A Needed Burst of Optimism
May 21 (EIRNS)—Direct collaboration between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping at the end of this week pulled China and the U.S. back from the brink of a highly dangerous potential trade war between the two countries, a scenario devoutly desired and orchestrated by the British Empire and their free-trade acolytes in Washington. The problem is not over, but a collaborative course has been struck for a win-win approach, and further negotiations will now proceed.
Similarly, the extremely dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula, which the British have also been trying to use as a trigger for a strategic showdown between the U.S. and Russia and China, has instead moved in the direction of cooperation for a peaceful resolution based on combined economic development in the region. In this case it was again the direct Trump-Xi channel that was decisive.
As both cases demonstrate, the worst of strategic dangers can be transformed into “the best of all possible worlds,” when there is the political will to do so—as Helga Zepp-LaRouche has stressed.
Putting out such strategic fires set by the British arsonists is crucial, but a deeper problem remains. It is necessary to reverse the underlying shift into a paradigm of economic collapse and cultural pessimism in the West. Consider the report issued earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that the fertility rate in the United States has fallen to a 30-year low, with just 1.76 children per woman of childbearing age. Even the total number of births dropped in 2017, “down 2% from 2016 and the lowest number in 30 years,” the CDC reported. This goes hand-in-hand with earlier reports of rising death rates over recent years in nearly all segments of the U.S. population, principally from causes related to the culture of despair that has spread across the country since the assassination of JFK: drug overdoses, suicides, and so on.
One is reminded of the similar cultural pessimism that spread across Europe during the period of the 14th century Black Death. Not only did death rates soar as a direct result of the bubonic plague, but marriage and birth rates fell, as despair over the future, over man’s ability to conquer such problems, seized control of society.
Contrast that human condition, with the excitement caused by today’s news that China successfully launched its Chang’e-4 relay satellite into lunar orbit, as part of its upcoming exploration of the far side of the Moon; or with the optimistic mood shift underway across Africa and every part of the world that has joined with the Belt and Road great projects.
The United States and Europe also require such a burst of optimism. That can only come from establishing a Four Power alliance—with Russia, China and India—as specified by Lyndon LaRouche, for the purpose of ending the British Empire and transforming China’s Belt and Road Initiative into a full-scale World Land-Bridge, whose next mission is to take Mankind out into the Solar System.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
China’s Chang’e-4 Relay Satellite Is On Its Way to the Moon
May 20 (EIRNS)—The first step in China’s groundbreaking Chang’e-4 mission, which will be mankind’s first landing on the far side of the Moon, took place at 05:28 on May 21 in China (21:28 UTC on May 20), with the launch of a small communications relay satellite. For the next approximately eight days, Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” will travel past the Moon, to take up its assigned role. It is being positioned to be able to communicate at the same time with the Earth and with the spacecraft on the Moon’s far side surface, and will also carry out some astronomy observations.
Near the end of this year, the Chang’e-4 lander and rover will be launched, to carry out a range of scientific experiments in a far side region that cannot be seen from Earth.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
U.S. and China Reach Agreement on Trade Talks
May 20 (EIRNS)—The U.S. and China issued a joint statement yesterday at the conclusion of the talks between the Chinese delegation (headed by Vice Premier Liu He) and the U.S. side (headed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin). The official statement is short on specifics, but the tone is very positive and there is a heavy emphasis on the personal working relationship between Presidents Xi and Trump, as the key to the accord.
“There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States’ trade deficit in goods with China,” the White House reported. China agreed to “significantly increase purchases” of U.S. goods and services, especially in agriculture and energy, although no specific numbers were announced for reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China. The White House also announced that a U.S. team will travel to China shortly to continue ironing out the details.
Liu He’s comments to the media on May 19, as reported by Xinhua, were that “China and the U.S. have reached consensuses on economic and trade issues, pledging not to engage in a trade war and stop slapping tariffs against each other, which are the most remarkable fruits of the consultations.” Liu further characterized the talks as “positive, pragmatic, constructive and productive, Liu explained that the most important reason for the achievements is the important consensus reached previously by Xi and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, and the fundamental cause is the needs of the two peoples and the whole world…. Liu said that it not only benefits the two nations, but also helps support the stability and prosperity of the global economy and trade.”
While praising the results, Liu cautioned that, while the deal was a “necessity,” at the same time “it must be realized that unfreezing the ice cannot be done in a day, solving the structural problems of the economic and trade relations between the two countries will take time.” Liu also commented that “the two countries should properly handle their differences through dialogue and treat them calmly in the future.”
Wang Yi Discusses Belt and Road Cooperation with France, Spain, and Portugal
May 19 (EIRNS)—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s discussions with his counterparts and other leaders from France, Spain and Portugal in visits to their capitals over the past three days will not please European Union Atlanticists. Wang reported in Lisbon, the last stop of his European trip before heading to the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in Argentina on May 20, that he had reached an important consensus with the leaders he met on the necessity for joint cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as on strategic matters generally.
