Science, Happiness, and the End of Geopolitics
Feb. 11 (EIRNS)—“The political foundation for durable peace must be: a) The unconditional sovereignty of each and all nation-states, and b) Cooperation among sovereign nation-states to the effect of promoting unlimited opportunities to participate in the benefits of technological progress, to the mutual benefit of each and all.”
So wrote EIR Founding Editor and physical economist Lyndon LaRouche on March 30, 1984, in a document entitled “The LaRouche Doctrine: Draft Memorandum of Agreement Between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.,” which can be read in full in the current issue of EIR. This policy statement of LaRouche’s remains as valid, and urgently required, today as it was when he issued it, nearly 38 years ago. Since then, the governments arrayed around the Belt and Road Initiative—China and Russia, in particular—have been listening to “the wise words of Lyndon LaRouche” and have learned that lesson, if not fully, at least significantly so. It is now urgently required that the United States do the same and finally break free of British geopolitics, as has been President Trump’s instinct all along.
LaRouche continued in that 1984 policy document:
“The most crucial feature of present implementation of such a policy of durable peace is a profound change in the monetary, economic, and political relations between the dominant powers and those relatively subordinated nations often classed as ‘developing nations.’ Unless the inequities lingering in the aftermath of modern colonialism are progressively remedied, there can be no durable peace on this planet.
“Insofar as the United States and Soviet Union acknowledge the progress of the productive powers of labor throughout the planet to be in the vital strategic interests of each and both, the two powers are bound to that degree and in that way by a common interest. This is the kernel of the political and economic policies of practice indispensable to the fostering of durable peace between those two powers.
“The term, technology, is to be understood in the terms of its original meaning, as supplied by Gottfried Leibniz.”
LaRouche later specified the central role of science and technology in human development:
“Therefore, the general advancement of the productive powers of labor in all sovereign states, most emphatically so-called developing nations, requires global emphasis on: a) increasing globally the percentiles of the labor force employed in scientific research and related functions of research and development: a goal of 5% of the world’s labor force so employed is recommended as a near- to medium-term goal; b) increasing the absolute and relative scales of capital-goods production and also the rate of turnover in capital-goods production; and c) combining these two factors to accelerate technological progress in capital-goods outputs….
“To lend force to this policy, the powers agree to establish new institutions of cooperation between themselves and other nations in development of these new areas of scientific breakthrough for application to exploration of space.”
Today, two options are before Mankind. Over the last 72 hours, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology announced that the government’s investment in R&D in basic sciences had doubled over the last five years, in accordance with the policy established by the State Council of “strengthening research in basic science to lay out basic principles and major arrangements.” And Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a Feb. 8 meeting of Russia’s Council for Science and Education held in Novosibirsk, stressed the importance of mega-science projects, since “This sort of infrastructure should become the basis for large-scale research programs, and the center of scientific cooperation for the entire Eurasian space.”
Over those same 72 hours, however, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence did everything he could to derail the incipient opening and dialogue between high-level representatives of North and South Korea at the Winter Olympics—but fortunately failed. But if geopolitics does prevail in the West, then Mankind will be on a trajectory towards nuclear self-annihilation.
The central strategic issue is as stated by Helga Zepp- LaRouche at the outset of her Feb. 10 inaugural presentation for the new class series, “What Is the New Paradigm?”
“If you look at the condition of especially the Western world today—the United States itself; the condition of Europe; the German government, which is self-destructing as they are trying to build a new government—you have a situation where very clearly the world is in great disorder. I have made the point that we need a New Paradigm, which must be as different from the present set of assumptions and axioms, as the Middle Ages were different from the modern times, where basically all the assumptions of scholasticism, Aristotelianism, superstition, and similar disorders were replaced with a completely different image of man and a different conception of society.
“This is necessary to guarantee the long-term survivability of the human species. And the question is: Can we give ourselves a system of self-governance which guarantees that the human species will exist for centuries and even millennia to come? This question obviously was one which my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, devoted his entire life’s work to: in other words to detect those aspects of the present system which were erroneous, and how to replace it with a better, more complete system.”
