World Faces a Dangerous Existential Crisis; We Need a Cultural Renaissance To Combat It
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—In her international weekly webcast today, Schiller Institute founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche warned that the world today faces a dangerous existential crisis, at the center of which is the escalating situation in Ukraine, which she said “is already, or becoming, the worst, most dangerous hotspot in the world.” Only a “new relation, a new entente with Russia … is absolutely important, if you want to keep world peace and the existence of civilization.”
This was an issue addressed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at last weekend’s annual Munich Security Conference, which was otherwise dominated by the anti-Russia hysteria emanating from the fraudulent Feb. 16 indictment of 13 Russian individuals and 3 Russian companies by legal assassin, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in a desperate attempt to give legitimacy to his rapidly-failing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, and claim that President Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russians. That this rhetoric dominated the Munich conference was “very, very dangerous,” Zepp-LaRouche warned.
Zepp-LaRouche cautioned that what came out in Munich is “pre-war propaganda,” aimed at creating an “enemy image” directed at both Russia and China. But, people “should think twice,” and understand that Russia and China are “building a completely different model of international relations, explicitly modeled on non-interference, and respect for the social system of the other country. And therefore, this propaganda is just a terribly dangerous scenario of lies which actually is serving as a preparation for war, and that is what people really must get straight.”
In his speech, Lavrov also recalled the role of the European Union in the Ukraine crisis, that it was actually the EU Association Agreement which was put to Ukraine’s duly-elected President Viktor Yanukovych at the end of 2013, which forced him “to choose between the West and Russia during the preparation of the Association Agreement,” Lavrov said, adding that it is “highly regrettable that the EU … actually supported the unconstitutional coup, and now, Ukraine … has been reduced to a situation where it cannot govern itself.”
As Zepp-LaRouche pointed out, Lavrov supported the proposal of German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger of “cooperation among Russia, the EU, the U.S. and China in creating a security architecture for the Middle East. A similar approach could be applied to the Persian Gulf,” he said. “It is time to stop trying to swim against the tide of history and to start working together to renew the system of international relations on an equitable basis … based on mutual respect and balance of interests in order to find effective responses to modern-day challenges.”
How do populations see beyond the war propaganda hurled at them on a daily basis? Zepp-LaRouche emphasized that “We just have to go back to the highest level of culture in each nation.” In the U.S. this would mean returning to such towering figures as Benjamin Franklin and the Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Kennedy and periods “when the United States had a positive vision about its role.”
Germany, she said, is blessed with a very rich culture, with thinkers. In Italy, “we had the Golden Renaissance; in Spain, we had the Andalusian Renaissance. We had the Baghdad Caliphate…. Then you had the various centuries where China was the leading nation in terms of science and culture.” But, she underscored, “we have to shed a lot of the present, popular culture. We have to get rid of this idea of ‘money makes money’ … get rid of wasting our time with speculation, of playing video games…. People are really losing their creative potential!”
In the U.S. and the West, Zepp-LaRouche said, unlike in China, “we have the thinkers but they’re not being revived and they’re not being cherished. And I think that that is an urgent question if we don’t want to have more such horror shows like the [Parkland, Florida] school shooting, which I think … is really the question of how do we give people the inner strength, the sense of inner beauty that they don’t go in this direction? You have many troubled people who could be absolutely saved if there were a serious effort of an aesthetical education, an education of the moral beauty of their character, which is why you need the classics…. Because only if you have the highest ideal of man, man as a beautiful soul, as a beautiful character, then the education system can inoculate people against such horror shows.”
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
The New Silk Road Is Inspiring Those Americans Who Manage To Find Out About It
Feb. 22 (EIRNS) —The Austin, Texas activist Andrew Dobbs contributed an inspired, enthusiastic and very well-researched and well-informed study of China’s Belt and Road initiative to the online publication War Is Boring today.
“For at least 60 countries spanning across most of the world, the initiative is a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop their economies under a new global order—one that may not have the same strings attached to it as the U.S.-led system in power today.
