EIR Daily Alert Service, April 3, 2019
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2019
Volume 6, Number 65
EIR Daily Alert Service
EIR Daily Alert
April 2 (EIRNS)—Events of the hour promise beautiful advances in frontier science—space and fusion energy—and also continued examples of the spirit of international cooperation to achieve them. But at the same time, this prospect is threatened by the stoking of conflict and even war, by neo-con, neo-lib and neo-human activists on behalf of the dying old order of British monetarism and geopolitics. For example, representatives of NATO countries are meeting this week in Washington, D.C., for 70th anniversary plans, and their lead agenda item so far is bashing Russia.
The backdrop for this unfolding drama, which will determine the future of mankind, perhaps for centuries to come, is the spirit of Lyndon LaRouche, whose memory strikes fear in the hearts (if they have any) of the British Imperial managers (like the writers of The Times of London, and evokes courage in the souls and conscience of all people of good will who were familiar with LaRouche’s life’s mission.
On the Moon today, the Chang’e-4 lander and the Yutu-2 rover have awakened again, after their two-week lunar night, and are back at work. The Yutu-2 rover has already exceeded its “three lunar day” life-expectancy, but is still functioning nicely. Photos are on their way back to Earth, and one of Yutu-2’s tasks is reportedly to get data on the age of nearby rock. This adds to the store of knowledge and technology to fulfill mankind’s extraterrestrial imperative. Also starting this week in Russia, three American astronauts will be training for the International Space Station, at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
Most exciting, this week the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the go-ahead for a new fusion research center, which will have integrated facilities for various lines of inquiry, including magnetic confinement, and a tokamak. A timetable of goals has been set, to be able to build fusion power plants by the time of 2050, and to obviously have great contributions for space propulsion.
Place against this positive perspective, the conflict-promotion going on to pit the United States against Russia and China, and to cause the U.S. to fall out and attack neighbors in the Americas, and the danger is clear. The script is the tired old British Great Game, of creating geopolitical traps. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is at the White House today, and speaks tomorrow to a joint session of Congress, traditionally reserved only for heads of state and government. Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Stoltenberg outlined a fierce anti-Russia focus for the NATO meeting. “On Thursday, we will begin by addressing NATO’s relations with Russia. Russia continues to violate the INF Treaty…. Russia continues to defy our calls to return to compliance with the INF Treaty, and time is running out…. NATO is also concerned by Russia’s pattern of aggressive behavior with Ukraine and Georgia…” and so on.
Echoes of this same line are coming from within President Donald Trump’s own administration from the neo-con crowd, when it comes to Venezuela right now, plus China-bashing over the Belt and Road in Central and South America. We are going to investigate the people pushing the British policy agenda, and expose their criminal origins to the American people, who love President Trump, in substantial part, because of his commitment to world peace.
The coming weeks, as we move toward the June Memorial of Lyndon LaRouche’s life, are a time when many Americans and world citizens can be moved to finally proudly affiliate with LaRouche, by adding their names to the call for his exoneration, and by working with us to ensure that Lyn’s vision of a New Paradigm for mankind becomes reality.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
April 2 (EIRNS)—At NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg’s pre-trip briefing before traveling to the U.S. for the NATO 70th anniversary meeting, a reporter raised London’s biggest problem: that “the biggest challenge, or threat, to NATO is the absence of strong presidential leadership from the United States.” This was the conclusion of a recent report by two former U.S. ambassadors to NATO, Doug Lute and Nick Burns, who had interviewed “dozens of people on both sides of the Atlantic,” according to the reporter.
President Donald Trump made very clear again today, in his remarks in the Oval Office with Stoltenberg before the expanded cabinet meeting, that London’s geopoliticians have good reason to worry.
Trump focused his opening remarks entirely on progress being made in having NATO allies pay their share of the costs. It was left to Stoltenberg to even mention that this was NATO’s 70th anniversary. When a reporter asked President Trump if he would pull the U.S. out of NATO, he did not say no, but merely replying curtly that people are now paying more of their share.
Then the big question on NATO’s agenda: What kind of security threat do you think that Russia poses?
