On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Kazakhstani Pres. Nursultan Nazurbayev, in Astana, where in September, 2013, Xi had announced his proposed Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. In an article Xi wrote for his present visit, he said that the proposal has succeeded in going “from concept to action,” and that it now functions as a “global public good.”
In the United States today, the same implicit public-good principle was presented, as the concept of rebuilding the United States, in a presentation made by President Trump, speaking on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
Trump called for upgrading U.S. infrastructure and creating jobs. One focus was on refurbishing the locks and dams on the Ohio system, and throughout the 12,000 miles of U.S. inland and intracoastal waterways. He recounted past U.S. infrastructure accomplishments, including building the Hoover Dam in five years, and the Golden Gate Bridge in four years. Look at the Erie Canal—which was a dream of New York Gov. DeWitt Clinton. Thomas Jefferson, Trump said, thought it couldn’t be done. But, ‘tell that to a New Yorker, and he will find a way to do it!’ Trump said, “We used to be a nation of builders…[but] we don’t do it anymore…Not even fix things…” This must change, he said.
Our challenge in the United States, is to succeed in bringing about the “action” part of “from concept to action.” We must force a U.S. breakout from the collapsing, monetarist mess of the Wall Street/City of London system, and create conditions for nation-serving banking, credit and advancement in productivity and science. We have two initiatives in that this week.
First, a new plan for the United States is being released by LaRouchePAC science team member Jason Ross, titled, “A Future Platform of U.S. Infrastructure—Case Study: New York.” (EIR, cover date June 9, 2017; and other postings). Ross has collaborated with Dr. Hal B.H. Cooper, a transportation engineer, and others, on specifics for New York City, which is an infrastructure disaster. Ross states in his introduction, “We begin by posing answers to overlooked questions about the role of infrastructure in the economy. Equipped with those concepts, we approach U.S. national infrastructure needs in light of international infrastructure developments in China. Finally, we return to New York City, situated in its national and international context, and discuss the necessary next stages of its infrastructure development, looking not ten or twenty years into the future, but several generations ahead.”
Secondly, there is action on the necessary pre-condition to make this economic lift-off happen—to restore the 1933 Glass Steagall Act, which worked for 66 years, to set apart and protect commercial banking from speculative finance, until it was wrongfully repealed in 1999. Two principal sponsors of the bill to restore Glass Steagall (H.R. 790, Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017) in the House of Representatives — Marcy Kaptur (D) and Walter Jones (R) — briefed the House Rules Committee last evening, on the necessity of Glass Steagall, and the need to get a fair debate in the House on re-instating it. Kaptur’s 8-minute presentation is now circulating nationally on social media. (See it on LaRouchePAC.com, “Reinstate Glass-Steagall to Restore ‘Golden Age’ of American Growth.”) Kaptur is expected to speak up for it on the floor of the House in the June 8 debate on H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act—a stupid bill to further unleash Wall Street.
There is no time to lose; the dangers are many. As far as domestic infrastructure, we have entered a “Minneapolis Bridge” phase of decrepitude, referring to the disaster 10 years ago (August 1, 2007), when a bridge over the Mississippi River suddenly collapsed during rush-hour, killing 13 and injuring 145 more in the crash. Not only in New York City, this can happen anywhere, anytime, cross country.
Internationally, the situation in Southwest Asia is chaotic, complicated, and dangerous. On Wednesday, terrorists struck at the Parliament of Iran, leaving 12 dead. As Russian President Putin reiterated, in sending condolences to the people of Iran, the attacks “once again corroborate the need to step up international cooperation in fighting terrorism.”
The Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee looked over his shoulder at the pressure of rising Republican interest in Glass-Steagall, in an interview with The Hill today. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) preposterously claimed, “If you’re attempting to ensure a financial system that minimizes that chance of financial panics, then in many respects, the Financial CHOICE Act can be your 21st-Century Glass-Steagall.” The Hill headlined its coverage, “House Financial Services Chairman Won’t Support Glass-Steagall Revival.”
Speaking again in the House today on Glass-Steagall reinstatement vs. the “CHOICE” deregulation act, Rep. Marcy Kaptur said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose the Financial CHOICE Act, which abandons the American people, as well as safety and soundness, in favor of Wall Street.
“Six megabanks now control two-thirds of the financial sector in our country, and reaped record profits of over $170 billion in 2016. That’s too much power in too few hands….
“This week, Congressman Jones and I proposed to table the current legislation and replace it without bipartisan bill, the [Return to] Prudent Banking Act, which reinstates Glass-Steagall protections by separating prudent banking from risky Wall Street banking that tanked out economy in 2008.
“The Rules Committee refused to allow our bill a vote. Nevertheless, we remain resolute. Glass-Steagall is something President Trump ran on, as did Bernie Sanders, and in 2016 both the Republican and Democratic platforms enshrined the policy of restoring Glass-Steagall protections.
“Americans should know there is a growing bipartisan consensus fighting to protect the progress we have made, rein in Wall Street, and keep the wolves at bay and out of your pocketbook.”
Kaptur and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), with 50 co-sponsors, plan more action soon to intensify the Glass-Steagall debate.
Another respected expert for Glass-Steagall reinstatement, author and former investment banker Nomi Prins, released an strong and lengthy argument for Glass-Steagall today addressed to President Donald Trump. It appears on several progressive news sites.
The summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 8-9, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in attendance, among heads of state of the other member nations, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In the course of the summit, India and Pakistan will be formally admitted into the SCO.
India and Pakistan together represent 1.5 billion people, and with their addition, the SCO “will now represent the voice of three billion people—half the world’s population,” India’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, P. Stobdan, told Sputnik.
Leading into the summit, Xi Jinping was in Astana Wednesday for a state visit with his counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, during which the two will discuss enhancing their bilateral economic, trade, cultural, and security cooperation.
In an opinion piece he penned for the Kazakh daily Aikyn Gazeti, published today under the headline “May China-Kazakhstan Relationship Fly High Toward Our Shared Aspirations,” Xi recalled that it was in Kazakhstan that he first announced the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013. Since then, he pointed out, the project has developed into “an open and inclusive platform of cooperation and has become a global public good well received by the international community.”
The Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese President said, offers “unprecedented historic opportunities,” and pointed to the success of May 14-15 Belt and Road summit in Beijing. He added that he will discuss with Nazarbayev joint cooperation in building the Belt and Road, to “synergize our development strategies…and work together to implement the outcomes of the Belt and Road Forum.” Xi and Nazarbayev will also participate in a video event to discuss cross-border transportation and “promoting connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative.”
On the sidelines of the summit, Xi Jinping will meet with President Putin to discuss a wide range of matters related to regional and international issues, as well as their bilateral agenda. The situation on the Korean peninsula will be a key topic of discussion. India’s Foreign Ministry has said that a meeting between Modi and Xi is “possible,” but nothing has yet been confirmed.