Harley SCHLANGER: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger with the Schiller Institute. I’d like to welcome you to this week’s webcast with the Schiller Institute Founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
Helga, I think what we need to start with this week, is the issue of geopolitics. You’ve always emphasized that geopolitics is an imperial game, it’s part of the old paradigm and the greatest threat to mankind. This was on display yesterday in the U.S. Senate: The Intelligence Committee has the Threat Assessment hearing; Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said, “Frankly the United States is under attack.” And Marco Rubio said, “China is the biggest threat.” He said, “it’s aggressively promoting infrastructure as part of its long geopolitical arm.”
What’s behind this?
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it is very clear that, as it becomes clear that China is becoming sooner or later the largest economy in the world, it’s already bypassing the United States in certain respects, — I mean, there is obviously a freakout on the side of those people in the West who are sticking to the conception of an unipolar, the idea of a Pax Americana, where, basically the United States is the only remaining superpower. And the fact that a nation which is after all, 1.4 billion people, is eventually becoming stronger, especially if it has the kind of science and technology oriented policy which China is pursuing, it is clear that some people respond to that with the idea to contain that country.
Now, I think it should be clear to anybody that that is a complete impossibility, unless you go to war.
Now, China has answered to the recent attacks, which are really ranging from Australia, to the United States, to certain European think tanks, in a very calm way. For example, there was a response to the formulation that China would be a “competitor” or a “rival,” as Trump said it in his State of the Union address, where there was a quite reasonable article in Global Times, answering to this, and making the point that the United States has to make an historic choice: That it is clear that the rise of China has caused certain strategic phobias among certain people, who recognize or help to see that China is offering a different development model which is especially attractive for developing countries, and that they are now reacting in this way; but that obviously, cooperation is the only way for these two largest countries in the world — the United States and China. And if they find a way of cooperation, then they have a bright future.
This is completely crazy to say that everything China does — the Chinese culture, the Chinese system — all of this would be a threat to the West. It is absolutely not the case, and China has offered cooperation, and anything else can only lead to a catastrophe.
Now, I would make still a big difference between how President Trump reacts; while all of these attacks were going on, he met with State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Washington, and they reopened the four-level strategic dialogues, that they will continue. And I think this is very good. But obviously, the propaganda campaign against China right now is reaching an absolutely unprecedented pitch.
SCHLANGER: At the same time, we’re seeing the changes going on with Russiagate. You hear very little these days about questions of what Russia did, what Trump did, but there are new things emerging. I think it’s quite interesting: The Obama role is starting to be talked about, Joe diGenova had another statement. What’s your assessment of what’s going on with the whole Russiagate story?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Essentially, I think what this Joseph diGenova points out, which I think is quite relevant, that the counter-memo to the Nunes memorandum which was basically coming from Adam Schiff, was kept back by the FBI and the DOJ, diGenova says, because there are certain formulations in it which need to be redacted according to these two institutions, and he points out to the fact that the formulation because there is a criminal investigation going on, is very interesting. And he points to the fact that all the culprits who were involved in this Russiagate coup attempt eventually will face criminal prosecution. So that’s one thing.
And also the role of former President Obama is now an issue. There was a funny email which Susan Rice sent to herself as a kind of memo, reminder, on Jan. 20, 2017, where she reported about a meeting involving Obama, Biden, Comey, herself, in which this was discussed that the incoming President Trump should not be told by the secret services, things relating to Russia, because of the suspicion of a collusion with Russia. Now, that’s quite incredible, that the outgoing President would instruct the intelligence services to withhold information from an incoming President. And this refers to a meeting which apparently took place on Jan. 5th, and then, one day later, the four heads of the intelligence services went to Trump in the Trump Tower, — this was still in the transition period — and they told him about the supposed collusion with Russia. And later, when Comey made this big speech in front the Congress, he said this was his “Edgar Hoover moment.”
This is all now in the public domain, and I think everything we said in the dossier on Mueller, which we published last September, is now proven absolutely to the point by these congressional investigations. [“Robert Mueller Is an Amoral Legal Assassin; He Will Do His Job If You Let Him!”] So, I think the battle where the United States will go looks much better for Trump than the people who tried the coup against him.