“If the initiative goes according to plan—and if there’s one thing the People’s Republic of China has shown a capacity for, it’s executing well-developed plans—it will have world historic consequences for U.S. power.
“For all the bombs and boots on the ground we’ve launched in the last century, China is close to conquering the world without firing a shot, and you would never know from following the U.S. press.
“In Chinese media, on the other hand, the Belt and Road Initiative was the most-mentioned topic in the news last year. This reflects the historic significance of the plan. If completed it would likely represent the largest peacetime project ever, estimated to cost between $4 trillion and $8 trillion.
“The project would revive the Silk Road of ancient times, connecting China, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe with roads, railways, pipelines, communications networks, electrical grids and other infrastructure over land, and a maritime road that would connect ports from the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Mediterranean.
“All told it would connect most of the world’s population in a single economic network, and it would integrate just under half the world’s GDP. By the time it is finished the very process of building it might very well mean that it would bring together most of the world’s economic output.”
Hard to believe, but Dobbs has a lot else to say which is both true and unfortunately almost unknown in the U.S., including his own study of the Belt and Road as an outgrowth of the last 40 years of Chinese policy. Well worth reading.
This Is the Right Time for the Germans To Follow an Austrian
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)— It is worth stressing the difference between the way the New Silk Road is dealt with in the Austrian government program, versus the German Coalition Agreement. The former says Austria should join the New Silk Road, while the latter abdicates any decision to the EU—and we know what happens at the level of the EU.
Another development from Austria going in the right direction is the deal signed between the Austrian and Russian railways at the International Rail Forum and Conference now underway in Prague. As TASS reported, “The Russian Railways and the Austrian Railways (ÖBB) have clinched an agreement which stipulates, in particular, development of cooperation on third-country markets.”
Andreas Matthä, CEO of ÖBB Holding AG, is reported in wallstreet:online saying at the conference that, “The further development of the Eurasian Railway Land-Bridge will not only ensure that Europe and Asia come closer to one another, but will also boost economic progress in the participating regions.”
TASS reports that, “The parties agreed to study possible ways of attracting additional railway traffic flows, bolstering operational and information systems and developing joint passenger traffic.
“The agreement stipulates further cooperation to implement the construction project for a broad gauge railway to Vienna within the joint enterprise Breitspur Planungsgesellschaft mbH, with regard to the feasibility study results. The signed document also stipulates cooperation in innovation technologies.
“Railway administrations and transport agencies of Austria, Slovakia and Ukraine are taking part in the implementation of the project to establish a new Eurasian transport corridor, including the construction of a 1,520 mm wide railway line from Bratislava to Vienna. The project is aimed at creating a new Eurasian transport corridor by extending the broad gauge railway from Kosice, Slovakia to Bratislava with access to Vienna, and establishing an international logistics center in the Vienna-Bratislava area.”
According to wallstreet:online, the EU Commission responsible for rail safety and interoperability Keir Fitch formally supported the freight corridor but “stressed the environmental aspect.”
North Korea Will Send High-Level Delegation to Olympics Closing Ceremony
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—Sputnik reports that a high-level North Korean delegation of eight will attend the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, after arriving Sunday for a three-day visit to South Korea. The delegation will be led by Kim Yong Chol, head of the North Korean ruling party’s United Front Department, and also will include Ri Son Gwon, chairman of Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, the North Korean agency responsible for inter-Korean relations. They will likely meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“The government thinks the delegation’s dispatch will help improve inter-Korean relations and bring peace to the Korean Peninsula, including the North’s denuclearization. In that sense, Seoul will accept their visit,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said.
“We believe President Moon will naturally meet the (North Korean) delegation at the closing ceremony,” said a spokesman for the South Korean presidential office.
