Europe’s ‘Free World’ Impostors Are Falling—German, French and British Leaders on the Brink
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—The British Parliament yesterday found the government of Theresa May in contempt of Parliament, for refusing to turn over the Legal Advice from the Attorney General on the legal impact of Prime Minister May’s phony Brexit deal, which leaves Britain in the Custom’s Union and does not resolve the difficult issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Parliament also ruled that the Parliament, not the Prime Minister, shall determine what steps to take if her Brexit deal is voted down next Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the Parliamentary vote, as it is expected it will. May’s government, as the old English nursery rhyme goes, is about to have a great fall, with no hope that “all the King’s Horses and all the King’s men can put it together again.” The problem is that she will likely be replaced with somebody as crazy as Boris Johnson as the Tory party leader, although a new general election could result from the chaos, probably bringing in Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
Then look across the Channel. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is implementing the insane Paris Climate accord by taxing carbon at the expense of the already-declining standard of living of the citizenry, finally backed down to the mass strike phenomenon of the “Yellow Vests,” and postponed a planned tax increase on fuel, only to discover that the people will not stand down in return for a few crumbs. He may soon fall as well.
Next door in Germany, Angela Merkel (who was anointed the “leader of the free world” by the British when Trump was elected) is stepping down as head of the CDU on Friday, Dec. 7, after losing support from her party. She says she will remain as Chancellor, but, as the London Daily Express headlines today: “END OF MERKEL: Friedrich Merz CDU Victory THIS WEEKEND Could Spark IMMINENT Exit” as Chancellor. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, head of Germany’s Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität (BüSo) party, gave her analysis today that the two candidates vying to replace Merkel as CDU chief are disasters in their own right.
Meanwhile, on Wall Street, the speculators were grateful that the state funeral for George H.W. Bush today provided an excuse to close down the markets, hoping to cool things off after Tuesday’s 800-point decline. But the financial bubble will not evaporate so easily, any more than the evil of the Bush family legacy will evaporate due to the fake eulogies filling the media.
President Donald Trump, who won the Republican nomination for President by fiercely denouncing the Bush wing of the party—the neo-conservative war hawks from Wall Street—is paying his respects to the 41st President today. But he is also sending out tweets making abundantly clear that he intends to repair the damage done by the Bush presidencies and the Obama presidency—to bring the United States into cooperation with Russia and China, to end the arms race, to end the trade conflict, and to restore sovereignty to the United States, and to all nations. As he said at the United Nations General Assembly in September in regard to the impoverished, drug-ridden nations of Ibero-America: “Make their nations great again.” Trump’s cooperation with the newly-inaugurated President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador is intended to solve the migrant crisis in the only possible way—by creating development and jobs for their people. López Obrador today called on the U.S. and Canada to join with him in creating a development fund for Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala—the nations whose populations have been left to suffer under abject poverty and subservience to the drug cartels.
While the neo-cons, both Republicans and Democrats, are hell-bent on provoking war with Russia and China, Trump is showing the courage to insist on cooperation and friendship with both nations, rather than confrontation. With the Russiagate coup attempt against Trump now exposed as a British intelligence operation, he is increasingly free to carry out his original intentions to end the regime change wars and super-power confrontation, as the necessary precondition to realizing his effort to restore the productive economy of the United States.
In Europe, too, there are signs of life, as the new Italian government, which includes several close friends of the LaRouche movement, is standing up against EU dictates to impose austerity on its citizens, and calling for Glass-Steagall, open cooperation with China on the New Silk Road, and an end to the self-destructive sanctions on Russia, while appealing to all Europeans to join in this effort. Today, the Portuguese government signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Lisbon to join the Belt and Road Initiative, seeing their country as a vital hub for connecting the Silk Road routes across Eurasia with the Americas, just as Portugal’s Henry the Navigator established his country as a leading sea explorer, and whose discoveries led Columbus to the “New World.”
