Global Policy Increasingly Shaped by China's New Silk Road: Time for U.S. to Join
Join us for Helga Zepp-LaRouche's weekly international webcast. The discussion at this year's just-concluded Davos conference was shaped by the keynote address given last year, by China's President Xi Jinping, and by the continuing development of the Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI). The presentation this year, by Chinese economic adviser Liu He, provided a rallying point for those attending who were not fooled by the cheerleading of the global stock market bubble, as he made clear that the model of China's economic development, which has dramatically reduced poverty there, can be applied to accomplish that objective worldwide. Much of the world is not just listening, but joining with China. It is now time for the United States to fully engage in the BRI.
HARLEY SCHLANGER: Hello, I'm Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute. Welcome to this week's international webcast, featuring our founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
There have been some quite extraordinary developments in the past days. I think the most important to start with is the State of the Union address on Jan. 30th by President Trump. Helga, what are your thoughts on what Trump had to say and the reactions to it?
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Obviously, he did not say what he should have said, namely to go with the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche, Glass-Steagall, and a new credit system in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton. Now, we don't give up hope that that may still come, because, after all, if you remember, when my husband in 1983 had campaigned for what became the Strategic Defense Initiative, this was not mentioned by President Reagan in the State of the Union address; but then, on the 23rd of March, Reagan publicly announced the Strategic Defense Initiative. So therefore, we can absolutely hope that President Trump eventually, when he has to come to the question of financing the infrastructure he announced, he will come back to his promise from the election campaign to implement Glass-Steagall.
Otherwise, the speech was not bad. I think it's quite significant that, according to CBS, in a poll, 75% of the people who saw the speech were in great support for Trump. So I think that domestically, he definitely touched on a sense of optimism, even so there are still many problems, obviously, with the financial system which he did not address. But I think it's on a good course.
I think the strongest indicator that he is doing something good is the freakout by the Democrats, and while he appealed to a bipartisan cooperation on the immigrant issue, on infrastructure, the Democrats who basically were sitting there, demonstrating not-applauding, and in a certain sense being quite the war-party. I think that has become crystal clear, because in the context of the State of the Union, actually one day before, was the deadline for the implementation of the sanctions which the Congress had voted on half a year earlier; and nothing happened. The Trump administration did not implement sanctions against Russia and there was a complete freakout by such media as the New York Times or think tanks like the Atlantic Council which basically accused Trump of completely going against what the Congress had mandated; but the simple answer of the Trump administration on the sanctions against Russia was that it was not necessary.
Now, that's very good. I think that in spite of the fact that Trump in terms of the foreign policy aspect of his State of the Union address where he called Russia and China "rivals," rather than partners or something more positive, to which the Chinese reacted quite strongly. They said that this was alarming and provocative. But then, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the United States and China should work together instead, for a happier future of all of mankind. So that response was on the one side, expressing displeasure, but on the other side, keep reaching out for the kind of cooperation which already was demonstrated between Xi Jinping and Trump.
The Russians even responded less harsh, because they, in a commentary said the speech by Trump was much milder those of all of his predecessors, referring obviously to Obama and Bush.
So I think this is not the end of the world. It's not what it should be, but I think in the context of what is happening in the United States, one can also not expect, given the neo-con mobilization, given the really ridiculous behavior of the Democrats, I think he did pretty well.
SCHLANGER: On the question of the sanctions act, there were articles saying that this just proves that Trump is a puppet of Putin. But on the other side, the whole idea of these kinds of sanctions is counterproductive, especially if Trump is trying to pursue a policy of cooperation. And that brings us to the whole question of the Mueller coup operation under way — there have been a lot of developments on that, including the probable release in the next couple of days of the Nunes memo. What do you make of the situation of this whole coup?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Oh, I think this is reaching very interesting dimensions. As a matter of fact, on the way out of Congress, Trump was asked if he would release this Nunes memo, and he said "100%." And then also the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was interviewed and he said the White House would release this memo "pretty quick," because the American people should make up their minds on their own, what their judgment is. And that is very good.
So there, again, you have a complete freakout, for example, the German media, which were absolutely not reporting about this whole controversy, or if they would only report about it from the standpoint of Russiagate and soon Trump will be gotten out of office; now they have to sort of cover their behind, in reporting about it, but they're still on the line of the FBI-leaning version, but they do have to report it.
What happened this week was naturally dramatic: You have the decision of the House Select Committee on Intelligence to release the memo. Then you had the firing of [FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe, that is very good. Then you have the ongoing operation by Senator Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who, on the one side are insisting on a criminal investigation against Christopher Steele, but they also sent letters to all the leading Democrats, Podesta, the DNC, the various other Democratic officials, asking them detailed questions: What did they know about the Steele dossier? When did they know about Hillary? Many, many questions.
