‘Democracy’: Is It the General Welfare Principle or Partisan Paralysis and Regime-Change War?
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing today, with the leaders of the U.S. intelligence agencies, was an anti-Russia, anti-China riot by Senators and witnesses alike. The new McCarthyite political correctness overwhelmed any discussion of the actual topic, “threats to America’s national security.” If there is any question as to why President Trump has failed to pursue what he intended—great power cooperation with both Russia and China against terrorism and regional wars—it was answered by the display in the Senate today, which surrounds him in the White House as well.
Shouting that China and Russia threaten “democratic values,” the leading officials of the United States and Europe have demonstrated their utter inability to practice “democracy” successfully. Their parties render them unable to govern—or as currently in Germany, even to form a government to attempt it. They fail to reduce poverty where China is eliminating it; cannot stop a spreading drug addiction and suicide epidemic. They watch a neo-conservative military-Wall Street complex wage regime-change wars “against authoritarians, and for democracy”; those wars cause disastrous human suffering and death and destruction of wealth, spread international terrorism and mass refugee flows. They now face another developing financial crash, paralyzed by Wall Street from acting to stop it as China’s authorities have done. Instead they shout “China is going to crash” year after year, while its contribution to the world’s economic growth actually continually increases.
These problems require cooperation with China and Russia to solve, as President Trump clearly seemed to intend as he took office. But although the perpetrators of “Russiagate” who started the coup against him are now thoroughly discredited, the process of forcing the President into an anti-Russia, anti-China stance continues even in his own Administration.
Twice in the past two days, op-eds in one of China’s leading newspapers, Global Times, have directly contrasted that nation’s ability to serve the general welfare of its people—government by and for the people—to the United States’ extreme partisan paralysis and pursuit of “democracy” abroad by war.
The second opinion column took up an issue now central to American partisan paralysis: economic infrastructure.
As the President has repeatedly acknowledged: The United States fails to deal with its crumbling infrastructure, does not defend its citizens from repeated hurricane flooding, fatal transportation breakdowns, bridge and dam collapses, contaminated drinking water—let alone improve their lives with new infrastructure platforms, as China has rapidly built out 15,000 miles of the most modern high-speed rail lines and revolutionized its people’s mobility. If the United States insists that China is its competitor, Global Times wrote, “Infrastructure construction is also a sort of competition.”
And this is a competition to serve the general welfare. President Trump’s infrastructure plan, pushed on him by Goldman Sachs bank, will not do it; but neither has either political party offered a workable alternative—for well over half a century of decay and breakdown.
The only workable alternative is the one that aims at the common welfare of the American people and of mankind. That alternative starts by breaking up the Wall Street banks—reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act—and issuing trillions in new productive credit through a new national bank or Reconstruction Finance Corporation, to build a new, high-technology infrastructure platform for the United States. That approach is from Lyndon LaRouche’s now famous “Four Laws,” which also specify restoring the “Apollo Project” level of NASA effort for space exploration, and reviving research on fusion power technologies to the level of a crash program.
The infrastructure issue will now become part of the partisan 2018 elections. Let the common aims and welfare of mankind judge that competition, as they will judge China, America and “democracy.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Susan Rice Email Puts Obama in Crosshairs of Muellergate
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—Barack Obama’s personal role in directing the British intelligence operation run against candidate and President-elect Donald Trump, through the dossier issued by “ex” MI6 agent Christopher Steele, is now on the table, through a letter sent to Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice by Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham of the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 8 and released yesterday. That letter raises questions concerning a now partially declassified email which Rice sent to herself on Jan. 20, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.—shortly before President Trump was inaugurated—on the meeting held in the Oval Office two weeks prior, on Jan. 5, 2017, on the lying British intelligence memo produced by Steele.
As Grassley and Graham drily noted to Rice, “it strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation.”
Rice’s report is that after “a briefing by IC [intelligence community] leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation” with FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office, at which Vice President Joe Biden and Rice were also present. She records the following “official” version:
“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.’ The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
“From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”
The next paragraph is classified. Rice concludes:
“The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.”