Gottfried Leibniz, whose elaboration of the concept of technology Lyndon LaRouche identified as central to bringing about a durable peace, spoke to the nature of this better system in his brief essay “On Wisdom” (~1700):
“Wisdom is merely the science of happiness, or that science which teaches us to achieve happiness. Happiness is a state of permanent joy…. Nothing serves our happiness better than the illumination of our understanding and the exercise of our will to act always according to our understanding…. Helping each other in the search for truth, the knowledge of nature, the multiplication of human powers, and the advancement of the common good… For only so much of our life is to be valued as truly living as the good we do in it.”
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Xi Jinping’s Report to the 19th CPC National Congress Has Been Translated into 10 Languages
Feb. 11 (EIRNS)—In an effort to make widely available the Chinese President’s historic presentation at last year’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the government has announced its publication in 10 foreign languages. The book, published by the Foreign Languages Press, is now available in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Lao, Xinhua reported. Delivered on Oct. 18, 2017, the 66-page report was entitled “Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”
This is the document that, because of its importance, Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche read extensively from in her Feb. 10 Introduction to the LaRouche PAC class series on “What Is the New Paradigm?” It is also the document which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recommended that participants in the Jan. 23 China-CELAC Economic and Trade Cooperation and Business Forum study: “The Report of the 19th Party Congress [by Xi Jinping] is not just a guide to action for the CPC. It is also the most authoritative textbook to get to know and get closer to China. Read through it and you will find it inspirational while also having a lot of fun.”
China Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is on Funding of Basic Science
Feb. 11 (EIRNS)—China’s Ministry of Science and Technology announced Feb. 11 that the government’s financial support for R&D in basic sciences doubled over the last five years, from about $6.5 billion in 2011 to $13 billion in 2016.
A spokesman for the Ministry stated that the percentage funding for basic R&D “has reached the level of developed countries.” State funding accounts for most of the investment in basic science, as “financial input from businesses and other forces of the society remains low.” In reporting on the announcement, Xinhua noted that the emphasis on basic science is national policy: “The State Council recently released guidelines on strengthening research in basic science to lay out basic principles and major arrangements.”
Putin Says Major Scientific Projects ‘Unite and Mobilize, Become Engines for Moving Forward’
Feb. 11 (EIRNS)—At a Feb. 8 meeting of Russia’s Council for Science and Education in Novosibirsk, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is “actively involved in preparations to set up these [international scientific] centers,” such as the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. “However, we need to establish such centers of our own.” He endorsed the idea of setting up such a center in Novosibirsk: “I believe that’s the right idea. We will be sure to think about this and implement this project.” Putin stated: “We need to continue boosting cooperation with other countries and increase the openness of our science…. The most important thing is that the path to science should begin for young people during their school years.”
Putin mentioned mega-science projects that have been launched in Gatchina, Dubna, Troitsk, Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk, and said: “This sort of infrastructure should become the basis for large-scale research programs, and the center of scientific cooperation for the entire Eurasian space…. As regards big projects, we need large-scale undertakings in the country as a whole. They normally unite and mobilize and become engines for moving forward.”
Also of note was President Putin’s visit to Siberia this past week, during which, on Feb. 8, he congratulated scientists in the Academy of Sciences on Russia Science Day. This year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Siberian Branch of the Academy. In 1958, on the initiative of the scientists, this now-largest branch of the Academy was founded at a great distance from European Russia, and in an isolated region with large areas with virtually no population, for testing the Soviet Union’s new arsenal of nuclear weapons. The “closed cities” in the east housed some of the most advanced scientific and military projects in the world.
During his trip, President Putin visited the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk. He toured the laboratories and met with students at Novosibirsk University. The institute, named for scientist Gersh Budker, was established in May 1958 as one of the first scientific institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Academy. The Budker Institute conducted groundbreaking research in an array of directed-energy technologies, such as ion and plasma beams, for the Soviet Union’s missile defense program, as outlined in the U.S. Labor Party 1977 pamphlet commissioned by Lyndon LaRouche, “Sputnik of the Seventies: The Science Behind the Soviets’ Beam Weapon.” Today, the focus of the 2,800 researchers at the institute is on high-energy physics, plasma physics, and controlled thermonuclear fusion research.
President Putin also held a meeting with scientists from the Siberian Branch of the Academy, who presented proposals for new large-scale scientific experiments, and appeals to the President to modernize laboratory facilities, and embark on a series of great projects in science. Valentin Parmon, chairman of the Siberian Branch, told the President that “Russia has not implemented a single major research project in recent decades,” and stressed that it was important to do in order to “provide fertile ground to make sure our young people stay in Russian science.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Vice President Pence and Neo-Cons Sneer at Progress To Resolve the Korean Crisis
Feb. 11 (EIRNS)—On his flight back to Washington, after sitting through the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, refusing to even acknowledge the presence of the North Korean delegation, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence insisted that the U.S., South Korea and Japan agreed completely on how to deal with North Korea, insisting, “There is no daylight between the U.S., the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program.”