Then, McCabe is also under a new investigation, because it seems that he delayed the whole Hillary investigation concerning her emails by three weeks, trying to push it behind the November election.
So I think there is a lot of fury: You have people warning that the outcome of this will decide the fate of the United States — for example, Paul Craig Roberts, who after all was in the Reagan administration, he had a very stern warning saying the stakes are extreme; if the coup plotters would get away with their actions, then the United States would turn into a full police-state, where the intelligence services would create a dictatorship and there would be no more accountability of the government. So this is clearly one side.
And on the other side, naturally, there is expected hope that if this memo, which is due to come out, at the latest tomorrow, because the rules are such that it has to be five days after the vote in Congress, and that can really be an earthquake. Because if what seems to be in this memo becomes public, I think it will change not only the situation in the United States but also it will have an earthquake effect internationally.
SCHLANGER: We have emphasized from the beginning the importance of going after the British role, especially as related to this Christopher Steele dossier and its promotion by Fusion GPS. And now it appears there are people in the House and the Senate who are moving on this.
But what more can be done? We're continuing to get out the Mueller dossier that we produced. But what more can be done to make sure that it doesn't get diverted or distracted, but really hones in on this role of British intelligence as the key force behind the anti-Trump move?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think our viewers, that is, you, we are really asking you to help to circulate this memorandum on the Muellergate, because it is a question of justice. There is also a personal question involved: because this same Robert Mueller was the head of the "Get LaRouche Task Force" in the '80s. He is part of the apparatus which was responsible that my husband went to jail, innocently, for five years, and many of our associates in the United States for even longer periods. And this was one of the biggest injustices.
And it has to be remedied, because I always said then, and I still keep repeating it now, the biggest crime was not only that my husband when innocently to jail, but that the American people were deprived of his ideas and his solutions and I think that caused the suffering of the entire American people. If my husband would not have been prosecuted by such people as Robert Mueller — and he could have promoted his policies more successfully as a result — the United States probably would not be in the condition, you wouldn't have the kind of drug epidemics, you would have the kind of economic problems, so the crime was really committed against the American people.
And then, naturally, there is the aspect of Mueller's involvement in the cover-up of 9/11. And that is also something which also absolutely has to be addressed, and corrected.
And naturally, the present operations against President Trump, I mean, this has worldwide implications! This is a question of potentially World War III or not. So I think people should just help to get this dossier out widely and make sure that it remains on the front burner until justice has been implemented.
SCHLANGER: To go back to the question of sanctions for a moment, we just saw the completion of a new round of talks in Sochi on the Syrian Dialogue, where the Russians have been taking the leadership; there are other countries involved. And I'm not sure exactly how the U.S. is involved, but clearly, the attempt to push through new sanctions would undermine any U.S.-Russian cooperation. President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly emphasized that they see a lot of the U.S.-Russia problems stemming from the Obama administration.
If we could get past this Mueller operation, what would be the potential for U.S.-Russian cooperation?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: President Trump has expressed repeatedly that it's better for the world if the relationship between the United States and Russia is a positive one. And I think that that is absolutely true, because then you could deepen the sporadic cooperation which we saw in the case of Syria, and we also saw in the background of the Korea situation, and you could also then hopefully start to address the Ukraine problem, which is right now still a very dangerous one. There speaks 1 zillion reasons for such a cooperation, and I think anybody who has a sense of world peace should understand that Trump in that sense, is a donation of heaven, if you compare it with Hillary Clinton and with Obama and with Bush before that.
So, once you have this problem out of the way, where Trump feels boxed in, which he clearly shows he's not boxed in totally, but he's adjusting, like in the case of the vote that he didn't oppose the sanctions, because he knew that his veto would be overridden, and Lavrov has made very clear that the Russians understand that constraint in the United States which Trump finds himself in;
But if these things would be removed, you could start addressing real problems like nuclear disarmament, like serious efforts to reconstruct the Middle East, solving the Ukraine and North Korean problems in a timely fashion. All of these things are touched by that relationship between the United States and Russia in particular.
SCHLANGER: And Helga, what report did you get on the Sochi conference? It seems as though things did move forward on this. Is your sense that this is a positive development?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Despite the fact that there was a sabotage attempt by some Saudi-sponsored groups that did not attend, but this was a huge conference, with more than 1500 delegates, and they established a commission to work on a new Constitution for Syria. And I think it's very good, because they will now move on the idea, which is also in the UN resolution, that it is alone the will of the Syrian people what their government should look like, and what they want to implement politically. Now, this was all backed by Staffan de Mistura, from the United Nations, and so I think it's both a big success of the Astana Process, and it is not in contradiction to the Geneva Process, but is an amplification of it. So, I think overall, the result is very excellent.
