EIR Daily Alert Service, FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018

Volume 5, Number 94

EIR Daily Alert Service

P.O. Box 17390, Washington, DC 20041-0390

EDITORIAL

If Roosevelt Had Lived

May 10 (EIRNS)—Coming amidst the completely unprecedented developments of the recent weeks, yesterday’s celebration of Victory Day in Moscow, commemorating the end of World War II in Europe, and particularly President Putin’s deeply moving tribute to those who unstintingly gave all to defeat the Nazis, call to mind our American President, Franklin Roosevelt, who had succumbed, worn out, just weeks before the final defeat of Nazism. Roosevelt’s death at that moment cheated that generation out of the promise of the postwar world, and the postwar America, for which he had so long planned and fought.

Statesman Lyndon LaRouche’s New Delhi address of Dec. 3, 2008, “The Time Has Come for a New System,” in which he first proposed the “Four-Power Agreement,” reproduces Franklin Roosevelt’s thinking of back then, through the prism of LaRouche’s more advanced concepts up through the present.

Lyndon LaRouche said, “We have to have a coalition of forces on the planet, which is strong enough, and understands its mutual self-interest sufficiently, to restore the kind of control which the United States attempted to promote under Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt, in dealing with China, and dealing with the Soviet Union, and other countries, toward the end of the war, said, you don’t have to like the other country; you don’t have to like its government; you don’t have to like its policy. What you have to do, is establish an international system of control, under which you don’t have things running loose, which are menaces. Simply having treaty organizations or similar things tantamount to treaty organizations, where people have such an interest in maintaining the treaty organization that they will regulate themselves and their own country. And you can get cooperation on this.”

This was the way in which Roosevelt intended to compose a postwar world with Stalin’s Russia, China and India. But his successor, Harry Truman, offered to meet Stalin just as soon as he could come to the United States—which Truman well knew Stalin would never do. The model for postwar Germany was to be what we have seen in Austria—neutrality freed from foreign military occupation. A united Germany would have flourished—but that was not to be. The Korean War, which has loomed over us from its beginning in 1950 until the present moment, offered Stalin a way to punch back against Anglo-American military pressure in Europe, through an unguarded back door in Asia. In retrospect, another sort of nightmare followed after World War II, because Roosevelt died and his plans and ideals were buried with him by British imperialism.

Within his proposed Four-Power agreement, LaRouche proposed using the uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution to anchor the issuance of massive amounts of credit-generation for productive investment, emphasizing infrastructure.  There is no way to set about transforming the millions of unskilled labor in India, for example, into skilled labor, without massive infrastructure creation.

Back then, in 1945, we had failed to create the postwar world which our heroes expected and deserved. Instead of that bright promise, we spent an entire lifetime under the threat of nuclear war—a threat which persists today. But today, a new alternative is opened thanks to Lyndon LaRouche’s creative vision, centered in the Belt and Road Initiative launched by China’s President Xi Jinping, in which over 100 countries are now participating.

Today, Mahathir Mohamad, at age 92, was re-inaugurated as Prime Minister of Malaysia 15 years after he last left that position, becoming the world’s oldest elected leader. Mahathir Mohamad is very well-known internationally for his open agreement with Lyndon LaRouche, for instance, concerning George Soros. He assumes office as a world leader who is a Muslim, who is also a foremost partisan of the Belt and Road Initiative, which he said today he had suggested in detail in a personal letter to President Xi Jinping.

Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership and backing for the Belt and Road Initiative is not only important for Southeast Asia, but extremely important for the Middle East, which is being hit by dangerous proxy warfare. The Belt and Road is the urgent answer for Southwest Asia—as Lyndon LaRouche has proposed for over 40 years, and as Franklin Roosevelt would agree.

See Lyndon LaRouche, “The Time Has Come for a New System,” EIR, Dec. 19, 2008.

THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER

Mahathir Sworn In as Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Praises China’s Belt and Road

May 10 (EIRNS)—Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, 92, has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia, following the stunning and overwhelming victory by the opposition coalition he put together to challenge his former UMNO party and his former protégé Najib Razak, who has been exposed as extremely corrupt. Mahathir’s press conference this morning focused on China, since he had campaigned in part against the high borrowing costs of some of the projects China has undertaken in Malaysia as part of the Belt and Road. But he made clear that he fully supports the Belt and Road, and will work closely with China, while also wanting to review some of the contracts.

