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Helga Zepp-LaRouche Discusses Belt and Road Initiative with GBTimes

[Transcript included] Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave an excellent 42-minute video interview to GBTimes’ Senior Editor Asa Butcher on May 10.  GBTimes is a Chinese multimedia site based in Finland, and established to enhance a dialogue between China and Europe. 


Transcript

GBTimes: We’ll begin.  I’m going to focus on the Belt and Road Initiative today, following on from the Forum in Beijing last week.  If you could describe your feelings on the outcome of the Forum that concluded last week in Beijing.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Oh, I think it was very a really important progress as compared to the first Belt and Road Forum. The first Belt and Road Forum was filled with optimism and the knowledge of all the participants that we were experiencing the birth of a new system of international relations — that was already extremely important.  But I think the Second Belt and Road Forum saw a consolidation of that, so you have actually a new system of international relations which is overcoming geopolitics, and I think this is one of the most important outcomes, apart from, naturally, the enormous economic development which was presented.  But I think the idea that you have a system which has a win-win possibility for everybody to cooperate, is the way to overcome geopolitics, and that is the remaining danger, which after all, caused two world wars in the last century.  So this is a real breakthrough for humanity.

GBTimes:  There’s been a growing criticism and backlash against the BRI.  Do you think this is misunderstanding, suspicion toward this new system?  What are your thoughts on that?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  It’s actually a temporary phenomenon, because the funny thing was, here you had the largest infrastructure program in history, ever, with enormous changes for Africa, for Latin America, for Asia, even for European countries, and the Western media and think-tanks pretended it did not exist for almost four years!  And then, all of a sudden, they realized, “Oh, this is really growing so rapidly; it is including more than 100 countries.” So they started what I think was a coordinated attack, slandering the Belt and Road Initiative, with arguments which I think can all individually can be proven to be a lie.  It comes from the old geopolitical effort to control the world by manipulating countries against each other, and with the Belt and Road Initiative, I think that possibility is vanishing, and that’s why they’re so angry and hysterical.

GBTimes: What could China do to reduce this demonization of the BRI?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think China is already doing a lot.  For example, even Handelsblatt, which was very negative towards the Belt and Road Initiative in the past, they had to bring an article which brought out the fact that the whole argument that China is putting the countries of the third world into a “debt trap” is not holding.  For example, the IMF just released figures that there are 17 African countries which may not be able to pay their debt, but China is only engaged in 3 of them, and all of the others have huge debts to the Paris Club and to other big Western banks — so, who’s putting whom into a debt trap?

All of these arguments will be very easy to counter-argue, and the more China makes known its beautiful culture, people will be won over.  Because the beauty of Chinese painting, of Classical music, it will win over the hearts.  And the most people understand what China is actually doing, the less these attacks will be possible to maintain.

GBTimes:  The attacks are more on China than on the Belt and Road Initiative, you say?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, yes.  They’re on China because China is the major motor behind it.  And some of the attacks were that China is supposedly an autocratical dictatorship, and surveillance state and all of these things.  But first of all, concerning surveillance, I think the NSA and the GCHQ have outdone anybody already.  And naturally China has a system which uplifts the morality of the people:  This is based on the Confucian tradition, and for some of the very liberal people in the West, that is already too much, because it disturbs their idea that everything goes, everything is allowed, and from that standpoint, any kind of emphasis on morality is too much for these people.

GBTimes:  Isn’t sometimes criticism of new ideas and initiatives healthy? It’s what we understand here in the West, we don’t openly unquestionably accept new things.  We do question, and we are a little bit cynical sometimes.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  It’s superfluous.  It’s a waste of energy and it distracts people from accomplishing what needs to be accomplished: Namely, to overcome poverty in Africa, in Latin America, even in Europe.  You know, Europe has 90 million poor people, and I have not seen a plan by the European Union to overcome poverty by 2010, which China intends to do with its own poor people.

So I think it’s a waste of energy, and it comes from what I call, when people put on geopolitical spectacles and have neocolonial headphones, then they see and hear the world quite differently from what it is, namely, they only project their own views.

GBTimes:  Having been writing about China for the last 5-7 years, it has made a dramatic entrance onto the world stage, when I started writing about it many years ago.  And the speed of its arrival, the size of the investments, it can scare a lot of countries — just family and friends who don’t know much about China, they want to know about my job where I’m introducing China to the West, as this bridge.  There’s a lot of a misunderstandings.  Do you think some of it comes from this ignorance? And how could that be changed?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I have the feeling that everybody who was in China, either as a tourist or as a business person, investing or trading, they all come back and they have a very, very positive view.  People are impressed about what they see, the really incredible fast train system.  Then, if you go in the region of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Guangdong, Macao, Hong Kong, this is the powerhouse of the world economy, not just the Belt and Road Initiative.

Compare that with the decrepit infrastructure in the United States or many parts of Western Europe, for example.  Less than two years ago, I was in Zhuhai at a conference, and we visited this bridge between Hong Kong and Zhuhai and Macao, linking this entire triangular:  And this bridge was built, I think, in six years or eight years, including planning!  Now, in Germany, we have a famous bridge between Mainz and Wiesbaden, which has been in repair for almost six to eight years, and it’s still not ready!

So, I think if people go to China, they come back and they are completely impressed, because they see that in China, people have now virtues, like industriousness, ingenuity, creativity — these are all values we used to have in the West, like when the Germany economic miracle was made in the postwar reconstruction, these values and virtues were German.  But now, no longer.  Now, we have all kinds of other crazy ideas, and therefore China is taking the lead.

So the people who go to China come back with a positive image, and those who have not been, naturally, they’re scared by the negative reports in the media.  So the more people can actually go and form their own image, the better.

GBTimes:  I have myself, I’ve seen a disconnect between China and Chinese society, and then the role of the Chinese government, the more negative side that gets covered about in the Western media.  Do you think, for instance, with the BRI is just a way to legitimize the Chinese leadership in the world, and to raise it up to the same level that is given to the other countries?  Do you think that’s acceptable?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it is a challenge.  Some of the Western institutions talked about that there is now a competition of the systems, meaning the Chinese state model and the Western free market model. And in one sense, it is true; the only problem is that if you have the neo-liberal system, especially after the crisis of 2008, only favoring monetarist interests — the banks, the speculators — and the gap between the rich and the poor becomes ever wider, naturally, then, if you have a country where that is not the case, namely, China having a policy which is oriented toward the common good, an increasing well-to-do middle class of 300 million people, which in 5-10 years will be 600 million people, and obviously the vector of development is upward, naturally that is regarded as a threat by the neo-liberal establishment, which only takes care of its own privileges.

So in a certain sense, the challenge does exist, but I think there is the possibility of a learning process, so one can be hopeful that even some elements of the Western elites will recognize that China is doing something right.

GBTimes:  What do you think China could learn from the Western mode?  And vice versa, what do you think the two could learn from one another?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think China can learn a lot from the West, but I’m afraid to say, not from the present, contemporaries, or, there is very little to learn.  Naturally, ESA cooperating with the Chinese space agency, there is a lot of exchange possible. But in terms of general, cultural outlook, I think China has to go back about 200 years to find positive things in Europe, or the United States, for that matter.  You know, European Classical culture can be an enormous enrichment for China, but these are composers who are Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, or great poets.  But these are all things which, unfortunately are not dominating the cultural outlook of most Europeans and Americans today.  So there has to be a dialogue across the centuries, and then both sides can profit from each other.

GBTimes: In a sense, you’re very pessimistic about the Western stands at the moment.  Do you think China is the only option available to the West at the moment?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  No, I’m not pessimistic, I’m just saying that you see that some of the elites, or so-called elites, are hardened in their view.  You have others who are absolutely recognizing that the whole mankind needs to cooperate together in new ways, for example, Switzerland.  You know the President of Switzerland, who participated in the Belt and Road Forum just signed a memorandum of understanding, not only for Switzerland, but for a whole group of Central and Eastern European countries, which Switzerland is representing in the international organizations.

So there is a big motion.  You have Italy signing a memorandum of understanding with China, on the development of Africa.  Greece wants to be the gateway between trade from Asia, through the Suez Canal all the way into Europe.  Portugal and Spain want to be the hub for the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking people around the world.

So there is a lot of dynamics and motions, I’m just referring to some of the monetarist views and those people who talk about the “rules-based order” all the time, but what they really mean is austerity.

So, I’m not talking about the West in general.  I think the West  — I’m an optimist about the potential of all human beings — I’m only talking about certain parts of the establishment in the West.

GBTimes:  You mentioned Italy and Switzerland.  How significant is it that they signed up to the BRI now?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think this is extremely important.  First of all, Italy, as you know, is the third largest economy in Europe.  The north of Italy is highly industrialized and has a lot of industrial capability; many hidden champions actually are in northern Italy.  So, if such a country is now, as the first G7 country, officially joining with a memorandum of understanding, this can become the model for all of Europe.  And Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte who just participated in the Belt and Road Forum came back and said exactly that: That Italy plans to be the leader in bringing about a better relation between China and Europe.  So I think this is extremely important.

