The New Silk Road Dynamic is replacing the Geopolitics! - Webcast with Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Helga Zepp LaRouche, the Founder and Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, will inaugurate a weekly English-language webcast, to spread what she calls the “New Silk Road Spirit” to the world. Mrs. LaRouche is one of the most prominent intellectual authors of the concept “The New Silk Road becomes the World Landbridge”. Since Chinese President Xi Jinping put the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative, as it is now called on the agenda four years ago, it is lifting tens of millions out of poverty, and puts an alternative to the dangerous idea of geopolitical division of the world. Known internationally as “the Silk Road Lady,” Mrs. LaRouche is often featured in the Chinese press for analysis on the BRI, and the global strategic situation.
HARLEY SCHLANGER: Hello, I'm Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute, and I'm very excited to welcome you today to the first of what will be a weekly webcast, to bring to you a full picture of the strategic situation, as well as what can be done to ensure that the situation moves in the right direction.
The world is a very dangerous place right now, as most of you know. And I'm sure you also are aware of the fact that you cannot trust most of what you read in the mainstream media or see on television.
The speaker today and for the next weeks ahead, is Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche. She's the founder of the Schiller Institute and the chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, who has been at the center of introducing a new dynamic which is known as the New Silk Road or the Belt and Road Initiative. She's played a role internationally to bringing this to the fore, in spite of the fact that there has been an almost total blackout of the developments that are quite significant in shaping all of our future.
And so, we're going to hear now from Mrs. LaRouche, who will bring us up to date on the developments around the New Silk Road, and also the strategic situation. Helga?
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, hello. We are at a crossroads of human history, much more so than most people are aware of, because you have right now two totally opposite dynamics in the world: One is what we know from the United States and European nations, that you have a collapsing paradigm. You have a society which is clearly not functioning, which is reflected in many symptoms, like the Brexit, like the election loss of Hillary Clinton, like the recent vote in Italy against the change in the Constitution, the German election, which is dramatic, and now the Catalonia referendum — these are all symptoms that something is fundamentally wrong. And it is the fact that the effort by the neo-cons to establish an unipolar world after the collapse of the Soviet Union, went along with neoliberal policies which have shattered the livelihoods of many millions of people, and there is a revolt against this very system, going on right now.
If you look at all of these different cases I just mentioned, they have one thing in common: And that is that the gap between rich and poor is widening, such that those people who are not profiting from this neoliberal paradigm, they somehow don't see a future any more, they feel despair, they don't feel represented through the establishments of their respective countries. So this part of the world is in a deeply troubled situation.
But, what you have on the other side, is that there is a growing number of nations which are working together with China on the New Silk Road. Now, the New Silk Road is a very exciting prospective. Most people know that the ancient Silk Road, which existed 2,000 years ago, during the Han Dynasty, brought an enormous development to people of all countries who participated in this ancient Silk Road — not only porcelain, and silk, and book printing, but technologies enabling higher productivity of the populations of these countries.
Now, four years ago, President Xi Jinping of China announced that the policy of China heretofore would be the establishment of a New Silk Road. In the four years which have passed since that time, more than 110 nations are collaborating in one form or another with this concept. It has led to an enormous explosion of productivity, of development; China, which has developed in the last 30 years in particular, with something of the Chinese economic miracle, which is the most impressive economic miracle which ever happened in history, and China, with the New Silk Road, has offered that kind of development to all other nations.
This is a completely changed situation, because, for the first time, developing countries in particular, have access to credit. China and the BRICS countries, which work closely with the New Silk Road conception, have established a whole bunch of different credit institutions: the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; the New Development Bank, the New Silk Road Fund, the Maritime Silk Road Fund, and many others. And they have now given credit for concrete development projects, for Latin American countries, for Asian countries, even for some European countries, and also, especially for Africa.
As a result of that, you have right now a completely new spirit. It's call the "New Silk Road Spirit": It's the idea that nations, for the first time, have the hope to overcome underdevelopment, to overcome poverty — China is committed to alleviate all of poverty in China by the year 2020, and China already now has fewer poor people than the United States, namely 42 million, and 43 million officially in the United States. China is also committed to eliminating poverty on a global scale, in collaboration with the other developing countries.