During the opening ceremony, Pence and his wife were the only two people in an entire stadium of 35,000 people who refused to stand to enthusiastically welcome the 180 members of the unified group of North and South Korean athletes as they marched together under the Unified Peninsula Flag. At a moment when much of the audience was visibly moved by this historic event, Pence sat with a sneer on his face.
A U.S. official traveling on the return flight to Washington with Pence told reporters that Pence and South Korean President Moon Jae-un did not discuss the North Korean invitation to Moon to visit Pyongyang, but that Moon did “share with him details of his meeting with North Korean leaders.” On Feb. 10, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, delivered a letter from her brother to President Moon, indicating that Kim Jong-un is open to a meeting “in the near future,” and suggesting they meet at a time convenient to President Moon. Presidential Blue House spokesman Kim Euikyeom reported Moon’s response that the “two sides should work on establishing the right conditions to realize the meeting.”
Typical of the unhappy media response to these developments is Bloomberg, which headlined its story “Kim’s Smiling Sister Exploits Trump-Moon Divide.” It emphasized that “signs of discord in the U.S.-South Korea alliance were evident immediately after the announcement” of the invitation to Moon to visit Pyongyang. “North Korea watchers aren’t convinced that Moon will stay on script” (!) if he accepts the invitation, quoting Australian analyst Malcolm Davis saying: “Going to Pyongyang unconditionally would be a really bad development, and I think would anger the U.S. Trump administration.”
Neo-con spin aside, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon hosted a parting luncheon for the North Korean delegation, at which Lee shook hands with Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong and then with Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s special envoy and head of state. North Korean state media KCNA reported extensively on the Saturday meeting between the top leaders of the two sides, and wrote that “Kim Yong-nam said that even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations.”
Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi Meets with President Trump
Feb. 10 (EIRNS)—Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi met today with U.S. President Donald Trump and with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law who is a close advisor to the President. Councillor Yang also had a meeting with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Conveying to the President the sincere regards of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Yang said the two nations should manage and control their disputes and sensitive issues properly, and implement the consensus reached by Trump and Xi during their meeting last November in Beijing. The two Presidents had agreed during their Beijing meeting that China and the United States have wide-ranging common interests and significant responsibilities in securing world peace, prosperity and stability, Yang said.
Trump conveyed his sincere regards to Xi, saying U.S.-China relations are very important, and Washington is willing to strengthen cooperation with Beijing to further promote bilateral ties. Describing his state visit last November to China was a huge success, Trump said that, “I agree that both sides should fully implement the consensus and achievements I reached at the meeting with President Xi.” He also said that the United States is willing to strengthen cooperation with China and push for more positive progress in bilateral relations. Yang also urged the two sides to increase cooperation in dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue.
Tillerson’s Ibero-America Tour Flops; His Call for Venezuela Regime Change Goes Nowhere
Feb. 10 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s five-nation tour of Ibero-America (with a final stop in Jamaica), whose purpose was to organize the continent against what he called expanding Russian and Chinese “imperialism,” and for regime change in Venezuela, turned out to be a complete flop.
As the Jan. 22 ministerial summit of the China-CELAC Forum proved, nations of the region are looking to China and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for real development assistance with no strings attached. Tillerson’s threats and strong-arming on this account got nowhere.
While in Mexico Feb. 1, Tillerson overtly called on Venezuela’s military to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro, arguing that, “in the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.” This drew a sharp response from Venezuela’s Defense Minister who warned that “members of the armed forces radically reject such deplorable remarks that constitute a vile act of interference. When you invite the armed forces to overthrow the government, you are showing a lack of respect.”
