Putin Delivers a New ‘Sputnik I’ Shock: ‘Now They Will Listen to Us!’
March 4 (EIRNS)—From a forthcoming EIR article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche:
In a transatlantic atmosphere of hysteria against Russia and China that can only be understood as pre-war propaganda, President Putin dropped a bombshell in his annual State of the Nation address, which has redefined the strategic balance.
He announced that Russian forces had acquired weapons based on new physical principles, including a new “Avangard” intercontinental ballistic missile capable of moving at 20 times the speed of sound and having excellent maneuverability. It can therefore outmaneuver all existing air defense and missile defense systems and render them obsolete.
These new systems, which included nuclear-propulsion cruise missiles, fast submarine drones and laser weapons, were Russia’s answer to the unilateral termination of the ABM Treaty by the U.S. in 2002, and the launch of the global U.S. missile defense system. Since then, all negotiations have fallen on deaf ears. “They did not listen to us. Now they will listen to us!” Putin emphasized.
The response from the Western media and politicians ranged from attempts to ridicule Putin’s new arsenals as technologically impossible—to ridicule them as mere pre-election bluster—to concerns about a new arms race; as if one were not already in progress long ago, thanks to NATO’s eastward expansion.
These responses once again reflect the fact that adherents to neo-liberal dogma can only see the world through their geopolitical, concave glasses. They obviously underestimate Russia’s military science capabilities, just as they underestimated the dynamics of China’s New Silk Road for years….
In fact, we are currently experiencing an epochal change. The period of nearly 600 years since the Italian Renaissance and the emergence of the sovereign nation-state, in which oligarchic forms of government and governments committed to the common good existed side by side, is coming to an end. The new paradigm, a new phase in human evolution, is already visible. The closest approximation to this is Xi Jinping’s vision of a community of common destiny—the concept that the idea of “one humanity” is set forth to all nations. The economic equivalent of this idea is the New Silk Road, in which all sovereign nations work together on the basis of cooperation for mutual benefit.
What we are currently experiencing, with all the unprovable accusations of “Russian hacking,” “interference in democratic elections,” “Chinese hegemony,” “threats to the Western system of democracy and human rights by authoritarian systems,” etc., is nothing more than a last gasp of a failing oligarchic system. The next financial collapse of this system—which has opened the gap between rich and poor, and whose policy of perpetual war has brought us both the refugee crisis and an epidemic of violence among young people and in the so-called entertainment industry—will be worse than it was in 2008.
It is time for rational people to reflect. We should use this new Sputnik shock and do what Putin said in his speech: “Let us sit down at the negotiating table and work together to design a new and relevant system of international security and sustainable development for all of human civilization.”
The human species is the only creative species known to us. What sets us apart from all other beings is the ability of the human mind to continually discover qualitatively new principles of the physical universe and apply them to the production process, thus improving the livelihood, productivity, and life expectancy of humanity. We have arrived at the point in history where we can and must realize our identity as a planetary species, which is collectively capable of guaranteeing its long-term survival.
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Tariffs Divert Again from U.S. Productive Investment, Joining New Silk Road
March 4 (EIRNS)—The steel and aluminum tariffs announced by President Trump are his second attempt—following “tax reform”—to improve the U.S. economy while being blocked from following through on his “build American infrastructure” platform which won him the election. This attempt is likely to be no more successful. Neither the absence of corporate taxes nor the absence of some metals imports can match the presence of new investments in the U.S. physical economy, new technologies, and new infrastructure platforms, and thus growing real productivity.
“Trade adversary” China’s extremely moderate reaction to the tariffs contrasted sharply to “allies” in Europe and Canada. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on March 2 that world trade could be harmed: “The basis for the global recovery is still unstable. All countries should make concerted efforts to cooperate to resolve the relevant issues, instead of taking trade-restrictive measures unilaterally.” But European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, after first vowing retaliation on March 2, made specific threats the next day: “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon, and on blue jeans—Levi’s. We cannot simply put our head in the sand.” (President Trump responded with a tweet threatening to tax European auto exports.) Canadian officials vowed retaliation. MEP Bernd Lange (SPD, Germany), Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, said, “With this, the declaration of war has arrived.”