President Trump’s answer: “I hope that it’s not going to be a security threat. I hope we have a good relationship with Russia, and with, by the way, China and everybody else. The fact that we have NATO, and NATO is a lot stronger since I’ve been President …. But I think that we will get along with Russia. I do believe that.”
April 2 (EIRNS)—Speaking with the press in the Oval Office before his expanded cabinet meeting with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg today, President Donald Trump used the opportunity to lambaste the Democrats who continue to beat a dead horse on the “Russiagate” investigation. We could release 800 pages of a 400-page report, and that would not satisfy the Democrats, he said!
President Trump scored Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s thorough hypocrisy in calling for releasing the full report, when that same Nadler, as one reporter pointed out, had opposed the release of the infamous Kenneth Starr report on President Bill Clinton.
The President then exhorted for reporters to begin an investigation about how this whole “Russiagate” began. “I hope they now go and take a look at the origins, the origins of the investigation, the beginning of that investigation, really look at the origins of that investigation: where it started, how it started, who started it, whether it’s McCain or Comey or a lot of them, where does it go? How high up in the White House did it go? You will all get Pulitzer Prizes. You should have looked at it a long time ago. And that’s the only thing that’s disappointing to me about the Mueller report. The Mueller report I wish covered the origins of how it started, the beginnings of the investigations, how it started. It didn’t cover that and for some reason, none of that was discussed.”
April 2 (EIRNS)—The Upper Missouri-Mississippi River Basins flooding is rightly called “historic,” compared to the terrible episodes in the region over the past couple centuries. The cause for the damage is not bad luck or “climate change,” but the lack of infrastructure which had been proposed, specifically since the 1944 “Pick-Sloan” plan for integrated water management throughout the region, and was never built. Nor was the plan fully built for the Upper Mississippi infrastructure; and the Upper Watershed Dam program of the Agriculture Department was way underfunded for decades.
Now, as Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) said on the floor of the Senate last week, “With more precipitation, snowmelt, saturated soil, frozen ground and massive ice jams—we are in store for significant Spring flooding that may reach 200 million Americans.”
The following selected specifics demonstrate an idea of the hit to food production and future capacity.
• An estimated 55% of U.S. corn and 60% of soybean crop areas are at risk of flooding. Spring plantings will be disrupted for certain in large parts of this cropland. Land under water now is almost surely not going to be seeded. The debris ranges from metal shards, to rocks, to silt and sand. After the 2011 big floods, some of the debris wasn’t cleared for a few years. From county to county, 5-15% more corn and soybeans were in storage in on-farm bins than in recent years, because farmers have been holding it off market, in hopes of getting a higher price. Now, the crops are destroyed. Very little is insured. Plus, the metal bins are busting out—exploding—from the pressure of the water-swollen crop inside. The grain itself is unusable. Even ethanol plants aren’t buying flooded corn.
• The core Missouri Basin states which are hit very hard—Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and Kansas—account for 27% of U.S. cattle, or about 26 million head. The larger region—Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and South Dakota—have 48% of all U.S. hogs. Egg production is concentrated here, with 34% of all U.S. egg output in the six states of Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri and South Dakota. (USDA Economic Research Service)
• Thousands of livestock have perished either due to extreme cold weather, blizzard conditions, or extreme flooding. The fact that the disaster comes during calving season has increased the animal losses everywhere. Flood waters went through feed lots, and hog and poultry barns. Surviving cattle are suffering significant trauma after-effects, including disease susceptibility and lack of weight gain. There are increases in clostridial (mainly blackleg) and leptospiral infections.
• The loss of water supplies in many areas has caused big concern for large cattle, swine and chicken operations. The farms and feed lots could not be accessed due to flood water, and drinking water for the animals has had to be trucked in.
• In Nebraska, cattle feedlots lost an estimated $36 million in feed supplies. Nebraska National Guard Chinook helicopters dropped hay for flood-stranded cattle, which, they report, hasn’t been done in 50 years. Cattle feedlots report losses running at $1 million a day, from the increased transportation costs involved.
SCIENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE
April 2 (EIRNS)—It has been announced this week that the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has the go-ahead to build a new Fusion Research Center, in order to test large fusion reactor components, such as superconducting magnets, as well as to conduct studies of plasma behavior. It will be an integrated research facility, which the Institute of Plasma Physics, home of the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), says is key for fusion systems. As World Nuclear News reports April 1, the center is “one of the major scientific engineering projects” in China’s 13th Five Year Plan.
The Engineering Test Reactor, which will be smaller than the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER) being built in France, will nonetheless be comparable in performance. It is projected to go into operation in 2030. Hopes are for the capability to have fusion power reactors by the time of 2050.
The integrated center will be in at the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, Anhui province.
In addition to China, Japan and Europe have plans for an engineering reactor, as the step between ITER and a commercial demonstration plant.
April 2 (EIRNS)—After a three-year freeze in the approval to construct new nuclear power plants, following safety reviews in the wake of the 2011 tsunami-caused nuclear accident in Japan, China will quicken the pace of plant construction, mainly by using its indigenous technology. The aim is to avoid the delays and cost increases that have characterized the nuclear plants China has imported.
A review of the nuclear power situation and goals came out this week at the China Nuclear Energy Sustainable Development Forum taking place in Beijing.
China’s plan has been to have 58 GW of nuclear capacity online by 2020. Due to the three-year hiatus, it will come up short by just 5 GW. But construction will be accelerated, to meet the goal of 137 GW by 2030, and 200 GW by 2035. At the present time, the U.S. has just under 100 GW of nuclear generating capacity.
During the China Nuclear Energy Sustainable Development Forum, Chen Hua, CEO of China National Nuclear Power company explained that China’s Hualong One reactors will be faster to build and easier to maintain than foreign designs because it will be made at home. One factor that has created delays, is the diminished state of the nuclear supply chain, due to lack of capital investment, especially in the United States.
For example, construction on the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at the Sanmen site has been suspended after a problem arose in a coolant system pump. As the part was still under warranty, there will be no added cost, but the delay will add up to eight months.
April 2 (EIRNS)—The first crew of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft have begun training in Russia. “Today, NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, Mike Fink and Barry Whitmore were introduced to the leadership and the employees of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. The astronauts are getting ready for the first test flight to the International Space Station within the crew of the Starliner spacecraft,” the center’s website stated on April 1.
According to TASS, training at the center in the Moscow Region will last five weeks, in which the U.S. astronauts will study the workings of the Russian segment of the ISS, the emergency protocol and the basics of the Russian language.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
April 2 (EIRNS)—NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the trans-Atlantic alliance countering “Russian aggression” will be the lead item at the NATO 70th anniversary meeting in Washington, D.C., in his pre-meeting briefing yesterday in Brussels before leaving for the United States.
The NATO meeting opens on Thursday, April 4, but Stoltenberg came early, with the clear assignment of shoring up that British geopolitical agenda with President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress. His meeting with President Trump today did not work out as the geopoliticians planned, but on April 3, at Nancy Pelosi’s invitation, he is to address a Joint Session of Congress, an opportunity traditionally granted to heads of state or government, or extraordinary international personalities, not NATO bureaucrats. Stoltenberg hailed his invitation to address Congress as an expression of “very strong bipartisan … support for NATO.”
Stoltenberg laid out a program of maximum provocation against Russia, focused on stepping up NATO actions in Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia, all nations bordering Russia, which Russia views as strategic “red lines” for its security.
NATO is “concerned by Russia’s pattern of aggressive behavior. Including its ongoing actions against Ukraine, and the seizure of Ukrainian sailors and ships near the Sea of Azov. NATO has already stepped up its presence in the Black Sea,” Stoltenberg intoned.
He cited NATO’s ongoing exercises with Ukraine and Georgia, and said that he expects the NATO ministers this week to agree to new measures “to step up NATO’s support for both Georgia and Ukraine. In areas such as training of maritime forces and coast guards, port visits and exercises, and sharing of information.” That’s on top of the 50% increase which already occurred in 2018 in the number of days NATO ships were deployed into the Black Sea: from 80 days in 2017, to 120 days last year.
He announced also that NATO will invest $260 million in building up the infrastructure in Poland for storage and maintenance of U.S. “pre-positioned” military equipment for maximum speed of “reinforcing” U.S. and NATO troops in Poland, should the decision be taken.
