Amidst Many Dangers, Keep Focus on Enabling a ‘New Bretton Woods’ System
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—The world holds many dangers right now. There is the pending financial crash, set to be much worse than that of 2008. There is the worsening relationship between the United States and China, given the tariff conflict, and the view of China that the motivation behind it is to constrain China from becoming a world leader in certain high-tech areas by 2025. And there is the continued, British-pedigree assault on the U.S. Presidency in terms of the Robert Mueller Trumpgate and Russiagate.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche elaborated on these and other dangers in her weekly strategic Schiller Institute webcast today, observing about the British-pushed anti-Trump dirty operations, that “The one good thing is that Trump, so far, has kept his nerve. But all kinds of foreign policy issues go haywire, and this is obviously an extremely dangerous situation.”
Zepp-LaRouche called on people to activate and focus on the highest level of policy needed. She said, “the big question is, how can you address [these dangerous processes] in such a way that you lift the whole discussion to a higher level? And that is why the Schiller Institute has put out a petition, calling for a New Bretton Woods, and especially appealing to the four leaders of the United States, Russia, China, and India—namely, Trump, Putin, Xi Jinping, and Prime Minister Modi—basically, that they should immediately agree to solve this problem, preempt the danger of a financial crash by going back to a New Bretton Woods, fixed exchange rates, and establish a new credit system in order to facilitate cooperation in the context of the New Paradigm, and the cooperation with the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Now, is that realistic? Well, I think it is. Because Russia, China, and India are already very strongly cooperating along these lines. And Trump has proven, in his initial relationships with China, with his friendship with Xi Jinping, that he is absolutely capable of going in this direction, and also his efforts to improve the relationship with Russia, and especially his meeting with Putin in Helsinki show that potential. And that is why this frenzy by the political establishment [to oust Trump] is so unbelievably hysterical, because they do see this potential.”
Already, in the discussion among circles internationally about the New Bretton Woods idea, there are those in Japan, who think that nation should explicitly be identified and pushed on this initiative.
Italy is moving very dramatically in line with the idea, in terms of linking up with China to start joint development work. Zepp-LaRouche described this as, “a very refreshing development, because the new Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria is with a delegation in China. And there is a second delegation led by Michele Geraci who is the Undersecretary of Commerce, and he announced the formation of such a China task force, with the idea to not just passively watch what is going on, but to keep pace with the shift of innovation and technology to Asia, and to China in particular.” And there are other countries in motion.
Zepp-LaRouche summarized, “I don’t know what will happen down the road, but we are organizing to get all the European countries, and the United States, to cooperate with the New Paradigm, and we need, obviously, a lot of people to understand that mankind has reached a point where if we continue with geopolitical hysteria, the extinction of civilization could be very close. So, people should wake up and really understand that there is no reason why the major powers of this world can not and should not cooperate in overcoming poverty, in overcoming underdevelopment. When the United States has many pockets of Third World conditions—if you go to Alabama, or you go to Tennessee, or some of these Southern states, you find areas which are like Third World! The same way, take Germany: A so-called rich country, has 4.4 million poor children, and this is increasing! In Greece, the EU austerity policy has halved the funding for medical expenses, and 25,000 health-related jobs were destroyed since the Troika began ravaging this country.
“Now confront that and compare that to the absolutely unbelievable record of China, which in 1978, had some 97.8% of all people in rural areas who were poor; and then, in the last 40 years or 39 years, they managed to get 740 million people out of poverty. The total poverty rate, right now, in China is 3.1%, and they want to eradicate that, and uplift the living standard of these people by 2020, so there is no poverty left in China.
“So, people should really not become so absolutely hysterical, but they should look at the facts: Maybe China is doing something right, which the neo-liberal monetarist system is doing wrong! And China is now offering its own model of economic transformation and share that experience, for example, with Africa. There is coming up at the beginning of September, a very major conference, involving China and I think all heads of state of Africa, and it was just announced this will be shared by Xi Jinping. And he will announce there, new concepts between China and Africa; many, many areas of joint science, joint education, many other new things.
“There are two dynamics: One is development and cooperation, and the other one is confrontation with the danger of war.”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
FOCAC Summit To Consolidate China-Africa Cooperation
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing on Sept. 3-4, is shaping up to strengthen existing China-Africa relations and to provide a boost to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Summit will be chaired by China’s President Xi Jinping. There are currently 55 members of FOCAC, including China, 53 African countries that have diplomatic relations with China, and the African Union Commission. Included among other speakers are Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Namibian President Hage Geingob. According to New Era, an online newspaper owned by the Namibian government, Namibia and China are expected to sign a cooperation deal under the Belt and Road Initiative during President Geingob’s visit.
