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Italian Endorsements of Schiller Institute’s Operation Ibn Sina

MILAN, Nov. 23, 2021 (EIRNS)—Alessia Ruggeri, chairwoman of UPI Italia, an association of small and medium-sized enterprises, and a renowned trade unionist in Sicily, today endorsed Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s proposed “Operation Ibn Sina” for Afghanistan with a press release which was published today in Il Corriere di Sicilia, a daily read in all of Sicily and is expected to be published in the next days in other Southern Italian papers. {Read the article here.} The press release is entitled “Helga Zepp-LaRouche launches Operation Ibn Sina to save the Afghan people” and reads:

“The Committee for the Republic, through its spokeswoman Alessia Ruggeri, endorsed the Ibn Sina initiative of the Schiller Institute. ’I believe that the world is experiencing a quite sad political, economic and social moment, with the complicity of mainstream media. We have to regain the lucidity and ability to intervene in support of a right cause. The Afghan people are paying the price of international geopolitical strategies which deny their inalienable rights guaranteed by the UN Charter.

“ ‘I therefore accept with great honor the invitation of the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites to be a part of it and give a significant European contribution,’ Alessia Ruggeri concludes, thanking Liliana Gorini, chairwoman of Movisol, an Italian political party inspired by Lyndon LaRouche.

“Also the lawyer Roberto Zappia endorses the appeal in support of the Afghan people, first exploited for the affirmation of the territorial and political hegemony of the world powers and subsequently abandoned to the voracity of the finance and to its cynical ruthless logics.”

The press release goes on to quote Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Operation Ibn Sina from the recent Schiller Institute conference and Dr. Joycelyn Elders on the recent activities of the Committee Coincidence of Opposites, particularly in Africa. {See Dr. Elders’ call, Open Letter to Virologists and Medical Experts.}


Project Ibn Sina: Restore Afghanistan’s Ancient Greatness

 Nov. 21 (EIRNS)–This is the edited transcript of the speech delivered by Mrs. LaRouche, the founder of the international Schiller Institutes, on November 17 to the online conference, “Humanitarian Roundtable for Afghanistan,” sponsored by the Council on Global Relations (CGR) located in Metro Washington D.C. The conference was convened by the CGR to address “the need for urgent assistance and a shift in narrative,” and to “make a difference in the lives of 39 million Afghan people facing a collapsed economy in the heart of a brutal winter coming out of 40 years of war.”

Hello to all of you.
I just want to state emphatically that the money that is being withheld by the U.S. Treasury—but also Commerzbank, Bundesbank, and the Bank for International Settlements—this money belongs to the Afghan people. I think that this is what we have to face, given the situation that was pointed out by both Dr. Beasley [of the UN World Food Program] and Dr. Tedros from the World Health Organization, that 97% of the people are in danger of being food insecure. And food insecure is just another word for starving to death.

Then you have a health crisis—95% of the people have no access to healthcare. And that is happening in a condition of famine and of the COVID crisis. So, to withhold that money for any more days means you’re risking the lives of people. So, I think the first step must be an absolute demand that the money which rightfully belongs to the Afghan people must be released without condition. I think this idea of giving it piecemeal and making conditions and so forth, that just will contribute to chaos. It will force the Taliban to resort to opium production, which they do not want to do. I think I mentioned in a previous discussion that Pino Arlacchi, the UN special representative in the fight against drugs in 2000, had an agreement with the Taliban, in which they agreed to stop all opium production.

The increase of the opium production occurred during the NATO presence—especially this year, opium production went up by nine percent in the period before the Taliban took over. Then the price shot up to the sky, because there was an expectation that Taliban would not continue the opium production. The price went up because of potential scarcity. So, the people who are withholding the money from the Taliban are pushing the opium trade! That should be stated very, very clearly.

Secondly, if you’re now not supporting a government that you may not like politically—but it’s there—and if you don’t support them being successful, you are encouraging the opposition. And what is the opposition? It has been largely terrorist groups, and you know that terrorism will spread, not only in Afghanistan but throughout the region. The big question is that maybe that is the intention, as a geopolitical force against the countries in the region, especially Russia and China.

So, the people who are withholding the money—and I want to be very, very clear, because there is no point in talking about nice things if that is not settled first—the people who are withholding the money are doing it completely illegally. And I think they should be held accountable. Any death which occurs from here on will be the guilt of the people withholding the money. And I think that has to be stated first.

I think if we can agree on that, then I’m willing to talk about a better vision. Psychologically, I can understand that it is very difficult for the NATO countries and their armies, after having lost a war having been in the country for 20 years. I talked to some people who were there, and I understand that this is a trauma. They did not expect it, and they are having a very hard time switching to another mental attitude. But that has to occur if Afghanistan is to be saved.

I have thought a lot about what can be done to give hope to a country that has gone through hell for the last 40 years. And really through hell for the last several 100 years—going back to the Great Game, to Brzezinski and his Islamic card that started this whole present disaster. People in Afghanistan have lived through trauma, and they need something to put the country back together with a beautiful vision. This region of the world was once known as the land of the 1,000 cities. Admittedly, this was on the order of 3,000 years ago, but there was once a period in which this region was one of the cradles of mankind. I think to be grounded in one’s own great tradition is a very important stepping-stone for building a positive future.