Trump cannot depend on his own cabinet to carry out his intentions. He depends on the people, as demonstrated with his incredible mass rallies (which assured him of a Senate which would reject any impeachment effort), and his Twitter account, which bypasses the disgusting American press to address the population directly. It is here where we must exert our full power, the power of ideas developed by Lyndon LaRouche, to inspire the power of creativity in the population.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Trump’s Views of National Security Evolving
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Lexington Institute, writing on Dec. 4 in a column in Forbes magazine, offers an insightful analysis of President Donald Trump’s tweet of Dec. 3, in which he said that he, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to get together to work out will start talking “about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race,” and in which he called the Pentagon’s 2019 budget of $716 billion “Crazy!”
Thompson, who often covers defense industry matters, writes that he thinks that the tweet “signals a significant evolution in the President’s view of national security.” He argues that over the past two years, Trump has learned a lot and it is influencing how he views the world. Thompson lists what he thinks are four implications of Trump’s tweet: 1) Trump now realizes in a way few average citizens do that there really is an arms race under way with Russia and China, and he thinks he can make a deal with Putin and Xi to end it; 2) he now sees that defense budgets over $700 billion have “opportunity costs,” one of which is that there’s less money for infrastructure development; 3) Trump’s worldview is increasingly shaped by his closest advisors, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and trade advisor Peter Navarro, whom he says have helped Trump see better that national security depends first and foremost on a strong economy; and 4) “Trump’s dim view of foreign partners and the drain they impose on U.S. resources has contributed to a rift between him and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, which has bolstered the influence of Bolton, Mulvaney and Navarro.”
Trump, Thompson concludes, “is still committed to transforming U.S. trade relations and protecting Social Security, but his views of the military competition with Russia and China are shifting the same way Ronald Reagan’s did. If the Pentagon gets a budget increase in 2020, that will likely be its last.”
Rational Democrats Say Listen to Constituents, Ocasio-Cortez Says ‘Impeach!’ and ‘Go Carbon Free!’
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Forty-six newly-elected House Democrats are urging the party leadership to focus on those issues that are of greatest concern to their constituents, such as the economy, the cost of healthcare, crumbling infrastructure, etc. These are greater priorities than investigating the President or trying to impeach him, they said.
In a letter to party leaders, the 46 legislators said that while they have a duty to exercise oversight over the Executive Branch, “we must prioritize action on topics such as the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, our crumbling infrastructure, immigration, gun safety, the environment, and criminal justice reform…. While we may not always agree on how to approach every issue, we are united in the belief that we have a mandate to debate, draft, and work across the aisle to pass legislation.”
Seems like something a normal lawmaker might do, unless one is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York. The “Democratic-Socialist” has loudly announced that the impeachment of Donald Trump should be a top priority, and told reporters on Nov. 30 there should be no delay in beginning impeachment proceedings, because “we have far surpassed the standard” the Republican Party set when it impeached Bill Clinton. When pressed, she couldn’t explain what standard she was referring to, according to the Washington ExaminerDec. 4.
Aside from impeachment, Ocasio-Cortez is also demanding that the Democratic Party focus its legislative agenda on the so-called “Green New Deal,” a genocidal plan that would kill millions were it to be implemented. At a Dec. 3 event with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ocasio-Cortez elaborated on the “carbon-free future” the Green New Deal foresees for the United States. It will be, she boasted, “the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require…. We can use the transition to 100% renewable energy as the vehicle to establish economic, racial and social justice in America.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Stephen Cohen Book Unveils How Russiagate Is Driving U.S. Towards War with Russia
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Stephen Cohen, New York University professor emeritus of Russian studies, posted an article in The Nation adapted from his new book War With Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate. He makes the case that the sole purpose of Russiagate is to drive the United States into war with Russia. “The new U.S.-Russian Cold War is more dangerous than was its 40-year predecessor that the world survived. The chances are even greater that this one could result, inadvertently or intentionally, in actual war between the two nuclear superpowers,” he writes at the outset. The ominous difference between now and Cold War I, he writes, is that during Cold War I, the danger of nuclear catastrophe was at the forefront of mainstream political discussion and policymaking but seems to be rarely a concern now. This, in Cohen’s view, is what makes it so dangerous. He cites a few examples of this, comparing the situation to that in the runup to the Iraq War or how the great powers “sleepwalked” into World War I.
First, the Russiagate accusations, though the claims remain unproven, “severely constrain President Donald Trump’s capacity to conduct crisis negotiations with Moscow while they further vilify Russia and President Vladimir Putin for having, it is widely asserted, personally ordered ‘an attack on America’ during the 2016 presidential campaign.”
