To Exit Free Trade and Build Infrastructure at Last: The ‘North American Belt and Road Initiative’
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—The world is currently seeing a new paradigm of cooperative relations and economic development take hold, from its initiation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, across Eurasia, Southwest Asia and Africa. It is also watching the major power centers of Europe, on London’s lead, insist on rejecting this new paradigm in favor of geopolitical “zero-sum, win-lose” economic policies and war confrontations with Russia and China.
In the center is the Presidency of Donald Trump: disrupting the confrontation with Russia to the murderous fury of the geopoliticians and their media; fully intending to build a new U.S. economic infrastructure and restore the American industrial worker; but in a hardening trade confrontation with China which threatens his peace diplomacy in Korea and his early good relationship with President Xi Jinping; and with his infrastructure plans having gone nowhere thus far.
There is hope, as Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche observed today, that President Trump will rethink participation in the Belt and Road Initiative and join in, as Japan has recently shifted its policy on this. This might occur as a result of the United States’ very attempts to oppose and compete with China’s New Silk Road in Africa and Southeast Asia, which have been intensified by announcements by Secretary of State Pompeo in recent days.
But a much better way for the confrontation policy to change is through the proposal of independent Congressional candidate Kesha Rogers, running in the Texas 9th CD, in Houston, against incumbent and “impeachment” leader Rep. Al Green (D). That proposal, quoting Kesha Rogers: “We should replace NAFTA with the North American Belt and Road Initiative (NABRI), as part of the global Belt and Road Initiatives, or World Land-Bridge, and the creation of a production-oriented New Bretton Woods international financial system.”
The candidate focuses on five areas of development: A North American infrastructure bank or credit institution; a North American Water and Power Alliance; building corridors of high-speed rail/maglev and industrial development through the Americas; bringing the Maritime Silk Road through the Caribbean and through the expanded Panama Canal and other new crossings; and sharing on the frontiers of space science.
For President Trump and his constituents fired up to support him against “Russiagate”; for the American workers waiting for NAFTA to be ditched and new infrastructure to get built at last; and for Mexico and its new President-elect, it is the happy solution, and the best.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Texas Candidate Kesha Rogers Spells Out a ‘North American Belt and Road Initiative’
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—Kesha Rogers, independent Congressional candidate in Texas’ 9th Congressional District, today proposed a “North American Belt and Road Initiative” for cooperation among President Donald Trump, Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and President Xi Jinping of China, in bringing the Belt and Road to North America and Central and South America. Rogers proposed: “There are five specific areas of cooperation that the United States and Mexico can establish to transform the entire Western Hemisphere into an area free of the influence of narco-terrorists, their Wall Street and London drug banks, and looting by international cartel conglomerates. These areas of cooperation are:
“1. Establish a North American Infrastructure Investment Bank—Based on the same concept as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a new NAIIB would be a development bank contributed to by countries from all over the world for the purpose of seeing great projects all the way to completion. Unlike the IMF, World Bank, and vulture capitalists—which have strapped countries with usurious interest rates and unpayable debts, forcing them to privatize their social safety nets and sell off their sovereign resources and infrastructure—the NAIIB would offer low, fixed interest rates, to help nations fund great projects that alleviate poverty and increase trade.
“2. Build the 21st-Century North American Water and Power Alliance—Originally proposed in 1964, NAWAPA is a massive water transfer and hydropower generation project from the rain intensive northwest coast of North America all the way into the arid regions spanning from California through Texas and northern Mexico, for drought relief and agricultural revitalization. The plan was updated for the 21st Century in 2014 by the LaRouchePAC to emphasize nuclear power generation, new desalination technologies, and linking to other water projects in Mexico.
“3. The World Land-Bridge—The Belt and Road Initiative is connecting the nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe through rail and high-speed magnetically levitated rail. This has dramatically increased trade and exchange of ideas, both domestically and internationally for all nations involved. The natural link for this network of rail is the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, all the way through North America, bridging the Darién Gap, and down to the Strait of Magellan. These are envisioned … as “development corridors” that incorporate large rural swaths into the jobs programs and benefits.