And Switzerland, even if it may be a small country, they are independent; they are sovereign, they are not part of the European Union.  And President Maurer just declared, or his spokesman, that they do not need advice from the European Union because they can make their own policy.  So, I think this is all a new, healthy spirit of self-consciousness and self-assertion, which is very good, and can be indeed a sign of hope for everybody else.

GBTimes:  How do you see it impacting Europe, their participation in the BRI, in the short term, and perhaps in the longer term?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, there are different learning curves: Some are quicker, others are slower.  For example, the so-called four big countries  — that does not include Italy — that did not send heads of state or government, but only ministers, Spain, France, Germany, and I think Great Britain,  by not sending their heads of state sort of expressed their reservation.  But then even the German Economic Minister Altmaier, who on the first day of the Belt and Road Forum basically said, “we have to have transparency and rules,” with the usual kind of arguments, but the next day, he said something much more positive.  He said: Oh, this was much better than I expected, the Chinese are actually trying to solve problems, and I will come back in June with a large delegation of businessmen.  So, I actually find this quite good.  It shows that eventually, I think, I hope, reason will prevail.

GBTimes:  I think some of the obstacles for Western countries, is like Turkey refusing to participate because of the Uighur problem; that there are other issues that aren’t related to the Belt and Road, that China has to overcome first.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  All of these problems will eventually be solved, because I think the key to solving of any regional, ethnic, historical cultural problem is development.  If people actually see the advantage of turning non-developed countries or areas into prosperous ones, into having more youth exchange, young people understanding each other, people-to-people exchange, dialogue of cultures, bringing forth the best tradition of each culture; plus, naturally, real improvement of living standards, longevity, I think that even if not all develop with the same speed, we are at a tremendous change of an epoch of human civilization.  The idea of these local and regional conflicts will eventually not be there any more.

If I just can point to the fact that now the eight radio-telescopes working together, being able to make, for the first time, images of the black hole in a galaxy which is 55 million light-years away, proving that Einstein’s theory of general relativity was actually correct — now, that, for me is the sign of the future:  Because this image could not have been made by one country alone.  It needed telescopes sited in Chile, in Spain, in the United States, in the Antarctic,  and you needed the whole world actually working together to make such a technological breakthrough possible.

I think that that will be the kind of relationship people will have to each other in the future, and I think this is what Xi Jinping really is the kind of thing he means when he says, “a shared community for the one future of humanity.”  Because the common interest will eventually come first, and then everything else will fall into place.

GBTimes: Another one of the criticisms was currently “all roads lead back to Beijing” rather than a multilateral approach to BRI, where it’s between other country, it always leads back to China at the moment.  Do you think that is a problem?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I don’t know.  First of all, I think Russia has a big influence, I think the African countries are becoming much more knowledgeable and confident about their own role. There are many Africans who speak that, in the future, Africa will be the new China with African characteristics.  So, I think it’s all changing very quickly, and those people who complain that there is too much Chinese influence, well, then they should bring in their active, creative contribution, and define what the new platform of humanity should be.

And I think China has said many times, and I have absolutely every confidence that that is the case, that they’re not trying to export their  social model, but that they’re just offering the experience of the incredible success of the last 40 years of the form in opening-up, and basically tell developing countries, “Here, if you want to have our help in accomplishing the same thing, we are willing to provide it.”  And naturally, the countries of the developing sector, which had been neglected, or even treated negatively by colonialism, by the IMF conditionalities, when they now have the absolute, concrete offer to overcome poverty and underdevelopment, why should they not take it?

So, I think all these criticisms are really badly covered efforts to hide their own motives.  I really think China is doing the best thing which has happened to humanity for a very long time, and I think the Belt and Road Initiative is the only long-term plan for how to transform the world into a peaceful place.  And I think that should be applauded and people should have a cooperative approach.

GBTimes:  My next question was going to be, how confident are you that the BRI will pay off for China, but I get the sense that you’re very confident.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Oh, I think it already paying off!  First of all, it makes it more easy for China to develop its own western and internal regions, because they are now sort of integrated into the Belt and Road transport routes to Europe, to Central Asia, integrating the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, and hopefully eventually also the European Union. So I think it is already bringing benefits to China.

And from an economic standpoint, the more a country exports high technology goods and technologies, the more than becomes a motor to develop one’s own industry even to high levels.  So it’s like a self-inspiration, so to speak, and that is already paying off.  That’s what any country should do.

GBTimes:  You mentioned technology:  It’s also the digital Silk Road, Digital Belt and Road. Of course, China has a lot of control over its internet, on the Great Firewall:  How much of a barrier do you think that will be for countries to build relationships via the Belt and Road Initiative?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  You mean the G5 question and Huawei?

GBTimes:  Well, partly that, too, but also the control of the internet inside of China, which is difficult for Western companies to do business, to establish themselves, as there are a lot of controls there.  Do you think that could be a barrier, as part of the digital Belt and Road, that’s also being discussed.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, I think there can be ways of making arrangements which are satisfying to everybody.  This whole question of “digital control” and so forth, is highly exaggerated, because, if you look at who is controlling the internet, you have the big firms, Apple, Google, Facebook, and they are very linked with the Western government’s.  You know, in a certain sense, after the scandal of the NSA listening into everybody’s discussions, which erupted a couple of years ago and which was never changed or remedied or anything, we are living in a world where that already happening.  And I think China is not doing anything more than the NSA or the already mentioned GCHQ doing that in the West.

So I think the fact that China has a competitive system, to this Western system is what causes all of this debate. Because the people who had the control of the internet first, they should like to keep it that way, and they regard China as a competitor, which they don’t like, but that’s a fact of reality now.

GBTimes:  One question I have is why do you think the Belt and Road Initiative is needed, when there’s the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, now?  Do you think the two are mutually exclusive, or do they work together?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: No, I think the Belt and Road Initiative has many financing mechanisms.  You have the AIIB, you have the New Silk Road Fund, you have a lot of the Chinese banks themselves which are doing the investment.  I have been advocating for a very long time, that the West should modify its own credit institutions to work on a similar principle.  Now, that would be actually very possible, because the American System of economy as it was developed by Alexander Hamilton, who created the first National Bank as an institution for issuing credit, that is actually very close to what China is doing.  As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say, that the Chinese economic model is much closer to the American System, as it was developed by Alexander Hamilton, and then revived by Lincoln, by Henry C. Carey, by Franklin D. Roosevelt; so if the United States would say, we create our own national bank; and Germany, for example, would say, we go back to the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the Credit Institution for Reconstruction, which was used for the reconstruction of Germany in the postwar period, which was also a state bank, — or it still is a state bank — then you could have a new credit system, whereby each country would have their own national bank; you would have clearing houses in between them to compensate for duration of investment, or the differences between small and large countries with lots of raw materials, or not so much — you need these clearinghouses.  But you could create a new credit system, a New Bretton Woods system with fixed exchange rates, having a stability in the system which the Western system presently does not have.

So, I think that the more countries go to these kinds of credit financing of projects the more stable this new system will become.

GBTimes:  Do you think the United States will ever become part of the Belt and Road Initiative, under the Presidency of Donald Trump, or perhaps whoever is voted in next

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  That’s actually the big question, you know: Will the rise of China be answered by the United States, either with a war, the Thucydides trap which some people have mentioned as a danger? There were in history twelve cases where a rising power overtook the dominant power up to that point, and it led to war; and there were four cases where it happened in a peaceful way.  Now, China, first of all, has offered that neither of these two options should occur, but they have offered a special great power special relationship model, based on the acceptance of the other social model’s sovereignty, non-interference.  And I think Trump with his America, First policy is more inclined to respond to such a model than the previous administrations of Obama and Bush, who had these interventionist wars in the Middle East and everywhere else for exporting their system of so-called “democracy” and human rights.

So I think President Trump has said very clearly that he wants to have a good relationship with China.  He calls President Xi Jinping his friend all the time.  And I think the present trade negotiations actually, in my view, demonstrate that the United States would suffer tremendously, if they would try to decouple from the Chinese economy.  They probably would suffer more than China, because China is much more capable, in my view, to compensate for the loss of the relationship with the United States.

But I think that the hopefully reasonable way would be to say, “OK, let’s use the foreign exchange reserves of China which they have in terms of U.S. Treasuries; let’s invest them through an infrastructure bank in the United States, to help to modernize American infrastructure.”  And that would be an urgent need, because if you look at the U.S. infrastructure, it’s really in a terrible condition, and President Trump, who is talking today, I think, with the leading Democrats Pelosi and Schumer on a new infrastructure legislation; the sums which are discussed here, from what I have heard so far, are so small!  First of all, the Republicans don’t want to have Federal spending; the Democrats are talking only about “repair,” and small issues.

