How to Overcome Geopolitics and the Danger of a New World War
The timing could not have been more propitious for the Schiller Institute conference of June 30-July 1, 2018, just as momentum is building for the consolidation of a New Paradigm, driven by the diplomatic and economic policy direction defined by China’s Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI). Monumental shifts have taken place in the past months, as a growing number of nations move into the new strategic geometry centered on a U.S.-Russia-China alliance, which is emerging in spite of massive resistance from those British and U.S. networks acting to preserve the dangerous old world defined by geopolitics.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave the keynote address on the “Coincidence of Opposites—The World of Tomorrow.” Pointing to the July 16 Helsinki meeting scheduled between Trump and Putin, she expressed the hope that an agenda would be established for a New Paradigm, to put an end to the neo-liberal dogma that has led to disaster for so many. The 68 million refugees reported by the United Nations at the end of 2017 is just one of the most shocking results of the brutal policy imposed by the trans-Atantic world in the recent period. The way out is to join and spread the dynamic of the New Silk Road, she said, which is coherent with the core principles that Lyndon LaRouche, she herself and the Schiller Institute have defended, in various forms and projects, for over 40 years.
The keynote was followed by the first panel, opened by Vladimir Morozov (47:18), Program Coordinator of the Russian International Affairs Council, a leading think-tank connected to the Russian Foreign Ministry. He elaborated on “Russia’s Role in the New World Order”, which must be based on rebuilding mutual trust among powers. However, he cautioned, the needed changes in the global order cannot happen overnight. Replacing the unipolar world of the past by a multipolar world, Morozov said, is not a solution, as it implies there are many poles, each in competition with the others. Multilateralism is a better approach, in his view, and involves working through international organizations such as the UN, the SCO, the BRICS organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, etc. on an agenda of global denuclearization and economic development.
The second speech, “Globalization in Reverse and the Challenge for China’s Foreign Policy in the New Era,” was given by Dr. Xu Jian (1:01:20), Vice President of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) and Senior Research Fellow and Director of the CIIS Academic Council. The ongoing changes in the world order pose a number of fundamental challenges, he pointed out, such as how to overcome social injustice and inequality and uneven development in the world aggravated by globalization and the market economy. China is committed to the principle of peace and development, as President Xi Jinping has stated repeatedly, but it does face the challenge of what Xu called “three dangerous traps”: the “Thucydides Trap” defined by Joseph Nye, of exerting too much strength, the “Kindleberger Trap” referring to powers, that are too weak to provide global public goods, and the “Cold War Trap” over ideological differences.
The audience then heard from U.S. State Senator Richard Black (1:26:17) from Virginia via a video presentation on “The True Interest of the United States.” The Senator very strongly denounced the “undeclared U.S. war against the Syrian people,” waged against a country which is actually the center of gravity of the global war on terrorism. The U.S. has trained, armed and funded the emergence of jihadism, he charged, in order to force a regime change in Syria which is in no way in the interest of the United States. In fact, prior to 2012, Syria was one of the five safest countries in the world.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Ulrich Scholz (1:49:35), a former German Air Force pilot and NATO planner, took up the theme of “Interest Monsters: Democracy, Human Rights, and Other Hypocrisies.” Politicians speak a lot about “values” and “human rights” to justify their wars, he charged, but what they are pursuing and protecting are brutish interests. He recalled that before the Iraq war in 2003, he had warned that such a war would end in a “global jungle,” which indeed and unfortunately it did. Instead of strategies of intimidation which dominate Western policies today, he proposed a balance must be created based on mutual respect of the other’s interests, and the implementation of human rights – as opposed to merely talking about them. Scholz strongly defended an approach consisting of countries viewing the interests of others not from their own standpoint but from “above”, as from an elevated tower offering a view of everything.
Col. (ret).) Alain Corvez (2:06:44), International Consultant, former Counsellor for the French Defense and Interior Ministries, spoke about “The U.S. Refusal of a Multipolar World Makes the Transition Very Painful.” Referring to Sen. Black’s intervention, he noted that President Trump is very much challenged by the “Deep State” at home, that covert oligarchy which has forced him to continue the military interventions. This policy is not in the interest of the real Europe, or what Charles de Gaulle called the “Europe of the Nations,” contrary to the European Union which has become a technocratic, supranational regime. The decisive question for France, in Corvez’ view, is when will it finally denounce Saudi Arabia and Qatar for their aggressive policies in the Mideast, against Syria and Yemen? The sanctions against Iran decreed by the EU also go against the true interests of Europe.