When the tariff targets are announced this week, there will be no “ally exemptions” for Canada, German, South Korea, etc., according to White House Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who appeared on Sunday TV shows March 4.
The reaction of the Republican establishment, Business Roundtable, etc., has been to demand that the tariffs be levied on China alone. Business Roundtable head Josh Bolton stressed this on Fox News Sunday, claiming that “China’s excess steel capacity” is the real source of all steel exports to the United States. The Washington Post, in its March 3 lead editorial, “How To Make Trump’s Terrible Trade Decision a Bit Less Terrible,” explained, “If the end result were a package of tariffs on steel and aluminum from China and Russia only, that would be a more acceptable outcome … in terms of clarifying U.S. geopolitical commitments.”
Yet China’s export earnings throughout this century have been turned into investments in real productive infrastructure projects at home and increasingly abroad, and into U.S. Treasury securities; and now, Chinese economists and officials repeatedly offer large investments of these into a U.S. infrastructure investment institution, to augment U.S. national credit capacity.
These proposals are an integral part of the Chinese invitations to the United States to join the Belt and Road Initiative. And they represent what has enabled the world economy to recover, such as it has, from the 2008 crash. Now another crash is looming, and this partnership, together with Lyndon LaRouche’s proposals for the U.S. economy, are the only way to prevent it.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Trump Won’t Rule Out Direct Talks with Kim Jong-un
March 4 (EIRNS)—At what Reuters described as a “joke-filled monologue” at the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, last night, President Trump suggested that the United States might soon talk to North Korea. As Reuters reports the President’s remarks, “Now we are talking and they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago. They said that ‘we would like to talk.’ And I said, ‘So would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke,’ We will be meeting and we’ll see if anything positive happens.” he added.
“I won’t rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un. I just won’t,” Trump said, and added a barbed joke: “As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that’s his problem, not mine.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is going ahead with his diplomacy, naming his National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong as his special envoy to North Korea. Chung will be leading a delegation that leaves for Pyongyang March 5, including Suh Hoon, chief of the National Intelligence Service, Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung, senior National Intelligence Service Director Kim Sang-gyun, and Yun Kun-young, a Cheong Wa Dae (presidential) official. “The … delegation will stay in Pyongyang for two days, and hold discussions on establishing peace, … and improving inter-Korean relations with high-level North Korean officials,” Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, told the Korea Herald.
Yoon further said that members of the special delegation would visit the United States after their return from the North to discuss the results of the visit.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Italian Ambassador to Nigeria Pontesilli Addresses the Final Plenary of Lake Chad Conference
March 3 (EIRNS)—After the formal greetings to authorities and dignitaries, Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontesilli read the following speech:
“We know the problem, we know the time to act is now, we have a possible solution. It is called Transaqua.
“It is an idea for a water, transport, energy and agro-industrial development infrastructure for west-central Africa. It is a simple idea: to explore the possibility of collecting enough water from the northern tributaries of the Congo River, in order to refill Lake Chad and eventually develop hydroelectric power and irrigation. Bonifica calculated that refilling Lake Chad to its original dimensions would require an annual addition of approximately 50 billion cubic meters of water. Bonifica engineers envisioned the construction of a 2,400 km system of reservoirs and canals that would collect twice this amount, totaling approximately 5-8% of the Congo River water.
“The Transaqua canal would start in the south-eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, intersects all tributaries upstream, across the D.R.C. and the Central African Republic, and reach the watershed between the C.A.R. and Chad at approximately 500 meters altitude. Here, it pours into the Chari River, Lake Chad’s tributary, having carried 100 billion cubic meters water per year only by gravity in a 10-by-100-meter canal. It will be a really new man-made river, with dimensions and flow comparable to the Nile at the Aswan Dam.
“Along its path, Transaqua will create systems of reservoirs, water regulation, and hydropower production, benefitting every basin of the Congo tributaries, without negatively affecting their carrying capacity, fisheries, or navigability. Furthermore, a road will be built as necessary to serve the construction of the canal-dam system, which will remain as a modern transport connection in central Africa. The canal itself will be a magnificent waterway; and plans envision building at least one major inland port and economic development area in the C.A.R.