Xinhua summarized Wang’s report of the consensus reached, given in his joint press conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva on May 18, Friday night:
“Firstly, it is advisable that China and the EU, in the current international situation, see each other as an opportunity instead of a threat in their development, continue to treat each other as a foreign-policy priority and see each other as important partners in achieving mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.
“Secondly, more and more European countries have expressed understanding, extended welcome and voiced support to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China in 2013. They are ready to explore with the Chinese side concrete approaches and projects in cooperation within the framework of the initiative.”
In Lisbon, he discussed Portugal’s role as a key hub on the Maritime Silk Road, and suggested combining the BRI with the bilateral “blue partnership” (joint oceanic development) which Portugal has proposed. Santos emphasized that Portugal can also be “a good meeting point between the land belt and the maritime route.” Wang said in their joint press conference that China is open to a cooperation agreement with Portugal, which would align BRI cooperation with Portugal’s development strategies.
In Madrid, Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis spoke of the potential for “synchronizing” investments in Africa, Latin America and Asia, to the mutual benefit of both countries, while Wang spoke of an agreement “to seize the historical opportunities of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Syria Using Parity-Price and Credit Policy To Secure Nation’s Wheat Production
STOCKHOLM, May 18 (EIRNS)—The Syrian government made a decision on May 15 to buy the entire upcoming wheat harvest from the nation’s farmers and set up a credit facility to get them started. In addition, it will set up a complete technical and logistical support facility to support the farmers and collect the harvest. It will also provide the farmers with subsidized fuel to complete their operations. On top of that, the government will buy the crops from the farmers for almost twice the value of imported wheat.
This bold decision and the mass support which it will promote could become as important in reconquering the territory of the nation as the heroic Tiger forces of the Syrian army. It amounts to a mass mobilization of the population to resettle and develop what otherwise could become abandoned farmland or potential development areas.
The farmers now have a guarantee to be able to sell their crops, and especially if the price is a parity price allowing for investment, they will rebuild their farms and equip them with machinery. This will bring orders to local industry and bring growth to all the territory of Syria. It is a decision by a nation which has fought hard for its freedom and sovereignty, defying any takeover of its land by foreign plantation owners or oligarchs.
Prime Minister Engineer Imad Khamis explained at a cabinet meeting that “the state will remain the main supporter of national food security, and will never back down from that responsibility.” He further stressed that “the support which is given to the strategic crops must flow in the interest of the farmers, so that it becomes a motivation for them to continue their agricultural activities.” He further stressed that “all necessary measures have to be taken to enhance agricultural development in the coming years and we have to think in terms of visions that enhance our food security.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Vatican Document Denounces Derivatives Speculation as ‘Ticking Time Bomb’
May 18 (EIRNS)—The Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith yesterday released a 10,000-word document, which Pope Francis personally signed off on, which levels a broadside against the international financial system of speculation which was never reformed after the 2008 crisis, and which today threatens to bring down the entire world financial system. Although the document has a stinging criticism of speculation and financial looting, it falls short on providing any real solutions to the problem: It only cautiously suggests some sort of “separation” of banking activities, along the lines of the timid “ring-fencing” proposal that would basically have the giant banking and other financial institutions police themselves.
As Helga Zepp-LaRouche commented today: It is good as far as it goes, but it by no means goes far enough.
Under the title “Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System,” the document states: “The recent financial crisis might have provided the occasion to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and a new regulation of financial activities that would neutralize predatory and speculative tendencies and acknowledge the value of the actual economy…. On the contrary, the response seems at times like a return to the heights of myopic egoism.”
Addressing the issue of financial derivatives, the document says: “It is obvious that the uncertainty surrounding these products … transforms them into a ticking time bomb ready sooner or later to explode, poisoning the health of the markets … and thus take away vital life-lines and investments to the real economy.”
It then attacks offshore tax havens, which “have become usual places of recycling dirty money, which is the fruit of illicit income (thefts, frauds, corruption, criminal associations, mafia, war booty, etc.).” And it goes on to denounce speculative raids against national currencies, forcing “government authorities to intervene with substantial amounts of public money,” which in turn wrecks “the very economic stability of millions of families.”
In discussing responses to this crisis, the Vatican document calls for a system which will “allow and favor the reasonable exit routes from the spirals of debt, not placing it on the shoulders of the states, and therefore on that of their citizens, meaning upon millions of families carrying untenable financial burdens.” But then, rather than taking up the growing international call for a return to a Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial banks from speculative investment banks—not to mention Lyndon LaRouche’s complete Four Laws package—the Vatican only suggests that “Systemic crisis can be more effectively avoided if there were a clear definition and separation among banking responsibilities for the management of credit.” Specifically, “the banks must have a suitable management of assets, so that an eventual division of the losses may be limited to a greater extent and may fall above all on those actually responsible for losses.”