Secondly, “At a higher level, by fall 2018, current and former U.S. officials were making nearly unprecedented threats against Moscow.” These include Kay Bailey Hutchison’s threat to “take out” Russia’s allegedly treaty violating missiles; Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s claim that the U.S. can impose a naval blockade on Russia, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s outburst declaring that “lying, cheating and rogue behavior” are a “norm of Russian culture.” “These may have been outlandish statements by untutored political appointees, but they again inescapably raised the question: Who was making Russia policy in Washington—President Trump, with his avowed policy of ‘cooperation,’ or someone else?” Cohen asks.
Syria and Ukraine are two possible tripwires for war, Cohen states, even though Trump himself would likely prefer to work with Russia to find solutions.
Cohen laments that for the first time in decades there are no countervailing forces in Washington to constrain this war drive, except Trump.
British Empire Chief of Defense Staff Tells Commons, We Make the Rules that Russia Must Obey
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—-During testimony to the House of Commons Defense Committee, Gen. Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the U.K. Defense Staff, made clear who, in his world, makes the rules of international behavior. In response to a question from committee chairman Julian Lewis, Carter said that Russia “is in breach of” the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and “I am in no doubt that we need to call them out on that breach.” Carter endorsed “a course of action” should Russia not “come back into compliance” with the treaty. “But we also need to work out what measures we take to try and get them to obey with the rules that we laid and prescribed,” he continued (emphasis added).
The implication of this bit of British candor is clear: We make the rules and will punish anyone who disagrees. Carter further stated that “we either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action” over Russia’s contravention of the agreement.
Construction of Fourth Panama Canal Bridge To Get Underway
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela gave the official order for construction of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal to begin. Last June, the Panama Cuarto Puente consortium won the $1.4 billion contract to build the bridge, but could do nothing until an appeals court ruled on the appeal filed by rival bidders.
The Cuarto Puente group won the legal battle, and now Varela has given it the go ahead to proceed with the project. The consortium is made up of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and its subsidiary China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), and it can now proceed with the design and construction for what will be one of the biggest bridges built in Panama’s history. The group outbid companies from Spain, Italy, South Korea and China, to win the contract.
According to Global Construction Review, the 1.2 km cable-stayed bridge will be 50 meters wide and carry six lanes for vehicles and two for the trains of the future Metro Line 3. It will be built north of the Bridge of the Americas, near the Balboa port installations, and will connect Panama City to its western suburbs. Construction is expected to begin this year and will take three years to complete.
President Varela made his announcement Dec. 4, just one day after the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Panama has joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and during Xi’s visit, the two Presidents signed a score of infrastructure, tourism and development cooperation agreements.
After Three Brexit Defeats in Parliament, Theresa May Might Not Make It
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—British Prime Minister Theresa May has had a “terrible day today as the government made history in two excruciating ways,” as the BBC characterizes it on yesterday’s Brexit debate in the House of Commons.
The government ministers who refused to publish the legal advice on the Brexit deal provided to May were found to be in contempt of Parliament, which voted 311-293 in support of a motion demanding full disclosure of the details. The motion against May was backed by 9 out of 10 of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which is in a parliamentary coalition with the Conservatives. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s argument that full publication would not be in the national interest, was rejected by the Commons, as was an attempt by ministers to refer the whole issue to the relevant committee of MPs.
“The privileges committee will now decide which ministers should be held accountable and what sanction to apply, with options ranging from a reprimand to the more unlikely scenario of a minister being suspended from the Commons,” reports BBC.
May suffered another setback as MPs voted 321-299 for changes to the parliamentary process, should the Commons vote down May’s Brexit deal on Dec. 11. In that case, the government has 21 days to come up with a new proposal to vote on, but the Parliament itself will have a voice in any new proposal. The fact that 26 Tory MPs rebelled against May in this vote is a bad omen for the vote on Dec. 11, which might find her with the loss of her government majority.
Also yesterday, the European Court of Justice’s senior lawyer said Article 50, which started the Brexit process, could be revoked unilaterally by the U.K., without EU approval. May would simply have to submit another letter retracting the original letter evoking Article 50.
Early elections are not ruled out.