“We all know the benefits for the countries surrounding the Lake Chad basin, but let me dwell for a minute with the benefits for the C.A.R. and D.R.C., which are not directly affected by the drought in the Sahel.
“Transaqua will provide a significant infrastructure. These two countries will indeed be major beneficiaries of the project, as they will have a waterway, hydropower, a road, and the benefits of productive employment and work experience for a large workforce over several years.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Italian government has expressed interest in the project. This is why we believe that Transaqua addresses the root causes of the economic desperation that forces people living in the area to emigrate to Europe. It also gives a very concrete meaning to the proposals of launching a ‘Marshall Plan’ to create jobs and development in the immigrants’ countries of origin, some of them coming from the Sahel region.
“To this effect, the Italian government has decided to pledge up to €1.5 million for the feasibility study for the Transaqua project. Thank you.”
The coverage and the video of his remarks are posted to the website of the Movisol, the International Civil Rights Solidarity Movement, the co-thinkers of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche in Italy, under the title: “L’ambasciatore italiano in Nigeria: l’Italia crede nel progetto.”
Global Construction Review Covers Replenishing Lake Chad, Schiller Institute’s Role
March 3 (EIRNS)—In a report on the Abuja conference, headlined “Italy, China Ponder 2,400 km Canal To Save Lake Chad,” the London-based Global Construction Review writes: “The study into the ‘Transaqua’ project would be carried out by Italian engineer Bonifica and PowerChina. The two companies signed an agreement to cooperate on the scheme in Hangzhou last year. Transaqua was originally suggested by Bonifica in the late 1970s, and was also championed by Nigerian engineers in the 1990s.”
The article includes a map from the Schiller Institute showing the extension of the project: “One version of the plan would involve damming a tributary of the River Congo in the Central African Republic and digging a 2,400-km-long canal to the River Chari, which feeds Lake Chad. A talk on the project given by Franco Persio Bocchetto, a director of Bonifica, to the Schiller Institute can be seen here,” and provides the hyperlink to Bocchetto’s November 2017 speech, “Italy-China Alliance for Transaqua,” at the Schiller Institute conference in Bad Soden, Germany.
People’s Daily Cites EIR on General Welfare vs. Wall Street
March 3 (EIRNS)—A lengthy article in People’s Daily yesterday dealt with the state of the U.S. in the aftermath of the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the subsequent growing protest among the students, which could become a major catalyst of change in the gun laws and much more. The People’s Daily reporter interviewed a number of university professors and state legislators who commented on the role of the National Rifle Association and the deteriorating political culture in the U.S. with the rise of various special interests manipulating affairs. At the end of the article, the reporter asked EIR Washington correspondent Bill Jones about the condition of democracy in the United States. Jones lambasted the endemic corruption in the U.S. political institutions. “ ‘Here the ideal of democracy is far from the reality,’ he said. ‘So people either don’t bother voting or they vote for whatever party is opposed to the status quo.’
“Jones then contrasted the system to what he had seen in China, bringing more clarity to the U.S. situation. ‘The fundamental idea that China follows is that finance must subordinate itself to the real economy. This is far from the case in the United States. Here Wall Street has gained an enormous influence over our political process,’ Jones said, ‘not only creating financial bubbles on the economic front, but also creating political crises. Wall Street more or less decides who can run and who can’t run because of the money involved, so that the people feel that they don’t have anyone who really represents theirinterests, but in fact do things detrimental to their interests.’
“Jones believes that China is working in the interests of their people. ‘The campaign to eliminate poverty is an example of this. Therefore China has a more stable situation than the United States. Although the U.S. Constitution clearly states that the government is responsible for the general welfare of the people,’ Jones says, ‘in reality, this has been totally forgotten.’ Therefore, Jones says, ‘China has not only become a beacon of hope for the developing countries, but may well serve by its example as a catalyst for change in the United States.’ ”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Putin’s Weapons Statements Intend To Explain U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Won’t Work
March 4 (EIRNS)—Comments by unnamed military-diplomatic sources to TASS indicate that the official Russian view of the announcements of new nuclear weapons systems made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 1 is, that the ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems that the U.S. is surrounding Russia with can be stopped by making clear that they won’t work.
