Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s address to Oct. 19 conference in Lyon, France, sponsored by the Schiller Institute and the Club China EM Lyon Forever.
Let me start with an obvious question: What would Charles de Gaulle do today, to safeguard the French nation and to protect the French people from the unprecedented dangers of the world today, looking at the twin threats of getting drawn into potential nuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia on the one side, and the immediate possibility of a meltdown of the transatlantic financial system, which would throw much of the world into an economic chaos, that in all likelihood also would end up in a global war as well?
Is it one second before, or already after twelve, when German foreign minister Steinmeier says he no longer can exclude a direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia, when American Vice President Biden announces a cyber attack on Russia for the supposed Russian intervention in the American election campaign, which Konstantin Kosachov, head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs called the greatest threat since the Cuban missile crises, given Bidens position, and when the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova accuses Washington of pursuing a policy of scorched earth concerning U.S.-Russian relations? And when, at the Seventh Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, Russian and Chinese military leaders warn that the Obama administration is far advanced in preparing its forces for a first-strike nuclear war against both nations based on the Prompt Global Strike Doctrine and the deployment of anti- ballistic missile systems along both the Russian and Chinese borders, to “deliver a surprise nuclear- missile strike in any region of the world without punishment,” and that Russia and China would be forced to take appropriate countermeasures?
The fact that Chancellor Merkel has invited President Putin, who did not come to Paris today as scheduled, for a Minsk II meeting today to Berlin, is sign of hope.
The crisis is heated up by the threatening collapse of the financial sector of the transatlantic world. Deutsche Bank with EU42 trillion of outstanding derivative contracts,— a sum 12 times the GDP of the German economy on an annual basis,— for which almost all the TBTF banks are counterparties, is only the riskiest bank, but in the case of a crash, all big and even the middle-sized banks are dramatically undercapitalized. It is ironic, that of all things, it is the fine by the U.S. Department of Justice for the criminal manipulations of the U.S. real estate market, which contributed to the crisis of 2007/8, which could now be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of its insolvency. The presently-discussed partial takeover of Deutsche Bank by some of the leading DAX- firms, without the write down of the derivatives would not change anything in the fact that the whole banking system is finished.
A formerly leading banker told me recently, that if the storm breaks loose, those who earned their life’s earnings through productive work, will be the big losers, and if the dams break despite all efforts by the governments to contain the situation, we will experience a different Europe, a breakdown of law and order, and ungovernability within the EU, in short: a continent in revolution.
Since we are dealing with the named dangers as the result of human policies, it is absolutely possible to overcome them by choosing an entirely different political course. Franklin D, Roosevelt overcame the financial crisis and depression in 1933 with the Glass-Steagall banking separation law, which ended the casino economy at that time; by the launching of the Pecora Commission which put the criminal activities of Wall Street before the courts; and by returning to the credit policy of the first Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S., Alexander Hamilton.
Lyndon LaRouche has proposed in that tradition four fundamental laws, which would lead the U.S. economy out of the present crisis and re-establish its lost productivity. Apart from the re- introduction of Glass Steagall, they involve the creation of a National Bank in the spirit of Hamilton, an international credit system in the same tradition, as well as a science driver program for the world economy, as would be possible with a crash program for fusion technology and international cooperation for space- science and space travel.
If the responsible leaders of the transatlantic region can be won over in the short term, to put the welfare of the people before the geopolitical interest of the financial oligarchy, the world can be brought suddenly away from the abyss. Because, although largely unnoticed by the mass media, in the last three years there has been an unprecedented strategic realignment among nations, which has created completely new options for world politics.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has created a completely new perspective on the agenda over the past three years with the “New Silk Road,” “One Belt One Road” economic initiative, which has meanwhile created an enormous dynamic of economic cooperation among more than 70 countries.
China has itself created in the past 40 years an economic miracle,- -interestingly on the basis of the same economic principles on which the German economic miracle was based,— in which it has condensed an economic development for which the industrialized nations needed 200 years. China was able to establish itself in several categories as a world market leader, such as fast train systems, digitalization of industry and electronics, alternative energies, etc. During that period it lifted 800 million of people out of poverty, and has just called upon the world in a new White Paper, to overcome extreme poverty for the whole world by 2020.
With the construction of the New Silk Road, China is offering all cooperating nations the export of the China model on the basis of “win-win-cooperation,” with the same focus on innovation and economic growth which China emphasized in its leadership at the G20 summit in Hangzhou. China has offered the states along the economic belt a comprehensive plan for scientific cooperation, joint labs, research centers, tech-transfer centers, science and technology parks, and an exchange program for over 150,000 science and technology personnel from those countries for training in China with more than 5,000 young scientists, with the specific aim of uplifting their productivity. At the G20, China pledged to share the benefits of innovation especially with the developing countries, so as not to delay their overcoming their underdevelopment.