Then, naturally, there are many poets one could mention. The fact is that there is a health crisis right now of biblical dimensions, a pandemic which is unprecedented in terms of the potential of where it may go. So, my idea is: It has to start with the modern health system. Afghanistan needs modern hospitals. They can be built in two weeks. The Chinese proved in Wuhan that you can build a modern hospital of 1,000 beds in two weeks. Then you need doctors, modern, educated doctors, nurses, health workers. A lot of the diaspora Afghanis are doctors. They are in the United States, they are in Europe. They can be mobilized to come back and help to build a modern health system. And that modern health system can be the beginning of an economic transformation. If you are going to have a modern health system, you need water, you need electricity, you need other infrastructure. But that building of a modern health system can become the engine of hope and the engine of economic reconstruction. This, however, needs to have a beautiful vision, an idea of what that means.

Many years ago, I studied the works of Avicenna, or Ibn Sina as he is called in the Arab world. He was one of the great universal thinkers. He lived from 980 A.D. to 1038 A.D. He was not only an extraordinary thinker; he developed philosophical conceptions which had influence way beyond the Arab world, and to the Mediterranean, and to European thinkers. But especially it is known that he was an extraordinary physician. He wrote several medical books, and a canon on medicine which was the standard work in Europe until the 17th Century, and in some cases even the 19th Century. He developed an idea of the anatomy of the body, the nerve system, the psychology. He knew about new diseases like breast cancer. He developed the connection between muscles and nerves. He wrote a whole book about modern medicines based on herbs and other such things. But he is famously known to have been one of the great sons of Afghanistan.

He was probably born in Bactria. There are also some people who say, no, he was born in Bukhara, or maybe in Persia. It does not matter. His father was for sure born in Bactria, and he is for sure a son of the region.

He is an example of how somebody coming from Afghanistan can be a contributor to universal history, by moving mankind forward, by developing a whole new, modern medical science. So, I’m suggesting that the effort to save Afghanistan be called Operation Ibn Sina, because it somehow captures both the proud tradition and also a vision that Afghanistan again can be a pearl of the nations of the world. Afghanistan will be contributing something to other nations. You need to give people who have gone through such hell a vision of a beautiful future.

I think that would capture the imagination of a lot of the people, both inside Afghanistan and out. The danger is terrorism and drugs, and you want to have an image which presents a completely different future, one based on the intellectual tradition which made this country a great country in the past, and it means that it will again be a great country in the future.

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Putin Tells Ambassadors, the Pathway to Peace Lies Through ‘Love for Humanity’

May 19 (EIRNS)—Welcoming new ambassadors from 23 countries yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the unstable international situation, which as he observed, “is even becoming more complicated.” He named the crises facing the world’s nations: the coronavirus pandemic, the deterioration of the system of strategic stability and arms control, terrorism “rearing its ugly head once again,” growing problems in the sphere of international information security, the risks of drug trafficking and organized crime, decades-old regional conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya becoming aggravated, and now the dramatic escalation in the Middle East.

Putin then, in his own way, invoked the principle of agapē without which Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche has recently insisted humanity may not survive as a species, as the way out for all nations. Putin told the Ambassadors:

“The epidemic has proved a real test for such universal human values as solidarity, mutual assistance, and love for humanity….

“I repeat once again: It is possible to ensure peace, stability and sustainable global development only through the efforts of the entire international community. We are calling for well-coordinated work by states, permanent members of the UN Security Council and all concerned countries. As you know, Russia has recently celebrated the anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War that started 80 years ago, on June 22, 1941, when the Nazis treacherously attacked our Motherland….

“We are convinced that everything must be done to prevent the tragedy of World War II from repeating itself, so that its lessons will not be forgotten. All of us must cherish the priceless experience and spirit of allied relations during the struggle against common challenges and threats. We must remember the consequences of policies pandering to nationalism and xenophobia, and we must jointly elaborate a positive and unifying agenda to forge a more equitable and democratic multipolar world order. We must ensure the well-being and prosperity of all human beings.”


The Great Task of Real Infrastructure: Modern Healthcare Systems in Every Nation

The Great Task of Real Infrastructure: Modern Healthcare Systems in Every Nation

May 17 (EIRNS)—The great building task for the industrialized and industrializing nations is clear. Building modern hospital and well-staffed healthcare systems in every nation on Earth will meet such an urgent need to preserve human life—one that cannot be met by any other attack on the pandemic—that it alone deserves the name of an infrastructure platform for the further progress of the human race. And it is an agreement among the most technologically advanced and economically developed nations which can launch such a global mission, and which is no less ambitious than a Moon-Mars mission, necessarily involving the same beneficial effects of technological breakthroughs.

If this task is taken up, as proposed by the Schiller Institute and Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, 10 MW of new power will be needed to supply every set of hospitals with 1,000 beds, provide a lot of fresh water to them, heat and light the housing for their staff—hundreds of gigawatts of new power, and widely distributed throughout the developing nations in particular. World food production will effectively have to double since “food is health,” to quote Committee leader Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Approximations of Tennessee Valley Authority-scale development projects will evolve from the projects undertaken for the best of disease monitoring, testing and above all modern treatment capacities.