According to one military-diplomatic source, Russia has begun series production of the Avangard missile-hypersonic vehicle complex, and the Khinzhal hypersonic cruise missile, which is launched from the MiG-31M high altitude interceptor, is already “on duty.” The missiles “which Americans are determined to roll out as a global anti-missile and air defense system, have no military value now after Russia’s presentations of new weapons,” the source said. Western counterparts, therefore, “need to realize it and sit at the negotiating table to talk about overwhelming security but not saber-rattling. The parity should not be breached as the United States and NATO have been attempting for many years,” he said. It is time for the West to accept the new reality, rather than to keep “harping on” the anti-missile defense system. “Nobody, but Russia, has a hypersonic weapon,” the source underlined.
In a second report, TASS also cites a military-diplomatic source reporting that Russia has completed trials of a miniaturized nuclear power unit to be installed on cruise missiles and underwater drones. Again the intent is to show “uncooperative Western partners … the futility of their attempts to neutralize our strategic potential by the deployment of missile shield elements.”
Andrey Sushentsov, the Valdai Discussion Club’s program director, told TASS that Washington now needs to build dialogue with Moscow on strategic stability. According to Sushenstov, the end of the Cold War gave U.S. leaders an illusion that they can easily ignore “inconvenient” Russia. “Moreover, an opinion that circulates in U.S. military circles is that strategic stability no longer exists and the United States has the capacity to deal a crushing blow to Russia,” Sushentsov continued. “The announcement of Russia’s advanced weaponry destroys this stereotype. Currently, an equal dialogue on rules of co-existence is gaining importance again.”
Russia’s Military Technologies Will Also Be Used for Civilian Purposes, Says Putin
March 3 (EIRNS)—In a follow-up to his State of the Nation address in which he presented Russia’s new strategic weapons, President Vladimir Putin said that these military technologies and weapons may be used in the future for civilian purposes as well.
“It gives us hope that it can be all applied and used in the sphere of civilian industries,” Putin said yesterday during a presentation at the Truth and Justice Media Forum, organized by the Russian Popular Front in the country’s western, Baltic city of Kaliningrad, and saying that the exploitation of certain technologies to benefit civilian use may require some time.
As he had said during his March 1 address to the Federal Assembly, Putin said the new military technologies and weapons were the result of enormous work on the part of Russian scientific and educational establishments, as well as of modern manufacturing capacities.
Experts Agree, New Russian Weapons Are Real, and the U.S. BMD Program Is Finished
March 2 (EIRNS)—In stark contrast to the screeches of denial by Western government agencies and political “spokesmen,” there is consensus among people who are technically competent that the Russians are indeed developing the new strategic weapons that President Vladimir Putin described in his March 1 State of the Nation address, and that weapons with the new capabilities make the ill-conceived and provocative American Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system useless.
Edward Geist, a researcher on Russia at the Rand Corporation, referring to the nuclear-powered cruise missile, told National Public Radio: “I’m still kind of in shock. My guess is they’re not bluffing, that they’ve flight-tested this thing. But that’s incredible.” Geist recalled that the U.S. investigated the nuclear-powered missile, known as the Supersonic Low Altitude Missile. The U.S. nuclear engine, Project Pluto, was developed during the 1950s and 1960s, and then abandoned in 1964.
Sean Gallagher, a former Navy officer, describes in Ars Technicasome of the technical aspects of the hypersonic missile, and then says that he is sympathetic to the Russian view that U.S. missile defense, if it worked, could “embolden” the U.S. to believe a nuclear war were winnable.