So, what is lacking in these discussions is a grand design, where you would take the approach China has taken for the modernization of its infrastructure:  To have fast train systems among all the major cities, to have slow-speed maglev trains for intra-urban transport.  Now, you could take that same approach and modernize the entire infrastructure of the United States. And if China would, in turn, off that U.S. companies would integrate more into the projects of the Belt and Road around the world, it would be beneficial for both. Some American companies are already doing that, like Caterpillar, General Electric, Honeywell, but that could be a real incentive for the United States to go in tis direction.

Hopefully it will happen that way, because if not, I think a clash between the two largest economies would be a catastrophe for the whole world: So, let’s hope that the forces of good will all work together to get to this positive end.

GBTimes:  Let’s talk about the Schiller Institute itself as a think tank.  What is your day-to-day role in the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative? How do you work to support it?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Oh, you know, this all goes back to the life’s work of my husband, who died recently:  Mr. Lyndon LaRouche; who spent, actually, the last 50 years, to work on very concrete development projects. The first such project we presented in ’76 in Paris.  This was a comprehensive plan for the infrastructure development of all of Africa.  Then we worked together with the President of Mexico José López Portillo on a Latin American development plan — this was ’82.  We worked with Indira Gandhi on a 40-year development plan, and also in the beginning of the ’80s, we developed a 50-year development plan for the Pacific Basin. And then, when the Berlin Wall came down, and the Soviet Union disintegrated, we proposed to connect the European and Asian population and industrial centers through development corridors, and we called that the Eurasian Land-Bridge.

So we have been engaged in these kinds of big projects for the transformation of the world economy for the last decades, and naturally, we proposed it to China in the beginning of the ’90s. I attended a big conference in ’96 in Beijing, which had the title, “The Development of the Regions along the Eurasian Land-Bridge.”  And China, at that time, declared the building of the Eurasian Land-Bridge the long-term strategic aim of China by 2010.  Then, naturally, came the Asia crisis in ’97, so the whole thing go interrupted.

We were very happy when Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road in 2013, because, in the meantime, we had kept working for this.  We had many conferences, actually hundreds of conferences and seminars all over the world.  So this is has been one major point of what the Schiller Institute has been doing for the last decades.  So naturally, we are very happy that now, what was only planning on our side is now being realized by the second largest economy in the world, and therefore, it becomes reality: And that makes quite happy.

GBTimes:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?  I’ve asked my questions and a lot more.  Is there anything we haven’t touched upon, you’d like to talk about?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  We could talk a little bit more about the culture of the New Silk Road.

GBTimes:  Please — in what way?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, I think that the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative, it’s not just about economics and infrastructure.  But I think equally important, if not more important, in my view, is the cultural side of it:  That it could lead and will hopefully lead to an exchange of the best traditions of all cultures of this world.  And by reviving the best traditions, like Confucianism in China, Beethoven in Germany, and Schiller; Verdi in Italy, and so forth and so on, it will ennoble the souls of the people, and I think that that is the most important question right now, because I agree with Friedrich Schiller, according to whom this institute is named: That any improvement in the political realm can only come from the moral improvement of the people.  And therefore, I think it’s also very interesting to me that President Xi Jinping has emphasized the aesthetical education as extremely important, because the goal of this is the beautiful mind of the pupil, of the student.

Now, that is exactly what Friedrich Schiller said, who in the response to the Jacobin Terror in the French Revolution, wrote his Aesthetical Letters in which he develops his aesthetical theory, which I find is in great cohesion with what Xi Jinping is saying; and that has also to do with the fact that the first education minister of the Chinese Republic studied in Germany, and he studied Schiller and Humboldt; his name was Cai Yuanpei  — I’m probably pronouncing it wrong again  —  but he was the first president of the Beijing University, and I think there is a great affinity, a much greater affinity between the thinking of the aesthetical education as it is discussed by Xi Jinping and as it does exist in the Schiller-Humboldt tradition in Germany, in particular.  I would just hope that that kind of a dialogue could be intensified, because then I think a lot of the prejudices and insecurities about the other culture would disappear, and you would bring back and bring forth the best of all sides.

GBTimes:  How could this be accomplished, do you think? What sort of forms?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: You can organize conferences, you can more consciously make the poetry known — I think poetry is very, very important, which is naturally not so easy, because as Schiller said, you have to be a poet in two languages to do justice to the poetry of one language.  You could have more conscious theater performances, not just as an entertainment but involving students, children, adults, and make more exhibitions, make more deep-level understanding of the other culture.

I think China is doing an enormous amount of that, but I would have still some suggestions to make it more than entertainment, because many people go to these things, and they don’t quite “get it” what it’s all about; and then, it was nice, but the deeper philosophical, poetical, musical meaning could be made more pedagogically intelligible, and I think that would be a way of opening the hearts of more people, because they would recognize what treasures are there to be discovered.

GBTimes:  Do you have any closing words on the Belt and Road you’d like to share with our readers?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think we are probably the generation on whom later generations will look back to, and say, “Oh! This was really a fascinating time, because it was a change from an epoch to another one.”  And I have an image of that, which is, this change that we are experiencing right now, is probably going to be bigger than the change in Europe between the Middle Ages and modern times.  In the Middle Ages you had people believing in a whole bunch of axioms, the scholastics, Aristotelianism, witchcraft — all kinds of strange beliefs — and then, because of the influx of such thinkers as Nicholas of Cusa, or the Italian Renaissance, the modern image of man, of science and technology, of the sovereign nation-state, all these changes happened, and they created a completely different view of the image of man and of nature, and the universe, and everything we call “modern society” was the result of this change.

Now, I think we are in front, or the middle of such an epochal change, where the next era of mankind will be much, much more creative than the present one, and that’s something to look forward to, because we can actually shape it, and we can bring our own creative input into it.  And there are not many periods in history when that is the case:  So we are actually lucky.


Planetary Defense: Threat Assessment

It is difficult to gain a visceral sense of the immensity of energy involved in an asteroid or comet impact on Earth. Although asteroids and comets can range anywhere from meters to many kilometers in diameter[ref]All sizes of comets or asteroids will be given in the length of the diameter of the object, unless otherwise noted. E.g., a “1 km asteroid” refers to an asteroid with a diameter of 1 km across.[/ref] (imagine Mt. Everest falling from the sky!), the actual effect of an impact is greatly enhanced by the enormous speeds involved. The total kinetic energy released in such a collision is the product of the mass of the impactor multiplied by the square of the velocity, and the impact speeds range from 10 to 70 km/second, or 20,000 to 150,000 miles per hour![ref]For comparison, a typical passenger jet travels at around 500-600 mph (~250 m/s); the speed of sound (at sea-level) is about 770 mph (343 m/s); and the fastest jet ever flown (unmanned) was NASA’s X-43A scramjet, which reached mach 9.8, which is 7,500 mph or 3.1 km/s.[/ref]

For example, take two notable cases: 1) the impact of an extremely large object, ~10 km, creating the 180 km diameter Chicxulub crater in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, formed around 65 million years ago, which may have helped put an end to the dinosaurs; and 2) the Tunguska event in Siberia, Russia, in 1908, which, though believed to have been caused by a much smaller object, only about 30-50 meters across, resulted in local devastation. These two significant cases will help provide a sense of a range of possible scenarios.

Based on studies of Mexico’s Chicxulub crater, it has been estimated that a roughly 10 km object, hurtling at around 20 km/s (~45,000 mph), slammed into the Earth ~65 million years ago. Though the exact details of the effects are left to models and simulations, we can certainly get an idea of the scale of destruction: mega-tsunamis[ref]Megatsunami is a term used to describe a tsunami that has wave heights which are much larger than normal tsunamis. They originate from a large scale landslide or collision event, rather than from tectonic activity. A recent example is the 1958 Lituya Bay megatsunami, near Alaska, which resulted in a wave hundreds of meters high, the largest known in modern times.[/ref] thousands of meters high; an expanding cloud of boiling dust, vapor, and ash; rock and other surface material ejected out of the atmosphere, raining back down over a huge area, redhot from its atmospheric re-entry; and shock waves that trigger volcanic eruptions and earthquakes around the entire globe.

To give a rough sense of scale, the energy released by such an impact is estimated to be in the range of 100 million megatons of TNT, 20,000 times larger than public estimations of the entire global thermonuclear weapons stockpile (see table I). In addition, besides the immediate effects of collision, an impact this large would launch so much dust and debris into the atmosphere that a dust cloud would cover the entire planet, blocking out the Sun for years: the impact winter, only one of many possible long-term, global effects.

Fortunately, the Chicxulub case represents an extreme, and relatively rare threat. Such large impacts, though more destructive, are much less frequent than smaller impacts. As will be expanded shortly, our neighborhood in the Solar System is populated with many asteroids and comets; however, the frequency of impact by these objects, generally, is inversely proportional to their size. Nevertheless, while a big object, in the range of 1 km or larger, can create massive global damage, even a relatively small object, can cause significant damage.