A new nuclear technology platform is waiting to be put in factory production to supply this huge project: small modular nuclear reactors. NuScale, the only company with a prototype approved by regulators thus far, is being offered the cooperation in production it needs by the Canadian firm Prodigy Clean Energy, while other Canadian companies and provinces develop their own small modular reactor (SMR) projects. Prodigy intends to build SMR marine power stations in shipyards. The Danish company Seaborg Technologies plans to fit ships with small nuclear reactors, to send power to countries across the developing sector, and believes it can start providing that power by 2025, according to Neutron Bytes blog May 14. This is a 100 MW molten salt-cooled reactor. NuScale’s target for 60 MW operating reactor modules is 2026. Russia is already capable of producing small floating nuclear reactors.

All the other target dates can be brought forward as soon as the technologically leading nations—China, the United States, Russia in particular—agree to jointly generate credit for the modern health systems to care for pandemic victims.

Standing against this mission for humanity, is the new Malthusianism which wants to sacrifice human life to “the planet” and a myth that human science and technology are impotent and destructive. As made clear already in 2019 in an article in the medical journal The Lancet by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 5 billion people who don’t have modern healthcare can’t have it because “if we do it in a model that has been developed in rich countries, it will break the climate—and we can’t afford that.”

Nor are we, say the Green New Dealers, permitted to double world food production to cope with widespread food insecurity and famine—and food is health. According to the investors’ group FAIRR, “The oil in the ground was being mispriced. It doesn’t have value. It’s obsolete, and therefore it’s stranded. The same is going to happen for agriculture and animal agriculture.”

The same Green New Dealers nonetheless think we should scour the Earth for vast, now unknown supplies of rare and strategic minerals and metals, in order to build billions of completely unneeded electric vehicles over the next three years—and they call their charging stations “infrastructure”!

Scrapping the Green New Deal, we can build a real new infrastructure platform for the world’s people and the economies of nations, as the Schiller Institute proposes to the Global Health Conference in Rome this week.


Bolivian President Arce: Only a Global Solution Can Defeat COVID Pandemic

May 16 (EIRNS)–Speaking May 13 at an international forum organized by his foreign ministry, Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora emphasized to his audience that the only way to defeat the coronavirus pandemic is through a global program, which, as his government has been emphasizing, must address the issue of vaccine inequity. For example, he said, Bolivia has purchased vaccines, but isn’t getting enough doses delivered because “production is circumscribed to specific countries,” or because some countries have restricted exports of vaccines for different reasons. “We’re not criticizing this,” he said, “but let’s be clear that we’re headed straight for disaster, because this is happening even to countries that have the ability to pay for vaccines…. Since the pandemic is a global evil, the solution must be global, and to get out of this, we all have to act; otherwise, no one will be safe….It’s as if there were an apartheid in which the weakest [countries] are being condemned and killed,” EFE news service reported him as saying May 13.

The Foreign Ministry forum, entitled “Waiving Patents and Considerations on Intellectual Property in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” was focused, as the title indicates, on calling for suspending vaccine patents and intellectual property to ensure transfer of technology so that developing nations can produce vaccines. Officials from the UN Development Program, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and diplomats from South America and India, among others, attended. This is a campaign that Bolivia began two months ago and has vowed to take to every international forum and multilateral organization for debate. It should be seen as a useful adjunct to the urgent proposal of the Schiller Institute and the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites to build a global healthcare system and new economic order to competently address the pandemic. A foreign ministry press release estimates that the majority of vaccines produced in 2021 will be insufficient to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population, due to vaccine hoarding by the industrialized nations, and thus vaccinations of poorer nations’ populations aren’t likely to be completed before 2023.

Domestically, Arce has launched a campaign to inoculate all eligible Bolivians as soon as possible and is working closely with Russia and China to obtain vaccines. By the end of next week, Bolivia will have received 500,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine and one million doses of China’s Sinopharm and is making arrangements to obtain Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines as well. On the occasion of the most recent Sputnik V arrival on May 15, in the company of Russian ambassador Mikhail Ledenev, he remarked that “we have to step on the accelerator…these vaccines are the doses of hope for many people…thanks to the diplomacy among nations, above all with Russia and China, Bolivians will continue with the vaccination campaign,” the Bolivian Information Agency (ABI) reported him saying. Pointing to the difficult situation the world is facing because of new waves of COVID, he warned, “if our nations don’t take action and ensure an equitable distribution of doses, we’ll see many more waves, placing humanity at ever greater risk.”


CGTN Interviews Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Eighth Anniversary of Belt and Road Initiative

China’s CGTN conducted two interviews with Schiller Institute chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche on the celebration of eight years of the Belt and Road Initiative, one for with the “Dialogue Weekend” program and the second with “Global Business.” Here are the transcripts:

Dialogue Weekend

LI QIUYUAN: Welcome to this edition of Dialogue Weekend: I’m Li Quiyuan.

In the fall of 2013, while on visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the plan to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, otherwise known as the Belt and Road Initiative. Eight years on, how is the project progressing, and how has it helped all those involved? And what obstacles have been overcome during the construction? To review the last eight years of the BRI, I’m glad to be joined by Prof. John Gong from the University of International Business and Economics; and Miss Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and president of the Schiller Institute. Great to see you both.