Millions of U.S. Families Trapped in Poverty, New Study Shows
May 18 (EIRNS)—A study released May 17 by the United Way ALICE Project paints a devastating picture of the poverty afflicting millions of U.S. families, many of whose members are employed, but don’t earn enough to cover the minimum amount needed to sustain a family.
The study by the United Way ALICE Project shows that nearly 51 million U.S. households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget to cover housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation and cell phone. This is 43% of all U.S. households, and includes 16.1 million families living in poverty, plus 34.7 million families who fall within the category of ALICE— Asset Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed. That is, they make less than what’s necessary to “survive in a modern economy.”
According to project director Stephanie Hoopes, despite “seemingly positive economic signs, the ALICE data show that financial hardship is still a pervasive problem” in the United States. California, New Mexico and Hawaii have the largest percentage of struggling families, at 49% each; North Dakota has the lowest. The study points out that these “employed” in the ALICE category are low-wage earners such as childcare workers, home health aides, office assistants and store clerks, who have no savings. The study also states that 66% of U.S. jobs pay less than $20/hour. Looking at counties, the study gives one example of King County in Seattle, in which an average family of four in 2016 needed a “survival” budget of $85,000, requiring an hourly wage of $42.46. Only 14% of the state’s jobs pay more than $40/hour.
According to the United Way ALICE website, an ALICE member is “a hardworking member of the community who is employed, yet does not earn enough to afford the basic necessities of life. ALICE earns above the federal poverty level, but does not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.” Explaining that United Way ALICE uses a new methodology to provide a more accurate picture of financial insecurity at the state, county, and municipal level, John Franklin, president and CEO of United Way of Northern New Jersey, warns that “for too long, the magnitude of financial instability in this country has been understated and obscured by misleading averages and outdated poverty calculations…. It is morally unacceptable and economically unsustainable for our country to have so many hardworking families living paycheck to paycheck. We are all paying a price when ALICE families can’t pay the bills.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Putin, Xi Each Calls for Scientific and Technological Focus for Military Preparedness
May 18 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin made brief opening remarks at his May 17 meeting with the Russian Defense Ministry leadership and defense industry heads. He concluded those remarks as follows, according to his Kremlin site: “Our priorities include continued development of advanced weapons systems, which must surpass the best foreign counterparts. We are expecting the design bureaus and research institutes to come up with breakthrough, outside-the-box and effective technical and engineering solutions, which, among other things, should reduce the time and the cost of creating and introducing new weapons. Of course, quality must also improve.”
A day earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered what Xinhua called “an important speech” to the medical research institute of the Army Academy of Military Science, in which he “stressed accelerating the development of modern military science, and building high-level military research institutions to support the building of a strong military in the new era.” Xi stated that “more importance should be attached to innovations, calling for innovations in military research, defense technology and the organization model of military research…. Xi called for accelerating implementation of the strategy of strengthening the armed forces through science and technology,” Xinhua wrote, and reported that “he said independent innovation was a strategic base point, calling for breakthroughs in core technologies as early as possible.”
China Welcomes Trump Rejection of ‘Libya Model’ for North Korea
May 19 (EIRNS)—The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told his May 18 press conference that “China welcomes the U.S. expression of willingness to ensure North Korea’s security, and urges both sides to shoulder their obligations to lead the peninsular nuclear issue toward a political solution,” reported Global Times.
It reports that on May 17 President Trump “sought on Thursday to placate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after Pyongyang threatened to scrap an unprecedented summit, saying Kim’s security would be guaranteed in any deal and his country would not suffer the fate of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, unless that could not be reached.”
According to the Foreign Ministry transcript, Lu told the media: “These statements showed that the U.S. side takes the D.P.R.K.’s security concerns seriously and would like to address these concerns. China welcomes that.
“We have said many times that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is essentially a security issue. Amid efforts to promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the concerns of all parties, including the legitimate security concerns of the D.P.R.K. side, shall be addressed in a balanced way.”
U.S., South Korea Pull B-52s and F-22 Raptors from Exercises after North Korean Complaint
May 18 (EIRNS)—North Korea’s complaint about the “provocative” and “threatening” nature of the ongoing U.S.-South Korean military air exercises Max Thunder, came as a surprise to Washington and Seoul. The North cancelled a planned meeting with the South scheduled for Wednesday, May 23, and warned that the Kim-Trump Summit on June 12 was also uncertain. The North had clearly stated at the beginning of this process that it did not object to continuing joint exercises in the South. The April Foal Eagle exercises were postponed for the Olympics, then downsized when they were held, as a partial concession to the North.
The North’s complaint about Max Thunder was the inclusion of potential nuclear systems in the exercises, including the B-52s which were scheduled to be included.