Media commentary from around Ibero-America has been emphasizing the positive statements made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the China-CELAC Forum about the region’s development potential, and China’s respectful attitude toward each nation. Mexico’s Ambassador to China Jose Luis Bernal is quoted in People’s Daily stressing how important Chinese investments in science, technology and infrastructure are to the region, which have benefitted 80 projects in 20 American countries. Xinhua reported Feb. 9 that Gao Feng, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman, attacked Tillerson’s remarks on China as false, and followed up with this offer: “China is open to cooperating with all parties, including the North American to strengthen economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Syrian Downing of Israeli Fighter Jet Was Designed To Send a Message
Feb. 11 (EIRNS)—The Chinese news agency Xinhua emphasized in a Feb. 10 report on the events surrounding the Syrian downing of an Israeli fighter jet, that there have been many Israeli strikes inside Syria over recent years—nearly 100 strikes in five years, according to former Israeli Air Force Commander Amir Eshel, the Jerusalem Postreports—but this is the first time that Syria responded with more than denunciations and threats. This indicates, Xinhua states, “that Syria will no longer tolerate the repeated Israeli attacks on its military positions.”
Xinhua quotes Maher Ihsan, a Syrian political expert, saying that “it’s a message that Syria will no longer accept the hit-and-run attacks by Israel.” The wire also quotes Osama Danura, a member of the Syrian government delegation to the Syrian talks in Geneva: “It has two messages: The first is that the Syrian air defenses are now on a high-level readiness in comparison with previous years, and the second is about the availability of the political will of the Syrian leadership, reflected by the victories of the Syrian army and its recapture of most of the Syrian areas…. Today marks the first time that an Israeli warplane has been shot down probably since the downing of an Israeli F-14 in 1986 over Lebanon.”
In other words, there is a new strategic reality on the ground in the region, as a result of Russia’s support for Syria’s successful defeat of ISIS.
It is noteworthy that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly got on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to assert Israel’s right to self-defense, but also to transmit a message to Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah that Israel does not want the crisis to escalate. An Israeli military spokesman also stated Feb. 10 that, “We are willing, prepared and capable to exact a heavy price from anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation.”
Russian Envoy in Syria: U.S. Plans To Build Alternative Syrian Army Will Backfire
Feb. 10 (EIRNS)—Russia’s Ambassador in Syria Alexander Kinshchak charged in an interview with TASS that the U.S. is trying to build “a new Syrian army” from the Kurds and remnants of ISIS and Al Nusra in northeastern Syria. “As for the U.S., it apparently, relies rather not on Al-Nusra, but on the Kurds of the Democratic Union Party, as well as on the Arabic armed units in Syria’s east,” he said. “Along with other militants, they enroll former IS, Nusra and other terrorists.” With specific regard to Al Nusra, he said that it is “one of the last remaining trumps” in the hands of those opposed to the Assad government. “However, all those terrorists are not reliable allies,” he continued. “It is dangerous to be playing such games with terrorists—they must be eliminated in joint efforts.”
The other part of U.S. strategy in northeastern Syria is the building of local councils by the U.S. State Department. With this, Kinshchak said, the U.S. is trying to split that country and fix its own military presence there. “Washington’s project of ‘alternative Syria’ in areas, ‘liberated’ with involvement of the international coalition, arouses many questions,” Ambassador Kinshchak said. “We can see in that an intention to split the country, and possibly, to fix the illegal American military presence in Syria.” He said that the West’s position to invest in Syria only once an acceptable political settlement is reached, “really means a change of power in that country in the process of political reforms, which is a cynical blackmailing.”
CSIS Declares Economic War on China’s ‘Industrial Policy’ and the Belt and Road.
Feb. 9 (EIRNS)—The neocon hangout, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), on Feb. 8 released a 64-page report titled: “Meeting the China Challenge: Responding to China’s Managed Economy.” They make no effort to hide their intention of destroying what they call China’s “industrial policy,” and, by implication, the Belt and Road Initiative. The report has seven essays on various aspects of countering China.
In his foreword CSIS Director John Hamre states: “Military tensions are dangerous but the greatest test is economic, and will come from China’s industrial policy and its effect on the global economy and American security.”
Hamre asserts that there is a “growing consensus in Washington that Beijing operates a highly-discriminatory economic system that has produced an increasingly unbalanced relationship detrimental to the interests of the United States and China’s other trading partners. As a result, there are calls for America and others to take steps to tame China’s industrial policy and take actions to serve American interests.”
The problem, says Hamre, is Xi Jinping, and his Belt and Road Initiative: “What has changed is the apparent consolidation of power under President Xi Jinping and his vision of exporting a Chinese solution as an alternative to Western democracy and Western norms.”