Why don’t I start with Professor Gong first? Explain to us some context here: Why try to propose this, building this New Silk Road in the very beginning, and also why did the President announce this while travelling abroad? And also, eight years on, eight years into this project, where are we now, as far as its construction?

PROF. JOHN GONG: Hi Qiuyuan, you’re nice to have me here. It’s a long question, but let me first start by saying what the Belt and Road Initiative is not: It is not a geopolitical play, it’s not a geostrategic play, it’s not intended to seek a spread of influence. It’s mostly an economic play. There are several reasons why China started this initiative. I think the broader context is that this is a time when Chinese companies started to expand overseas, started to build a global supply chain, and in this course, Chinese companies quickly started to discover that the markets they’re mostly activating, these are the developing countries, the third world countries, they are handicapped by basic infrastructure for things like railways, port facilities, electricity network, telecom network—all these things are lacking for the Chinese companies to operate properly in these markets. And there’s a mutual benefit in developing these countries’ basic infrastructure. And this is also the time, when there was an access capacity in the basic building materials, mostly useful infrastructure buildouts for things like cement, steel, those things. We’re talking about a time in 2013, 2012.

And I would also mention this is also a time when China’s foreign exchange reserve was at an all-time high, and we would like to see the foreign exchange reserve at close to $4 trillion at the time, mostly sitting in the United States, buying American government’s Treasury bills and bonds.

So all these reasons combined contributed to the very natural evolution to using that money, using that excess capacity, and using the capabilities of Chinese companies of building infrastructure to help those developing countries to develop those projects. And I think this is the broader context: it work for both ways, and it works in particular in a way to benefit the host countries where the Chinese companies are operating, and these infrastructure projects are taking place.

LI: Helga, let me get your take on this: How do you evaluate the progress being made in the past eight years regarding this initiative?

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I think it’s the most impressive infrastructure project in the history of all of mankind. And China for the first time has given the developing countries the chance to overcome poverty and underdevelopment. And if you look at the progress, there is now the China-Laos high-speed rail project, which is fantastic. It will be extended to Thailand, and beyond. And soon, the previously not so developed country, like Laos, will have a high-speed rail system, which Europe and the United States can only dream of!

Then you have the [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] CPEC treaty, the Middle Corridor, all these projects in Central Asia, all these investments in Africa. So I think it has brought in an incredible shift in the strategic situation, by overcoming underdevelopment, for the first time, for all of these countries. So I think, despite all the opposition, I think it’s a great success.

LI: But now after all of China’s investments in Africa, we once again are hearing criticism or accusations of China setting so-called “debt traps” for the countries participating in the BRI. This is the most frequent criticisms we’ve heard about this initiative. Professor Gong, talk to us about it: Beijing has made it clear that this initiative is by no means a debt trap. What has been done by China to support its claim?

GONG: We have to go back to the origin of the so-called “debt trap” theory. I think it originated in India with respect to, in particular, the port project in Sri Lanka. The idea is basically conspiracy theory….

LI: Now, we’ve seen the pandemic COVID-19 causing massive disruptions and damage to economic activities all around the world including the global supply chain, such as thousands of containers sitting on the Los Angeles docks, waiting for truckers and warehouse personnel to transport and deliver goods. It would seem that the world desperately needs an economic boost now, more than ever. But, Helga, do you see the BRI being it, providing great opportunities for corporations, for countries involved? Could they benefit from a smoother and more efficient global trade infrastructure?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Oh, yes. You have already all the countries of Asia, many in Africa, even of Europe—you have Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece, the 16+1 East European countries that all are absolutely onboard of the BRI. But I think some of the so-called advanced countries like Germany, they would benefit the most if they would stop thinking in terms of geopolitical prejudices, because, for example, if they would join hands with China right now in the development of Afghanistan, which suffers the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet, and urgently needs to be integrated into the Belt and Road Initiative if it wants to ever have stability. So Germany, for example, is very concerned about the refugee crisis, and rather than building a wall around the EU outer borders, which is what the EU is considering right now—like the old Limes in the Roman Empire—I think the European countries, and hopefully also the United States, join hands; and they have a moral obligation because NATO countries were for 20 years in Afghanistan and they left the country in complete shambles. So, to reconstruct Afghanistan—and Haiti, and Syria, and Yemen, and all of these other countries that are in dire condition—if Germany and Europe would help and cooperate with China and the Belt and Road countries to develop Southwest Asia and Africa, there would be no refugee problem.

And I think we need a rethinking of this very, very urgently, because we have a tremendous moment in history. The Western financial system is not in good shape: You have signs of hyperinflation; the supply chain problem, you mentioned. So I think we need a rethinking. And the Schiller Institute is doing a lot of conferences and activities to convince the industrialized countries that it would be in their absolute self-interest to cooperate with the BRI and play a positive role in history.

LI: Helga, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We appreciate your perspective.

Professor Gong, a final question on this part to you: Certainly great steps have been made on the BRI over the last eight years, but what lessons can we draw from these experiences? And what challenges has the project faced as it reaches out for wider cooperation?