One often-cited example of an impact thought to be caused by a smaller object is the Tunguska event, in which a sudden explosion leveled roughly 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometers in Siberia, Russia. Though some mystery and debate still surrounds this 1908 case, the most well-supported theory is that the blast was due to a comet or asteroid exploding as it impacted the atmosphere, disintegrating before it could hit the Earth’s surface, and generating a massive blast wave.[ref]Though the Tunguska event drew and has continued to draw intense interest and study, no unambiguous, single impact crater has been found. For example, there is some evidence that it could have been generated by a massive release and explosion of natural gas from underneath the Siberian crust. In any case, we investigate the asteroid-impact theory in this report.[/ref]

Setting aside any lingering debates on the subject, studies have been conducted to determine what size asteroid or comet could have flattened 80 million trees over a region the size of a major metropolitan area. The results of these studies have shown that an object only 30-50 meters across could have generated such a blast wave.[ref]See, Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Peter T. Bobrowsky, Hans Rickman, Springer, Feb 21, 2007 – 546 pages.[/ref]

In order to put the range of threats further into perspective, this table presents a comparison of the levels of energy released from various types of events, both manmade and natural.

Structure and Composition

It is also highly important that we determine the physical composition of the interplanetary bodies. Some of the deeper implications of this will be discussed in the sections on defense options and exploratory missions, but here we must note that not all of these objects are structurally similar. Some are almost solid iron-nickel, some solid rock, while many others are loose piles of smaller objects held together by their gravity (sometimes referred to as flying rubble piles).

The Objects

The next question is, where do these objects come from? Our solar neighborhood is much more populated than you may realize. Here, we concentrate only on two specific classes of objects: near-Earth objects and long-period comets. The classical image of our Solar System, four inner planets, then the asteroid belt, followed by four outer planets, while true, does not present the full picture. As Johannes Kepler indicated, and as Karl Gauss proved, there is a major discontinuity between Mars and Jupiter separating the inner from outer planets, which is the home of the majority of the asteroids in our Solar System. However, in addition to this “main belt” of asteroids, there are other populations of asteroids and comets. Some share Jupiter’s orbit. Some dwell in between Saturn and Uranus. Many populate the area of the inner planets, including around Earth.

The most successful way to further investigations of the ordering of the entire Solar System will be an elaboration of the methodological approach of Kepler and Gauss, the great minds who discovered the ordering of the Solar System. Instead of starting from pairwise interactions, we must investigate the Solar System as a single, harmonic system, taking a top-down view of the orbital systems and subsystems. Ultimately, applying those methodological considerations will be the key to improving our understanding of the orbits, and determining well into the future what bodies may threaten our planet.

Consider, first, a class of objects known as near-Earth objects (NEOs). This class of potentially threatening objects are mostly asteroids, but include some short-period comets.[ref]The comets included in the near-Earth objects grouping (sometimes referred to as short-period comets) have dramatically different orbits than the long-period comets mentioned above. Some of these short-period comets can have orbits that are similar to that of asteroids, and constitute a small part of the total near-Earth object population.[/ref]

The defining character of NEOs is that they orbit the Sun in paths that are either in the same general region as the Earth’s orbit, or can even cross the Earth’s orbit on a regular basis, raising the possibility of a collision with the Earth at some point in the future.

Though not all NEOs pose a threat to the Earth, a large number could. Of these, a number have orbits which come within 0.05 AU of the Earth’s orbit, and are large enough to cause damage to the Earth. These are referred to as potentially hazardous objects (PHOs).[ref]AU stands for astronomical unit, the average distance from the Earth to the Sun. It is used as a standard measure of distance in the Solar System. Also don’t be fooled by the image above, as bodies in the Solar System orbit within a thin volume, not a flat plane. Two orbits that may look like they intersect, when drawn on paper, may not, because one could be above the other.[/ref] This particular class of objects are of great concern for government agencies and scientific organizations all over the world, who have set out to find and track them, in order to identify potential threats, and to give advanced warning time to prepare defensive actions if needed.

Before going into the current estimations of the NEO population, how to observe and track them, as well as defense options, we must first identify a second class of potentially threatening objects, long period comets (LPCs). The orbits of these comets are completely different from those of NEOs. Whereas NEOs spend their entire life in the inner Solar System, long period comets spend the vast majority of their lifetime out in the farthest depths of the Solar System (often well beyond the orbit of Pluto.) The extreme ellipticity of some of these distant creatures can take them on rapid trips through the interior of the Solar System, and possibly across Earth’s orbit.

These create a number of significant problems for defending the Earth. First, the key to planetary defense is early detection. While we have had success in detecting NEOs which populate the inner region of the Solar System, it is basically impossible, with present technology, to see the vast majority of these long period comets when they are farther away. Not only does this dramatically shorten warning times, but, since the majority of these comets take hundreds of thousands of years to complete a single orbit around the Sun (some even take millions of years), we know little to nothing about the nature of the long period comet population. In addition, from what we do know, they are often very large, and can have impact speeds of up to about 70 kilometers per second (over 150,000 mph), significantly greater than asteroids.[ref]Remember that the energy released on impact goes up with the square of the speed. To give one example, the 70 km/second impact speed of a comet, going three and a half times faster than the 20 km/second impact speed of an asteroid of the same size, would deliver over 12 times more energy.[/ref]

Currently, compared to NEOs, we see far fewer long period comets passing our region of the Solar System, so it is expected that their impacts with the Earth are much less frequent. However, they have hit the Earth in the past, and if one were on a future impact trajectory, its great speed, large mass, and undetectability until close to the Earth would make it a particularly dangerous global threat. These are the type of bodies that could eliminate all human civilization with one impact.

There is also reason to believe that the population of long period comets which pass into the interior of the Solar System is not completely random. The current hypothesis is that these long period comets may originate from an extremely distant spherical structure surrounding the Sun, at the farthest reaches of the Solar System, known as the Oort cloud. Presently we do not have the observational capability to see comets that far away (a 10 km object at 10,000 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun is hard to spot), but it is thought that the number of large comets (larger than 1 km) in the Oort cloud is in the range of trillions.

Since they extend so far beyond the Solar System, these comets become sensitive to galactic factors. Other stars coming close to our Solar System can perturb the Oort cloud, changing the orbits of potentially millions of comets. Beside individual influences, at these distances, the gravitational effect of the Sun is less dominant and the general gravitational field of the galaxy begins to have an influence—an effect which varies as the galaxy evolves, and as our Solar System travels through it.

Even though our current scope of understanding regards these galactic processes as having slow, long-term effects, they are the type of considerations that mankind must begin to take into account at this stage. First and foremost, there is still little in the way of solid knowledge about these outer regions of the Solar System, and much less known about our Solar System’s relationship with our galaxy and how those galactic changes affect us here on Earth. There are many theories and models, but as we are reminded by the fact that recent readings from the two 35-year old Voyager spacecraft continue to surprise the scientific community, we cannot assume that we understand these neighboring regions, or the solar-galactic interactions, until we go out and investigate.

If there is some doubt as to why mankind has an imperative to understand our solar and galactic environment, let long period comets draw for us a larger neighborhood.

While our current capability to defend against the threat of long-period comets is limited, the state of our knowledge of near-Earth objects is less uncertain.

Population and Impact Frequency Estimations

Due to their close orbits, near-Earth objects can be observed and tracked with Earth-based and space-based telescopes. Following on a few decades of observation programs, astronomers have developed a significant catalogue of known near-Earth objects. Depending on how well and for how long each individual NEO is observed, computer models can be used to extrapolate each NEO’s orbit and trajectory, years or decades into the future.[ref]Obviously, the more observations of an object we have, and the better those observations are, the better the forecast will be. Still there are certain subtle effects which require greater investigation, such as composition, spin rates, and non-gravitational effects, such as an uneven heating/emission action referred to as the Yarkovsky effect. Moreover, there are questions about the methodology of the computer models themselves: they generally rely on only a few dozen large bodies to model the field through which the others pass.[/ref] These multi-decade extrapolations are crucial, since the key to defense against a potentially threatening asteroid is having as much advanced warning time as possible.

Presently, we are far from having discovered and tracked every NEO, and that must be done. The limited population that has been characterized by current surveys has been used to extrapolate statistical estimations of the expected total NEO populations. For example, in September 2011, a NASA-led team published updated estimations of NEO populations based on the data obtained from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope.

Since then, various estimates continue to be refined as increasing amounts of data from Earth-based telescopic surveys are received. One of the more recent available estimates was released in April of 2012, and presented by the head of NASA’s NEO program, Lindley Johnson, at a May 2012 Workshop on Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.[ref]http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/neo/2011_AG5_LN_intro_wksp.pdf ; April 17, 2012, Alan B. Chamberin (JPL).[/ref]

As is clear in table 2, we have been rather successful in identifying most of the larger NEOs. Of the discovered populations, some fit the specific category of potentially hazardous objects, meaning that their orbits come close to or even directly cross the Earth’s orbit. Currently, 152 of the discovered 850 near-Earth asteroids larger than 1 km are classified as PHOs, although none are expected to collide with Earth over the coming century. This is important, since 1 km is a rough division line between objects which would create truly global effects if they struck the Earth, and objects whose impact would produce a local or regional effect.

