pakistan’s Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also addressed the panel. In his speech, Abbasi said Pakistan is one of the 80 countries through which the Belt and Road passes or which it would have an impact upon, stating that Pakistan calls it the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC’s impact is already being felt by Pakistan as new power projects are coming up, and the country’s railway sector is being upgraded, along with the building of new motorways, road structures, and more.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Italian Elections Debating Issues of Glass-Steagall, Infrastructure vs. EU Budget Rules
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Three political parties, Five Star Movement (M5S), Lega, and Fratelli d’Italia (FdI, Brothers of Italy) have Glass-Steagall in their party platform. Lega and Fratelli are part of the center-right coalition, together with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
M5S and FdI have also called for a Glass-Steagall bank separation between depository commercial banks and speculative private banks in a draft for the final report of the Parliamentary Investigative Commission on banking crises. However, Commission head Pierferdinando Casini (allied to the Democratic Party, PD), told Corriere della Sera that “such a proposal is being examined by the EU Commission, which has no intention of approving it.”
FdI head Giorgia Meloni went further this morning in a Raitre television talk show. Commenting on a commuter train derailment due to a rail failure south of Milan early this morning, which left 3 dead and some 50 injured, many seriously, Meloni said that this highlights the idiocy of EU budget laws that prevent investment in infrastructure. It’s one thing to have a budget deficit to finance current expenses, but another thing to finance infrastructure. It is legitimate to leave a debt to posterity, Meloni said, when posterity is going to receive something productive. She stressed the importance of infrastructure for Southern Italy.
All three parties in the center-left coalition have targeted the EU deficit rules. Lega head Salvini said that “if it is not good for Italy, the [EU] 3% rule will be ignored.”
Bagnai and Borghi To Run in Italian Elections on the Lega Slate
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—The politically-correct left in Italy is hysterical because of the candidacy of Alberto Bagnai, an anti-euro progressive economist, on the Lega slate in the March 4 elections. Bagnai’s candidacy was presented by Lega head Matteo Salvini at a press conference on Jan. 22, together with another prominent anti-euro economist, Claudio Borghi. Whereas Borghi is known as being close to the Lega, Bagnai is a “leftist populist,” as he has ironically characterized himself.
Both Borghi and Bagnai made it clear that they consider the euro a catastrophic mistake and doomed to fail, and that Italy should leave the single currency as soon as possible. However, they are not in favor of a disorderly dissolution, even if hardly politically feasible at this point because of the opposition of France and Germany. Still, as the euro is doomed, it is important to have the right people in the right place at the moment when decisions will be made, they say.
Borghi, Bagnai, and Lega head Salvini stress that national interest must take priority over EU rules, starting with budget policies.
Borghi will run in a winner-takes-all race in Siena, where he was made honorary citizen for his fight in defense of Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank customers as a member of the Tuscany regional council. His opponent will be Treasury Minister Giancarlo Padoan, probably the most hated man in Siena.
Bagnai, who has 69,000 followers on Twitter, will run in central Italian regions such as Latium and Abruzzi, where he is based, and where he is best known because of his teaching activity. In explaining why he, a leftist, is running on a “right-wing” slate, Bagnai said: “I spoke to many politicians, and [Lega head] Salvini is the only one who attributed some importance to what I said.”
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
South Africa Takes the First Step To Join the Global Nuclear Industry
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—A major milestone has been reached in South Africa’s nuclear program: It is now the first African nation to obtain certification for a nuclear plant component it has manufactured, from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). ASME develops and oversees the global qualification standards for the manufacture of nuclear components. The certification is for a locally designed and manufactured safety-critical component for the Koeberg plant, the only nuclear reactor in Africa, reports South Africa’s Engineering News.
The air receiver vessel was designed at the government’s Pelindaba Enterprises division, under the South African Nuclear Energy Corp. (NECSA). It was delivered to the Koeberg plant on Jan. 24.
Before independence, South Africa had some nuclear manufacturing capabilities, but when apartheid ended, these were shut down. Pelindaba Enterprises senior executive manager Ruby Ramatsui explained: “This is a process of restarting what we had before,” but this time, he said, the aim is to be commercially competitive, to become a manufacturer in the global nuclear supply chain. He pointed to South Korea (which is currently building four reactors in the U.A.E.) as a good example. “We can do it!” he asserted.
NECSA has a vision to become a manufacturer of nuclear products for an expanding nuclear industry in South Africa, which plans to build a handful of new reactors, and to branch out internationally, pointed out NECSA Pelindaba Chief Engineer Jaco van der Merwe. In order to do that, they have built a team of engineers and artisans, such as boilermakers and welders. They next identified any gaps and shortfalls in quality and management and rectified the shortfalls.
The importance and potential future impact of this development had no effect on South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who, in direct opposition to President Jacob Zuma’s vision for the country’s future, told media at Davos, “We have excess power right now and we have no money to go for major nuclear plant building.”
It should be pointed out that until the financial crisis, South Africa was also a leader in developing the next-generation fission technology—the pebble bed gas-cooled high-temperature reactor. There is discussion of restarting that program, which would have a global impact on both energy production and on desalination of seawater.
Six Southeast Asian Nations Sign Intelligence Pact To Counter ISIS-Style Threats
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Six Southeast Asian nations—Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand—have launched an intelligence-sharing pact aimed at combatting Islamist militants and improving cooperation on security threats at a meeting held at Jakarta today, Reuters reported.
At the meeting, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said other nations could be invited to join the “Our Eyes Initiative” (OEI) intelligence network, whose name is inspired by the long-standing “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance among the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Channel News Asia reported.
According to Reuters, the intelligence-sharing arrangement was launched after insurgents allied with the Islamic State had laid siege to the southern Philippine city of Marawi last year. Dozens of foreigners, most notably Indonesians and Malaysians, were among hundreds of militants who seized large parts of Marawi and engaged in a ferocious battle with Philippine forces that left much of the city in ruins and more than 1,100 people dead, according to government figures.
Ryacudu said the intelligence sharing was specifically for combatting terrorism and radicalism, and preventing the region from becoming like Southwest Asia.
India-ASEAN Summit Seeks To Boost Maritime Security, Connectivity and Trade
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—The Jan. 25-26 summit hosted by India in New Delhi, with the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) heads of state and government attending, began today. Following their meeting with Indian Premier Narendra Modi, they discussed ways to boost maritime security, connectivity and trade, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
The India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, with the highest-level participation from all the group’s ten member-countries, began with Modi releasing commemorative stamps in the presence of ASEAN leaders to mark 25 years of India-ASEAN ties. Addressing the plenary session, Modi said “India shares ASEAN’s vision for rule-based societies and values of peace.” Freedom of navigation will be a key focus of India-ASEAN in the maritime domain, he said.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged the ASEAN leaders and India to renew discussions on an air transport agreement. The Singapore Prime Minister said on Jan. 25 that both sides stand to benefit from greater connectivity, Channel News Asia reported. “ASEAN appreciate India’s contributions to improving land connectivity—in particular the extension of the trilateral India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway which will go all the way to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Many visitors will not be able to travel overland to India, so we have to work towards greater air connectivity,” Lee stated.
Prior to the summit, on Jan. 24, India hosted a business forum with ASEAN to help deepen its ties with the fast-growing region. Ministers, business representatives and investors were among about 500 participants at the ASEAN-India Business Meet and Expo in New Delhi.