GONG: Well, let me first supplement your previous question. Helga actually knows my position on this issue. I wrote a paper several years ago, talking about how America can actually benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative. The article’s title is “Make America Great Again—with Chinese Money.”

As a matter of fact, I actually as an opportunity to make a keynote speech at a conference organized by Helga, the Schiller Institute. [Create a New Epoch for Mankind • February 16, 2019, Morristown, NJ]

There could have been greater opportunities between China and the United States to address the infrastructure problems you have just mentioned. You talk about the supply chain hiccups, or these clogs at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, all of these things can be substantially addressed by combining the capabilities of infrastructure buildouts, in China, together with investments in the United States. But unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.

Now, back to your question about lessons in the past, I think this is a perfect example to show that there are opportunities if China and other countries will just come together and cooperate, and purely think of this from an economic perspective and setting aside all these, you know, these talks about geostrategic, geopolitics lens, not seeing these things through that lens, I think there could be huge opportunities. There are tons of countries out there who indeed benefit from these infrastructure investments. So, I think the biggest lesson is, this is a purely economic play, and there will be mutual benefits deriving from this. And that let’s have both sides going to this in cooperative spirits should generate benefits for both countries.

And as well as the better exchanges, through human to human, people to people exchanges, and also economic benefits as well. So I think that’s the biggest lesson. And United States could have—I emphasize again, could have—benefitted immensely, if we go into this with, as we say, with a cooperative spirit. But unfortunately, it’s not happening.

Global Business

ANCHOR: For more on the Belt and Road Initiative, I want to bring in Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and president of the Schiller Institute, who’s now in Wiesbaden. Helga, welcome to the program. You know, President Xi Jinping saying the BRI is really about finding the biggest common ground for all, and I think it’s interesting to contrast that with what we hear oftentimes, from the West in terms of only working with like-minded countries. This is about working with all countries, large and small, to find their greatest common denominator.

So, Helga, at a time of such uncertainty, how important do you think is the BRI in terms of growing the economic pie for all?

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it is, for sure, the most important strategic initiative on the planet right now. Because you say “uncertainty,” I mean, these uncertainties show for example, in the form of a hyperinflationary tendency: You see the energy prices skyrocketing, food prices, and we may actually head towards a hyperinflationary blowout of the entire system. And at such a moment, to have the Belt and Road Initiative which focusses entirely on the physical side of the economy, can actually become the absolute important savior for the world economy as a whole. So I think the existence of the Belt and Road Initiative is the most important initiative on the planet.

ANCHOR: And Helga, of course, one big topic that we are all talking about these days, from the public sector to the private sector, is how we can collectively tackle climate change. How do you see the Belt and Road Initiative really promoting sustainable and green development, especially for developing economies, who need more help in terms of making that green transition?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, you know, in the Glasgow COP26 summit, it became very clear that behind a lot of this climate policy, is also a Malthusian effort to prevent the developing countries from developing, and that has been expressed very clearly by India, Indonesia, Nigeria, which all did not go along with the program of Glasgow.

So I think China, on the other side, is offering especially cooperation in nuclear energy, which has a very high energy flux-density and therefore, is potentially the energy source for more developed economies. So I think the role of China and the BRI countries which all are going in the direction of promoting nuclear energy, also for the developing countries, are representing a very, very important alternative to the Malthusian policies coming from the financial centers in London and Wall Street.

ANCHOR: Hmm. So we have growing the economic pie for all, energy cooperation, green development, and of course, one other extension. Helga, of the BRI, is the Health Silk Road, and this is China aiding Belt and Road partner countries, by sharing medical knowledge about the coronavirus; last year providing medical aid as well, last year and this year. Help I believe will be a critical part of BRI cooperation going forward. How do you see this element of the Initiative developing, post-pandemic?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I think it is very clear that China right now is helping many African countries to build vaccine production, so they can develop their own vaccine. I have been saying, since the outbreak of this pandemic, that it will only stop if we build a world health system: That means a modern health system in every single country. Because the idea to only take care of the rich countries with vaccines, and modern hospitals, does not work, because then the poor countries are left behind, and then the virus is mutating, and will come back and hit the entire human population.

So I think we have to have a very big emphasis on a modern health system in every single country: Which means modern hospitals—China has proven you can build a modern hospital in two weeks in Wuhan—but the developing countries need encouragement and help. They need energy, they need clean water, in order to do that. I think the most urgent ones right now are Afghanistan, Haiti, Syria and Yemen: These are the countries that need, urgently, international cooperation to build modern health systems, if they are supposed to survive. I have proposed something called “Operation Ibn Sina” which named after the great universal thinker of the Afghanistan region, from around the 10th century. And that could become the spearhead for a health system in every country in the Islamic world, but also for all the developing countries. And that’s the only way how the pandemic will stop, and future pandemics.

ANCHOR: Yes. And speaking about closing gaps all around in terms of the development gap, closing the energy and green development gap, what about the digital connectivity gap? The digital connectivity benefits provided by the BRI down the road can be absolutely huge, in terms of getting especially emerging and developing economies, really into the digital sphere. The pandemic, we’ve seen, has really accelerated digitization. How do you see the BRI boosting digital connectivity, and really helping to narrow the digital divide between developing economies and advanced economies?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the fact that China was able to deal with the pandemic so much better than almost every other country on the planet has to do with the fact that the health sector is largely digitalized, and contact tracing, smart cities integrated—I think that’s future.