Now, this is a very exciting perspective, and what we are trying to do, with the activities of the Schiller Institute, we are trying to tell people about this alternative. And it is our explicit aim to win over even the United States to work with China, with Russia, with India, with other leading countries of the so-called "developing sector," to establish a completely new paradigm as it was proposed by Xi Jinping, where countries would stop to have geopolitical confrontations, and work together in a "win-win" perspective.
This is happening, and obviously, the people who are representing the old paradigm, the neo-cons, the neo-liberals, they are absolutely freaked out about the success of the New Silk Road, and they are in the process of launching one attack after the other, accusing China that they would just do the same thing that the Anglo-American imperialism, or other colonialists did before. But what we want to do with this program, we want to go into depth of what's happening, and as weeks go along, we want to explain why what is happening with the New Silk Road is really a completely new model of international relations, and it is not a repetition of what was in the past.
So therefore, I'm very happy to have this discussion, and you should also send in questions and participate in this discussion and help to spread the news everywhere.
SCHLANGER: Helga, you attended the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, where over 100 nations were there. Just describe a little bit, the sense of optimism that you experienced there.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I was privileged to be one of probably 2,000 delegates from 110 countries. There were 29 leaders speakers: First, naturally, President Xi Jinping, then President Putin, Erdogan [of Turkey], Guterres, the general secretary of the United Nations, and many others. And listening to these people, it was really clear to many delegates I spoke with afterwards, that we were participating in the formation of a new world economic order, and actually the beginning of a new era of civilization. In a certain sense, people know, if you stick to geopolitics, if you stick to the idea that one nation has the right to fight for its interests against another nations, even, in the worst case by military means, or a group of nations defending their so-called geopolitical interests against another group of nations; or trying to maintain a unipolar world, that in the time of thermonuclear weapons, this would potentially lead to the destruction of civilization.
And therefore, people participating this summit was not just the idea that it will bring economic benefits to all countries participating, but that a new form of thinking, about mankind first, and then about national interest, is absolutely necessary. And President Xi Jinping has expressed that many times by saying, "We are a community of a shared future, of a shared destiny of mankind."
And I think the new paradigm is really to start to understand what this new paradigm has to be, is, we have to concentrate first on the common aims of mankind, such as earthquake prediction, which in the case of Mexico underlines again, why this is absolutely crucial; overcoming poverty; developing energy and raw materials security; developing joint space research and travel. There are so many exciting tasks, which will in the final analysis, determine if our human species will be successful and maintain its condition of life for the indefinite future. And that is what is the new paradigm: That we must grow up as a human species, that we absolutely have to stop having wars. We cannot have war as conflict resolution in a time of thermonuclear weapons. And what was the spirit of the New Silk Road, which was very much present at this Belt and Road Forum in May in Beijing, was exactly that.
So it was a very, very incredible experience. And I think all the people who participated in it — almost nobody did not have feeling. There were a few exceptions, like the EU: They said, no, we determine the rule; but that was a minority. And most people from most countries were extremely excited that now, an alternative to a collapsing system does exist.
SCHLANGER: And the United States was represented there by Matthew Pottinger, who was sent by President Trump. What's your view of Trump's relationship with this new paradigm, and his relationship with Xi Jinping. Is the United States about to join this? Or can the U.S. be brought into this?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, you know, President Trump during his election campaign was quite famous for China bashing, but somehow this President Trump is not what the western media describe him to be. As a matter of fact, all the people who have met with him, and who have somehow communicated that with me or with other people from the Schiller Institute, have confirmed that he is actually quite capable to judge the situation on his own, and he is absolutely determined to do the right thing, for the American people. And fortunately, when he met President Xi Jinping for the first time in April, in Mar a Lago, Florida, the two presidents hit it off really well, and a very positive chemistry between them developed.
China has offered to the United States to join the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Schiller Institute has campaigned, already since 2015, for, very explicitly, why China should invest in infrastructure development in the United States. China has $1.4 trillion worth of U.S. Treasuries, which could be put to very productive use, if China were allowed, to invest in the absolutely urgent infrastructure requirements in the United States; and on the other side, American firms could invest in the many projects along the Belt and Road, projects along the new Maritime Silk Road, and the New Silk Road. So a very positive perspective exists between the two countries. And I'm quite optimistic that when President Trump goes to make a state visit in November this year, in the context of a larger Asia trip, there is a good perspective that this will come up and some more formal arrangements could be made between the United States and China.