The project of the New Silk Road is the largest infrastructure and industrialization program that ever existed on the planet. Seventy nations—and that number is growing—which represent 4.4 billion people, and already represent 43% of the world economy. The investments planned and already made, are in the scope of $1.4 trillion (in today’s buying power).
The perspective of the New Silk Road and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, is a development strategy designed for the next 30-40 years. As the ancient Silk Road, a name given it only later by the German geologist Ferdinand von Richthofen, it is not just one continuous trade route between Eurasia and Africa, but it is a synonym for the unification and transformation of the different landlocked regions and nations connected by sea-route. It is not only transport and exchange of goods, but more importantly the exchange of scientific knowledge, technologies and culture.
Between President Xi Jinping and President Putin, the basis was laid for the economic integration of the New Silk Road and the Eurasian Economic Union. At the Economic Forum in Vladivostok at the beginning of September, in which Japanese Prime Minister Abe and the South Korean President Park participated with large business delegations, the integration of the Eurasian economic space was advanced decisively, although almost not noticed in the western world.
The immediately-following G20 summit organized by China in Hangzhou, demonstrated to the whole world that China has developed the most progressive model for a new orientation of the world economy based on innovation and economic growth, as well as the reaffirmation of international relations based on the UN Charter, and respect for sovereignty and for different social models, which is in stark contrast to concepts such as R2P and so-called “humanitarian interventions,” whose consequences we can see the today in Southwest Asia and Northern Africa.
President Xi was direct at the G20: “The old model is no longer sustainable. We now need an innovation-based strategy. We will be the avant-garde in science and technology and do basic research, to overcome those scientific and technical problems which are hampering economic and industrial development. We will speed up the application of science and development, and sponsor strategic and rising branches of industry, in order to bring industries up to a medium to high level in the value-chain.”
At their summit in Laos which followed immediately, all the ASEAN states supported the Chinese position in the conflict around the South China Sea, and emphasized in their common declaration, that China’s development represents an important chance for the region, and that they explicitly support China’s peaceful development. The just-concluded summit of the BRICS states, demonstrated that the strategic alliance of Russia, China and India is the core of Asian integration, putting common interests above remaining tensions.
This rapid sequence of fora and summits within only six weeks, in which an enormous number of economic deals has been concluded, highlighted not only the extreme tempo of the strategic realignment in international relations; it also makes clear in an unmistakable fashion that the center of world politics has shifted very clearly to Asia.
The first pilot train came only five years ago from China to Europe. By now, 20 cargo trains are arriving per week from the economic centers of China,— such as Shenyang, Lianyungang, Harbin, Yiwu, Wuhan, Chengdu and Chongqing ,—to major cities of Europe, such as Duisburg, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Lyon, and Madrid.
The eastern and central European states have long recognized the advantages of Chinese investments in exactly those infrastructure projects and transport corridors, which in part had been decided at the 1994 Crete conference of the EU transport ministers, but which were never realized due to the austerity policy of the Troika. The modernization of the harbor of Piraeus; the construction of railway lines from Greece via Serbia, Hungary and beyond; and the connection of the Oder-Elbe-Danube Canal to the European waterway network are underway. The governments of Greece, Serbia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland have long recognized that the road to the future lies in cooperation with China in Building the New Silk Road.
At the same time, a completely parallel banking system has been created, which is entirely devoted to investments in infrastructure, projects of the real economy and innovation. This includes the AIIB, where despite significant pressure from Washington, about 70 countries joined immediately as founding members,— even close U.S. allies such as Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and Canada. Other institutions of the new system include the New Development Bank, the Maritime Silk Road Fund, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Bank, and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, which is devoted to countering speculative attacks. All these abstain from the casino economy.
All the cities and regions which are involved in exchange of goods along these new trade routes, recognize clearly the advantages of cooperation for both sides. What therefore should hold back Europe, from fully taking up China’s offer for “win-win cooperation” to extend the New Silk Road to East and Central Europe, the Balkans, Southern Europe, and before all else, to reconstruct the war-torn Middle East and to engage in the urgently necessary industrialization of Africa, and thus realize the only policy which can prevent an even more horrible devolution of the refugee crisis?
The answer is obvious. The U.S. administration and Great Britain insist on the idea of a unipolar world, which in this form has already ceased to exist. The transatlantic word is about to crash with full speed into the Thucydides trap, as former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey has warned repeatedly. And Europe has up to now been caught in the old paradigm, adjusting to the Washington consensus without many questions.