A transcript of his answer to the first question to him, on China and the Belt and Road:

“We need to study all the things done by the previous government, not only about China—a lot of things inside the country. China has a long experience dealing with unequal treaties [under the British], and China renegotiated them. So if necessary we will renegotiate the terms. But what amount of money was borrowed by the government? RM55 billion [$14 billion] for the East-West railroad, and lots of other things which will be a great burden on the government. The government must try to reduce borrowing, otherwise we will be in bad shape.

“As far as the Belt and Road problem. We have no problem with that. Except we don’t want to see warships in the region, because warships attract other warships, and things will become tense. In the past we had a nuclear free zone, so we would not like to have potential warfare in this country.

“But we support the Belt and Road program. In fact, I myself wrote to Xi Jinping on the need of a land connection with Europe using trains, which are faster than ships. When the demand for oil grew, ships were built bigger and bigger, reaching a half-million tons, but trains have remained small, not long enough. So I suggested to Xi Jinping in a personal letter that we need big trains, and China has the technology to build big trains, to take goods to Europe, and also to make Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and so on—to be more accessible, to transfer their goods, their raw materials, to China, to Japan, and to Southeast Asia.

“That is our policy.”

Election of Mahathir in Malaysia Has Global Implications

May 10 (EIRNS)—Like the Brexit vote for Britain to leave the EU, the election of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, the return to leadership by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia represents the unfolding paradigm change, and could potentially have a major influence on resolving crises in the Middle East and elsewhere in the developing world.

One businessman who has worked closely with Mahathir and his leading economic advisor, Daim Zainudden, on projects around the world, told EIR today that he has seen that Mahathir still enjoys huge respect around the world, including especially in the Islamic nations, for his defense of development and sovereignty.

EIR, it should be remembered, circulated Mahathir’s speeches and writings widely around the world during the period Mahathir took the point against George Soros and the IMF after the “Asia crisis” of 1997. At the time, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page freakout: “Malaysia’s Mahathir Finds Strange Source for Soros Campaign: Asian Country’s Media Tap U.S. Conspiracy Theorist Lyndon LaRouche, Jr.” Argentina’s President Nestor Kirchner and other world leaders were influenced by Mahathir’s courage, and his demonstration that a nation could survive a British financial onslaught by standing up against it.

This impact can be effective again today, contributing to the transformation globally to the New Paradigm. Mahathir expressed in his press conference today his strong support, historically and still today, for the Belt and Road process (see transcript, above).

In an interview with EIR on Feb. 16, 2014, Dr. Mahathir commented on his meeting with Xi Jinping soon after President Xi announced the Maritime Silk Road in Indonesia. He and Xi created a new institution called the “Ching Ho Association” named after Adm. Ching Ho (Zheng He), who led the huge armada of the Chinese Treasure Ships in the 15th century. Mahathir said:

“[Ching Ho] is a remarkable leader, a remarkable man. He came with very powerful forces, not to conquer, but to establish diplomatic relations with countries. China never attempted to conquer countries. They wanted to establish diplomatic relations and trade with these countries. This contrasts with the first Portuguese—with Vasco da Gama, Afonso de Albuquerque, and Diogo Lopes de Sequeira—who came here in order to conquer. The Portuguese arrived in Malacca in 1509. Two years later, they conquered Malacca. The Chinese had been in Malacca for many, many years before that, and never conquered Malacca, although they had so many Chinese in this country who could have formed a fifth-column for them. But they never tried to conquer. So there is this difference between Ching Ho and the Portuguese and the other Europeans. Ching Ho established friendships. So this Association that we are going to form is in order to celebrate friendship between nations. There will be an award for the people who work most to bring about friendship between countries.” (See EIR, March 7, 2014, “Mahathir: The British Empire and Its U.S. Minions Foment Global War”)

Trade Between China and Russia Is Growing

May 10 (EIRNS)—Trade between Russia and China may exceed $100 billion in 2018, because of the consistent recovery of the Russian economy and growing market demand, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, reported Sputnik today.

China-Russia trade totalled $31.2 billion in the January-April period—nearly a 30% increase over the same period in 2017, and may exceed $100 billion in 2018. Gao attributed this to the consistent stabilization of the Russian economy and growth of market demand. Cooperation has expanded between Russia and China in investment, aerospace, construction and infrastructure projects.

China’s Poverty Alleviation Experience and BRI Programs Offer Benefits to Africa

May 10 (EIRNS)—China offers lessons on ending poverty, according to views expressed by many African delegates to the Third Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation on May 8. The forum was held in Beijing, under the theme, “Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development.”