The problem is, the West is opposing that because there is a difference: In China the population for the most part trusts the government, and thinks that these measures are being applied for the common good. In Western Europe, for example, or the United States, there is a deep mistrust between the population and the government, and therefore, there is a lot of opposition. But look at Germany, right now, or many European countries: The pandemic is exploding again. And that is, for sure, they are still using photocopy machines, and very archaic means to trace the pandemic. And if Europe would have the kind of digitalization like China we would be in much better shape.

So I think that is clearly the way to go, and hopefully, people start to rethink and correct a lot of prejudices which do not come from facts, but they come—for example, the U.S. Senate just agreed upon a strategic act, which spent several hundred million dollars every year to counter the so-called “influence” of China! If that money would be spent on building hospitals and building real infrastructure for the benefit of the people, the United States image would gain much more than from these kinds of measures!

So again, I can only hope there will be a rethinking and a lot of the prejudices which have been spread should be put into the garbage pile.

ANCHOR: Yeah, instead of spending trillions of dollars on never-ending wars in foreign lands, I think definitely that money, at least for the United States, can be better put towards working with other countries in terms of boosting development around the world. And of course, that’s what the BRI is about, is really focussing and emphasizing cooperation, especially in the world that we live in today, and our future generations will need that cooperation. We must see that through the BRI. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Helga. That’s Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and president of the Schiller Institute.


Brotherhood Over Geopolitics: El Salvador and Honduras Set an Example

Brotherhood Over Geopolitics: El Salvador and Honduras Set an Example –

May 14, 2021 (EIRNS)–Last weekend, seven Honduran Mayors petitioned the president of neighboring El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, to send anti-Covid-19 vaccines to their municipalities, because their people are dying. El Salvador has the highest rate of vaccination in Central America (10%), because President Bukele made getting vaccines a priority early, including from China, which donated 150,000 doses on top of two million doses contracted. Honduras, however, has been able to vaccinate 0.56% of its 10 million people, most with only one shot, and whether needed second doses will arrive in time is in still in doubt.

The Honduran mayors were immediately invited to El Salvador to meet with Bukele, the Health Minister and others. Less than two days after their visit, early on Thursday morning, seven, big, blue trucks marked “COVID-19 Vaccine” left San Salvador and headed to Honduras, carrying 34,000 vaccine doses—donated. Salvadoran officials decided that despite their own needs, because they have doses contracted in their pipeline, they should help out their neighbors.

From the moment the convoy of trucks and police escort crossed into Honduras, to when each truck arrived in its designated municipality, crowds were gathered along their route. People cheered, waved the flags of both countries and signs saying “Thank you President Bukele!,” as passing vehicles honked approval. When one truck arrived after dark at its final destination, it was met by people lining the street, waiting to shake the hand of the drivers; visibly moved, the Salvadoran drivers slowed way down to shake as many as they could. In another town, a Honduran doctor videotaped a message of thanks to President Bukele in front of a hospital. One mayor gave a lovely speech hailing this act of friendship as a step towards restoring the single Central American nation which had existed for a short time after Independence.

The Honduran Foreign Ministry tweeted when the decision was announced on May 11:
“The donation of 34,000 vaccines doses announced today in San Salvador shows that it is possible to put health before geopolitics, and that there is no deadlock where there is brotherhood. In the name of Honduras: many thanks to our brothers. We appreciate the support and reciprocity which we have received from El Salvador and other countries to help obtain vaccines which otherwise have been denied to Honduras because of the politicization of the pandemic.” 

Honduras is now taking steps at various levels of government to establish some ties with China. Honduras still maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which–like its protector, the United States–has not made any vaccines available. The Association of Honduran Mayors (AMHON) sent a letter this week to President Bukele in the name of all the country’s 298 municipalities, requesting that El Salvador help them with contacts and procedures so that Honduras can purchase vaccines from China. The Honduran National Congress passed a motion yesterday calling on the Executive Branch to secure anti-COVID vaccines from vaccine-producing nations such as Russia, China, India, Cuba “and even [!] the United States,” specifying that a trade office be established in China, “among other countries,” in order to facilitate this work.


Xi Jinping Addresses Symposium on Belt and Road Initiative

President Xi Jinping addressed the third construction symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing today, on the eighth anniversary of the BRI. Speeches were also given by He Lifeng, director of the NDRC, Chen Quanguo, the head of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and several other economic experts. After listening to the speeches, Xi made his own extensive comments on the importance of the Initiative.

Xi stressed three aspects of the BRI, regarding infrastructure. He spoke of “hard connectivity,” “soft connectivity” as an important support for this, and the “heart to heart” connectivity established by the Initiative in the important people-to-people relationships. “Through the joint construction of the Belt and Road, the level of opening up in various regions in the country has been improved, the areas of opening up to the outside world have been expanded, institutional opening up has been promoted, a wide circle of friends has been built, new ways to promote common development have been explored, and the construction of the country has been realized on the basis of mutual benefit,” Xi said.