With Help from Abe, Russia-Japan ‘Trade Growth Is Taking Shape,’ Observes Russian Minister
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—Prior to his meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko in Tokyo today, Russia’s Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin said “implementation of the plan in eight cooperation areas offered by Prime Minister Abe has obviously facilitated [growth].” According to Oreshkin, Japan and Russia are currently working on “new dimensions of the plan.”
Following their meeting today, Seko told a press conference that the economic cooperation package proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016 was an “important cornerstone of Japan-Russian ties.”
“We have agreed to provide support to realize the individual projects toward the planned summit” between Abe and President Vladimir Putin in May, Seko said, according to Kyodo News. This was the second working group gathering involving high-level officials from the relevant ministries of both countries, following their inaugural meeting in November 2016 in Moscow.
Moscow and Tokyo have agreed to intensify efforts to increase the number of Japanese businesses in the Russian Federation, Oreshkin said. “I have met [Japanese] entrepreneurs today to discuss the state of Russia’s business climate and economy. We have agreed to intensify efforts to increase the number of representatives of the Japanese business in Russia.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Nigeria under Attack, Including Sabotage Effort against Lake Chad Conference, Transaqua
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—The country of Nigeria, which under President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a leadership role in bringing the Belt and Road paradigm to Africa, is under attack on several fronts. On Monday evening, Feb. 19, Boko Haram militias stormed the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the village of Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, and abducted 111 girls; up to 76 of them have been rescued by the Nigerian military.
The attack surprised many, as it was believed that Boko Haram capabilities had been severely impaired by the Multinational Force.
At the political level, the Nigerian House of Representatives raised charges of corruption and misappropriation of funds against the executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) Sanusi Abdullahi, and asked the government to suspend funds to the LCBC on Feb. 16. Although the allegation is old, and legally the LCBC is a multinational body which is not accountable to the national Parliament of Nigeria, the renewed attack comes on the eve of a major international conference organized by the LCBC together with the Nigerian government and UNESCO, to build support for a water-transfer infrastructure to refill Lake Chad.
The event is going to take place on Feb. 26-28 in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. A highlight of the conference will be the presentations by the Italian firm Bonifica and the Chinese firm PowerChina, on their strategic alliance to carry out a feasibility study for such a water-transfer infrastructure project, known as Transaqua. (EIR gave in-depth coverage to the project in its Sept. 9, 2017 issue, “Africa: Transaqua Project Gains Momentum.”)
According to intelligence available to EIR, a four-party agreement might be signed on the sidelines of the conference among the LCBC, Bonifica, PowerChina and the Italian government for co-financing the study.
Foreign Affairs Insinuates Anti-China ‘South Asian Battle’ over Belt and Road
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—A Feb. 16 article in Foreign Affairs by Andrew Small, and titled, “The Backlash to Belt and Road: A South Asian Battle over Chinese Economic Power,” insinuated a clash between China and India over the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative in South Asia. Foreign Affairs is the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the U.S.-based entity representing the British Empire geopolitical worldview; Small is identified as senior transatlantic fellow with the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the author of The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics (2015).
Small wrote: “At the crux of this contest is the Sino-Indian relationship, which has deteriorated sharply in the last few years. In other regions, Beijing offered careful reassurances to countries that might try to frustrate Chinese investments in their backyards. With Russia, for example, China noted that OBOR would complement and reinforce Moscow’s own connectivity plans. Beijing made no such efforts with India. New Delhi had been willing to join earlier Chinese-led initiatives, such as the Asia[n] Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), when Chinese diplomacy displayed deftness and a multilateral spirit. China’s conduct around OBOR in South Asia took a clumsier and more unilateral form. Its quasi-official maps of the initiative included Indian ports, despite the lack of any consultations between the two sides. The economic corridor linking Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar was likewise folded into the scheme without Indian agreement.”
