E.I.R. SEMINAR, March 23, 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany
in cooperation with the Consulate General of Ethiopia in Frankfurt
Solving the Economic and Refugee Crises with the New Silk Road!
Seminar Keynote by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, chairperson of the Schiller Institute and co-author of The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the Chairperson of the international Schiller Institute, made the following presentation to the March 23, 2016 seminar in Frankfurt, jointly organized by E.I.R. Wiesbaden and the Consulate General of Ethiopia in Frankfurt.
I welcome you. While this seminar is devoted to solutions to the world's urgent problems, naturally the dramatic events require that I address them very briefly. And I want to just say, while I'm touching on these different existential threats to our civilization, that the solutions are within reach and entirely depend on our actions. So this is not an academic seminar, but really a call to move to implement what we will present over the course of the afternoon.
Now, I think one can say that we have an existential, civilizational crisis. If you look at all the different crisis spots and different subjects – refugees crisis, financial crisis, war danger, cultural crisis, at least in the trans-Atlantic world, one can actually say that the human species is being tested: Are we morally fit to survive? Are we intellectually able to grasp and seize the solutions which exist? Or are we doomed to continue on the present course which is heading towards disaster.
Now, it is important to correct some of the readings, on how developments are being presented in the public domain. And let me just touch very briefly on what happened in Brussels yesterday [devastating terrorist attacks at the airport and in the metro claimed by Islamic State], which obviously concerns everybody – the threat of terrorism. This is now being portrayed by the official governments [as the reason] that we have to give up data security, that we have to have more centralization, we need to give up freedoms. And I would counter that with the statement that when the attack on Charlie Hebdo happened more than a year ago in Paris, the former head of the 9/11 Commission of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bob Graham, said, if the famous [classified] 28 pages concerning the role of Saudi Arabia in the original September 11th attacks had been published, this Charlie Hebdo terrorism would not have happened.
Scandalous Complicity with Riyadh and Ankara
Now, obviously, you cannot discuss what happened in Brussels and the threat of terrorism without looking at the role of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in pushing Wahhabi Salafism, as well as the fact that Turkey is, up to the present day, buying oil from ISIS, is supporting ISIS with weapons and equipment. The spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, just said yesterday that the double standard concerning terrorism has to stop. That you cannot support terrorism in one part of the globe and not expect it to appear in other parts of the globe. Now, just to give you one example: on 15th March, a couple of days ago, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a marketplace in Mustaba, in the north of Yemen, which caused 120 people to be killed, among them 20 children and 80 wounded, and this was not mentioned at all in the Western media. But these people are as much human beings as the people in Brussels.
Now, also, in light of what I just said, the fact that the EU is putting all their eggs in the deal with Turkey to solve the refugee crisis is completely ludicrous. Even the former neo-con ambassadors of the United States to Turkey, Eric Edelman and Morton Abramowitz, who both were ambassadors in Turkey, said that the Erdogan government does not function, that it's an authoritarian regime, economically collapsing, and conducting civil war against their own population, namely the Kurds.
But the EU says, we have to solve the refugee crisis, with a deal with that government, when the UN High Commissioner already said that the mass deportation of refugees now going on, from Greece to Turkey is illegal. And also it does not function, because on day 1, after this agreement went into effect, 1,662 refugees landed in Greece seeking new routes, new islands, and especially the Syrian refugees are very afraid of being sent back into the arms of ISIS.
Now, the UN Human Rights Commission and Doctors Without Borders in protest have stopped their working with the refugees, because they say this is untenable, this does not work. The UN Human Rights Commission also said that the so-called hotspots, which are supposed to solve the refugee crisis according to the EU, have been turned into detention camps. Families are not allowed to leave their home, and they have de facto been turned into prisons.
Now the United Left of Spain is pursuing a criminal suit against Prime Minister Rajoy because he condoned the EU-Turkey agreement, saying this is an omission of help, this is deportation of human beings who have the right to be at least checked whether they have the right for asylum, and you cannot just deport them like that.