While stressing that the general direction of the BRI will continue in an era still focused on peace and development, he also underlined the difficult situation facing the BRI in light of “the major changes unseen in a century” which he said are now “accelerating.”

He said, “The fierce competition brought about by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is unprecedented…Global issues such as climate change and epidemic prevention and control have an unprecedented impact on human society. The international environment of the Belt and Road Initiative is becoming increasingly complex. We must maintain strategic determination, seize strategic opportunities, coordinate development and security, coordinate domestic and international cooperation and struggle, coordinate reserves and increments, plan with a view of the whole as well as an eye on the details , actively respond to challenges, seek advantages and avoid disadvantages, and move forward courageously.”

He underlined new areas into which the BRI must expand, namely, digital, health, green economy and innovation. “It is necessary to comprehensively consider and plan to build a new development pattern and jointly build the Belt and Road, focus on new areas of strength, and shape new points of integration. It is necessary to speed up the improvement of distinctive, complementary, smooth and safe land passages, optimize the maritime layout, and provide strong support for smooth domestic and international double circulation. It is necessary to strengthen the smooth connection of the industrial chain and supply chain, and promote the diversification of sources. We must build iconic projects of high quality. The people’s livelihood project is an important way to quickly increase the sense of public gain in the joint construction of a country. We must strengthen overall planning and form more grounded and united cooperation results.”

He also underlined the need to proceed forward with an eye on protection against the epidemic and possible security threats. He encouraged all of the provinces to begin consideration of how they can contribute to advancing the BRI.


Global Health Security Requires Medical Infrastructure in Every Country—Major Industrial Nations Must Collaborate Now!

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May 14 (EIRNS)–The following statement was released today by the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, for the Global Health Summit in Rome, May 21, 2021, and for general circulation.

The only way that the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic can be stopped, is by re-thinking the solution. We must have modern health care systems in every country. This means infrastructure for public health, and for medical care delivery at modern standards, to all populations. One model for this is the U.S. Hill-Burton Act (“Hospital Survey and Construction Act of 1946,”) whose principle was to state how many hospital beds per 1,000 residents must be in each locality (at that time, 4.5), and deploy accordingly to build them, including modern equipment and staff.

Look at instances of our ability to do this today. The 1,000-bed Huoshenshan hospital was built in 12 days in Wuhan in 2020. In the U.S., multiple field hospitals were built in record time last Spring by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We must do this simultaneously around the world.

This means that all countries must work together to accomplish this. We must put aside tensions and conflicts for the time being.

There are new strains of the SARS CoV2 that are showing up, that are more aggressive, and more transmissible. These can make vaccines obsolete. “Many of these variants show enhanced transmission and, in some studies, enhanced disease,” was the report in April by Dr. Dan Barouch, an immunologist at Harvard Medical School, who helped develop the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He said that the variants, “also have the property of being able to partially evade antibodies, and therefore raise the specter as to whether they may reduce vaccine efficacy.” We are in a race against time.

Thus, our response to the pandemic seen in these terms is a question of existential importance to the human species. It requires the cooperation of all major industrialized nations. A new paradigm of coordination among the United States, China, Russia and others is central.

In this spirit, a grouping was formed in June, 2020, called the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, to further such international collaboration on large-scale response to the crisis. Co-initiated by Helga Zepp LaRouche, founder and President of the Schiller Institute, and Joycelyn Elders, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General, the Committee acts on the principle of the “coincidence of opposites” put forward by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), which pursues acting on the common good, and deters pitting sub-groups against each other.

The Committee has two pilot projects underway, embodying this principle concretely, in order to promote major government and institutional action. In Washington, D.C. in Ward 8, a team—involving youth leaders–is working to reach full COVID-19 vaccination rates, and initiate ongoing public health measures in the largely poor community. In Africa, a Committee shipment will arrive soon in Mozambique of combined medical, health, water, food and seed supplies, to make the point that both emergency and overall development measures are urgent at all points of need on the globe.

Health security is possible anywhere, only by provision everywhere of sufficient public health infrastructure and medical treatment capacity. This, in turn, depends directly on expanding water, power and food, which is associated with building up industrial capacity, as well as providing for adequate transportation, housing and other basics. Of necessity, collaboration among nations to deal with these tasks means deliberating on how to provide credit, and otherwise deal with the unstable, unjust financial system. Guidelines for a new paradigm for economic development were presented in a report “The LaRouche Plan to Reopen the U.S. Economy; The World Needs 1.5 Billion New, Productive Jobs,” (May 29, 2020, EIR, Vol. 47, No. 22)

Global Health Infrastructure

The following are summary elements of what is required for health security. For details, see, “LaRouche’s ‘Apollo Mission’ to Defeat the Global Pandemic: Build a World Health System Now!” from April, 2020, by the Schiller Institute.

Hospital systems. There is currently a huge deficit of hospital beds. Today’s world total of 18. 6 million beds needs to be nearly doubled to some 35 million, along with staff and equipment. This calculation is based on the metric set in the post-WW II U.S. “Hill Burton Act,’ for 4.5 beds per 1,000 residents in the community, in order to provide treatment for both routine and surge circumstances. After the U.S. approached this 4.5 beds per 1,000 standard in 1980, the level then dropped back to 2.8 today, due to privatization and deregulation of U.S. health care. The ratio is 0.7 for the nations in the category of “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.” For example, South Asia is 0.7. Nigeria has 0.5 beds per 1,000, which has one fifth of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa.