“4. Caribbean Basin Maritime Silk Road—The development of deep-water industrial ports in Mariel, Cuba and Ponce, Puerto Rico, will link cross-Atlantic cargo flows through the expanded Panama Canal and the planned Nicaraguan Grand Inter-Oceanic Canal, as well as the proposed Tehuantepec Isthmus “dry canal” in Mexico, for dramatically increased cargo flows to and from China and Asia. This will require the development of deep-water ports and related infrastructure on Mexico’s two coasts, as well as improvements to the Port of Houston….
“5. Space Science—Cooperation in the advancement of space exploration and scientific breakthroughs must play a critical role in the advancement of economic relations and trade…. The United States must join in with other nations for the advancement of the common aims of mankind, in new breakthroughs and discoveries in Space Science…. Through NABRI and joint space cooperation, it can work with Mexico’s small space agency to transform it into a major driver of the scientific and technological development. Satellites will help forecast both hurricanes and earthquakes, fight the drug cartels, and improve monitoring of agricultural health. The launching of astronautas to the Moon and the ISS will both inspire the youth and conduct important scientific experiments in space. Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean will all benefit from the widespread dissemination of thermonuclear fusion technology, promised by the massive helium-3 fuel supply to be mined from the Moon.”
Railway Cooperation Is Focus of Russian Minister’s Talks in Egypt
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—Russia has offered Egypt cooperation in the area of railway development, reports say. Russian First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Georgy Kalamanov was received by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Aug. 5, reported TASS.
President el-Sisi praised “the positive development of strategic relations with Russia at all levels,” and expressed “confidence in their further development in all areas, especially in economy and trade.” He stressed that “Egypt wants to have the most favorable conditions, including receiving new railway cars and world-standard station equipment for its railway sector as part of government plans to build 2,000 kilometers of rail roads.”
For his part, Kalamanov said Russia “is interested in cooperation with Egypt in the area of railway transport, and plans to use all possibilities to help Egypt maintain and develop its railways.” The Russian official pointed to the possibilities for cooperation “under large-scale bilateral projects, including within the Russian industrial zone in Egypt, near the Suez Canal,” according to the Egyptian press statement.
“Egypt may be Russia’s intermediary in cooperation with other African nations in the area of railway transport, especially taking into account Cairo’s initiative to build a unified African railway network to promote economic integration on the continent,” Kalamanov said.
Kalamanov’s reference to Cairo’s railway initiative refers in part to an agreement made among the leaders of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, at a tripartite summit last January in Addis Ababa, to build a railway linking the three countries. Last February, Egyptian Transport Minister Hisham Arafat announced that Egypt would draft a study in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the economic feasibility of the railway, which would begin in the Cairo suburb, 6th of October City. There have also been very preliminary discussions with Israel for linking the two countries by a railway.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Sen. Rand Paul Meets Russian Senators in Moscow, and Invites them to Washington
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) flew to Moscow today to meet Russian lawmakers on the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee: First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Foreign Affairs Committee Vladimir Dzhabarov, Deputy Chairman Vladimir Lukin, who also headed the first Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, and First Deputy Chairman Sergei Kislyak, who is also a former Russian Ambassador to Washington. The visit was made to increase engagement between the U.S. and Moscow, TASS and the Washington Post reported.
Senator Paul and his delegation, which includes Texas State Sen. Don Huffines and CATO Institute President Peter Goettler, will visit St. Petersburg after their visit to Moscow.
Sen. Paul’s visit follows by only a few weeks the July 4 visit of the Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)-led delegation of Republican legislators to Moscow for meetings with Russian parliamentarians and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which included U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX). No Democratic congressmen participated.
In his meeting, today, at the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s bicameral Federal Assembly, Senator Paul invited Russian legislators to meet with U.S. Congress members, in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere. “This is incredibly important,” Paul said, according to Interfax news agency.
Paul said that President Trump’s interaction with President Putin, as shown in their July 16 Helsinki summit, is exactly the kind of action Washington should be taking to improve relations. To the Senator’s suggestion of a further meeting, Sen. Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, responded that such a meeting could occur as soon as this fall.
Senator Paul has questioned the extent of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Kosachev said that Russia had no role in election meddling in 2016, “And it will certainly not happen during the ongoing [midterm] election campaign, either,” he told reporters after the meeting.