Still, this leaves the vast majority of medium and small-sized objects undiscovered: ~80% (over 21,000) of the middle-sized NEOs, ranging from 100 to 1000 meters; and ~99.5% of smaller NEOs, 30-100 meters (recall that the Tunguska-sized event is associated with objects in the range of 30-50 meters).

Any of these undiscovered objects could already be on a short-term collision course with Earth, unbeknownst to us. Some are guaranteed to be, at some point in the future. We are still essentially flying blind through our populated region of the inner Solar System.

Further analysis has provided estimations of the frequency with which various sized NEOs and comets impact the Earth.[ref]For example see, Catastrophic Events Caused by Cosmic Objects; 2008, Springer; Chapter 2, “Size-frequency distribution of asteroids and impact craters: estimates of impact rate.”[/ref] As implied by the NEO population estimates referenced above, and as indicated in the graph on the preceding page, there is a direct relationship between the size of the NEO, the population level, and the impact rate.

These estimations of NEO populations and impact frequencies are still approximations, and should only be taken as temporary reference points, paving the way for more rigorous investigations. We cannot entrust human lives, or potentially human civilization, to betting on statistics which purely extrapolate from past events. They can be utilized in limited applications where useful, but only on the path to obtaining a principled—causal—understanding of the system. This requires both a dramatic expansion of our observational systems and our space-faring capability generally, as well as renewed methodological approaches to understanding the organization of the Solar System, and its relationship with the galaxy. Reliance on statistical extrapolations from the past leaves mankind completely blind to unexpected shifts away from present trends, driven by the development and evolution of the Solar System and galaxy—a process driven by future changes.


Toward a Renaissance of Classical Culture

This article was written by Mrs. Helga Zepp LaRouche, Founder of the International Schiller Institute and president of the Schiller Institute in Germany, for publication in the May 2012 German language magazine “Ibykus.”

What has become of our world? Top bankers are warning about the “apocalypse”—which doesn’t prevent them at the same time from stuffing seven-figure bonuses into their pockets—as if burial shrouds had pockets! Politicians are willing to sell their own grandmothers in order to calm down “the markets,” while the General Welfare which they have sworn to protect, has been erased from their vocabulary. Heads of government who have just finished expunging democracy and constitutional rule from their own countries, are now prepared, under the pretext of concern for democracy and human rights, to march from a “humanitarian intervention” into a neighboring land, straight into a thermonuclear apocalypse.

Hundreds of millions of human beings are under dire threat of starvation, disease, and lack of clean water; but meanwhile at church councils, the use of bio-fuels is defended, and the popes of environmentalism get decorated with the Medal of Honor for stopping agricultural production and water management, causing millions of human lives to be lost. For decades, “society” has been tolerating the tearing down of one bastion of civilized behavior after another; and so is it any wonder now, that twelve-year-olds are downloading pornographic videos onto their smart phones and showing them around on the school playground; or that it’s considered almost normal that individuals riding the subway or walking on side-streets are “ripped off,” and have to relinquish all their valuables in order to forestall something far worse? Might we not, then, say that a society in which teenagers are the most menacing social grouping, can be considered a failed society?

This list of social evils could be expanded in many directions. It’s certainly true that the root of many of the problems lies in the false axiomatics of economic, military, and social policy. Yet perhaps the most important area where development has gone completely awry, is the shift in cultural paradigm in the western world over recent decades.

Even if during the decades of Germany’s post-war reconstruction everything wasn’t perfect, nonetheless the vector of development was positive: There was an enormous desire to rebuild, and secondary virtues such as diligence and honesty—virtues later denigrated—fostered the General Welfare and promoted social cohesion. Our schools were still governed by the Humboldt educational ideal, namely that developing beauty of character within each student was at least one aspect of the goals of education. Classical culture in music, poetry, and the fine arts played an important role in all grades, but especially in our Gymnasia.

The fact that this has long not been the case, is due to many factors: the Frankfurt School’s deconstructive role regarding Classical music and poetry, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the advent of “director’s theater,” the Brandt educational reforms, the ’68er movement, the counterculture, and pop culture in general. The end-result of all these influences is a cultural wasteland: shriveled hearts, bereft of all ability to experience profound intellectual emotion; and for many of our fellow men, a loss of the ability to judge, with any sense of justice and injustice supplanted by a striving to conform to popular opinion.

If Schiller, already in his own time—and even more concretely after he witnessed the failure of the French Revolution—had to ask: “How has it come to pass that we are still barbarians?”, then how much more urgently would he be posing that question, horror-filled, today? Unfortunately, yet another facet of our time demonstrates how right he was, that a society that has degenerated from a higher level to a lower one, is more despicable than one that is still striving to free itself from underdevelopment. In his Fifth Aesthetic Letter, Schiller writes:

“Through his actions, Man portrays himself—and what an awful form do we see depicted in our present-day drama! Here brutalization, there decadence: the two extremes of human corruption—and both united in one age of history!

“In the lower and more numerous classes, we see raw, lawless impulses, unleashed after all bands of civil order have been dissolved, rushing with ungovernable impetuosity toward bestial satiation…. Its rudder gone, our society, instead of speeding upwards into organic life, is relapsing back into the inorganic domain.

“On the other side, the civilized classes present us with an even more detestable spectacle of decadence and depravity of character, which disgusts us all the more because it feeds upon the culture itself. I no longer remember which ancient or modern philosopher remarked that the nobler person is all the more abhorrent in his self-destruction; but one will find this true in the moral realm as well. From the savage, run amok, there emerges a madman; from the disciple of art, a worthless nothing.”

In further letters, Schiller discusses how, in view of this situation, any improvement in the political domain can only come about through the ennoblement of individual man’s character—an insight which is equally true today as it was in his own time. But whence, asks Schiller, is this ennoblement to come, when the masses are desensitized, and the nation is in a state of barbarism? And in his Ninth Letter he arrives at the point “toward which I have been striving in all my previous remarks. This instrument is Classical art; these wellsprings open up to us in their immortal exemplars. Art, as well as science, is absolved from everything based on mere sense-experience and imposed by human convention, and both enjoy absolute immunity from the arbitrariness of men.”

The key to overcoming the present existential crisis therefore lies in affording people access to their own creativity, in rekindling within them the divine spark which brings their full human potential to fruition. Our task is thus to strengthen this faculty of the human spirit—a place where scientific discoveries are made, which is the same place where Classical art is born, and where musical and poetical ideas are developed according to the criteria of Classical composition. Whenever man discovers new universal scientific principles, or when the composer or poet harkens to the rules of Classical composition, or lawfully extends them, then the creativity of an inventive mind comes into complete harmony with the creatively self-developing physical universe.

And thus, if we wish to survive the present crisis, a renaissance of Classical culture will be the absolute prerequisite. Therefore the Schiller Institute, along with its cultural journal Ibykus, supports Lynn Yen’s initiative (see below), and calls upon all artists and friends of Classical art to become part of a worldwide movement which will continue to fight for this renaissance until we have banished the current Dark Age—just as the Golden Renaissance of the 15th Century banished the 14th-Century Dark Age, and as German Classicism overcame the destruction wrought by the Thirty Years War.

Please also read Open Letter from Lynn Yen to Classical Artists in the Whole World!

 


Open Letter from Lynn Yen to Classical Artists in the Whole World!

Friedrich Schiller once wrote: “it is through Beauty, that one proceeds to Freedom” He speaks not of mere physical beauty, but the deeper beauty of the mind, a mind rendered more beautiful through its ability to both perceive itself, and to articulate its inner, most noble aspirations.  This is the gift and the right that we must give to young people all around the world, who are the future of humanity. We owe this to both them, and the poets, of all forms of Art and Science that gave us Classical culture, not as a set of rules, but rather of principles of thought, leading humanity to a better, more productive, happier life.

This May 13, 2012, at the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, a concert was performed by master pianist Tian Jiang.  Over 1700 students, parents and teachers from over 80 public schools in the New York City area, most of whom have never been inside of Carnegie Hall, and many who have never heard Classical music, participated in the joy that the mind experiences when the beauty of human emotion and human intellect become one.  In a program of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin, spanning almost two centuries in composition, and almost two and a half hours in performance, there were riveted silence, prolonged applause, and standing ovations from a crowd who the popular opinion of today deems “unable to comprehend or become interested in classical music”.  Even two and three-year -old toddlers in the audience listened quietly in attention throughout the entire performance of Mozart’s Fantasy in C minor, Beethoven’s “Appassionata”, and Brahms “Handel Variations”.