Zeng Aiping, deputy executive director of the China-Asian African Cooperation Center, in an interview posted Aug. 23 with Xinhua, said that the FOCAC Summit will give a boost to the BRI. He said the core content of the BRI is connectivity, and that all the elements of it are what African countries need. “The BRI would be better understood and recognized by African countries. Especially in the areas of trade, infrastructure and investment, China can do a lot—or the Belt and Road Initiative can do a lot—and contribute a lot to African development,” Zeng said.
In advance of September FOCAC heads of state meeting, the first since it met in South Africa in 2015, many African experts are forecasting what lies ahead. An Egyptian researcher, Hisham AbuBakr Metwally, with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry, wrote, an Aug. 21 opinion article for China’s CGTN broadcasting network, “FOCAC—Unprecedented Successful Mechanism, Reshaped Africa,” reviewing accomplishments in rail, agriculture, energy, education and other areas in Africa, thanks to work with China to date.
But he forecast more and bigger projects and a bright future. “After the completion of all mega infrastructure projects and industrial zones, the continent will change completely.” He describes “the inauguration of the modern Africa era, hand in hand with China.”
Task Force China: ‘The Time Has Come for Italy To Ride the Chinese Wave’
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—The statement announcing the creation of a “Task Force China” under Italy’s Ministry for Economic Development, and headed by Undersecretary Michele Geraci (see EIR Daily Alert Aug. 22), included the following section not previously reported:
“The speed of China’s economic transformation is questioning most traditional economic development theories and the traditional bilateral approach. The Task Force is intended to build a new analytical framework and operational mechanism capable of keeping pace with China’s development, as to avoid becoming passive onlookers of the shift towards the East of the world’s economic center.
“In the words of Undersecretary [of Economic Development Michele] Geraci, ‘The change that the Italian government wants to achieve—in a harmonious spirit of consultation with all stakeholders—passes through the establishment of this innovative forum for analysis and policy action, which will be able to provide shared and well-informed responses in our dialogue with China. This country—which has launched the ambitious program for technological progress known as ‘Made in China 2025’ and which also has an immense internal market increasingly focused on quality goods—represents for Italy a risk (being China a direct competitor of our manufacturing sector) and also an opportunity, both in terms of exports and FDI [foreign direct investment]: The time has come for Italy to seize these opportunities and ride the Chinese wave, rather than just standing by, watching. In my 10 years in China, I discovered that acting individually is a losing strategy with China: It is always more productive to coordinate a systemic approach.’
“The Task Force, which is being set up in the imminence of the first official mission in China by Undersecretary Geraci at the end of the current month and which is taking place ahead of the two major autumn exhibitions in Shanghai and Chengdu will be open (like the recently established Free Trade Task Force) to the contributions of all interested parties, including universities and think-tanks. MISE [Ministry for Economic Development] will organize a series of regular meetings, which will discuss specific topics in detail taking into consideration all variables at stake.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Panicked Argentine President Runs to Wall Street To Promise ‘We Won’t Default’
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—Argentina’s financial daily Ambito Financieroreported yesterday that President Mauricio Macri has decided that he must personally travel to New York in September to meet with top investment funds and bankers to assure them his government will not default on its $350 billion debt—more than $100 billion of which Macri’s government contracted over the past 24 months.
Last week, three top Finance Ministry officials traveled to Wall Street to give assurances that everything was under control, but they returned to say that the investment bankers were not convinced. Macri, who had not planned to attend this year’s UN General Assembly, has changed his mind, but his trip is really only to meet with bankers to assure them that the debt will be paid, that the goals of the IMF standby agreement—which only went into effect June 20—will be met, and that 2019 will see a “recovery.”
Yet, nothing is under control, amidst rampant rumors of default, raging inflation, and inability to meet IMF conditionalities. Today, for the third day in a row, the peso plummeted to close to 31 to the dollar. The 32% inflation rate that the IMF set as this year’s goal, has already been reached, and now even monetarist “friends” of Macri’s are predicting it will reach 40% by year’s end. Given Argentina’s close economic relationship with Brazil, that country’s political and financial instability, including the plunging of its currency, is also being felt in Argentina.