The day following that Jan. 5 meeting where the four leaders of the intelligence community—Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers and Comey—officially presented Obama with the Steele dossier, the same four briefed President-elect Trump at Trump Tower on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Comey infamously stayed behind after the other three left to carry out his self-described “J. Edgar Hoover moment,” attempting to blackmail the incoming President with the sickest of the Steele dossier’s charges.
Grassley and Graham do not reference the Jan. 6 meeting, but do request Rice respond to 12 questions by Feb. 22, such as:
“4. Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation? If so, who and why?”
“6. Other than that email, did you document the January 5, 2017 meeting in any way, such as contemporaneous notes or a formal memo? To the best of your knowledge, did anyone else at that meeting take notes or otherwise memorialize the meeting?”
“7. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier? If so, what did they say?”
“11. You wrote that President Obama stressed that he was ‘not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcementperspective.’ Did President Obama ask about, initiate, or instruct anything from any other perspective relating to the FBI’s investigation?” [emphasis in original]; and, lastly:
“12. Did President Obama have any other meetings with Mr. Comey, Ms. Yates, or other government officials about the FBI’s investigation of allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russia? If so, when did these occur, who participated, and what was discussed?”
Adm. Harry Harris, U.K. Defense Secretary Aim To Use Australia To Provoke China
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—The White House today announced that President Trump has named Adm. Harry Harris, currently commander of U.S. Pacific Command, to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Australia, filling a post which has been vacant for 16 months. The New York Timeswrites that Harris has taken a hard line against Chinese military action, calling Beijing’s policy to build bases in the South China Sea “provocative and expansionist.” He has described China’s efforts to build artificial islands in contested waters “a Great Wall of sand.” Since his appointment, he has advocated actively patrolling the South China Sea in so-called freedom of navigation operations. Harris has taken an even harder line against North Korea. “But how Admiral Harris handles Australia’s relationship with China is an open question. Australia increasingly finds itself economically dependent on China, its largest trade partner, even as some politicians have warned that the rising Asian power is trying to influence Australian politics,” says the Times.
At the same time, Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has, himself, been visiting Australia where he vowed to keep the pressure on China in the South China Sea. He announced that the Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland would soon be making a “freedom of navigation” passage through the South China Sea and he advised Australia to undertake such voyages as well. “The U.S. is looking for other countries to do more. This is a great opportunity for the U.K. and Australia to do more, to exercise leadership,” said Williamson, reports Reuters.
China’s Global Times published blunt responses to both the Harris nomination and Williamson, today. “Harris’ appointment as ambassador to Australia shows that Washington considers Australia important, but not so important,” writes Zhou Fangyin, a professor at the Guangdong Research Institute for International Strategies, in an op-ed. “Harris is indeed a heavyweight, but the post had been lying vacant for 16 months. It shows that the U.S. wants to use the country, but does not respect it. A high degree of asymmetry has thus been exposed in U.S.-Australia ties.” In an unsigned Editorial, Global Timesadvises that the Royal Navy should act “modestly” in the South China Sea. “As the Royal Navy has been hit by news such as a leaky aircraft carrier and the U.K. government has a tight budget, it appears a difficult mission for the Royal Navy to come all this way to provoke China,” the Editorial concludes.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Nuclear Agency, Missile Defense Get Big Boosts in Trump Budget
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—The fiscal year 2019 budget proposal released by the Trump Administration provides for, among other things, large increases for nuclear warheads and missile defense. The National Nuclear Security Agency, which manages the stockpile of nuclear warheads, is requesting an increase of 17.5% over the current budget. More than $11 billion of its $15.1 billion budget is dedicated to weapons activity. The agency has service life extension programs currently underway on five different warheads, for both land-based and submarine-based ballistic missiles and the B61 gravity bomb.