I think the improvement of these two nations, which are the two largest economies in the world, if they can find a way to work together, I'm absolutely certain, — and also the relationship between the United States and Russia can be brought into order; and if the three largest and most important nations of the world, the United States, China, and Russia, can find a way to cooperate, who could be against that? And who would want to be against it? I think that that is within reach, and all people who love peace should help to bring the knowledge about this New Silk Road conception, because that is the only workable perspective for this to happen.
SCHLANGER: We're told daily in the trans-Atlantic media that the issue of so-called "Russia-gate" is Russian meddling in the U.S. elections and Trump collusion with Putin. But you said that it much more has to do with what you were just discussing, the potential for the United States to break out of the old geopolitical paradigm, the unipolar world. How do you see this thing developing now?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, Russia-gate is sort of out of the window, since the VIPS, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, these former intelligence officials of the United States have proven that there was no Russia hacking.
The whole reason for Russia-gate and other scandalizing of President Trump, is exactly that! He represents the potential of improving the relationship both with Russia and China. And from the standpoint of the old empire, what we generally call the British Empire, even though it's not the British people, it's the unipolar world faction which emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They are horrified about that! Because the whole gameplan of the British Empire, with the specification that it's not the British people, but this construct of central banks, of investment banks, of hedge funds, of insurance companies, — the whole financial structure which has emerged basically in the trans-Atlantic world — their whole game was always to manipulate, divide and conquer, to play one against the other, to create wars. And if you look at the efforts with which the unipolar faction, which we have now found out is not identical with the U.S. President, but it exists in Great Britain, it exists in other parts of Europe, the way they have tried to impose a unipolar world in the postwar period was through policies of regime-change, color revolution, or even wars based on lies as we have seen in the Middle East.
That whole policy is about to be overtaken by this new dynamic I just described. And they are frantically trying to prevent Trump from having China work with the United States, and right now, there is a huge campaign of anti-Chinese propaganda. The Economist in the last week of September, had on their cover story, a mean-looking panda bear, saying basically, China has plans to take over the world. Then you had other reports: Fox TV basically describing — a certain woman, Anne Pierce from the Churchill Society describing quite well what China is doing, all this infrastructure, railroad building and so forth, and saying, the outrageous thing is that even the Confucius Institutes are trying to portray a positive image about Chinese culture! Can you imagine such a thing?
Anyway, so they're in a rampage, trying to poison the minds of people against this perspective, especially because the possibility that President Trump would go in this direction is extremely high.
So I'm optimistic that the New Silk Road dynamic cannot be stopped. It is moving in Africa — we should talk about that separately; it is even Eastern Europe, Central Europe, the Balkan countries, the southern European states, they all are getting onboard — Switzerland, Austria, they all want to be "hubs" of the New Silk Road. So I don't think this dynamic can be stopped, except, there is the danger still of conflict-creation, manipulation and so forth. But I think, you know, the good people of this world would want nothing better than to move the world into a more safe plane, on a higher level of reason, where people and nations can work together for the common good of all.
SCHLANGER: And Helga, I think one of the other things that most people don't realize, is that those who have been calling the shots, the unipolar people, the regime-changers and others, are very weak right now, because of the collapsing financial system. And something that was said by President Trump, just in the last 36 hours, probably sent tremors through Wall Street, when he said that Puerto Rico should just wipe out its debt.
Talk a little about this financial crisis, because this underlies the whole danger to the trans-Atlantic elites, and also is partly opening the door for this new paradigm,
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: If you really look at the economic parameters of Europe and the United States, you can see that the trans-Atlantic financial system is collapsing. The growth rates in China have been in the last five years, 7.2% or so average, and before it was even higher. In the global economy, it was averaging 2.5%; but in the United States, and in Europe, there was stagnation or even downward development; like the life expectancy in the United States is going down! If you ever have seen an economic parameter which tells you what is the directionality, it is the fact that people have a shorter life.