SCHLANGER: To go back to what you said about the Susan Rice memo: if you look at the Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday, it seems as though the heads of intelligence today are still holding to the same line that they did under Obama.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, they keep saying it, but that doesn’t mean that these investigations in the House and Senate will not continue. Some mills are grinding slowly, but they’re grinding.
SCHLANGER: The other big news from the United States was the introduction of the so-called infrastructure bill. What’s your assessment on that? It doesn’t seem to be what it was cracked up to be.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it’s noted as a good thing by many people that there is, finally, somebody proposing an infrastructure program, because infrastructure is a phenomenon which lasts 30, 40, 50 years, or maybe sometimes even longer, but then eventually it ages, it’s disintegrating, and that’s what we see in many instances in the United States — the roads, the nonexisting fast-train system, the general condition of bridges and so forth. So it’s a good thing that somebody talks about that.
But I think the way how Trump is going about it, by hoping there will be private investors, and a lot of burdens on the state and local governments will not function. And I think that China has noted that point in commenting that the political system in the United States is making it impossible. Because the moment Trump said anything about his program, the Democrats completely opposed it. And obviously infrastructure is in the national interest, and therefore, should be a nonpartisan issue. But the fact that you have this partisan system in the United States and elsewhere in the West, as part of the so-called “democratic” system, this prevents any progress in this respect and therefore, it’s all the more important that a professor from Beijing University offered to use the large foreign exchange reserves which China has, especially in the form of U.S. Treasuries and U.S. bonds, to invest those in the infrastructure in the United States.
This is a proposal which we have made from the very beginning, because obviously, China has the financing, China has the infrastructure expertise; they have built an enormous amount of fast train systems, and other infrastructure. So I think that that would be the only way to make this function. But I think short of that, you need Glass-Steagall, you need a National Bank in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton, and a credit system, and then the cooperation with the Belt and Road Initiative; and then it would function.
So that remains the task, basically in the United States, our colleagues are encouraging state legislators and others to make pressure from the base, so that neo-con pressure in the Republican Party and the Democratic opposition to Trump’s proposals are overcome, through such a program in the national interests of the United States, which would also be a peace-building measure. So that is the battle right now.
SCHLANGER: We also have this fairly interesting article on Bloomberg about the Chinese economy, where they say, our models show that it should have crashed, but it hasn’t crashed, and they say they’re confounded by this. It’s obvious, these models don’t work, but the Chinese are aware of that, aren’t they?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. As a matter of fact, as these attacks against China have escalated, they had a very interesting counterattack on “democracy,” saying that “democracy” is the hobby-horse of many people in the West, but in reality, it is not in the common interest, it’s basically a weapon to defend the interest of an oligarchy. And also the West are not the only ones who can claim to have a democratic system. And then they say basically that this goes back to Mencius, who already demanded that the government must follow the Mandate of Heaven, and in China it is the highest obligation of the party to follow the Mandate of Heaven, which means following the common good of the people.
So, they basically say democracy is being used for regime change, that when they target a country, they demand people should follow “democracy,” then they play up through the mainstream media some demonstrators and if everything goes well it leads to regime change and if it doesn’t go well, they go for a nice color revolution.
So I think these kinds of renewed, sharp responses coming from China reflect the fact that they do not intend at all to be intimidated, and that they’re quite aware of double standard of the so-called “liberal system” which claims they’re liberals, but then demand global hegemony and controlling the rules on a global scale, and that this double standard is visible for anybody who wants to see it.
So there is a new tone of self-confidence and self-assuredness in the Chinese responses to these accusations.
SCHLANGER: And I would assume the Chinese have to be asking the question, “What’s wrong with reducing poverty?” And here we see this situation where poverty is growing in the West, it has been growing from the 2001 period on, and yet, Chinese efforts to alleviate poverty, not just in China, but also in their neighbors and all around the world as well, is seen as somehow an imperial, expansionist policy.