Steven Walker, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) told reporters shortly after President Putin’s speech, that he could not comment on Putin’s assertion about an “invincible” hypersonic cruise missile, but that military scientists were moving as quickly as possible to test a U.S. hypersonic missile before 2020—and that they needed more help to do it. Asked if the United States is spending enough to help develop hypersonic weapons, Walker replied, “I would say no.” The Trump Administration’s FY19 budget supports hypersonic research funding, but Walker said some areas of research are still underfunded, particularly the facilities needed for testing. “We do need an infusion of dollars in our infrastructure to do hypersonics.”
As an example, Walker complained that DARPA has access to only one testing facility for hypersonics, at NASA’s Langley Research Center. “If you look at some of our peer competitors, China being one, the number of facilities that they’ve built to do hypersonics surpasses the number we have in this country … by two or three times. It is very clear that China has made this one of their national priorities. We need to do the same,” he said.
Gary Pennett, director of operations at the Missile Defense Agency, explains that hypersonic weapons could be launched from planes, ships, or submarines. The potential deployment of such by Russia, he says, would create a “significant” gap in U.S. sensor and missile interceptor capabilities. The key challenge is that the new weapons are designed to defeat BMD systems.
This is made clear by Alexey Leonkov, formerly with the 30 Central Research Institute of Russia’s Aerospace Force. On the hypersonic “Avangard” missile, he says it can travel at speeds up to 20 times the speed of sound, Mach 20, or just over 15,000 miles per hour, according to a report by Sputnik news agency. American interceptors deployed in Europe, or on Aegis ships, can only travel at Mach 5, Leonkov explains. In order to catch up with a missile traveling at Mach 10, the interceptor would have to run at Mach 15.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
China’s Lunar Far Side Mission To Conduct Radio Astronomy Experiments
March 3 (EIRNS)—China has released more detail about its Chang’e-4 mission to the lunar far side. The first launch of the two-spacecraft mission in May or June, which is a small communications relay satellite, will give two small science satellites a lift to the Moon. As Andrew Jones reported March 1 for GBTimes multimedia, they will conduct a test of radio astronomy from lunar orbit and also carry out space-based interferometry. These are small test satellites, because, explained Chen Xuelei, of the National Astronomical Observatory of China: “As there are many limits on the preparation time, payload mass, power and communications bandwidth, the present mission is more an experiment, but what we learn from this could be very useful for the design of future missions.”
The two “Discovering the Sky at Longest Wavelengths Pathfinder” test satellites will “give us the opportunity to [take] the first peek of the heavens in this frequency range,” away from the electromagnetically noisy Earth, said Chen. In addition to tasks carried out by each satellite, the two will fly in formation and at variable distances, testing space-based interferometry. Radio waves collected from the same celestial source by each of the satellites are matched up, producing a higher-resolution images than could be obtained with one instrument.
Before the end of the year, the Chang’e-4 lander will launch, and is expected to make history, in the first landing of a spacecraft on the non-Earth-facing far side of the Moon.
African Students Learn Nuclear Science Long Distance
March 2 (EIRNS)—Under the auspices of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, African students from Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, and South Africa will have long-distance access to a research reactor in Morocco, for education and training. An agreement was signed in Vienna yesterday to create the Internet Reactor Laboratory (IRL) program with Morocco. Other African nations are expected to join the program.
There are only nine research reactors operating in Africa, so in 2015, the IAEA established the Internet Reactor Laboratory. A host reactor is connected, via the Internet, to university classrooms in other countries. Students can participate in the reactor experiments, interact with the operating team on site, and receive data to analyze in real time. Morocco’s National Center for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology will make its MA-R1 TRIGA research reactor available to the foreign students. “Morocco’s institutions involved in nuclear science and technology make their infrastructure and accumulated knowledge and experience available to other African countries,” said Khalid El Mediouri, Director General of Morocco’s Science and Technology Center.
The IAEA has organized an IRL program with the French Atomic Energy Commission, for students in Tanzania and Tunisia, and experiments are also broadcast to Belarus and Lithuania. Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission provides access to its RA-6 research reactor in Bariloche to students from Colombia, Cuba, and Ecuador.
The goal of the IRL programs is to make nuclear science and technology available to countries without teaching research reactors, and to advance overall interest in science and technology.