The panel was concluded with a live presentation video-streamed from the United States, by Roger Stone (2:33:36), a political strategist from the Trump faction in the Republican Party, speaking on “The President Trump Europeans Do Not Know.” He denounced the “evil two-party duopoly,” that is, the power of the Bushes and the Clintons together with the eight years of the Obama Administration that have so alienated Americans from both parties that they voted an “outsider” into the White House. The so-called “Russiagate scandal”, Stone said, it just a smokescreen to mask the misuse of power by the duopoly against the Presidential nominee Trump that started already back in May 2016, at a time when Trump’s nomination was not even certain. The duopoly collusion to hijack the 2016 election is still on, as is shown in in the harassment of Stone himself, which prevented him from attending this Schiller Institute conference in person. He went through the obvious role of British intelligence in the current operations against Trump.
How the Belt and Road Initiative is Changing Africa
The second panel of the conference was devoted to changes spawned by the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), as the only humane way to deal with the refugee crisis. Introductory remarks were given by Hussein Askary, Southwest Asia Coordinator of the Schiller Institute, who stressed that to solve the many refugee crises in the world, we must create a new and just world order.
He was followed by Wang Hao (14:45), the First Secretary for Economy and Trade of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Germany, who was originally supposed to speak during Panel III but was unexpectedly unable to wait. He made a plea for the EU to join the Belt & Road initiative, as the largest trading partner of China. Given its limited resources, China depends very much on others, he said, including Germany and Europe. Germany is the largest non-Asian member of the AIIB, which 18 other European countries have also joined. He urged European enterprises to come up with their own projects to further cooperation.
H.E. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar (24:22), Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Germany, urged the audience not to “look through the binary lens of China vs. Europe, a leftover from the Cold War. We need the cooperation of all three.” Africa needs to participate in all discussions about infrastructure, development and migration. One example he mentioned is the project to refill Lake Chad. Such a transformative project is what is needed for sustainable development, he said, and must be funded. “It will succeed, if all put their hands and heads together.”
Mohammed Bila (38:30), an Expert Modeler from the Lake Chad Basin Observatory of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, explained the Transaqua project, and where the project currently stands, after the summit in Abuja of eight African heads of state and government in March 2018, which approved the project. It will bring economic development and improve security directly for seven countries, and indirectly for five more. Bila explained how there will be added value along the route of the water. The benefit-sharing concept could also boost regional trade, create new economic infrastructure such as river ports, container terminals, agro-industrial zones and new roads along the 2,400 km waterway.
The long history of relations between China and Africa was taken up by Amzat Boukari-Yabara (1:01:18), an African historian and General Secretary of the Panafrican League Umoja. The criticism of the Chinese presence in Africa which is common in western media, he said, is motivated more by the decline of Euro-American influence in markets which they thought would be theirs forever, than by a real interest in the future of Africans. His viewpoint is that any African country negotiates with China or any other large country, it should always keep in mind the overall interest of Africa as a continent. Boukari-Yabara also proposed to create a Panafrican Bank for reparations and reconstruction.
Abdullatif Elwashali and Aiman Al-Mansor (1:21:12) of the Yemeni Association INSAN for Human Rights and Peace, reported on the horrendous situation in their country, due to the war of aggression conducted by the Saudi-led coalition. After 3 years of war, the nation is destroyed, there have more than 36,000 civilian victims, of which 14,000 deaths, and the population is enduring a humanitarian catastrophe, aggravated by the air and sea blockade. They cited some alarming statistics: 1.25 million people are threatened by hunger, and epidemics, while 33 million suffer from a lack of medical supplies. 896 schools have been completely destroyed, and 55% of the medical facilities are now inoperable. Humanitarian aid is not forthcoming, while the international community is reticent to help. The Saudis, notwithstanding their claims, are intervening militarily to wrest the political control from Sana’s and weaken its military forces. Otherwise, Yemen is a choice geographical location for the New Silk Road project, but the Saudi led coalition wants to prevent win-win cooperation.
Hussein Askary (1:41:00) also gave a presentation on his new report on the reconstruction of Yemen which is called Operation Felix. The aim of this operation (called “Felix” after the original Latin name Arabia felix for the region of Yemen) is not to rebuild the country as it was before the war started, but to provide the “economic platform” for a prosperous and progressing nation and its connection to to the BRI. He described steps to reverse the policies imposed for over 30 years under IMF and World Bank conditionalities, such as creation of a Yemeni National Bank for Reconstruction and Development to finance the reconstruction of the country and the construction of development corridors connecting Yemen to Africa and, via Oman and Iran, to the New Silk Road.
The Future of European Nations
The third panel of the conference, on Sunday morning, featured an optimistic and enthusiastic discussion of the reforms and changes needed for the nations of Europe to be able to take part in the “win-win” diplomacy and cooperation of the New Paradigm.
Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité et Progrès and a three-time candidate in the French Presidential elections, opened the panel with a challenge, that Europe must return to the idea of contributing to “human civilization”, which he said is “absolutely different and opposed to the European Union.” Europe has submitted itself to the Empire of the City of London and Wall Street, he said, which is destroying the nations here and its neighbors in Africa and the Middle East. The June 28-29 EU summit on immigration policy was based on a common denominator of triage, consistent with a EU policy which has accepted the rule of a zero sum universe. The answer is to look to the new model of relations among major powers, that of the New Silk Roads. Otherwise, Europe is in danger of “fading into nothing for lack of creativity.”
Cheminade was followed by Dr. Hans Köchler (29:17), Professor of Philosophy and President of the International Progress Organization, who spoke on “The Re-Establishment of International Law.” Why, he asked, in an era that has been characterized by destructive wars, invasions, regime change, since 2003, have nations and their leaders not been held accountable? The legal norm is that when the law is violated, there will be consequences. Do we have norms of international law which are enforced today? The answer he gave is “No.” Although international law holds that the use of force and the threat of force is illegal, that has not been enforced. He pointed to a contradiction inherent in the formation of the UN Security Council, which is that if one of the 5 Permanent members is engaging in aggressive action, it can veto any objection to its use of force, as has happened repeatedly. If it is not possible to change the bylaws of the UN, he said, then maybe it should be replaced by a new institution, which does not submit to the “dictates of power politics.”
Marco Zanni (1:01:57), a member from Italy of the European Parliament, followed Dr. Köchler, and spoke about the failure of the EU to address problems in many areas such as banking and finance, security, and immigration. From 2010 on, the EU has not restored economic growth, but rather created “macro-economic imbalances, and increasing divisions” within the Union. After reviewing these failures, Zanni asked, “Can we rethink a different institutional framework?” While the EU is over-dependent on others in economic and security matters, he proposed an alternative based on making Europe a “bridge between the U.S. and the rising powers of the East,” which would be possible with the Trump administration. He repeated several times, that the EU should look to the “China model,” in reference especially to credit policy, and in addressing the immigration crisis. The current system is dysfunctional. As for the new Italian government, its goal, according to Zanni, is to “reform” the EU and become an example of how to work together with China.
Anothe speaker from Italy, Economics professor Michele Geraci, was scheduled to speak on the same panel on the importance of European cooperation with China to develop Africa, but in mid-June, he was named Undersecretary of State to the Economic Development Ministry of the new government, which prevented his attendance. He did send a short audio greeting, which was played to the participants.
The presentations were concluded by Dr. Armin Azima (1:30:40), from Hamburg University, who presented a concise and devastating attack on the shift to “renewable” energy by the EU, proposing instead that Germany must master fusion technology, which “will open up the gate to a new and wonderful world with possibilities which are currently unthinkable.” Nuclear waste from fission technologies can be addressed by a new reactor type now in use in Russia, the BN-800, he noted which can burn “nuclear waste” as if it were conventional nuclear fuel. He concluded by asking all that we would be able to do, if energy were extremely cheap and abundant, as it would be with the development of nuclear fusion.
In the discussion following these presentations, there were several questions directed to Zanni, including an exchange between Hussein Askary, Zanni and Cheminade, about the triangular development of Africa. Askary objected to the common portrayal of Africans as “lining up like beggars” for money from Europe. Zanni agreed, saying that the African countries need to be empowered, by adopting the Chinese model of providing credit directly for development, rather than giving money to private companies, which the EU now does. Cheminade stated that the problem is that Europe has adopted British monetary policy, whereas China’s development is not based on “money”, but on the promotion of credit policies which lead to advances in the creative powers of human beings, which Lyndon LaRouche has always insisted is the basis of economic progress.
The other major theme was a dialogue between Professor Köchler and Helga Zepp LaRouche, on how to re-establish the principle of law. The underlying issue, as raised by LaRouche, is to base law on principles which reflect the cosmological order, Zepp-LaRouche noted, which has always been the approach of Lyndon LaRouche. Köchler endorsed that view, adding that the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights declares that every human being possesses “natural rights”, a doctrine which “unites all races and ethnicities.”
Economic and Political Potentials of the Belt and Road Initiative
The last panel of the conference featured speakers from Germany and from South-East Europe, who addressed the potential that can be unleashed by joining the BRI.