SCHLANGER: I'd like to move to the economy, because that was one of the things that, even though the President talked about it a lot, he did not fully go through with the policy that we put forward — and by the way, people can read it; there's now a pamphlet out on the LaRouche PAC campaign for 2018, what's needed for the United States — but we're seeing new signs of a financial explosion. Last week, we had the Carillion company in the United Kingdom collapsing; 20-30,000 jobs at stake. Now we have a report on this company called Capita, which may means as many as 50,000 jobs lost.
The stock market's wobbling, the Federal Reserve is talking about interest rates going up. Where do things stand on the financial situation?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: One of the potential triggers is exactly these corporate collapses, because these are large firms, and as many people have warned in the past, the corporate debt bubble is right now much, much bigger than in 2008, and it could be the trigger point. So this may be already the beginning.
Naturally, the behavior of the central banks in light of all of this, is just completely irresponsible, to say the least. And the fact that the ECB is considering to issue sovereign-backed bond securities, which is another expression of junk bonds, and that has been pointed out immediately by the deputy faction leader of the Free Democratic Party in Germany, saying this is exactly what triggered the 2008 crash.
So I think all the schemes to keep the system going is not going to work, and the Federal Reserve announced that they plan to have at least three increases in the interest rate this year, and this could very well be the trigger for the crash. We are exactly at this point, between a hyperinflationary blowout, signs of which are mounting, among others being the stock market bubble, and also the potential of a collapse if you stop quantitative easing. So within this system you are in a Catch-22 and the only solution is to go back to what Franklin D. Roosevelt did in 1933: implement Glass-Steagall, end the casino economy, and then go to a Hamiltonian banking system — call it what you want, you can call it Reconstruction Finance Corp., you can call it Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau — and once you would basically make the financial sound again, there would be absolutely nothing in the way for the Western countries to fully cooperate with the AIIB, the Silk Road Fund and other financial institutions which are backing the Belt and Road Initiative. And that is the only way how you can avoid complete disaster, and that is what people should really help to implement.
SCHLANGER: As a sign of the bankruptcy of the economic reporting, Bloomberg interviewed, of all people, Alan Greenspan yesterday on whether or not there's a stock market bubble. And Greenspan is famous for his statement that there was not irrational exuberance, before several different bubbles popped in his tenure at the Federal Reserve. So, it's somewhat indicative of the problem that they still keep coming back to the people caused the problem, to discuss the solution. Bloomberg should be obviously interviewing your husband, who is the one who not only forecast these bubbles popping, but has a solution.
You just mentioned the Belt and Road; there are some other very significant continuing developments with the expansion of the overall process of the Belt and Road Initiative: What do you have that you can tell us that's been going on in the last days and weeks?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think that the number of new projects which are announced on a daily basis is just breathtaking. China is building a new deep-sea port in Nigeria. They're involved in many projects in Latin America — as a matter of fact, I think the new Silk Road Spirit has caught on in Latin America now, in the same way as it had earlier in Africa, where even countries which were previously more in the Washington Consensus orbit, like Brazil, they are now very Interested in Chinese investments in their infrastructure projects; also Argentina, where the Chinese are with a large delegation.
So the advantages for countries to get the kind of credit they were denied before that's just a winning dynamic, and there was a very interesting speech in Washington I was told about, by a leading Indonesian economist and military person, who basically said that the American model of democracy as it was pushed in the past is just not convenient for developing countries which have many more benefits when they go along with the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative.
And that is just everywhere. I think this is the leading development you have, even in Europe, you have more and more countries which are open; the Chinese, for example, are building a fast railroad between Oslo and Stockholm; this is very good, because once this becomes a pattern, that the Chinese are building high-speed railroads in Europe, I think it will catch on. You know, we just had in Germany this debacle where the first fast train connection between Berlin and Munich took 26 years to be built! This was 550 km, and the fast train system between Beijing and Shanghai, which is more than 1,300 km, took only four years. So, one of my colleagues in Germany made the funny calculation that if the Chinese want to have 45,000 km fast train by 2030, and if Germany should build 45,000 km and take the same speed they used for the Berlin-Munich connection, this would take them 2,340 years, and bring us into the year 4500 to be completed.