So other media, as in Hungary, which is being attacked by the EU, say, "what happened to the humanistic rights or values of the European Union?"
Now, our [German] President Joachim Gauck is presently on a tour to China, where he brings up human rights violations in China. And this would be a farce, if it were not so tragic for the people who are the victims of the EU policy.
Now, let me just say this on China: China in response to the accusations of human rights violations, issued their own report on human rights violations in the United States, going into the continuous wars in the Middle East based on lies, the drone killings, and saying this is ridiculous that the United States is still playing the role of judge in human rights cases, in light of all of this.
China, in turn, has uplifted 900 million people out of poverty. In my book they have done more for human rights than anybody who is accusing them of violating human rights. If you look at the EU and the United States, the rate of poor people is increasing all the time; in the United States it's 50 million and rising. But one element of the new Five-Year Plan of China is to alleviate poverty in China by the year 2020, and worldwide by 2025.
So therefore, one needs to have a different view than that which is being presented by the media.
The New Silk Road, a Lifeboat for the World Economy
Now, let's look at a second "spin" and big lie: There is the big story that China would be responsible for the financial turmoil in the markets, that the Chinese economy would be collapsing, that the New Silk Road would be a flop. Now, look at the situation in Europe: ECB [European Central Bank] chief Mario Draghi not only set the interest rate at zero, negative interest rate for banks who want to park money in the ECB; but he is now openly talking about "helicopter money." You know, "helicopter money" means just throwing money out of helicopters to flood the markets with liquidity, and even Otmar Issing, who is a staunch monetarist to my knowledge, the former chief economist of the ECB, said "this is a devastating idea; a central bank which is giving out money for free is hardly able to ever regain control of the markets. This is total mental disarray."
Now, fortunately, the lifeboat for the sinking Titanic of the European and U.S. economy is already there, in the form of the New Silk Road offer of China, the "One Belt, One Road" policy. This was proposed by Xi Jinping two years ago, in Kazakhstan, and since then has taken a dramatic development. There are now over 70 nations which have expressed concrete interest to cooperate with the Silk Road and over 30 countries have signed very concrete agreements on many, many projects.
The New Silk Road, which the Schiller Institute has been campaigning for, for 25 years, as our answer to the collapse of the Soviet Union, is a completely different model. It's based on what President Xi Jinping called the "win-win" policy: that countries cooperate on joint projects on the basis of mutual interest, of complete respect for the sovereignty of the other nation, and naturally, China is pursuing its own interest, but it is also providing what is in the interest of the participating countries.
Now, Foreign Minister Wang Yi just recently said "the New Silk Road is China's idea, but it creates opportunities for the whole world." And it is definitely the new model of relations among all countries. Now, presently, the Chinese intra-Asian trade is progressing with high growth rates. However, the relations with Europe and the United States is suffering, not because of China, but because of the economic and financial turmoil within the EU and in the United States.
But the Chinese leadership's response to that is to turn a crisis into an opportunity, by pushing the internal Chinese economy into the next qualitative leap by innovating and creating new industries, upgrading the technological level of the labor force, and, at the just-concluded National People's Congress, where they presented the 13th Five Year Plan, Prime Minister Li Keqiang used the word "innovation" 61 times in his speech. He said, the aim is to turn China from a trader of quantity to a trader of quality, to basically make it a knowledge-intensive economy. For example, one of the export flagships of the Chinese, is the high-speed rail, where China has built 125,000 km of normal railroad, but about 20,000 km of fast train; they want to have 50,000 km by the year 2025, connecting every major city in China with a fast train system.
And I can tell you, I was travelling with fast trains in various ways in China: These trains go about 310 km/hr, they are very smooth, they don't shake, you don't hear anything. It's an excellent technology and it's one of the export flagships of China.