China’s experience in coordinating urban and rural development, along with agricultural and industrial development, has greatly benefitted African countries, said former Tanzanian Prime Minister Salim Ahmed Salim. We should promote local government cooperation between China and African countries, Nigerian Prime Minister Brigi Rafini stated, according to Xinhua.

In an interview with Xinhua, Liomba Mwangala, Permanent Secretary of Southern Province of Zambia, said, “We expect our Chinese team to go to Zambia any time soon so that we can engage each other.” He said that he is expecting Chinese companies to provide support in infrastructure construction and tourism development.

On cooperative projects, Mandengue Louis Lucien Heurard, Deputy Mayor of Douala, Cameroon, said that the Belt and Road Initiative has brought many infrastructure projects to Africa, which have made people’s lives more convenient and created better conditions to alleviate poverty.

STRATEGIC WAR DANGER

Conflict Between Iran and Israel Flares in Syria

May 10 (EIRNS)—Fighting between Israel and Iran has flared up, in which Syria has become the battleground. Late in the night of May 9, Israel accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force of firing 20 rockets towards the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said none hit Israeli territory; four rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system and the rest landed on Syrian territory. Israel says in response, that it targeted 50 sites in Syria that it claims are bases for the Iranians, which Manelis defined as “one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decade.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said Israel deployed 28 planes that fired at least 60 missiles, half of which were intercepted; the Syria Arab Army reports three people were killed. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said his country was concerned about growing military tensions between Israel and Iran over Syria. “This is all very alarming, it causes concern. There should be work to de-escalate the tensions,” TASS quoted Bogdanov as saying.

Manelis said Israeli forces attacked the vehicle that launched the rockets as well as five batteries of the Syrian antiaircraft system. He also said the IDF warned the Syrian army not to intervene and informed the Russians prior to the attack through the deconfliction agreement between Russia and Israel.

The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, confirmed that Israel launched “tens” of rockets, some of which reached their target and destroyed one of their radar sites.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in a Fox News interview, said the Golan flare-up with Israel “is just further demonstration that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted and another good reminder that the President made the right decision to get out of the Iran deal.”

The strikes occurred within hours of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return from Moscow, where he discussed his Syria/Iran concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said of the attack: “They [Iran] need to remember the saying that if it rains on us, it’ll storm on them. I hope we’ve finished this episode and everyone understood.” Lieberman said that Israel doesn’t want an escalation, but “won’t let anyone attack us or build an infrastructure to attack us in the future.”

From France, a statement was issued in the name of President Emmanuel Macron that “He calls for a de-escalation,” and that Macron would discuss the matter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when he meets with her in Aachen, later in the day.

Syrian President Assad Addresses Danger of World War in Greek Interview

May 10 (EIRNS)—Syrian President Bashar al Assad gave a long interview in English to Alexis Papachelas, editor in chief of the leading Greek daily Kathimerini. It is obviously to deliver a message. In the extensive interview, Assad reiterates some familiar positions—e.g., the false chemical attacks; the fight against Western-backed terrorists—but also answers some strategically important questions.

Assad was asked whether he is “worried about a Third World War starting here in Syria? I mean, you have the Israelis hitting the Iranians here in your own country. You have the Russians, you have the Americans. Are you concerned about that possibility?”

Assad replied: “No, for one reason: Because fortunately, you have a wise leadership in Russia, and they know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict. Since Trump’s campaign, the main agenda was against Russia, create a conflict with Russia, humiliate Russia, undermine Russia, and so on. And we’re still in the same process under different titles or by different means. Because of the wisdom of the Russians, we can avoid this. Maybe it’s not a full-blown third world war, but it is a world war, maybe in a different way, not like the second and the first, maybe it’s not nuclear, but it’s definitely not a cold war; it’s something more than a cold war, less than a full-blown war. And I hope we don’t see any direct conflict between these superpowers, because that is where things are going to get out of control for the rest of the world.” The full transcript and video are available from Kathimerini.

Macron and Rouhani Speak on Nuclear Agreement; IAEA Confirms Iran Adheres to JCPOA

May 10 (EIRNS)—Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France and Hassan Rouhani of Iran spoke by telephone today and agreed to support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “The French President and the Iranian President agreed to continue their joint work with all concerned states in order to keep implementing the nuclear deal and preserve regional stability,” Macron’s office said. The Daily Mailreported yesterday that the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany will meet with Iranian representatives May 14 “to consider the entire situation,” France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.

Yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran is adhering to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said May 9. “The IAEA is closely following developments related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As requested by the United Nations Security Council and authorized by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2015, the IAEA is verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime under the JCPOA, which is a significant verification gain,” Amano said. “As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.”

COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Argentine Financial Crisis Deepens, as Wall Street Fears ‘Nightmare’ Could Spread

May 10 (EIRNS)—Argentina’s currency decline continues unabated, today reaching a record 23.22 pesos to the dollar, forcing the Central Bank to yet again spend dollar reserves to prop up the peso, which has lost 20% of its value against the dollar this year. Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne is meanwhile huddled with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Washington to pin down a requested $30 billion standby loan, negotiations for which are expected to take six weeks.

Nor is the crisis limited to Argentina. The Wall Street Journalheadlined its coverage today, “Will Argentina’s Nightmare Spread?” pointing to the vulnerability of other emerging markets whose currencies and stock markets are also collapsing, as funds leave, attracted by rising U.S. interest rates. A revealing article published today by the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) also frets that if the neo-liberal project of President Mauricio Macri fails—he’s described as “the trailblazer for Latin American conservatives”— then “the recent turn towards economic liberalization that has swept across Latin America may be reversed.”

The daily Infobae May 9 cited sources at Goldman Sachs who warned that Argentina’s economy is so unstable that Macri’s government won’t qualify for the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) it hopes to get. Instead it will have to opt for a standby loan, whose conditionalities are far more onerous, and require strict IMF oversight to ensure they are imposed. Argentine Claudio Loser, former head of the Fund’s Western Hemisphere division, warned that “this will hurt,” but too bad. No more “gradualism”; what’s needed is shock treatment, he said.

The only possible outcome of such policies is social explosion. Argentines have been suffering under the weight of harsh austerity already imposed by Macri, which has gutted living standards. As Larry Elliott pointed out in the May 9 Guardian, “There are plenty of places in the world where the IMF is unloved. But in few of them is the loathing quite as visceral as it is in Argentina.” Citizens associate the IMF with the traumatic crisis of 2001, brought on by years of the Fund’s usurious policies and economic looting, which resulted in default, social upheaval, and unprecedented economic crisis. “It is an atrocity that we are returning to the Fund,” one citizen told the Wall Street Journal. “This will bring hunger, recession and unemployment.”

EU Will Target China at Sofia West Balkans Summit; Croatian Bridge Deal Disputed

May 10 (EIRNS)—On May 17 the EU-Western Balkans Summit will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, where EU officials Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker will try to strongarm participating countries not to cooperate with China, according to The Asset. Bulgaria holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The main target will be Croatia this time, because of the Peljesac Bridge deal whose tender was won by the China Road and Bridge Corp. (CRBC). The losing bidders, Austria’s Strabag and an Italian-Turkish consortium, have challenged the decision in the State Commission for Control of Public Procurement and the Administrative Court in Zagreb, alleging that the CRBC enjoys state aid, which is forbidden by EU law. Both the commission and the court have rejected the challenge.

The Croatian government seems firmly committed to going ahead with the Chinese, according to statements to Chinese media.

The Peljesac Bridge is a key element of infrastructure for Croatia: At 2.4 km long, it will connect the northern and southern parts of the country without going through neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project has been 85% funded by the EU with €357 million.

The irony is that, while launching a war against the Belt and Road, the EU has picked up the Belt and Road concept of “Connectivity,” which is the theme of the Sofia conference. As the “Silk Road Briefing” of multinational consultancy Dezan Shira & Associates put it: “High on the agenda will be plans for improved road and rail links across the region, which is a sector where the EU is trying to discourage involvement from China, in favor of EU-led projects.”

U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

Trump-Kim Summit Set for June 12 in Singapore

May 10 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greeted the three remaining American detainees released by North Korea at 3 a.m. at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington this morning.

The release of the three Americans, Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, as The Hill reported, was presented as a goodwill gesture by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ahead of what will be a historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

That summit was announced a few hours later as set for June 12 in Singapore.

President Trump said his goal with North Korea is to open a dialogue that can achieve complete, verifiable denuclearization. “My proudest achievement will be—this is a part of it, but it will be when we denuclearize that entire peninsula,” Trump said on the tarmac at Andrews. “We have been waiting for a long time. Nobody thought we could be on this track in terms of speed.”