Now, there are absolutely many warnings by many people, even the Adam Smith Institute in London or the former Economic Minister of Italy, Giulio Tremonti, who are all agreeing with us, that the next financial blowout is just a matter of a very short period of time; basically because the central banks have done absolutely nothing to remedy the causes which led to the 2007-2008 crisis.
The quantitative easing, which the ECB just announced they want to continue for the next several years, what that did is they put out a lot of liquidity, which increased the debt — the debt of states, the debt of firms, the debt of car buyers — and now you have a situation, where if you move away from the zero, or even negative interest rate policy, you risk a collapse of many firms; even the IMF said if you only go up a little bit with the interest rate, 20% of all corporations in the United States would collapse. You have an Italian banking crisis; you have a terrible situation in all of Europe as a result of the fact that the privileges of speculators were strengthened and the austerity programs hit the poorer parts of the population, which has led to an absolutely catastrophic situation. And such things as the Brexit, or now the German election result where a right-wing party with some really, very ominous and dangerous, racist elements within its leadership has won the third largest position. And in the East, new states [in Germany], it has become the second-strongest party; and in Saxony even the strongest party.
So these are all results of these policies. And the remedy is obviously, you have to do exactly what Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the '30s. And when President Trump now announced that he wants to cancel the debt of Puerto Rico, which is $72 billion, this is absolutely a step in the right direction, to do then the full program of what Roosevelt did in the '30s: Glass-Steagall separation; a new financial system, like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation; the New Deal. And then you naturally have to apply the full package of what the American economist, Lyndon LaRouche — my husband — has prescribed for several years now: You need a full reorganization of the American economy, and actually, the global economy, — Glass-Steagall, a new credit system, and then you have to have a crash program to increase the productivity of the economy.
China is doing that already, but the trans-Atlantic world urgently needs to do these kinds of reforms, if we are supposed to survive this present situation.
SCHLANGER: In talking about the crisis and the dynamic for change, one of the things that's obvious, is that across all of the West, there's an anger at the elites, anger at the political parties, and that's what you have referenced with the case in Germany; and now we have this somewhat strange case of the separate referendum in Catalonia. Is this part of the same dynamic, of the rejection of the existing establishment?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Oh, absolutely: Yes. You can say that the Catalonia vote is a result of the austerity policy which was imposed on Spain. First Spain naturally was hit by the financial crisis of 2008, but then, especially the austerity policy of the Troika — of the ECB, the European Commission, and the IMF — which has increased the unemployment, that despite little improvements is still 18% average; almost 50% or 60% youth unemployment, and these figures are not even the correct ones, because you have an enormous brain drain of young people and skilled labor leaving Spain. So that the actual unemployment, if you would count the people who left the country, would be included as even much higher.
So that same condition exists in Greece, in Portugal, in Italy. And let me just spend one more word on the German situation: Because this election which brought the worst result for the CDU/CSU party of Merkel since the Second World War; and the worst result for the Social Democracy since Bismarck! I mean, that is really an earthquake. But what is even more incredible is that you have a complete divide between the East and West of Germany, because in the East, the vote for the so-called Alternative for Germany (AfD) was so large, not just because it was triggered by the refugee crisis, which obviously was a factor, but the reason why people reacted so absolutely strongly, is because they got devastated with the unification.
Sure, you have beautiful marketplaces, restored housing, historic buildings. But, behind this façade, you have depopulation. The women left to the West; the young people left. You have villages which are either completely depopulated, or only pensioners remain. There is no economic growth in many regions of eastern Germany, and it was that feeling of having been completely deprived of their life's work, which was the neo-liberal system which was imposed on them, which was the reason why people reacted so strongly on this refugee question.
What I'm trying to explain to an international audience is that Germany, which used to be looked at as the anchor of stability of stability of the European Union, is now in a real process of chaos; and they may not even be able to form a new government, because the only available coalition, given the fact that the Social Democrats don't want to be part of a grand coalition [with the CDU/CSU] any more, would be of those parties which only won in the West, but are not or only very little, represented in the East.