‘U.S. Memo’ Differs from Trump, Rejects Help to Russia To Repatriate Syrian Refugees
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—A United States “government memo” has refused Russia’s proposal through the military-to-military channel, for the U.S. military to assist and participate in Syria’s post-war repatriation of refugees, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported today, citing an Aug. 4 report from Reuters. The memo is generating an angry response in Moscow, due to its refusal, and to the refusal’s being made public despite the communication channel through which it was delivered, reported the TASS press review of NG’s coverage. According to the Reuters report, Russia’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov sent the request by letter July 19 to Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, through the restricted military-to-military channel.
Reuters states that Gerasimov’s proposed initiative received an “icy reception” in Washington. NG reports that the report provoked “disappointment” from the Russian Defense Ministry, both because of the U.S. refusal, and “the U.S. side’s inability to honor its agreements to not unveil details about bilateral contacts” through the secure military-to-military channel set up by Generals Dunford and Gerasimov.
Most important, the refusal defies discussion of the importance of the repatriation of refugees by both President Vladimir Putin and, emphatically, President Donald Trump at their July 16 press conference following the Helsinki summit. Furthermore, on July 20, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the press, “There’s lots of work to do to figure out how to implement that [repatriation of Syrian refugees]. But, the United States certainly wants to be part of helping achieving that resolution in Syria. Make no mistake about it.”
Reuters in what it called an “exclusive,” cited “a U.S. government memo,” that Russia had used the communications channel between the Russian and U.S. military chiefs of staff on July 19 to propose joint action to repatriate Syrians and rebuild the nation. The United States memo, which Reuters claimed it had seen, but did not further identify, responded that the U.S. policy was only to support such efforts if there were a political solution to end Syria’s seven-year-old civil war, including such steps as a UN-supervised election. Reuters wrote: “ ‘The [Russian] proposal argues that the Syrian regime [sic] lacks the equipment, fuel, other material, and funding needed to rebuild the country in order to accept refugee returns,’ according to the memo, which specified that the proposal related to Syrian government-held areas of the country.”
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Global Credit Crunch Coming, Says IIF Chief Economist
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—A report by chief economist Robin Brooks of the International Institute of Finance, on a coming global debt crisis, is reported in several locations. The IIF represents the largest global banks.
International Business Editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the London Daily Telegraph Aug. 2 cited Brooks as saying that the collapse of the Turkish lira and Argentine peso are warning signs of huge overleverage in the international financial system. Brooks stated that these and other currency collapses in what the financiers call “emerging markets,” have come in response to increases in central bank rates that are much smaller than those of 2013 (the so-called “taper tantrum” set off by then Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke). Yet the reactions in 2013 were much less severe.
“What concerns the IIF is that the global interest rate shock so far has been modest. Yields on 10-year Treasuries have risen just 60 basis points, yet the damage has already been greater than in the ‘taper tantrum’ of 2013…. It is a warning sign of how vulnerable the tired, over-leveraged system has become,” writes Evans-Pritchard.
“A New Global Credit Crunch To Come?” is a much longer analysis Aug. 4, taking off from the IIF warning, by Marxist economist Michael Roberts in his blog, and reprinted by the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM). Roberts said the most likely immediate trigger for a bank meltdown is the Turkish lira collapse. “But Turkey is just the most extreme example of the growing debt crisis beginning to hit economies that depend on foreign capital flows and investment in order to grow (and that’s most).”
Roberts continued, “The locus of this impending debt crisis is not to be found in household debt (as it was in the global credit crunch in 2007 that led to the Great Recession) or in public sector debt (where governments have been applying stringent austerity measures), but in corporate debt.” And where: “U.S. companies must refinance about $4 trillion of bonds, almost all of it at higher interest rates. This will hit debt-burdened companies that are already struggling and make it almost impossible for some to keep operating. Lenders, i.e. high-yield bond holders, will try to exit their positions all at once only to find a severe shortage of willing buyers. Something, possibly high-yield bonds, will set off a liquidity scramble.”
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
China Asks International Scientists To Help Peer Review Space Station Experiments
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—As the time draws near to start launching modules to assemble its space station, China has offered the international scientific community the opportunity to carry out experiments aboard the station. Recently it created a concrete mechanism to implement that offer. The Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) has established a Committee on Science and Technology Experiments of the Chinese Space Station to collect, consider, and evaluate proposals from scientists around the globe. The candidate projects that the Committee recommendations will then go through the China Manned Space Agency for final disposition and integration into the station.