I mean — do the Chinese have a reaction to that?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yeah. They have right now the most impressive program to alleviate poverty inside China by 2020. For those people who are interested in that, there is a documentary on CGTN, the Chinese Global Television Network, where they show how they absolutely map out every spot, every village where you have poverty, they have a file on every family to look at what are the reasons for it, what can be done to overcome it — education, infrastructure, industrialization, relocation of people to better-off areas — and President Xi Jinping is very much hands-on. He travels to these villages — not all of them, but some; he talks to the families; he makes it clear that it is his personal concern that the goal of eliminating poverty by 2020 is reached. And this is very, very impressive.
There was another article in the Chinese press, where they say, infrastructure development and poverty alleviation is also an area of competition. And not only is the economic growth of China absolutely incredible and outstanding, but so is the infrastructure building and the poverty alleviation.
So the West has to basically suffer to be judged: Who is doing more for their people, is it China, or is the West, with their so-called austerity systems, which in the case of, if you look at Europe, there is now a new study out by the European Center for Economic Research [zew], which looked at what was the difference, after the 2008 crisis, in those countries which an anti-cyclical focus on basic research and development, R&D, and they had a massive increase in productivity. The countries that did that were Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. As compared to those countries which were hit by with EU Troika austerity policy — namely, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland,. Czech Republic, Lithuania — which had to make cuts also in the basic research and development, and as a result had a terrible collapse in productivity.
I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the system of the free market, which after all is not that free, given the fact that all central banks did was to bail out the banks and keep money pumping for the benefit of the speculators, so that the rich become richer, and the poor become more poor, and the middle class is shrinking.
This article by Bloomberg which you referenced earlier, is very interesting, because the author admits that according to his theory, China should be collapsing, it should have meager economic growth, but obviously the contrary is the case. And he says that China is doing everything which according to his theory are terrible, like state intervention, party control, — things like that — and China is prospering. And actually, he says, he’s not yet ready to completely overturn his theory, but he’s willing to make corrections.
There will be a lot more corrections, because I think we need a public debate, what are the economic criteria for a functioning economy? And obviously, the works of my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, and his development of physical economy, going back to Leibniz, to Friedrich List, to Henry C. Carey, to Wilhelm von Kardorff, who was the economic advisor of Bismarck and was one of the key influences to bring about the industrial revolution in Germany; as compared to the so-called free market model, I think we have to have a real debate, what is the cause of wealth? Is it money, or is it the idea of the creativity of the individual, which then leads to scientific and technological discoveries, which applied in the production process leads to an increase in productivity, which then leads to more wealth, longevity, and all of these things.
We need a discussion about that, because the notion of what is economy, equating that with money, has really become one of the axiomatic assumptions of a failing system. So we need a debate about that.
SCHLANGER: One of the great contributions of your husband was making the connection, between geopolitical doctrine as an imperial doctrine, and the imposition of these kinds of economic policies, which only work for the handful of the most wealthy.
Now, we had talked earlier — actually, it’s been a focus of the Schiller Institute for a while — extending the Silk Road into the World Land-Bridge, and we’re seeing that now with the bioceanic railway, the progress in Africa. What can you tell us about how these projects are advancing?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Oh, I think they’re on a very good development: There was just a reiteration in Brazil coming from the Chinese Embassy, that the bioceanic railway connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic, from Brazil to Peru, is still very much on the agenda, that a feasibility study has been made. So this is on a good trajectory, and all the projects agreed upon at the China-CELAC meeting — the Caribbean and Latin American countries meeting with China; and naturally, also the Africa projects are all progressing very nicely. So I think the World Land-Bridge is becoming a reality, very quickly, to the benefit of all countries that participate in it.
SCHLANGER: I’d like to come back, as we wrap this up, to the question of geopolitics. We got a question from a viewer, who wanted to know why you always blame British geopolitical manipulations for World War I and World War II? And they ask the question, what did they do, and what were they responding to?
Why don’t you give us the answer to that?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: If you look at the British Empire’s policy toward the Continent in the 19th century, they clearly were extremely upset about the industrial revolution in Germany, introduced by Bismarck. Bismarck, as I mentioned earlier, was a free-trade follower in the beginning, working with the Prussian Junkers. But then he got acquainted with the theories of Henry C. Carey: He had this friend, Wilhelm von Kardorff who was the head of the German business association at the time, and they recognized the fundamental difference between what Friedrich List had called the “American System,” and the British system.