More African Refugees Taking Dangerous Atlantic Route to Europe
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Reuters reports “a resurgence in African migrants taking the treacherous Atlantic route to the Spanish territory this year in search of jobs and prosperity that they cannot find at home. It marks the revival of a worrying trend. In 2006—when 30,000 migrants managed to reach the Canary Islands—some 7,000 people died trying to make the crossing, rights groups say.”
Faced with the land route via Libya ending now in detention camps, with no hope to ever reach Europe, migrants increasingly take the sea route from West Africa to the Iberian Peninsula. “Managing … migratory flows is very much like squeezing a balloon. When one route closes, the flows increase on another,” the Reuters report quotes Izabella Cooper, spokeswoman for EU border agency Frontex, as saying.
“Migrants face many dangers on the open ocean, including mountainous waves, blistering heat and starvation,” writes Reuters, and although reliable data are not available, authorities in Senegal and Gambia said there has been a rise in boats attempting to reach the Canary Islands this year. The boats are often canoes not really seaworthy for ocean voyages, or tiny boats with dozens of refugees onboard, propelled by engines not fit for such voyages either. Empty boats have been spotted repeatedly, and their real numbers remain unrecorded. “The sea is very, very big. And they can leave from wherever in Senegal, Gambia or further south,” the Reuters report quotes Rafael Carballo Abeger, an attaché at the Spanish Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
Lavrov Engages Youth in ‘A Dialogue for the Future,’ for a ‘Common Vision of Where the World Is Headed’
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed a group of young people attending the Dialogue for the Future meeting, organized by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund that the Primakov Centre for Foreign Policy Cooperation. Gorchakov was a brilliant Russian diplomat and foreign minister who showed extraordinary abilities in defending Russia’s national interests during his decades-long career in the mid-19th century, including when Russian naval forces supported the United States against the threat of British Empire intervention in support of the Confederacy during the 1960-65 Civil War. Yevgeny Primakov, as Russia’s prime minister, initiated on Dec. 21, 1998 what he called the “strategic triangle” of Russia-China-India cooperation, which was revived last week at the G20 summit with the meeting of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Narendra Modi.
As Lavrov told the young people of many different nationalities in his audience, they were meeting “to talk and gain information from different sources about what is happening in foreign policy, so that you can get together, express your opinions, listen to what others have to say, and try to identify things that constitute the main goal of diplomacy which is general understanding and balance of interests,” according to the ministry’s website.
In the world today, Lavrov said, there is a real “shortage of constructive approaches and stances aimed at forming a common vision of how to move forward, not only with regard to specific conflicts that need to be resolved and settled, but also in a much broader conceptual context—a common vision of where the world is headed and what methods will be used to regulate it.
“Problems have taken on a global dimension and they are clearly interconnected. No one can avoid particular risks even if they choose to stay within their national borders,” said the foreign minister. Of the many risks he identified, Lavrov pointed to as particularly dangerous, “attempts to move away from universal formats which are used to form consensus and to replace them with unilateral actions, such as blackmail, sanctions, extraterritorial enforcement of national laws.” These, he said, “are in fact destructive for humanity and lead to confrontation.”
Perhaps, he continued, some will use these attempts to address their immediate concerns, such as raising GDP, creating new jobs, or improving the trade balance. But, in the long run “all this will have a negative effect. So, it is necessary to understand that actions in the pursuit of short-term, self-serving gains can be ruinous, including in the long term, for those who undertake them….
“I am aware that post-Soviet countries and European countries are represented here. I would love to listen to what you have to say, primarily in order to better understand what makes today’s youth tick,” he concluded.
Geng Shuang Rebuts Pompeo Calling China a ‘Bad Actor’ as Out of Sync with Trump-Xi G20 Consensus
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—In his press conference this morning, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responded to a question about U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech yesterday at the German Marshall Fund, in which he referred to China, Russia, and Iran as “bad actors” threatening the “liberal international order” (see EIR Daily Alert for Dec. 5)
Geng said pointedly that Pompeo’s remarks “do not accord with the spirit of the China-U.S. summit which was held not long ago,” in which both Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to “expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect and jointly promote the China-U.S. ties which are underpinned by coordination, cooperation and stability.” Hence, he continued, “I do not know what [Pompeo] means by saying this.” China’s role in the international community has always been to serve as “an architect for world peace, a contributor to global development and a guardian of international order.”