In the aftermath of this concert, we received numerous letters from teachers, parents and students, asking for more of such opportunities for this sustenance for the mind and soul. We therefore considered: why not make true Dr. Martin Luther King’s desire and intent, as expressed in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

The Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture is issuing a call to all Classical and Classically trained musicians around the world, to donate time and to participate together with us, in the performance and teaching of great Classical composition in the strictest of Platonic aesthetics, in the best of Schillerian sentiments, to the youth of the world.  Let us, in all major cities of America and beyond, revive the practice of Classical Culture, for the betterment of mankind and for the love we bear our children and all children.

— Lynn Yen
Executive Director, Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture, New York

Webcast—As Prosecutors Zero In on British Russiagate Perpetrators, War Party Goes Wild

The latest revelation from an FOIA request on the dirty doings of Christopher Steele is another bombshell, demonstrating that one must hold the British responsible for the dangerous coup attempt against President Trump.  And as more evidence emerges daily of the British role, in direct coordination with the Obama intelligence team, where does U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo go to whip up anti-Russian, anti-Chinese sentiment?  To London, of course, where he proclaimed that the “Special Relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. is thriving!

In this week’s webcast, Helga Zepp LaRouche reviews the ramping up of hot spots, especially by Pompeo and Bolton, who are acting at odds with President Trump’s often-stated wish to have good, cooperative relationships with the two nations.  Describing the anti-China rantings of intelligence officials, Congressmen and media as a “Yellow Peril rampage,” she emphasizes the importance of getting the U.S.-China trade talks back on track, as a step towards U.S. participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.


Two Opposing Worlds Meet; Development or Death

This article appeared in the September 14, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

by Hussein Askary
September 9, 2012

The Stockholm World Water Week, Aug. 26-31, sponsored by the Swedish state’s International Development Cooperation Agency, and such global cartel companies such as Nestle and PepsiCo, but dominated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Stockholm Environmental Institute, and similar malthusian propaganda outlets, promised to be orgy in green ideological madness, where African and Asian nations are regarded by Europe and the U.S.A. as an embarrassing burden, and that those nations should be convinced that their misery could only be reduced, but not relieved, by small hand-outs, instead of large-scale industrial and infrastructural development.

In recent years, World Water Week (WWW) has become an exhibition exposing the economic and moral bankruptcy of the trans-Atlantic world, while the rest of the world, Africa especially, is on its way to getting a divorce from it.

The world has changed dramatically since the Copenhagen 2009 Climate Change Summit where nations of Africa and South America, backed by China, India, and South Africa, nearly staged a walkout from the conference. Their message was: Our national sovereignty and right to development are still sacred principles. The demise of the British-dominated financial and banking systems since then, has made this bankruptcy even more obvious. This year the Africans came to Stockholm with a different character and attitude, proudly presenting their relatively bold development programs, telling Europe and the United States (still in a friendly tone to avoid political tension): “These are our visions. Take them or leave us alone!”

The only ones who dared to mention the fact of the trans-Atlantic bankruptcy were the LaRouche movement organizers who, not being invited, stood outside the conference compound, distributing hundreds of pieces of literature and talking to many delegates. Their discussions with the attendees reflected the same phenomena observed inside the conference.

Almost exclusively, all European and American attendees attacked the idea of nuclear power, and any large-scale or continental water projects, as proposed by the LaRouche movement. Sometimes, their reactions became violent, because the presence of the “LaRouchies” disturbed what they intended to be a controlled environment inside the conference. On the contrary, African and Asian delegates welcomed these large-scale infrastructure ideas, and expressed their support for them.

One aspect which shaped the discussions is the shift in the economic tendency in the world, as in the Pacific region, where China, Russia, India, and their allies have taken a different course for dealing with the economic crisis. Their method is based on the best of those utilized by such great Western leaders as American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, putting emphasis on large-scale infrastructure and science programs. These policies have been abandoned in the West since the murder of President John F. Kennedy, and replaced by the anti-industrial and superstitious green ideology on the one hand, and financial speculation on the other.

The impact of the real economic cooperation between China and Africa was discussed on the sidelines, though not openly. China’s own development programs, such as dam building, were attacked by several Western speakers in the conference (see below).

For the first time, EIR was inside the conference, as this reporter was covering the conference as part of the press corps.

Confab Host: Africa Biofuels Scandal

The main sponsor of World Water Week, the Swedish Ministry of International Development Cooperation (IDC), is itself involved in a number of scandals related to depriving African farmers of their land and water for food production, in order to produce biofuels. The scandals around the IDC, which were revealed by a reporter of the Swedish radio program Ekot, are related to the Swedfund, a wholly IDC-funded hedge fund. Ekot focussed on one of the many Swedfund projects which is carried out in Sierra Leone.

The available evidence shows that Swedfund, in collaboration with the biofuel company Addax, has fraudulently stolen productive land from farmers to produce biofuels. This has caused both water shortages and hunger among the farm families.

In the village of Woreh Yeama, for example, the contract made with the farmers, which they did not really understand, states that they will lease their land for 50 years (!) to Addax for $3.20 per year/acre. The farmers were promised jobs in Addax, and health care and schools for their children. None of this materialized.

The water in the area is used for irrigating the sugar cane to produce ethanol for automobiles in Europe. So, the population is starving and thirsting in Sierra Leone due to the Swedish aid project.

This is your host of the World Water Week!

Biofuels Defended ‘Objectively’

A one-day WWW seminar was arranged to deal with the question of biofuels, water, and food security. Here, the organizers had the following to say about the disgusting use of land and water resources for the production of biofuels:

“Bioenergy and water are inextricably linked. In an already water-stressed world, bioenergy development may in places compete with other water and land uses such as crop cultivation for food production. At the same time, by leveraging the introduction of efficient water management techniques and providing energy for water pumping and cleaning, bioenergy development also provides opportunities to improve water productivity and increase access to water. Proper integration of bioenergy systems into forestry and agriculture can even reduce some of the impacts of present land use, such as eutrophication and soil erosion. Concerns remain however, that exploitation of water resources in bioenergy projects may undermine sustainable livelihoods in producer countries, and that existing policy frameworks and voluntary sustainability standards are inadequate.”

Thus did the seminar deal with the issue “objectively,” as stated above, while no mention was made of the crimes committed by the state-funded companies and their collaborating “charitable” hedge funds and companies in Sierra Leone and Tanzania.

Solving Problems or Dying Slowly

The most striking phenomenon between, on the one hand, the African and Asian WWW participants, mostly from the Indian Subcontinent and Southwest Asia (as China and Russia, interestingly, were not participating or probably not invited), and their European and American counterparts, is that the former focused, in their presentations, on solving the water-and-food crisis, while the latter focused on the problems themselves, as allegedly caused by population growth, and the aspiration of the developing nations to develop modern economies. The malthusian ideology of Limits to Growth of the Club of Rome and the WWF’s anti-human population prejudices, were predominant in the presentations of the European and American delegations.

These trans-Atlantic nations’ speakers focused solely on “environmental” crises, repeating ad nauseam such sickening jargon as “ecological foot prints,” “carrying capacity,” “scarcity,” “conflicts over limited resources,” “pollution due to population growth,” “transparency,” “governance” of resources (meaning abolishing the responsibility of the sovereign governments to make decisions about their natural resources and economic policies, by handing power down to local inhabitants, international NGOs, and multinational corporations), and similar gobbledygook.

Their arguments, put simply, are that human beings cannot create new resources. They base everything on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, claiming that everything—including life and human civilization—will, sooner or later, die off, in a heat death. Human beings speed up that process by attempting to alter nature’s order, through their selfish aspiration to have higher living standards, by using their creativity to develop ever-more advanced forms of technology, and thus, higher and more dense forms of power.

So, the only way to deal with this, the green ideology asserts, is to “slow down” human activity, and condemn life to a slow death instead!

But since human nature rejects such notions, they have to be packaged in glossy pseudo-scientific computer models, or, simply imposed by force on weaker nations, or by denying them the technological means for development.

Having excluded nuclear power, and creation of new water resources through desalination or transfer of water, the only thing left to think about is how to survive in a vicious world with limited resources. For Africa, Asia, and South America, this means to coexist with misery and poverty in a “transparent” way, and by managing the poverty equally and with “good governance.”

This is no mere academic chatter. It is the strategic policy of the U.S. Administration under President Barack Obama, among others. This was revealed in “The Global Water Security” report, issued in February of this year by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It is based on the same premise, i.e., that you can only manage scarcity, not create new resources. “We assume that water management technologies will mature along present rates and that no far reaching improvements will develop and be deployed over the next 30 years,” it stated. It foresees “water wars” and social upheavals as a consequence.