Macri’s Wall Street hosts will be two well-known financial predators, Templeton and BlackRock, which former President Cristina Fernández appropriately labeled “vultures” and would have nothing to do with them. Despite the fact that they were instrumental in feeding the currency run of last April and May, speculating on the peso collapse to make a killing, Macri has embraced them as close advisors.
Italy in Revolt Against ‘Britannia Logic’
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—The “Britannia plot,” or the “Britannia meeting,” the infamous gathering off the coast of Italy onboard Queen Elizabeth’s royal yacht Britannia on June 2, 1992, to discuss Italian privatizations, and first exposed in context by EIR, is now upfront in Italian mainstream media and commentaries, after the collapse of the Morandi highway bridge in Genoa and the ensuing debate on privatizations.
Huffington Post Italia, Corriere della Sera, Repubblica, Il Tempo, and many other newspapers have published articles either stigmatizing the Britannia meeting as a symbol of privatizations, or becoming hysterical, shrieking that exposés of the Britannia plot are “conspiracy theories.” Among the latter is Paolo Mieli, leading British agent in Italy, and a blogger who goes by the pseudonym of “Johannes Bückler” (@JohannesBuckler, sans umlaut).
“Bückler,” thinking he was pulling the rabbit out of the hat, published a long report on his Twitter page, acknowledging that the author of the Britannia scoop was EIR, but saying it was founded by “anti-Semitic” and “pro-Nazi” Lyndon LaRouche, and includes the infamous photoshop showing LaRouche stretching his hand before a Hitler picture.
However, Bückler’s slander has drawn a series of angry replies by LaRouche supporters such as Andrea Pomozzi, Claudio Giudici, and Aureliano Ferri, accusing him of fake news and slanders, ridiculing his attempt to downplay the significance of the Britannia meeting and even threatening legal action.
Ferri’s tweet was then reposted by Enzo Pennetta, an author whose blog is very much followed.
Aside from the few pro-Britannia freakouts, exemplary of the general coverage is well known journalist Roberto Arditti who wrote in the HuffPost Italia: “Capitulating to the Britannia logic, we tried to sign a pact with the Devil but probably the Devil has screwed us. In the collapse of the bridge in Genoa, with its 43 deaths, there is all of what’s wrong with the [Italian] Republic.”
Hellmeyer Wants EU Countries To Join CIPS Independent Payment Settlement System
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—The proposal to set up an independent payment system for the EU, advanced by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, should not be confused with proposals to replace the dollar as reserve currency. Maas referred to the payment system used internationally called SWIFT, by which money orders are sent from one place to another. The presence and the influence of the U.S.A. in SWIFT makes it impossible for anyone to escape sanctions and seizures in transactions with Iran or other countries targeted by U.S. sanctions.
German economist Folker Hellmeyer explains the proposal: “It is not about leaving SWIFT, but about building an independent alternative which allows self-governance. This is a bitter but inevitable consequence after the recent experiences with the U.S.A. (not just with Trump: see Obama-Ukraine).”
Hellmeyer thinks that Merkel’s rejection of Maas’s idea is due to Merkel’s pro-Atlanticist orientation. However, a system other than SWIFT exists, and it is the CIPS. “The international CIPS payment system was the answer by emerging countries, under China’s leadership, to the Western abuses of the SWIFT system against single emerging nations. Europe should join this system. This would amount to an emergency contingency which, by the way, the law says is mandatory for companies in the European financial sector! The invitation to EU countries to join CIPS is still valid.”
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
U.S. and Russian Security Advisors Bolton and Patrushev Hold Five-Hour Meeting in Geneva
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—Although no details are known of what transpired at the closed-door meeting between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and the Secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva today, Patrushev said that “no accusations against us were voiced, and the work was constructive,” TASS reported. The talks, held on the premises of the United States mission to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, lasted for more than five hours.
TASS quoted Patrushev on the topics discussed: “Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile technologies, generally as well as in respect to the D.P.R.K. (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and Iran, problems related to Iran. Ensuring strategic stability and issues of arms control.” He also said: “We agreed that we will hold the next meeting. I invited them to Moscow or another city in Russia. The dates have not been agreed yet.”
Bolton, who spoke to the Associated Press at the lunch-break in the midst of the talks, referring to the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, said: “There won’t be any new sanctions if there’s no further interference,” before specifying that “how we resolve the interference in the past remains to be seen.”