President Trump issued a very optimistic tweet this morning, that “very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip … from Argentina. Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting. ALL subjects discussed!”
Geng emphasized that the U.S. and China “are respectively the world’s largest developing country and developed country…. As an old saying goes, a harmonious bilateral relationship will make both winners, while a confrontational one will make both losers. We hope that the U.S. could meet China halfway and follow the consensus reached by the two heads of state to jointly promote the sound and steady development of bilateral ties and bring more good news and more tangible benefits to the two peoples and people around the world.”
Portugal Officially Joins the Belt and Road Initiative
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Portugal’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva and the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission He Lifeng signed today a “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.” The MOU has not been released yet, but it is described as establishing the modalities of the two nations’ cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), on a wide range of sectors, with a particular emphasis on connectivity.
“Portugal welcomes and declares its interest in participating in China’s BRI,” the joint communiqué issued after President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon today stated. The communiqué specifies that in addition to bilateral cooperation in the BRI, both countries reaffirmed their interest in “promoting cooperation with third countries, in regions such as Africa and Latin America,” and that Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa accepted President Xi’s invitation to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in April 2019.
So much for the South China Morning Post story that went around the world this morning, claiming that Portugal had “wavered” on joining the Belt and Road Initiative and did not sign a MOU!
Portugal not only did sign, in the face of European Union and U.S. State Department pressure against joining, but also their communiqué states that both parties agreed to jointly encourage the strengthening of the EU-China Strategic Partnership, and work towards developing “synergies” between the BRI and EU connectivity and investment strategies.
President Rebelo de Sousa told China’s CGTN TV network, in a Nov. 12 interview aired on the eve of President Xi’s arrival, that Portugal could be a gateway to Europe for the BRI, and the BRI could bring more investment into Portugal. He pointedly dismissed the chatter about an “invasion” of Chinese capital into Portugal, telling CGTN that when we look at our country, we see that many key sectors of our economy are in the hands of other Europeans and Americans, including a “very strong, very strong” European hand in Portuguese banking. “I think it is good for Portugal to balance foreign investment” in the country, he said.
In that light, an agreement was signed to implement the previous MOU for Portugal’s public bank, the Caixa Geral de Depositos, and the Bank of China to issue Panda Bonds, renminbi-denominated bonds.
A total of 17 MOUs and protocols were signed today, including a MOU to develop the Portugal-China 2030 Science and Technology Partnership, agreements on scientific and technological exchanges, on blue economy and in space, including the creation of a joint STARLab (Space Technology Advanced Research Laboratory) in Portugal.
Juilliard School To Open New Music School in Tianjin
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—The Juilliard School is preparing to open a branch in Tianjin, China in 2020. It will be the first campus outside New York for the renowned music school. A new building is under construction in the Chinese port city located a half-hour’s train ride from Beijing. According to He Wei, the artistic director and dean of the Tianjin Juilliard School, the resident faculty members of the Tianjin school have played in the world’s top symphony orchestras, taught at some of the most prestigious conservatories and won awards as soloists and chamber-musicians.
He Wei himself is a Chinese-American violinist, who was born in Chengdu in Sichuan province, and has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for more than 20 years. The pre-college program (ages 8-18) allows students to travel and spend a weekend in Tianjin. The three programs for graduate studies, He Wei says, are all focused on collaborative musicianship, and are different from those at the New York campus. “This is because young Chinese musicians have solid technique as soloists, but they also need to play together as a team.” The Juilliard School was introduced to its partners in Tianjin in 2011. And the cooperation was announced by Joseph Polisi, a former president of Juilliard and its chief China officer, when China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, a former professional singer herself, visited the Juilliard School in New York on Sept. 28, 2015, during a week-long visit to the U.S. by the First Lady and President Xi Jinping.
Polisi says the school aims to train “complete musicians,” which means that it requires students to be involved in working in communities, such as hospitals and senior centers, performing for patients and the elderly. “It’s great to play music at concert halls,” Polisi says. “But it’s also meaningful to play music at children’s hospitals. Musicians must play music that makes people happy and brings hope.”