This shows you what the difference really is, and how the New Paradigm of the New Silk Road functions very concretely. It is just something which is absolutely doable, but it requires a certain intention to get the result and then you get it. and where that intention is not there — it happens as in Germany, which is becoming at that point the laughingstock of the world. If you look at the Berlin Airport, which will probably never be finished — it's a sad sign of what is going wrong in the Western countries.
SCHLANGER: Someone else who seems to have caught the New Silk Road Spirit is Japanese Prime Minister Abe. He's been very much involved in interesting talks with Russia, China, even South Korea. Is Japan coming into the New Silk Road?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. I would definitely say so. The Japanese Foreign Minister was just in China meeting with [foreign minister] Wang Yi, and they had very extensive discussions on cooperating in third countries, and just today the Chinese Foreign Ministry put out a statement saying that the new Chinese-Japanese cooperation has implications far beyond the two countries and it opens the perspective of joint ventures in third countries. So I think this is very good.
It's one sign that a major industrial country like Japan, which used to be completely in the Anglo-American orbit, going back historically quite some time, that they can recognize their interests. And Japan is a country which has not many resources and is totally dependent on large markets; and naturally, the only available large, expanding market is that caused by the Belt and Road Initiative. And I think this is very profound: Because if Japan can in that sense find its own interest in the collaboration with China, so hopefully can the United States, and hopefully also can Germany, which has been sort of a holdout, sticking to the old paradigm; and hopefully that can change just by looking at Japan as a model.
SCHLANGER: Last week, Helga, we covered extensively the mobilization by geopoliticians, neo-cons and others, to build up hysteria against China in the West, and that's continuing. Now, you're one of the leading experts in the West on China, as it really is, as opposed to the nightmares of the neo-cons. What is it that Americans need to know about what's driving the situation in China?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: There is apparently a very interesting book, the diary of a girl, called Ma Yan, The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl; and she described how she grew up in the very poor northwest region of China, which is full of droughts and so forth; and how through, very hard work, how she became not wealthy, but prosperous and to have a good living standard. And I think this is a very good example, because there is all this propaganda about China and their intention and so forth, but what people do not want to look at, and should look at, is what are the values which govern the Chinese society? It is very much the idea of the common good, you have a central government which is keeping absolute control which is absolutely correct — if you have a country of 1.4 billion people, you have to have stability. And the country is absolutely transformed: You have the fruits of the focus on the common good, versus exaggerated, individualistic hedonism, which is what characterizes the West.
And the Chinese people are devoted to accomplishing things, for example, recently, Chinese workers upgraded and changed a railroad station in nine hours. I mean, what takes in Stuttgart 21, ten years or more, they did in nine hours. And that is because they deployed 1,500 people to do it, and then they get results. They build railways by building the railway simultaneously at many points, and therefore, they have it ready easily.
In the West, at least in Europe, you have also the terrible condition of the infrastructure, and then you have construction sites, and these construction sites last for years — you see maybe two workers for five days a week; and that's just not the Chinese approach. The Chinese say, "we have to accomplish that, and we'll get it done. We'll do it with a large workforce," and then you see the result.
And I think it is really important that people change their view on what is the intention of China, because, you know, look at the countries which are cooperating, look at how their people are becoming more optimistic and happier. And I absolutely believe that Chinese is being completely truthful when they say that their aim is not to compete for hegemony of the world, or have some new kind of global system. I think that the Chinese offer to have an alliance of perfectly sovereign countries working together for the common good and for the joint destiny of mankind is absolutely true, and we need a political discourse in the United States which is not tainted by geopolitical interpretations and wild fantasies, where people only project their own intentions on, in that case, on China, or on Russia for that matter.
So I think we need a real discussion, what should the future of mankind be like? How can we have a foreign policy which respects the UN Charter, which respects sovereignty, which respects the other social system without trying to expose and export what you think your system is. And I think then we can have a peaceful world and I think that as long as Trump is in the White House and as long as this Muellergate is being defeated, the chances that we will get there are actually very good.
SCHLANGER: I think the final point on this, Helga, is that you said "this is an unstoppable dynamic — except, perhaps, by thermonuclear war." The Chinese don't seem to be too much taken aback by the hysteria coming from the neo-cons; it's sort of part of what they expect, and they're still continuing to move ahead, aren't they?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yeah. I mean, the response was, let's join hands with the United States for a better future. So, they don't react to even provocations which they recognize, but then they take the high ground and basically offer their model. So I think this is very good, and this is a reflection of the Confucian philosophy, which I think is underlying the paradigm of the Chinese.
SCHLANGER: OK, thank you very much, Helga. I think that brings us to an end today, and we'll be back next week.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, till next week.