A report released on the 12th of September by the Said Business School of Oxford University, is symptomatic of the efforts, obviously as futile as they are desperate, by the proponents of the decaying neoliberal monetarist school, to try to discredit the enormous success of the New Silk Road policy. The report argues ridiculously, that its enormous investment in infrastructure, $10.8 trillion over the last decade alone, is a cause for the impending collapse of the Chinese economy and a threat to the entire world economy! This typical view, shared by the philosophy of high-risk and high-profit investment banking, that investments in infrastructure do not produce high yields of return, has been correctly mocked by Chinese officials, who have stated: “We assess risk differently than western agencies, because we look at the potential for the development of a country. They look backward, we look forward.”
The history of the industrialization of every country on the planet is the plain proof, that the development of infrastructure is the conditio sine qua non for the transformation into modern economies. The return on the individual projects cannot be measured in terms of the projects’ direct profit generation, such as for example the toll for private highways, but only in terms of the increase of the productivity of the entire nation or continent, caused by the improved connectivity of industry, agriculture, the mobility of individuals, etc. The more developed and dense the infrastructural development of a country is, including in infrastructure power, water, communication, education, healthcare, etc., the higher the productivity of the economy, the living standard, the longevity of the people. Naturally the Oxford researchers cannot help but let the cat out of the bag: They warn other developing countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria or Brazil, not to take China as the model for their development!
Equally wrong and guided by geopolitical motifs, is the argument that China is simply trying to replace Anglo-American imperialism with its own Chinese version. These assertions are nothing but projections of the mindset of those themselves who make the argument. The reality is, that on top of the 2,500 year old tradition of Confucianism, there is a profound renaissance of Confucianism occurring, which puts forward the ideal of individual lifelong self-perfection, and that of a harmonious development of all nations, which absolutely corresponds to China’s Win-Win policy of the New Silk Road as in the mutual interest of everybody participating in it, and to the idea of sharing the fruits of innovation and scientific and technological progress, especially with the developing countries.
There is a much deeper affinity between Confucianism and the European humanist tradition, than almost anybody is aware of today. The problem is, that we in Europe have moved away from our most noble traditions, such as the Italian Renaissance, the French Ecole Polytechnique, the German classical period and the optimistic image of man associated with them. We have allowed them to be replaced with the depravity of present day popular culture, dominated by ugliness, violence, pornography and shallowness.
To come back to the question posed in the beginning, what would Charles de Gaulle do today? I am certain he would passionately embrace the idea of finally overcoming poverty and underdevelopment through the global extension of the New Silk Road to become a World Land Bridge, and that in the new paradigm there will not be a contradiction between being a patriot of your own nation and a world citizen, concerned with the well- being of the entire human species.
Let me remind you of the extraordinary speech de Gaulle gave in his address to the German youth on the 9th of September 1962 in Ludwigsburg, where he talked about that dark power, which on the basis of an unknown law, causes the material things of life to undergo ever more rapid transformations, wherein the totality of scientific discoveries causes a continuous improvement of the physical conditions of life. He said: “The wonderful perspective which presents itself to you, should not be limited to a few chosen ones among those who are today of your age , but should become accessible to all our companions. You should drive for progress to become a common good, so that it contributes to the fostering of the beautiful, the just and the good. [This should be true] everywhere, and especially in our countries, which represent our civilization and therefore can contribute to the billions living in the developing countries, to conquer hunger, misery and ignorance and to achieve their full human dignity.”
What we in the European nations have to do, is to define in de Gaulle’s spirit our true self interest, which is to use the rich scientific and cultural tradition of 2,500 years of European history, to join with the hopeful perspective that the New Silk Road represents, and work together to bring mankind into an entirely new paradigm, which proceeds from the notion that the one humanity is of a higher order than all of its diversities. We must agree on the common aims of mankind, because we are indeed what Xi Jinping calls a “community of shared destiny.” A “community of shared future of mankind.”
What are these common aims? We should join hands to industrialize Africa through the extension of the New Silk Road, so that the millions now being tortured by poverty and war, no longer feel the need to take the risk of dying of dehydration in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean. We should fulfill our moral obligation to reconstruct the war-torn countries of the Middle East.
We should make sure that all children on the planet have access to universal education, so that the limitless creative potential of the human species can be set free. We can and must make new scientific revolutions concerning the principles of life, the creativity of the human mind as a physical power in the universe, and the lawfulness governing our universe at large. Let’s assume the world outlook of our astronauts, cosmonauts ant taikonauts, looking down from space on our small, fragile blue planet, and looking out into the far reaches of our Solar system, Galaxy and Universe. Because space exploration and research have an unbelievable power to cause man to ask questions he never asked before, and to discover principles which we today don’t even know how to ask the right questions about. Let us become truly human and we will conquer all challenges and begin a new era of mankind.