The Missile Defense Agency, meanwhile, is getting an even bigger boost, of about 20%, to $9.9 billion, much of which is being driven, reports Defense News, by the threat from North Korea. The FY19 request supports the National Defense Strategy, which directs investments to include a focus on layered missile defense and disruptive capabilities for both homeland and regional defense against threats from such places as North Korea, Gary Pennett, MDA’s director of operations, told reporters during a budget briefing at the Pentagon Feb. 12. This includes the addition of two new radars—one in Hawaii, while the location of the second has not yet been determined—for the Pacific and boosting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by 20 more interceptors, to 64. Both the Aegis BMD system and U.S. Army THAAD system are to get funding boosts as well, much of which will be going to the procurement of missiles, including the SM-3 Block IIA for the Aegis, slated for the Aegis installations in Romania and Poland, while the THAAD program is to get upgrades specifically to increase its capabilities in Korea.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
You Choose: Western Imperium ‘Liberal Democracy’ or Democracy as China Is Developing It
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—In her Feb. 8 weekly webcast, Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche called for a healthy, democratic and international debate on the two respective merits of the two principal systems contending today, the British Empire or the Chinese. EIRrecommends reading the biting op-ed column published in Global Times on Feb. 11 on “Democracy: A Western Tool for Domination,” as a useful contribution to this much-needed debate.
Author Thomas Hon Wing Polin opens: “Having failed to stem the expansion of Chinese political and economic influence worldwide, the Western imperium will doubtless focus its stop-China efforts in the years ahead on its favorite hobby-horse: democracy. The West’s secularism and democracy also serve as an invaluable beachhead for the empire to destabilize and even regime-change those non-Western governments it doesn’t like.”
Hon describes “democracy’s” targetting of nations, explaining “If things go smoothly, regime change occurs. Otherwise, a nice color revolution is brewing.” So, “the West’s propaganda line of attack against China will be: Since democracy is self-evidently the best governance system known to man, all right-thinking people hanker after it. Those that don’t are … sub-human.
“The empire speaks as though it has a monopoly on democracy. But it doesn’t. Take the case of China. The Chinese term for ‘democracy’ is minzhu—which literally means ‘the people are in charge.’ ” Western-style liberal democracy is only one form of democracy, and it “is at bottom an oligarchy that serves the interests of a tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority,” Hon points out.
Nor are democratic ideas exclusively Western, he states. In the 4th century B.C., China’s “Mencius was advocating the people’s right to remove their leaders if the latter weren’t doing their jobs properly. The notion, advanced by Confucianism’s premier philosopher after Confucius himself, was radical. It later developed into the Mandate of Heaven—the core concept of traditional Chinese governance….
“The governance system of today’s China—call it ‘centralized meritocracy’—is still a work in progress, evolving along with the country. It contains flaws that need to be tackled and ironed out,” Hon readily acknowledges. “But in the fundamental sense of putting the people’s interests first, China is already more democratic than the West.”
China’s Poverty Reduction Even More Impressive Than Its Growth Rate, Asia Bank Economist Shows
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—Wan Guanghua, the principal economist at the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, said that more impressive than China’s remarkable economic growth is its successful campaign in reducing poverty. “It is reasonable that China’s success in poverty reduction is usually attributed to its rapid economic development in the past three decades, as without economic growth, Chinese people’s poverty situation cannot be alleviated,” said Wan, reported People’s Daily Online yesterday.
Economic growth alone, however, is not the main cause of the poverty alleviation, Wan said, since many countries that have a high rate of growth do not necessarily see poverty significantly reduced. China’s poor people benefit a lot from the country’s economic growth due to strong support from the Chinese government, active promotion of industrialization and urbanization, as well as great importance attached to infrastructure establishment in poor areas, Wan said. They had set up the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation, encouraged rural workers to come to the cities to find better-paying jobs, and built infrastructure in poor areas, such as roads, communication, and electricity facilities, thus narrowing the gap between rich and poor.
The economist stated that China’s practices and experiences in poverty alleviation can be studied by other countries in order to help them do the same. He further said that with development of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation, China will continue to pass on its valuable experience in poverty reduction to other countries, help other developing countries to strengthen their infrastructure, advance industrialization, and contribute more to the international cause of poverty alleviation.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Global Times Observer Column: ‘Infrastructure Is a Kind of Competition’
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—An op-ed by Yu Ning in Global Times today observed that President Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan “offers a road to nowhere,” but located the deeper problem in the bitter partisanship of the American two-party system.
“In his first State of the Union address, U.S. President Donald Trump promised an infrastructure agenda,” the paper writes, “that would let the country ‘build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways across our land.’ His plan unveiled on Monday, however, looks like a gleaming hotel made entirely of tofu.”