So Germany is in a real chaotic situation. And this, I have said many times, the phenomena like the Brexit, the election loss of Hillary Clinton, the "no" to the referendum in Italy, the German election, and now the Catalonia referendum, all of these things are symptoms of the same injustice, and people are reacting to this injustice; and this will continue until the causes of this injustice are removed. And the only way to remove them, is, you have to take up the offer of China to join the New Silk Road. I mean, Europe needs reconstruction as much as the United States, and we have to join hands to build up the economies of the Middle East, countries which have been completely destroyed by war, and we have to obviously develop Africa, which China is doing in an unbelievable way. But we must get the United States and European nations to join hands, and then we can remedy all problems.
So people should really understand that we have to get over geopolitics. If you want to solve any problem the New Silk Road is the way to approach it.
SCHLANGER: I think just one other thing I'd like to bring up for this program — you brought up Africa, a couple of times, and the Schiller Institute has played a leading role for 30 years, in promoting a program that has to do with the shrinkage of Lake Chad. And there's been some positive developments on that. Can you say something about that?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: More generally, Africa has been in a condition which is really incredible. There is no reason why there should be poverty in Africa, but for colonialism, and then the IMF conditionalities, which deliberately kept Africa down. If you look at John Perkins' book The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which is very useful to read in this context, there was no intention to develop Africa, until China started to invest.
Now, China has, for the last several years, built several incredible projects: A railroad from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, 750 km. It is now building railroads from Kenya, all the way to Rwanda, Uganda, and Mozambique. It has already built industrial parks, hydropower dams, and now, this project of the Transaqua, this is something we discovered, I think in the late '80s, or beginning of the '90s, in our efforts to develop development plans for Africa. It's the idea that, given the fact that Lake Chad is drying out — it has less than 10% of its original volume of water — and naturally this affect 30 million people in the entire region.
So there is an Italian firm, Bonifica, and Marcello Vichi, who is a very good engineer, he developed, together with some colleagues already at the end of the '70s, the idea that you can take some of the surplus water of the tributaries of the Congo River; 3% or so, and this has no negative effect at all, because otherwise, this is water which goes into the ocean unused. You would bring this water from these tributaries, from an altitude of 500 km, through a system of canals, and rivers integrated with canals, all the way to Lake Chad, and you would refill Lake Chad. But in addition, you would develop an inland shipping system, which would benefit 12 nations; you would have large amounts of water for irrigation of agriculture; you would have hydropower for all the participating nations.
So this is really a game-changer for the entire African continent. And there is right now an agreement to do a feasibility study, between the Chinese and the Italian governments, and recently some Chinese publications gave the Schiller Institute credit that we promoted this project, and we brought these connections about. And the same is true, what we are in present period succeeding to get the Kra Canal in Thailand on the agenda; to get the reconstruction of Syria on the agenda.
So all of these things are live actions. But I can assure you, because of what China has been doing in Africa, the spirit of the Africans, has completely changed: They no longer want to be treated as people you can make sermons to about "good governance" and "human rights," and "democracy." But they now demand that anybody who talks to them, should talk to them as equal partners, should make a direct investments in cooperation with the governments, and there is a completely new spirit — I mean, it should not be that large parts of the world should live in these unbelievable conditions of poverty! It's not a natural condition of mankind!
And this is now changing. People are optimistic, and the possibility that the African continent, in a few years, can be completely free of hunger and poverty, is absolutely on the agenda. And I think this alone, think about all the Afro Americans in the United States: They should get excited about that, because I know that there is not so much focus on their side on Africa, as it should be; but I think this is a very, very good opportunity, that Afro-Americans should get onboard and fight for the implementation of the New Silk Road, not only for the United States, but get the United States to join hands with China to develop Africa.
SCHLANGER: Well, Helga, as we talked about in setting up this weekly webcast, you wanted to bring the "spirit of the New Silk Road" as you called it, to the broadest audience possible. And I think this discussion you just had at the end on Africa, is precisely that: How the spirit can give people a sense of confidence in the ability to break the stranglehold of geopolitics on the world, and bring us to this new economic paradigm.
So I want to encourage our listeners engage your friends, your colleagues and others to discuss the ideas that are being presented here, and let's use this opportunity — which may be our last opportunity — to break this power of the oligarchy, and to bring the whole world into this new economic paradigm.
Helga, I'd' like to thank you for joining us today, and we'll be back next week.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. Bye-bye.