A mobilization is necessary for building strategically located military-style field hospitals, in conjunction with vaccination campaigns, while at the same time, moving to launch longer-term construction of durable hospitals, continuing the crash mobilization mode. E.G. In Ghana, there is the national plan for multiple 100-bed hospitals. Depending on the number of beds in each new hospital, the world faces a need for 35,000 new facilities, especially in Africa, Ibero-America and Asia.

Health corps. Vast numbers of doctors, nurses, public health and related staff—technicians, pharmacists, veterinarians, dieticians, administrators, etc. are required worldwide. Meeting this need demands the spectrum of training, ranging from many more teaching hospitals, to thousands of youth training programs for invaluable community health service, beginning with today’s pandemic emergency. 
Water and sanitation. One fully-equipped hospital bed requires plumbing for at least 110-120 gallons of water a day. Every nation must have adequate water and sewerage. Today more than two billion people lack access to safe water, sanitation or both. The deployment of temporary sanitation facilities (which could be mass-produced and then distributed) will be a stop-gap measure, while durable improvements in infrastructure are constructed. Building largescale water management systems, for example, comprehensive river basin development in Africa and South America, along with littoral desalination—nuclear powered, as soon as possible—will end the extremes of drought and flooding, and provide millions of skilled jobs in the process.

Electricity. Modern medical treatment, including inoculation, is not possible without reliable, ample electricity, which of course is essential at large facilities. A large, modern hospital can use, roughly 19 million kilowatt hours per year of electricity for its many power requirements, including scanning and data devices, refrigeration, oxygen provision, ventilation, as well as lighting, cooking and cooling.

Science and technology. There must be an expansion of both basic research and development of technologies against diseases, including those affecting animals and plantlife. This is best done by collaboration among R and D institutions throughout the world. We must advance our understanding of viruses, such that in the near future we can do more than react to each new outbreak. In the immediate term, full collaboration on mass inoculation, and on anti-viral treatment regimens are essential to save lives.

“Food is medicine.” David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program reported May 7 that nine million people died from starvation in 2020, more than the official death toll of 3.24 million from COVID-19. “Food is the best vaccine against chaos,” he stressed, early in the pandemic. It is urgent to provide the $5 billion requested by the WFP for extra 2021 food relief, over and above current levels of aid. There are over 270 million people in acute need of food, and another 600 million with food insecurity. Ten nations are in terrible famine—with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African nations in the lead, as well as Yemen, Syria, Haiti and other locations. In addition, interventions must be made to support independent family farming in many of the most highly productive agriculture regions in Europe, North America, Australia and South America, whose output is vital, but where the family farmer is being driven out of operation by the transnational food monopolies. Modern agriculture must be rapidly developed in Africa and elsewhere. The goal is to double food production, to ensure nutrition and health for all.

The Global Health Summit is the responsible representation of the world population in this moment of a crisis of Biblical dimensions. This meeting must not end without a decision to start a process of worldwide international cooperation for a crash program to build a modern health system in every single country on the planet, including the necessary infrastructure to sustain that system.


India Remains the Epicenter of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

India Remains the Epicenter of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

May 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—With record-breaking daily deaths, the total official COVID-19 death toll in India surpassed a quarter-million yesterday. The daily new cases continue to hover just under 400,000, with some experts forecasting that daily infections will peak at about a half-million sometime in June. The country now accounts for about half of all new COVID-19 cases and 30% of deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO has also designated the B.1.617 variant as a matter “of global concern,” given how highly transmissible it is. The Pan American Health Organization reported that the Indian variant has shown up in six countries in the Americas.

Numerous experts continue to report that the total infections and total deaths are probably 5-10 times higher in reality than the official numbers indicate. A large portion of the uncounted numbers remain in India’s countryside.

There is a major discussion going on inside India over how much to lock down and for how long. Dr. Balram Bhargava, head of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said in an interview yesterday that lockdown restrictions should remain in place in all districts where the rate of infection is above 10% of those tested, and that they should stay locked down for at least 6-8 weeks. Test-positivity rates above 10% now prevail in 75% of the country’s 718 districts, including major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and the tech hub of Bengaluru, according to Reuters’s May 12 report.

“The high positivity districts should remain (shut). If they come to 5% from 10% (positivity rate) we can open them, but that has to happen. That won’t happen in six-eight weeks, clearly,” Bhargava said in an interview. In Delhi, the positivity rate reached around 35% but has now fallen to about 17%, Bhargava said: “If Delhi is opened tomorrow, it will be a disaster.” Bhargava has been calling for a government-ordered lockdown in with a 10% positivity rate or higher since April 15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi preferred to leave the decision for states to decide, perhaps because of his concern that extensive lockdowns could lead to uncontrolled social explosions in the desperate population.

Absent an international joint attack on the root causes of the pandemic—50 years of global physical economic collapse, especially in the health and food areas—India, like most developing nations, is left with only two disastrous choices: don’t lock down and watch the pandemic spread like wildfire; or lock down, and drive millions of poor and unemployed or marginally employed people over the edge.


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