Yu’s column reported that Trump repeatedly blamed “crumbling” infrastructure for the U.S. economy’s failure to reach its potential; but “The U.S. doesn’t have a smooth political system to promote megaprojects such as overhauling the country’s infrastructure system. It’s hard to win support from both parties. The two parties obstinately stand against each other to win elections.” For this reason, it observes, Trump’s plan is very unlikely to become law; Democrats have immediately come out against it.
Yu’s conclusion, however, comes to a very sharp point given the current McCarthyism-like political climate in the United States. “China’s infrastructure construction in recent years has made remarkable achievements,” the editors write. “The U.S. regards China as a competitor. Infrastructure construction is also a sort of competition. It’s a competition of governmental administrative capabilities and political systems.
“Washington’s ability to mobilize resources has never been more constrained than it is now. The prospects for Trump’s infrastructure plan are gloomy.”
Kra Canal Debate Heats Up in Thailand
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—Last week the Thai government responded to the rapidly increasing pressure to move ahead with the Kra Canal, by issuing a vague statement which implies that the issue is finally being studied at a national level, but also asserting that it has not been approved and is not high on the list. A number of articles have appeared over the week claiming that the government message means either one thing or the opposite.
Today’s Bangkok Post runs an article titled, “Kra Phoenix Rises Again,” reviewing the constantly recurring calls for the Canal, and stating that the Chinese are now interested, but won’t push for it unless the Thai government is behind it. It refers to proposals from the United States and Russia in the past to use peaceful nuclear explosions. A Nov. 21, 2016 article in the Journal of Shipping and Trade reports, “The estimated bunker savings for a 100,000 dwt oil tanker is $350,000 per trip.”
Pakdee Tanapura, International Director of the Thai Canal Association, wrote a letter to the editor of the Bangkok Post countering the two most common arguments against the canal: that it would undermine Singapore, and that it would divide Thailand. Tanapura writes: “1) With the gigantic investment of about $55 billion to begin with, the Kra Canal would not only help to jump-start the Thai economy but would create also a ripple effect among the ASEAN countries which would benefit from such an ambitious mega-project. Singapore, a well-developed economy would be an integral part of this process. 2) … A canal across the Isthmus in the South of Thailand does not represent, neither from the de jure nor from the de factostandpoints, a division of the country. On the contrary, a prosperous economy in the South will definitely lead to the reduction of the economic and cultural gap among the people. Any conflict can easily be mitigated among Thais without any outside interference.”
‘Growing Neo-Con Hysteria over China Proves That the Silk Road Spirit Is Unstoppable’
Feb. 13 (EIRNS)—Schiller Institute representative Harley Schlanger issued the announcement today for the weekly webcast of Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Thursday, Feb. 15. The weekly strategic webcasts air Thursdays on the Schiller Institute’s New Paradigm site (http://www.newparadigm.schillerinstitute.com) at 12:00 noon Eastern time, 18:00 Central European time.
In his announcement, Schlanger, who hosts the webcasts, wrote:
“The escalating drumbeat against China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) coming from Trans-Atlantic geopolitical institutions and their political puppets, such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, is a testament to the growing influence of Xi Jinping’s ‘win-win’ diplomacy. What Helga Zepp-LaRouche first identified as a ‘New Paradigm’ has gained adherents worldwide, as the ‘New Silk Road Spirit’ is contagious. Nations in Africa, Asia and South and Central America, which have been looted under IMF and World Bank austerity demands, are turning to the BRI, which is demonstrating that real economic progress is possible. The BRI process offers hope that poverty can be eliminated worldwide, as it has been dramatically reduced in China.
“Instead of celebrating this process, or joining it, the Trans-Atlantic elites are up to their old tricks, in a desperate effort to prevent the New Paradigm from succeeding. Their old paradigm, of regime change and wars, of deploying terror operations, of free trade deals combined with austerity that produce murderous economic devastation, continues, even as the basis for their survival has been severely weakened.
“In the U.S., the regime change operation against President Trump stands exposed as a made-in-London coup attempt. New revelations coming from Senators Grassley and Graham are expected to show how deeply involved Obama administration officials—including Obama himself—were, in concocting the ‘Russiagate’ fraud story. We are closer than ever to breaking this operation, which would free the President from the constraints imposed on him, to pursue the goals he campaigned for.
“These developments, and more, will be the subject of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s webcast this Thursday.”