The President said further, “I think he did this because I really think he wants to do something and bring that country into the real world….”

The President also praised the family of Otto Warmbier, the American imprisoned for a year, who died one week after returning to the United States in June 2017 in a coma.

Trump Proposes To Stand Up a New ‘Space Force’ Military Branch

May 10 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump proposed a new military Space Force to defend the United States in the event of a space war, Sputnik reported today. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) proposed an amendment to slow down its planning, arguing that Congress should wait for an assessment by the Pentagon to be released this summer, which the House Armed Services Committee asked for.

Reps. Mike Rogers (R) and Jim Cooper (D), the chairman and ranking member on the Armed Services Committee want an independent space service, but the Strategic Forces Subcommittee is proposing a U.S. Space Command instead of a separate space service.

Sputnik observes that the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 bans the placement of weapons of mass destruction in Earth’s orbit, but there is no comprehensive international agreement on what exactly is considered a space weapon.

SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Democratic Republic of Congo Declares New Ebola Outbreak

May 10 (EIRNS)—The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro in Equateur Province on May 8. The outbreak declaration was made after laboratory results confirmed two cases of EVD.

The Ministry of Health of Democratic of the Congo (D.R.C.) informed World Health Organization that two out of five samples collected from five patients tested positive for EVD at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in Kinshasa. More specimens are being collected for testing. WHO is working closely with the Kinshasa government to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners using the model of a successful response to a similar Ebola outbreak in 2017.

Yesterday, WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti was quoted in WHO’s statement on the outbreak: “We will gather more samples conduct contact tracing, engage the communities with messages on prevention and control, and put in place methods for improving data collection and sharing.”

The first multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the Provincial Division of Health travelled to Bikoro on May 8 to strengthen coordination and investigations.

This is the ninth outbreak of EVD since the discovery of the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. In the past five weeks, there have been 21 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever in and around the Ilkoko Iponge, including 17 deaths, the WHO reported May 8.

On May 8, after receiving the testing results, WHO set up its incident Management System to fully dedicate staff and resources across the organization to the response. WHO plans to deploy epidemiologists, logisticians, clinicians, infection prevention and control experts, risk communication experts and vaccination support teams in the coming days. WHO has alerted neighboring countries.

WHO’s report stated that Ebola is endemic to the D.R.C. The last Ebola outbreak in the D.R.C. occurred in 2017 in the Lakati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province, in the northern part of the country, and was quickly contained by the joint efforts of the government of D.R.C. and various partners.

OTHER

Last Chance for a M5S-Lega Government in Italy

May 10 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi took a “step sideward” and announced that his party Forza Italia will agree to a government headed by the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Lega, if the M5S and the Lega come to an agreement, and that it would not jeopardize a strategic alliance between Forza Italia and the Lega.

Lega head Matteo Salvini and M5S candidate Luigi di Maio subsequently obtained from President Sergio Mattarella a few more days’ time for a last attempt to build a coalition. One of the conditions for such an agreement is that a “third figure” will be the Prime Minister, and that as soon as possible there should be early elections.

If they fail, Mattarella will carry out his threat of forming a “neutral” government and send it to Parliament for a vote of confidence. A major systemic crisis will erupt if such a government does not win the vote.

Prof. Michele Geraci posted the following comment on the Italian political crisis: “Since I have been living in China, where they do not vote, I ask myself: but in Italy, after some 70% of the population voted for parties which are so-called populist-driven and lukewarm on the euro and Europe—are they now looking for a pro-European Prime Minister? So, what is the difference? With due respect for Mattarella, I hope the media got it wrong.”

An insider source in Rome, who had earlier forecast that neither Salvini nor Di Maio would get the premiership, remarked that Italy does not have a political crisis, but rather a crisis of the parliamentary system in Italy. By this he emphasized the fact that if there is no agreement on a government, it is not even clear what procedures there are to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. Whatever steps are taken, there must be a government voted for by Parliament.

And what happens if early elections are called too early and the result is not much different from the current one?

The political process is on a steep slope, and at the next occasion, an authoritarian turn might find no resistance, under the excuse of “governability.”

Whatever occurs in the coming hours, a decision must be taken to avoid an automatic increase of the value-added tax (VAT) as per law, if the budget deficit is not corrected. And Italy is at risk of taking part in the next EU summit, where decisions will be taken on immigration and the budget, without a government able to defend its interests.

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