Efforts to sow discord among other major players, particularly India and other major nations in South Asia, and pitting them against each other, has become an ongoing theme in the Western media. Thus, China-India divisions are encouraged in every possible way, even though both these powers are clearly too wise to succumb to provocations.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Empire Spokesmen Launch Insane Warnings of Surprise Attacks from Russia and China
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has just issued a new report, “Coping with Surprise in Great Power Conflicts,” which insanely warns Americans to be on the alert for surprise attacks from Russia or China. And why should either of them stage a surprise attack on the United States, you ask? Because this study comes from the insane utopian school of the Rand Corporation, and the Andy Marshall who occupied a top position in the Pentagon from the Nixon years until 2015. This gang has contributed a particularly crack-brained current to neo-conservatism.
“The greatest vulnerability to strategic surprise today comes from the Russians and the Chinese because of the wide variety of tools available to them. Concerns abound that Russia will launch a surprise attack on the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. These NATO members are particularly vulnerable: militarily weak, geographically exposed, and internally divided by ethnic tensions. Russia frequently conducts nearby ‘snap’ exercises, which could be used as cover for attack preparations. Russia’s use of ‘gray zone’ operations could provide pre-invasion softening of the target.
“Concerns about China arise from the ‘Thucydides trap,’ the proposition that there is a high risk of war between a rising China and a status quo United States. Taiwan and the South China Sea are frequently cited as friction points. Although such a war looks irrational, it would not be unprecedented. China entered the Korean War against the United States in 1950 even though it had recently endured years of civil war and millions of casualties. It took on a nuclear power at a time when it had no nuclear weapons of its own and did this only five years after the United States had vanquished Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.”
If that convinces you that Russia or China are about to mount a surprise attack on the U.S., then there may be a job waiting for you among the computer brains of the Rand Corporation. But it’s another day’s work in puffing up the enemy image of China and Russia, combatting the New Silk Road that Americans are never supposed to hear about, and trying to undermine President Donald Trump.
But the biggest current operation to make Russia an “enemy image,” is last week’s joke indictment of Russians by legal assassin, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which is completely demolished in the Feb. 23 EIR articles by author Barbara Boyd (“Mueller Indictments of Russian Social Media Trolls Scam the American People” and “The Mueller Dossier Revisited: How the British and Obama Diddled the United States”).
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Rail Baltica Route Finalized, Connecting Three Baltic States
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—On Feb. 14, Estonia’s Ministry of Public Administration approved the plan for the Rail Baltica (RB) high-speed rail line, completing the final route and preliminary design of the entire railway in the three Baltic states, International Railway Journalreported on Feb. 16.
The Rail Baltica project involves building an 870 km electrified standard-gauge railway linking the three Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Vilnius, Lithuania, with a connection to the European standard-gauge network in Poland. The railway will be designed for operation by 240 kph passenger trains and 120 kph freight trains, and will form part of the European Union’s North Sea Baltic TEN-T corridor.
Ms. Baiba Rubesa, CEO and chairperson of RB Rail, told International Railway Journal that, “We have now fully completed the planning stage of Rail Baltica. The next step is to focus on the consolidated preliminary technical design and detailed technical design of the Rail Baltica infrastructure in all three countries.”
China Could Overtake the U.S. as Major Nuclear Power-Generating Nation by 2030
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)—Addressing the International Petroleum Week conference in London on Feb. 21, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol expressed concerns that the U.S. and Europe aren’t investing enough in nuclear power, while China is charging ahead.
“China is coming back strong. Today, there are about 60 nuclear power plants under construction, and more than one-third of them are in China. China is growing, and as a result of that we’ll soon see China overtaking the United States as the number-one nuclear power in the world,” MarketWatch reported today. Birol said he expects China to overtake the U.S. as the biggest nuclear nation by 2030.
He pointed out that the U.S. had been the global leader in nuclear power since the 1960s, but that “two trends are threatening to knock the country out of the top spot: Very few additions to nuclear capacity, and no lifetime extensions for the existing power plants. The same goes for Europe.” He said if this trend continues, the U.S. nuclear capacity will drop from 20% of overall power supply to 7%.