The Trans-Atlantic Non-Vision

A screening of the various papers presented at the conference (Source: “Abstract Volume, World Water Week in Stockholm, August 26-31, 2012, Water and Food Security”), gives a taste of the deadly non-vision from the trans-Atlantic elites. For example:

Two papers presented an attack on China’s development plans, which, in reality, are inspiring other developing countries. One, by Dr. Thomas Henning, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany, is titled “Implications of Yunnan’s Aggressive Hydropower Development on Regional Food Security, Changing Land Utilization and Livelihood.” The second, by Stuart Orr, WWF International, Switzerland, titled, “Dams on the Mekong River: Lost Fish Protein and the Implications for Land and Water Resources,” attacked China and its allies in the Mekong River Basin.

Henning writes:

“China is aggressively developing its energy sector in which hydropower plays a crucial role. Within China, Yunnan province has a key role for hydropower development, making it even a global key region for hydropower. In about 15 years it will have an installed hydropower capacity of more than 90 GW. It is based either on often controversial large projects (LHP) along major rivers or on smaller projects (SHP), both creating hydroscapes. SHP are often considered a priori an environmentally and socially sound renewable energy. But in Yunnan they are falling into one of the richest bio-, geo- and ethnic[ally] diverse regions. There is a notable lack of knowledge studying the cumulative implications of the SHPs, including its consequences on food security, changing land utilization and livelihood for the diverse ethnic groups.”

The WWF, which is generally concerned with wildlife, is suddenly worried about the threatened loss of protein intake of human beings in the Mekong River Basin region, from potential changes in fish habitat and migration in the river, were China and its neighbors to proceed on their plans to develop hydropower, modern agriculture, and industries in the Basin.

Orr writes:

“Most of the 12 million households in the Lower Mekong Basin would be affected by alteration of fish availability, as fish is the main source of dietary protein. Estimating the water (water footprint) and land area (land footprint) that would inevitably increase in order to replace lost protein from fish catch, is one of the most important challenges in terms of addressing key impacts of the Mekong River basin dams.”

Having excluded aquaculture (fish farms), a common practice in northern Europe, as “impossible” in the Mekong River, the WWF is attacking the idea of allocating new land for modern agriculture and livestock to produce more protein for the population as man increases his “footprint” on nature.

These arguments, like Thomas Malthus’s attempt to prove his theory of population as mathematically sound, by excluding from the equation—or computer model for his modern-day followers—technological improvements from the production process that yield increased food production per capita/square kilometer, these quackademics are not falling far from the tree. However, this is no mere academic discussion: If these types of persons are allowed to shape policy in the Western world that can hinder real development in the developing world, they would contributing to massive crimes against humanity.

Pessimistic Prognostications

Another case of locking the doors of the theater and shouting fire, is a paper introduced by Dr. Dieter Gerten from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, the same institute which was co-founded by such anti-human population ideologues as Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. While on the face of it, Gerten’s paper sounds positive, as it is titled “Water Requirements for Future Global Food Production, Potentials of On-Farm Green-Blue Water Management to Increase Crop Production,” all his arguments in the paper go contrary to this objective.

“Climate change, population growth and changing diets will put joint pressure on the world’s fresh-water resources via increased demand for the production of crop and livestock products,” he writes. Discussing his institute’s computer models, which exclude nuclear power, hydropower, and water desalination to produce new freshwater, he adds with pseudo-scientific precision: “This global-scale model study quantifies how much water is required to produce a balanced diet. By comparing the requirements with available blue and green water on present agricultural land per country, water scarcity can be determined in more detail compared to previous scarcity models” (emphasis added).

The conclusion is that under Gerten’s 17 climate models, by 2070-99, water scarcity will increase under rising atmospheric CO2 concentration and population growth.

“Water scarcity will aggravate in many countries, and that means a number of countries are at risk of losing their capacity to be self-sufficient.”

So, what happened to the positive impulse suggested by the title of his paper? Well, Dr. Gerten states: “But improved on-farm water management can significantly relax this situation: Methods to increase crop water use efficiently, such as reduction in unproductive soil evaporation and harvesting run-off water for use during dry spells, can increase crop production by up to ca. 20% globally.” But then the hammer of death comes down, as he concludes: “However, adverse effects of climate change cannot be fully buffered by such management, and even if maximum efficiency increases were achieved, green-blue water resources will not be sufficient to meet the requirements for producing the specific diet for more than 9 billion people.”

The real conclusion he wants to be drawn from this is that only population reduction, and decreasing the rate of economic development across the globe can “solve” the problem.

That is the message which was delivered from the highly developed Germany and Europe to the Africans who came to Stockholm to see what solutions can be adopted to solve the grave water, food, and poverty crisis!

Other such depressing cases were presented by, for example, the extremely cynical paper of Prof. Jurgen Schmandt from the Houston Advanced Research Central (U.S.A.) and Prof. Gerald North from Texas A&M University, under the title “How Sustainable Are Engineered Rivers in Arid Lands?” They argue that river engineering and dam-building and modern irrigation systems, as the case in the U.S.A. proves, are useless in the face of climate change and sedimentation! They take the case of the Rio Grande River, which they studied as proof that the storage capacity in the river’s reservoirs will decrease by 6% annually, leading to massive environmental damage. Or, without adding new water resources—as the waters that can be generated by such projects as NAWAPA XXI[1]—the only thing left is to “conserve” and “shift to less water-consuming crops.”

Even worse than the theory that you must dig a hole and lay down and die slowly, is that these two honored professors intend to travel around the world and spread the word, that river engineering, dam building, and modern water irrigation systems do not help. It is not clear yet, if Schmandt and North will be joined in their global tour by a preacher from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) of Texas, to garnish their scientific work with biblical citations from the Book of Revelations.

The African Perspective

Contrary to this anti-human and satanic view, the Africa Focus Day held on Aug. 28, and attended by several African water ministers, concentrated on solving the problems of food and water, in spite of the fact that Africa by itself does not have the means to accomplish this, and that many of its leaders are still suffering from the control of the British empire’s institutions and agents. However, the presentations and discussions, which this reporter had the opportunity to follow closely, were held in a freshingly normal human atmosphere.

Africa’s massive problems need massive investments, and need a new way of looking at the question of cooperation between North and South and East and West, different from the now-traditional policies of small handouts of aid. The African representatives, especially the African Minister’s Commission on Water (AMCOW), headed by the Egyptian Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohammad Bahaa el-Din Saad (see interview below), presented important and realistic visions for solving Africa’s problems.

Although these plans lack such important elements as the investment in science-driven technologies such as nuclear power, and large-scale transcontinental water projects such as Transaqua for refilling the Lake Chad from the Congo River waters, or transcontinental high-speed-rail networks (see review of PIDA, below), their discussions were completely opposite to those of the doomsday prophets from Europe and the U.S.A.

Whenever such serious issues as nuclear power, railway integration of Africa, creation of new water resources through water transfer, or nuclear desalination to create new water resources, were brought up in the discussion inside the conference by this reporter, or by the LaRouche movement activists outside the conference, the answer from the majority of the African and Asian participants was: “Of course!”

In one of the exhibition halls, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) had a booth proudly presenting plans for hydropower projects, especially on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, and in Sudan. Dr. Abdulkarim Seid, an expert of the NBI’s Water Resources Planning and Management Projects in Ethiopia, gave this reporter a tour of the dam and water-management projects being built in the region. He focused especially on the Ethiopian Millennium Dam which is being built on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan.

This dam will produce 6,000 mG of electric power, making it the largest hydropower project under construction in Africa. Together with its auxiliary water management schemes, it will reduce water sedimentation in the downstream dam reservoirs, especially in Sudan. This fact was confirmed by Sudan’s Federal Minister for Water Resources Seif Eldin Abdallah, who lamented the fact that Sudanese dam reservoirs are affected significantly by the sedimentation problem emerging from soil erosion in the Ethiopian highlands during the rainy seasons, which extend from August to October. He referenced the case of the massive dredging costs in the canals of Al-Jazeera Agricultural Project in Sudan, one of the most important agricultural zones in Africa, and which is threatened by this problem.

However, Dr. Seid was, like other African participants, focused on the solution. He gave the example of the Ethiopian cooperation with China to raise the level of the Roseires Dam on the Blue Nile to increase its reservoir capacity. Contrary to reports about conflicting interests among the Nile Basin states regarding the construction of new dams upstream, Sudanese President Omar Hasan Al-Bashir met with Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi in April, to express Sudan’s support for the construction of the Millennium Dam in Ethiopia.

Although many of the papers by African and Asian participants in the seminars mentioned above were plagued with the greenie jargon used by the European and American participants, in an attempt to be accepted by the conference organizers, they were generally solution-oriented. For example, a paper presented by Abby Muricho Onencan from the Nile Discourse group from Uganda, under the title, “Greening the Nile Basin: The Nexus (water, energy and food), the Key to Cooperation,” argued for increasing regional cooperation in the building of modern multi-purpose hydropower projects, as a self-evident fact.