Following the warning from the North, Gen. Vincent Brooks, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea, and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo held an emergency meeting on May 16, announcing afterward that the B-52s and also the F-22 Raptor fighters would not take part in the exercises. This was clearly intended to assure North Korea that concessions would be made on both sides. The Trump administration has made clear that they are proceeding with discussions with Pyongyang and that they are preparing for the June 12 Summit in Singapore.
Iran Demands EU Guarantees on the Proposed Nuclear Deal
May 20 (EIRNS)—Diplomats from Germany, France, and Britain, led by Secretary General Helga Schmid of the EU diplomatic service (EEAS), as well as from Russia and China—five of the six original signers of the 2015 JCPOA—will meet in Vienna next week to discuss a new agreement with Iran similar to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran Supreme Leader’s Senior Advisor for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati has issued a warning to the EU leaders, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, in which he said: “There should be clear European guarantees in order not to turn the [JCPOA] deal, which limits Tehran’s nuclear developments in exchange for lifting sanctions of the United Nations Security Council and unilateral restrictions introduced by the United States and the European Union, into a unilateral agreement.”
Germany’s Welt am Sonntag also reported today the proposed new EU agreement with Iran will include curbing Tehran’s ballistic missile program and the role it plays in the region—something which was not part of the JCPOA, and which Iran is unlikely to accept.
It is evident that Velayati is responding to the double-talk that has emerged within the EU concerning the proposed deal. “I have no absolute confidence about the European countries’ position without receiving practical guarantees, since contradictory statements are suspicious,” he said, reported Tasnim. Velayati said, “certain EU members announce their commitment to the nuclear deal and prospects of enhancing economic cooperation with Iran, while others say that there is no need to stand against the U.S…. This contradiction cannot but arouse suspicion.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Mueller under Fire on Anniversary of ‘Greatest Witch Hunt’ in U.S. History
May 18 (EIRNS)—On May 17, Robert Mueller’s team was forced to hand over an unredacted copy of the secret “Scope Memo,” which presumably specifies the mandate that Special Counsel Mueller was given, to Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III. Mueller has done everything possible to not present that memo to anyone, so that he can keep acting as if he has unlimited authority to investigate and prosecute anyone he wants for any alleged crimes whatsoever.
In the meantime, President Trump tweeted yesterday, on the anniversary of the Mueller operation, that we have now begun “the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History disgusting, illegal and unwarranted.” In another Trump tweet, he wrote: “Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.’ Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”
James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence who is in the thick of the dirty operations against Trump, pretty much issued a confession on the matter. Clapper told his new employer CNN on May 17, “So, if there was someone observing that sort of thing [supposed Russian activity], that’s a good thing,” reported the Daily Caller. Clapper warned that it would be “hugely dangerous” to reveal the name of such a person, as it “could possibly devastate the FBI.”
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani also hammered the same point as the President yesterday, telling The Hill that “it is an absolute requirement that the investigation and the investigators are put under scrutiny…. If it is true that they put a spy—or two—inside the Trump campaign, it is not different from Watergate…. I said a long time ago, the only crimes were committed by the investigators rather than the President. So far, everything I have seen vindicates that opinion.”
In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News, Giuliani insisted that Mueller should wrap up his investigation immediately. “They should do it today. I mean as soon as possible…. If you can write a fair report fine, then write it. If you’re going to write an unfair report, write it and we will combat it. We’re ready to rip it apart. And we’re ready to rip them apart if that’s what they want. We’d rather peacefully settle this and get it over with.”
Rep. Devin Nunes Trapped in Geopolitical Insanity against China and Russia
May 18 (EIRNS)—Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is excellent in identifying and combatting the British intelligence-directed coup against President Donald Trump. On the crucial issues of China and Russia, however, Nunes has fallen prey to the very dangerous, British-run geopolitical operation which seeks global confrontation—and war—against those two powers, which they portray as the U.S.’s mortal enemies.
Nunes made this abundantly clear at his Committee’s May 17 hearing on “China’s Worldwide Military Expansion,” at the opening of which he announced he would highlight “the Chinese threat to American economic and security interests … to the threat posed by China’s growing military capabilities and global strategy,” as well as its “predatory economic activity.” He warned that “from its ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative, to its unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, China is using its economic and military power to subvert international norms, undermine U.S. national security, threaten our friends and allies, and reshape the global balance of power.”
Bad enough, but nothing compared to the rant delivered at the hearing by retired Navy Capt. James Fannel, former director of Intelligence and Information Operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, whose 64-page testimony was a diatribe against every aspect of China’s international activity, starting with an attack on Xi Jinping’s 2013 Kazakhstan speech announcing the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative. What Xi described as his “China Dream” is really a “supremacist” plot, Fannel charged, going on to detail what he said is China’s drive for regional and global hegemony.