Also, Bolton told AP he had expressed to Patrushev the U.S. “priority of getting all Iranian forces out of Syria,” and said that President Putin had told Bolton in a recent meeting that the Russians “would like to see the Iranians go home as well; we (the Russians) are just not sure we alone can accomplish it.” Bolton said he and Patrushev had discussed “a number of ideas” about how to do that, but “We’re not going to solve Syria here.”
At Least 58% of Americans Favor Better Relations with Russia
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—A Gallup poll, which the agency says was conducted “against a backdrop of concern about Russian interference in U.S. elections,” revealed that 58% of Americans say it’s more important to improve relations with Russia than it is to take “strong diplomatic and economic steps against Russia,” Sputnik reports, quoting Gallup’s questions.
Only 36% think harsh diplomatic and economic actions against Russia are more appropriate. Two-thirds of Americans say they are following the news about Russia and the 2016 U.S. presidential election closely, including 33% who say “very closely,” says Gallup. Three-quarters say Russia interfered in the 2016 election, with just 16% saying they did not. And 39% say Russia’s interference changed the election outcome—a position not espoused by the U.S. government, reports Sputnik. But roughly the same number, 36%, say Russia’s interference had no effect on the outcome, reports Gallup.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Taliban Leader Calls for Direct Talks with the U.S.
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—The Taliban’s Quetta Shura leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who is reportedly living in hiding in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, has called for “sincere, transparent, and result-oriented negotiations” with the United States, in order to end the foreign occupation of Afghanistan. Akhundzada said the Taliban will not talk to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s administration, which he labelled a “corrupt regime” and a “puppet.” His statement came ahead of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday that runs this year from Aug. 21-25, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and AP report.
Meanwhile, a State Department spokesman confirmed earlier reports that the United States would not take part in the Russia-hosted peace talks scheduled to be held at Moscow on Sept. 4, saying the talks were “unlikely to yield any progress toward a peace settlement,” RFE/RL reported on Aug. 22. Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi told RFE/RL yesterday that the Ghani administration has also decided not to participate in the planned Moscow conference. According to Reuters, citing an unnamed Taliban commander, at least four senior Taliban members will be in Moscow, and that the delegation would be led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Islamist group’s political office in Doha, Qatar.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said other countries invited to the talks include Pakistan, China, Iran, India, and the five Central Asian republics, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
India Will Buy Russia’s S-400 Triumf Missile System, Despite U.S. Sanctions
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—According to the chief of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev, Russia and India have agreed on the main aspects of the S-400 Triumf missile system, and it is just a matter of time until the deal is inked, India’s Zee News broadcaster reported today. Izvestia, reporting on the same matter today, cited two unnamed sources in Indian military diplomatic circles who said the contract could be signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s scheduled annual October visit to India.
“We are fully ready to sign this contract. Its foundation was laid, and almost all aspects were coordinated. We plan to sign this contract before the end of this year,” Dmitry Shugayev told the Rossiya 24 television channel on Aug. 22, Zee News reported.
In July, India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had assured reporters that the U.S. sanctions against Russia under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) would not affect the deal, and there was nothing to worry about because the sanctions were not imposed by the United Nations.
Argentine Senate Okays Police Raid on Homes of Former President Fernández de Kirchner
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, the Argentine Senate voted unanimously to allow police to raid three properties of former President and now Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, including her home in Buenos Aires, purportedly to search for evidence that she was the mastermind of a giant corruption scheme, involving the alleged payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to her personally during her term in office.
Fernández herself voted to authorize the searches, demanded by the sleazy Judge Claudio Bonadio, who is handling six corruption cases against her, arguing that police will find no “proof” because there is none. Today at noon, the federal police showed up in force outside her Buenos Aires apartment, and at her homes in El Calafate and Rio Gallegos in Patagonia, to begin the searches amidst a high-profile security deployment and media circus.
Fernández is accused of personally receiving bags of money from business executives to buy public works contacts during her Presidency, based on photocopies of notebooks kept by a former government chauffeur, who allegedly documented these transactions over years, but then burned the notebooks. Following the model of the U.S. Justice Department-run “Lava Jato” “anti-corruption” offensive in Brazil, the past three weeks have seen dozens of Argentine businessmen parading through Buenos Aires courts to “confess” to paying bribes and beg for plea bargains to stay out of jail.
In a scathing, 45-minute speech in the Senate yesterday, Fernández charged that this, and all the other cases against her, are merely examples of how the justice system is being used as an instrument of political persecution, as is happening in Brazil and Ecuador. Her only crime, she said, was implementing pro-development policies and protecting the welfare and living standards of Argentine citizens.