Onencan wrote:

“Through the cooperative arrangements under the Nile Basin Initiative, it has become evident that broad-based water service interventions in energy utilities and irrigation services benefit everyone and play a major role in improving sustainable and dignified livelihoods. Through various designed multi-purpose projects like the joint Multi-Purpose Project, the NBI has clearly indicated that it is better to approach a project with the aim of reaping a myriad of benefits…. As water resources become scarce, water will be pumped long distances or be produced through alternative means, such as energy-intensive desalination processes. Modern water management, including establishing monitoring networks and data centers is dependent on reliable access to electricity. To achieve water security, which means the provision of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihood, ecosystems and production, energy must be available.”

No further comment is necessary.

‘No’ to the Oligarchy’s Four Horsemen!

Africa’s and the world’s water, food, and energy requirements are clearly threatened, and both the cause and solution of the crisis is a shift in the view of the human race’s role in nature and the universe. This also means a shift in the political-economic practices nationally and globally. If we accept the British empire’s malthusian religion, then we need not do anything, as we wait for the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse to descend upon us.

Otherwise, as free men and women, belonging to sovereign nations, we should reject this oligarchical notion, and embrace instead, the Promethean, humanist vision, that we, as created in the image of a creative universal soul, are capable of being masters of our fate, not slaves under the whims of nature and the imperialist oligarchs and their hypocritical quackademics.

To translate this vision into policy for nations, regions, and continents, view the policies presented by Lyndon LaRouche and his associates (www.larouchepac.com).


Belt and Road Is Unstoppable: ‘Critics’ Turn into Strong Supporters

The extraordinary attendance of governments, heads of state and government, and thousands of businesses at the Second Belt and Road Forum, comparing with the largest international meetings in history, was already proof that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has expanded greatly since the first BRF in 2017 and is now an unstoppable new paradigm of economy. After the Second BRF, certain myths of “backfire” and “criticism” in Asia also fell away.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed gave interviews in which he expressed full confidence in the BRI and surprise at its scope. Speaking to Bernama News Agency April 28, he said:

“We feel that the [One Belt, One Road] OBOR initiative is not a domination plan by China, which would end up being controlled by China. Instead, it is a policy developed by all the countries, and not only focused on China. Previously … including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, developed countries made the proposals and asked us to accept them. This is not like that; the forum attendees are from small countries and they are sitting with China…. They sit together at the same level, and talk about how to develop infrastructure projects.”

In an interview with China’s TV network CGTN, Dr. Mahathir said he had thought the Belt and Road was an infrastructure project for Asia, forecasting large-scale Chinese investment and exports into Malaysia. 

“Now it is quite clear that it is, practically, a worldwide project … to improve connectivity and infrastructure development all over the world…. I’m very glad I’m  here, because now I understand better the character of the project. China has a lot of new technologies, and we need these technologies.”

Indonesia’s investment minister, Harvard graduate Tom Lembong, who had been critical of China’s rail investments, told South China Morning Post that Indonesia has

“found China’s openness to its feedback on improving the Belt and Road Initiative highly encouraging…. I believe in the next 5 to 10 years, BRI will stimulate additional investment in probably tens of billions of dollars [in Indonesia].” 

In Europe, Italy and Austria are joining Portugal in planning issuance of “Panda Bonds” — infrastructure bonds issued by other countries in yuan, to be issued into China’s bond market. Even Germany Economics Minister Peter Altmaier found the Beijing forum “better than expected,” and is headed back with a Mittelstand delegation.

On Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met Russia’s President Putin, Ethiopian PM Abiy, IMF Director Christine Lagarde, and Egyptian President Al Sisi.

“The series of bilateral meetings was concluded by the wonderful dinner offered by President Xi to myself and to the Italian delegation that accompanied me,” Conte wrote on his Facebook page.

“I am very satisfied by the strengthening of economic and trade relations between Italy and the Chinese Republic and, personally, by the friendship which is being consolidated with President Xi Jinping. And I am proud that in the final release of the Belt and Road Forum, many of the Italian suggestions have been adopted, among which [are] the references to financial and social sustainability, protection of human rights and of intellectual property.”

“The Silk Road, I repeat, is a great opportunity for Italy, a challenge which we happily accepted through the signing of the MoU, in a framework of European principles and level playing field and with the maximum of guarantees for security of our strategic infrastructures. We opened the way for other European partners which are now getting ready to join this major infrastructural connectivity.” 


Beijing Review Publishes a Major Article By Helga Zepp LaRouche

The prestigious Beijing Review on Thursday, April 17, published a major article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, titled, “Roads to the West—Geopolitical Spectacles Make it Impossible to See the Solutions.

Zepp-LaRouche starts,

“For the last several years or so, Western media and mainstream politicians have chosen to largely ignore the Belt and Road Initiative, which Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed in 2013. The initiative, consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, efficiently addresses the infrastructure needs of developing countries, which the West simply pretended not to exist.

“But, at a certain point it dawned on the Western establishment that China was not only building an enormous amount of railway lines, ports, bridges, power plants and industrial parks in Asia, Africa and even in parts of Europe, but that the prospect of poverty alleviation offered by China instilled an unprecedented spirit of optimism.”

See the full article here.


French Dailies’ Supplement on Belt and Road Covers Schiller Institute Dossier

The major French dailies Le Figaro and Le Monde published a full-page paid supplement on the Belt and Road Initiative last week which includes three articles: a larger one entitled “BRI: Soon Six Years of Implementation”; a second one entitled “One China-Europe Link Is Already on a Good Track,” and one last article, about one fifth of the page, on the Schiller Institute’s book-length dossier “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge,” headlined “Everything You Want To Know about the ‘World Land-Bridge.'” The three articles are written by People’s Daily journalists.

The first two articles are full of updates on the ongoing great Silk Road projects; the third, on the Schiller Institute and its dossier, was written by Ge Wenbo, who has already several times covered our work in Africa.

The articles are a paid supplement, published in both papers. The articles are shorter in Le Monde, in particular on our dossier, which became a small box with the same title.  The translation follows:

“All You Need To Know about the ‘World Land-Bridge'”

“Last year, on Nov. 6, the Schiller Institute, an international think tank, published the French version of its dossier ‘The New Silk Road, a World Land-Bridge To Bring Geopolitics to an End.’ The presentation, which took place in the Paris 5th arrondissement municipality, recommends countries to take part in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Contrary to the analysts on the other side of the Atlantic, often prisoners of the ‘geopolitical’ software in which the winner always wins to the detriment of the loser, we try to show here that a new win-win paradigm is not only possible but indispensable.  Whereas the New Silk Roads must be known because of the major opportunity they represent for international trade, above all they must be known, explains this dossier, as a multilateral alternative to financial globalization, a true leverage to restart growth and a chance for peace. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president and founder of the Institute, affirms that since its launching in 2013, the BRI has shaped the world. The Chinese initiative will have a growing influence over more and more countries and improve the future.”

A photo of a container ship at berth accompanies the article with a following caption: “Container ship CSCL Star, with thousands of containers onboard, sailed from Shanghai and reached France’s port of Le Havre a month later. That port plays an important role in the implementation of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.” 


China Ambassador: “Why U.S. Shouldn’t Sit Out the Belt and Road”

Under the headline above, China’s Ambassador in Washington Cui Tiankai wrote a column in Fortune magazine on the eve of the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. “Don’t miss all the winning” involved in the Belt and Road, Cui admonishes, perhaps referring to one of President Donald Trump’s favorite phrases.

The ambassador starts with a very direct challenge:

“Imagine the potential of China and the United States, the world’s two largest, most vibrant economies, collaborating on the most ambitious development project in history. The scenario is no fantasy: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which kicked off almost six years ago, will eventually connect a vast swath of the world, creating huge yields in economic activity, and wiring the world together as never before. However, the United States remains on the sidelines, and this has implications not only in terms of missed opportunities for growth in the U.S., but for the cause of global development which needs the ingenuity and the industry of the U.S.”

Cui gives many arguments for the BRI which reflect those of Xi Jinping. He cites total benefits to the 126 countries now in relationship to it: $6 trillion in total trade, $80 billion in direct investment by China; 300,000 new “local jobs” in those countries; Kazakhstan’s first-ever access to the Pacific Ocean; 6,000 new jobs in Europe’s largest inland port, Duisburg; Kenya’s beginning of economic development and industrialization; and so on, with citations from national leaders.

“So where is the U.S. amid all of this winning?” he concludes.

“There are countless opportunities to U.S. corporations available through BRI projects. Honeywell International is already working with partners to further oil and gas development along the Belt and Road. General Electric has signed a number of deals with partners of the BRI which will help to provide reliable power and energy to critical regions across the world. Caterpillar is working with China’s initiative to help solve Pakistan’s severe power shortages. Meanwhile, Citibank is actively providing financing for projects through the markets along the Belt and Road. We certainly welcome more taking part…. My suggestion is that the U.S. embrace this opportunity.”


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