So Bismarck changed to an proponent of protectionism, and this led to a very quick industrial revolution in Germany. Now, the British, through relatives in the oligarchy, manipulated so that Bismarck got ousted, which was really a tragedy, because Bismarck was very smart and he had basically established a peace order on the European Continent, by having many diplomatic treaties with every nation, and especially with Russia, he had the Reinsurance Treaty, which was a very important element to prevent a possible outbreak of war, in case there should be some French-German tensions.
His successors were not so smart, so they didn’t pay attention to this Russia Reinsurance Treaty, and then the British started to manipulate the chessboard of the European countries, step by step, by creating incidents to create the Entente Cordiale; the Triple Entente; the war between Russia and Japan; the Balkan Wars; so that basically, every country was set already, ready to go so that the shooting in Sarajevo was only the trigger but not the cause for World War I.
Now, what was behind that, also, was the idea of geopolitics as it had been developed by Mackinder, Milner, and later by Haushoffer, which was the crazy idea that whoever controls the Eurasian land-mass is in control of the world, to the disadvantage of the Atlantic rim countries, in that case, United States and England. So basically, that idea that you have to orchestrate conflict in order to prevent such a development, that became an issue, naturally, with the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which was built essentially in the 1890s; and the plans to build a Berlin-Baghdad Railway, was regarded by the British at that time, as a fundamental threat to their control of the sea trade.
Now, obviously, today, with the New Silk Road, if you think in terms of geopolitics, you could easily arrive at the same mistaken conclusion, and I think that is the British thinking. And as we can see now, in the case of Mr. Rubio, or the intelligence heads of the United States, that is their thinking.
But as I had said, many, many times, geopolitics led to essentially all the wars in history. It led to two World Wars, because the idea with the Second World War, was everybody who had read Mein Kampf and knew the background of Hitler, knew that eventually a war between Russia and Germany would result, and there were backers who wanted Hitler to come to power — [Bank of England Governor] Montagu Norma, in the United States, the Harriman interests and others — so this was a manipulation where it was clear it would result in such a war.
It should be clear to everybody who is not completely losing his marbles, that in the age of thermonuclear weapons, you cannot continue this game, if you do not want to risk the extinction of civilization! And I think what China has proposed with their “win-win cooperation,” with their offers for China and the United States to cooperate on the basis of a special relation among major powers, the offer for European countries to cooperate, that is catapulting humanity to a higher level of cooperation and reason! And I think it is so much in our self-interest — what is the problem with the United States? It’s not that China is rising, the problem is that the United States has moved away from the policies of the Founding Fathers, of Lincoln, of Franklin D. Roosevelt, of Kennedy. And the United States, indeed, could become great again, if they go back to these policies, and then they would not regard China as a threat. It’s only when the West is collapsing that there is ferment to see a rising power as a threat. But as the Chinese ambassador to Washington Cui Tiankai, he said — and I think that that is definitely something to think about — that in history, there were 16 cases where one nation would rise and the dominant one up to that point would be faced with such a situation: In twelve cases, there had been war, and in four cases, the rising country had just bypassed the old, dominant one and that would have been the new situation. And the Chinese ambassador said: China does not want the twelve cases where it led to war, but they also don’t want the four cases where China would just take over and become the unipolar, dominant country; but that they want to have respect for the sovereignty of each, and that is what all the developing countries that are participating in the Belt and Road Initiative are experiencing. That’s why they cooperate, they have benefits from it, and they have, now for the first time, the chance to overcome their underdevelopment and poverty.
And I think it would be absolutely dangerous to listen to these people who are now saying everything China represents is a threat. Because if you look at China, it’s actually a very well-functioning economic model: The people are happy, the philosophy is for the common good, and it is not a threat. And I want to keep insisting on that, because nothing would be more dangerous than if you get into a complete anti-China hysteria, anti-Russia hysteria, and the only consequence of that could be a terrible catastrophe for all of us.
SCHLANGER: I think from what you just said, it becomes increasingly clear for people, why Donald Trump’s desire to have good relations with Russia and China, is seen as such a threat to the City of London, and its extended worldwide interests.
Helga, that brings us to the end of the program today. We’ll see you next week!
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, till next week.