Elke Fimmen (10:54) of the Schiller Institute opened the discussion with a presentation on “A New Blueprint for the Future – How Eastern and South Eastern Europe Can Participate in Creating a New Global Economic Miracle”. She called on Western European nations to do their homework and realize that only by cooperating with China’s Silk Road Project, with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union, can long term prosperity, stability and peace be achieved. The true wealth of nations, she stressed, lies in the development of the creativity of their population. She then reported on the achievements made in the context of the “16+1” cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries, as examples for what can be done.
The “New Paradigm from the View of the Balkans” was the theme taken up by Prof. Ivo Christov (25:48), a member of the Bulgarian Parliament. Starting with the geopolitical axiomatic statement that “Geography is a Destiny”, he pointed to the important position of the Balkans region with its interesting history, economy and culture, as a gateway to Europe, both for the land routes and the sea routes of the New Silk Road. It is also a meeting point for interests of the U.S., Russia, Turkey and China, he said. In conclusion, he stressed the importance of the Balkans for change.
Prominent German economist Folker Hellmeyer (46:34) spoke about “The Options for Integration of the Eurasian Customs and Economic Union and China’s OBOR Initiative”. He noted “the tremendous rise” of Asian countries over the past decades, which is unparalleled in history. The Eurasian continent no longer accepts the supremacy of the old industrial nations, he said, which are faced with “aging, political fatigue and debt”, contrary to most Asian countries. The latter are setting up their own alternative institutions, such as AIIB, the New Development Bank, or the CIPS as a counterpart to SWIFT. Hellmeyer showed that the Eurasian Customs and Economic Union (EAEU) is the most obvious partner or bridge for bringing Europe into cooperation with the One Belt, One Road program.
Prof. Duško Dimitrijević (1:10:36), a Fellow at the Institute of International Politics and Economics in Belgrade, Serbia, went into “China’s New Silk Road: The Opportunity for Peaceful World Development”. The Belt & Road-strategy offers to bring wealth to other nations, as opposed to geopolitical fragmentation. China is developing friendship relations with developing nations such as Serbia, a small landlocked, militarily neutral country, and their for economic cooperation has been upgraded several times. In 2016, President Xi visited Serbia and signed 20 cooperation agreements.
Hans von Helldorff (1:36:45), Spokesman for the Federal Association of the German Silk Road Initiative, addressed the “Necessary Regulatory Framework for Investments of German and European SME Economy in National Economies along the New Silk Road”. After describing the BRI as a peace policy of huge dimensions, he regretted that it is viewed with such skepticism in Germany. He pointed to the sanctions against Russia as just one example of the policy which penalizes Germany’s small and medium companies so harshly. The German government, in his view, needs to support the Mittelstand in its activities in Eurasia and China, by providing a clear regulatory framework, a safety net for claims compensation, as well as export financing.
Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos (1:57:55), a former Ambassador of Greece, and a former Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), spoke about the “Integration Of The Eurasian Continent.” He stressed the important effects positive economic projects have on bringing former political adversaries together to work for a common project. The project known as the Black Sea Ring Highway, for example, would unite the members of BSEC and facilitate road transport from the Black Sea countries to Europe.
The second point he made, is that the EU is vehemently opposed to real economic development, as the bureaucrats have lost touch with the population and are only interested in saving the banks. He argued quite forcefully that the EU should be eliminated so that nations could work bilaterally to establish economic relations free from the restrictions from Brussels. In that context, he cited the case of Hungary, which had been working with China on high-speed rail and was stopped by the EU.
A video prestation was made to the conference by Professor Nuraly Bekturganov (2:16:14), Vice President of Academy of Natural Sciences of Kazakhstan, on “the Eurasian Canal and the New Silk Road.” This project, discussed in detail by both Kazakhstan President Nazurbayev and Russian President Putin, would allow large ships transporting freight up of 100 tons dwt to go directly from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, and from there to the Mediterranean, and on to access to the ocean. It would greatly enhance shipping throughout Eurasia.
The conference was rounded out by a 90 minute open discussion among the speakers and participants on a wide range of issues (2:33:25). Helga Zepp-LaRouche concluded the conference, by pointing to a fundamental difference in values currently between the West and China: in Europe, financial speculation is rampant, while poverty is rising, whereas the Chinese leadership is commited to eliminating poverty, not only domestically but abroad as well, and their thinking is based on Confucianism.
The closest equivalent to Confucius in the West, Zepp-LaRouche has argued, is Friedrich Schiller. Confucius and classical Indian philosophy strive to educate emotions to not be able to have evil thoughts, just as Schiller did, in particular in his Aesthetical Letters. We have studied how the Renaissance was able to bring the world out of the Dark Age, with the help of great ideas, great art, and great science. We can do it again today. “We should be happy. We are living in a time when we can change things. Join us! It’s a lot of fun!,” she concluded.