In the Introduction, James Andrew Lewis, Senior Vice President at CSIS, writes: “A crucial element of China’s strategy is overtaking the United States, as it has overtaken other nations. As part of this, China has a well-financed strategy to create domestic industries intended to displace foreign suppliers, dominate standards-making, and reshape global norms.” This “industrial policy,” he asserts, must be stopped: “The issue is how to change China’s nationalist industrial policies to end their disruptive effect on other economies.”
This is the responsibility of the United States, Lewis asserts, since Europe is facing “internal conflicts,” including “from a few member states that have been influenced by Chinese money…. Absent U.S. leadership there may not be an effective response to China’s economic encroachments.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
White House Infrastructure Plan Is Goldman Sachs’ Plan—Which Trump Opposes
Feb. 10 (EIRNS)—An NBC News article Feb. 9 was headlined, “Skeptics on Trump Infrastructure Plan Include Trump.” The headline is ironic, but no joke: It is accurate.
NBC’s report starts by recounting that days before the Jan. 30 State of the Union address, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn thought that he had finally convinced Trump that, due to the Federal deficit Cohn has helped create, no Federal funds are available for new infrastructure, and that states and private sources have to fund any projects. The most recent “six-page White House memo” based on this idea, was duly leaked.
But Trump then bucked, NBC’s sources reported (“waffled” was the word used in the article), and not for the first time. The President came back once again to his knowledge that public-private partnerships (PPPs) do not work for infrastructure projects—“all you do is wind up in court.” The public release of a plan, planned by D.J. Gribbin for the White House just before the State of the Union, did not happen then, and is now scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12.
A planner of infrastructure priority projects for the White House, who has since been kicked to the curb, told EIR that Trump has repeatedly done this, and “thinks he wants a lot of Federal funding”; but that no matter how many times he objects, Cohn and “infrastructure advisor” and hedge fund veteran D.J. Gribbin will push the same PPP policy, and only that. They do this, he said, under the driving hand of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, managing an “infrastructure fund” of tens of billions and emphatically expecting 10% annual profits on that fund.
The White House Feb. 12 announcement may be disastrous, because this Goldman Sachs plan is to be released simultaneously with the White House budget proposal for the remainder of FY2018, which will again cut existing transportation infrastructure loan and grant programs. No pro-infrastructure lobbies or Democratic elected officials are likely to work with the White House on it.
NBC’s article also stated that Trump is in a vise between Cohn et al. and the Republican leadership in both Houses, who oppose Federal funding for infrastructure. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s group wants only to cut entitlements. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claims to be open to infrastructure legislation, but blames Barack Obama—“We gave him $1 trillion for infrastructure and got nothing,” he reportedly claims—so the effect is of the same policy as Ryan’s. GOP leaders say “the White House has to lead on this,” but they mean Goldman’s Cohn has to lead, not Trump.
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Djibouti Begins To Flourish with China’s Help
Feb. 9 (EIRNS)—A long article, “How Djibouti Became China’s Gateway to Africa,” in Spiegel Online yesterday, pointed out that many Djiboutians “are dreaming of creating, with Chinese help, something similar to Singapore and the Gulf States. It may not be easy to make something of this parched land, but there is a true feeling of ambition here, a willingness to take risks and move forward.” In other words, China’s involvement in developing port infrastructure, and even a military base, in Djibouti has created an environment of optimism which the Djiboutians, who were long exposed to the European and American presence in their land, hadn’t experienced.
That optimism is perhaps based upon their witnessing first hand just how quick the Chinese are at turning plans into reality. “A new port has already been built on the coast, and the gigantic cranes in Doraleh have become Djibouti landmarks,” wrote author Dietmar Pieper. One such example he cites is how China is helping to bring Djibouti and Ethiopia closer. “The Chinese are handling the development of that infrastructure. The electrified train line connecting the two capitals [Djibouti and Addis Ababa] has been finished for some time now, though there isn’t enough electricity for regular operations over the entire line. The water pipeline from Ethiopia is already functioning, with its final completion approaching, and a gas pipeline is also in the planning stages. From the Chinese perspective, this is all meant to fit into a larger whole: the New Silk Road.”
Pieper also quotes Ge Hua, a Chinese economist based in Djibouti, that China “is also making sure that all people involved profit. ‘It is important that the Djiboutians make good income from the projects so that they will have a better life and are able to repay their debts,’ ” she says.