The CAST Committee is made up of 14 Chinese scientists, and in a further step of “opening up,” scientists from other countries have been invited to not only submit project proposals, but to also participate as “peer-review experts,” in evaluating proposals that are submitted for consideration. China is determined to draw on the “best and the brightest” in the international scientific community.
Conducting some joint experiments through international cooperation might also be carried out, Zhang Hongtai, president of CAST, told Xinhua.
“We are looking forward to experiments to better sustain space exploration,” said Zhang. “We also expect China’s space station to be an in-space incubator of new technologies that can improve people’s lives.”
Earlier this year, the Youth Program of Scientific Education Experiments on the Chinese Space Station was launched, to stimulate interest among mostly primary and middle school students. Nearly 200 project proposals were submitted, and a preliminary group of 30 has been selected.
‘Made in China 2025’ May Bring World’s First Exascale Computer
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—Press Trust of India (PTI) is reporting a development in supercomputing which highlights just the “Made in China 2025” list of high-technology products and technological breakthroughs against which the Trump Administration has thrown its tariffs. This particular development—a potential world-first “exascale computer,” may be “Made in China” before 2021.
Basing its report on Xinhua, PTI writes: “China has operationalized a prototype exascale computing machine, the next-generation supercomputer, according to the developers. The computer prototype has been jointly developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC), the National Supercomputing Centre in Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province and the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao). The ‘Sunway’ exascale computer prototype was put in operation yesterday and helps to execute a quintillion calculations per second.”
Yang Meihong, director of the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan, said it expects to build the full computer in the second half of 2020 or early 2021. Yang characterized the prototype, saying, “The Sunway exascale computer prototype is very much like a concept car that can run on road.”
There is sharp supercomputing competition among China, the United States, Japan, and India. As of June, when the U.S. Department of Energy unveiled the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the 200-petaflop system was hailed as “the most powerful and smartest machine in the world,” in the race to achieve exascale computing. “Exascale” computing, at a quintillion or 10¹⁸ computations per second, will be a world first. America and Japan have each been aiming to achieve it in 2021.
As to some of its uses, Xinhua quotes Pan Jingshan, deputy director of the Jinan center, “Supercomputers are changing people’s life in fields such as weather forecast, calculation of ocean currents, financial data analysis, high-end equipment manufacturing, and car collision simulation.”
China, Too, Has Successfully Tested a Hypersonic Aircraft
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—“China has successfully tested its first waverider hypersonic flight vehicle, a weapon that can carry nuclear warheads and break through any current generation anti-missile defense system due to its high speed and unpredictable trajectory, Chinese experts said on Sunday,” Global Times reported on Aug. 5.
The vehicle, called Xingkong-2, or Starry Sky-2, was launched in a target range located in northwest China on Aug. 3, said a statement from the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, which designed the vehicle. The vehicle flew independently, made large-angle turning maneuvers, and landed in the targeted area as planned. It reached 30 kilometers in altitude at Mach 5.5-6, the Academy said.
Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told Global Times that a waverider is a flight vehicle that flies in the atmosphere and uses shockwaves generated by its own hypersonic flight with the air to glide at high speed.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Is China About To Enter the War in Syria?
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)—Sputnik News, citing the Arabic daily Al Watan of Syria, reported on Aug. 3 that Chinese Ambassador to Syria Qi Qianjin has suggested that Beijing could soon deploy forces to assist the Syrian Arab Army in its upcoming Idlib offensive, in addition to anti-terrorist operations in other parts of the country. Qi told Al Watanthat China is monitoring the conflict and that the Chinese military “is willing to participate in some way alongside the Syrian Army that is fighting the terrorists in Idlib and in any other part of Syria.”
A source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem he wasn’t aware of plans for China to militarily enter the war, but said the Syrian government “welcomed any support” in its ongoing drive to dislodge terrorists from Syria.
Sputnik attributes the Chinese interest in military operations in Syria to the thousands of Uyghur militants who have taken up residence in Idlib, but surmises that if the Chinese did deploy into Syria, it would mainly be in the form of a small number of special forces troops along with advisors working with Syrian government forces, as well as intelligence collaboration.