The NATO Secretary General also ranted against Russia violating the INF Treaty “by developing and deploying SSC-8 missiles. These missiles are hard to detect, lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, and make us all less safe. Russia continues to defy our calls to return to compliance with the INF Treaty. And time is running out. So we will discuss NATO’s next steps,” he promised.
April 2 (EIRNS)—National Security Advisor John Bolton issued a warning to China with regard to Taiwan, in a tweet yesterday. Bolton was responding to the overflight of two Chinese jets in Taiwanese territory on March 31. Taiwanese aircraft interdicted them, and after 10 minutes, the Chinese flew back out. This incident occurred following a recent provocative “freedom of navigation” sailing of a U.S. guided missile destroyer through the Taiwan Straits.
In a Twitter message, Bolton wrote, “Chinese military provocation won’t win any hearts or minds in Taiwan. But they will strengthen the resolve of people everywhere who value democracy. The Taiwan Relations Act and our commitment are clear.”
Peter Navarro, Director of the White House National Trade Council, wrote on March 19 in the New York Times that Taiwan may soon purchase 108 M-1 tanks. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in testimony before Congress on March 27, said that the U.S. would take more action in line with the Taiwan Travel Act, which itself was a provocation passed by Congress in February to allow high-level officials to visit Taiwan, with which the U.S. has no official relation, in accordance with communiqués signed with China.
Chinese Defense spokesman Wu Qian, responding to these latter developments, warned in a briefing on March 28, that such moves would be damaging to U.S.-China relations. “We are firmly opposed to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and U.S. military contact with Taiwan. The Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair, concerns China’s core interest, and the national bond of the Chinese people—it allows no outside interference.”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is also doing some of her own personal lobbying remotely, seeking changes in U.S. legislation on Taiwan. She appeared by video March 27 at a Heritage Foundation event. And on April 9 she will address by videoconference an event on the 40th anniversary of the “Taiwan Relations Act,” co-hosted (and to be webcast) by CSIS, the Brookings Institution, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Many China hands have expressed alarm at these developments, including Susan Shirk and Susan Thornton, both formerly Assistant Secretaries of State with responsibility for Asia, Shirk under Clinton and Thornton under Obama and Trump.
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
April 2 (EIRNS)—On March 13, the day of the MoviSol conference in Milan, whose panel included Italian China envoy Michele Geraci and Schiller Institute founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore ran a large article on Transaqua, entitled “Italy-China: the Bonifica-PowerChina Contract for the Transaqua Project Is Ready,” on the plan to restore Africa’s Lake Chad.
Twisting reality a bit, the article said that the feasibility study for Transaqua has been “assigned to the Italian firm [Bonifica] together with the Chinese giant” and that a signature for the contract was expected for the end of March.
Whereas the second statement at that point in time was true, the first one is not.
Nevertheless, such an article on the same day as the MoviSol conference which featured a presentation on the Transaqua water management plan by Bonifica’s technical director Franco Bocchetto, and in the middle of a discussion on Xi Jinping’s forthcoming state visit and on Italy-China cooperation, certainly had a large impact. As a matter of fact, business and economic professionals, as well as political circles, look to Il Sole as their daily source of economic intelligence and opinion-making.
The article, quite comprehensive on the nature and the benefits of Transaqua, included the full set of slides presented by Bonifica at the February 2018 International Conference on Lake Chad in Abuja, Nigeria. (See also EIR’s full coverage of the Abuja conference in the March 9, 2018 issue.)
COLLAPSING WESTERN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
April 2 (EIRNS)—Global stock markets have been in a rally now for the first quarter, showing a seven-year high. U.S. stocks are at a ten-year high. The reason for that is simple. Looking at a chart of the Global Money Supply and the S&P 500, you see that the two curves overlap almost identically. A small drop of the GMS in 2008 has provoked a major drop in the S&P, which recovered and went into a new rally as soon as the GMS started to increase again mid-2018, pumping money again into the system.
Fact is, that the markets have already discounted a rate cut by the Federal Reserve as 76% probable, especially in the EPS multiples (Earning Per Share). This means that if the Fed does not cut rates, the markets will collapse again.
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