So this concept of building the One Belt, One Road which in Asia is also being called the "Asian Connectivity" is very, very attractive. It basically means, it's very high technology. Wu Ji who is the director of the CAS National Space Science Center, just said "space science is inseparable from China's innovation-driven development. If China wants to be a strong global nation, it must not only care about its own immediate interests, it must also contribute to humankind. Only in this way can China have real respect in the world."
Now, how advanced the Chinese space program is, for example, you can see by the fact that next year, the next lunar mission of China will go to the far side of the Moon, which means that landers and rovers will land there, which has never been done by mankind and the far side of the Moon will give a new window into space, because, free of the noise from the Earth and radiation you can develop a much, much better understanding of what is going on in the nearby universe, in a very concrete way.
Now, China is doing everything right – I'm not saying everything, but many, many things right – by simply doing what Germany used to do when Germany was progressing. Shang Fulin, the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, at this recent occasion just said, China will from now on tax monetary speculative transactions with what you would call here a "Tobin tax"; they will promote small and medium-size industries; they will further the savings banks to give credit to these small industries which is what the Germany Mittelstand used to be and what made Germany prosperous. And basically, Li Keqiang also said "it is the top priority of the financial sector to support the development of the real economy," contrary to – and this is me speaking – the money-printing of Mario Draghi for speculative purposes alone.
Now, just two weeks or 10 days ago, I returned from a big conference in New Delhi, the Raisina Dialogue, which is now going to be an annual conference organized by the Indian government, and there, I can assure you that many speakers from Asian countries, acting foreign ministers, former presidents, leaders of leading institutions, they all want to integrate with the One Belt, One Road policy. They have recognized what the New Silk Road means for countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, that can import the Chinese economic development model and repeat what China did in terms of the very rapid economic development they have undergone, in the last 40 years, but especially in the last 25 years.
Now, the Schiller Institute proposed already some years ago, namely in 2012, that the only way you can stop terrorism and stop, now in the last year, the refugee crisis, is by bringing development to Southwest Asia, to Africa. Because only if you have a comprehensive development program for those countries which have been destroyed by wars or a lack of development as in the case of Africa, only if you apply the method of the New Silk Road to the Middle East, to Africa, can you solve these problems. And this is now on the table.
I think with the visit of President Xi Jinping to Tehran four or five weeks ago, where he presented the New Silk Road, and shortly after his visit, the first Silk Road train arrived from Yiwu, in China, to Tehran, with I think 32 containers, and Xi Jinping said that the New Silk Road is a concept to be expanded in the entire Southwest Asian region. Immediately President Rouhani from Iran said that Iran wants to cooperate. At this conference in New Delhi where I was, former Afghan President Karzai said Afghanistan must become the hub of the New Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, and other leading speakers spoke to the same effect.
Now, I want to say, and you will hear about this from other speakers, I suppose, that the only way to get out of this crisis, is to develop the Middle East together with Russia, China, India, Iran, Egypt, and other countries of the region, and that we get Germany, France, Italy, the United States and all other countries to cooperate in what I would call a "Marshall Plan Silk Road perspective for the Middle East and Africa." I mention "Marshall Plan" not because it's meant to be a Cold War instrument like the Marshall Plan was, but because it reminds people in Europe that you can reconstruct countries which have been destroyed by war, with economic development; and that is the only way to stop the refugee crisis. Only if you give an incentive for people to rebuild their own home countries and give young people a perspective of hope, to become a doctor, a scientist, a teacher, that you can dry out terrorism. And that is the concrete plan that is now on the table. And either we can get European institutions to go for this alternative, or we will crash against the wall.
Report on the E.I.R. Seminar, Frankfurt, March 23, 2016:
Solving the Economic and Refugee Crises with the New Silk Road!
Hussein Askary's E.I.R. Seminar Presentation:
The Critical Role of Egypt in Bringing the New Silk Road to Africa