How Do You Create a Renaissance?

December 30, 2016
Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy. [photo Florian Hirzinger]

Lyndon and Helga LaRouche's Tuesday, Dec. 27 discussion with the LaRouchePAC Policy Committee and the "Basement" Science Research Team, exemplified the process which characterizes a renaissance--and a contemporary U.S. economic recovery. In that dramatic dialog, speaker after speaker came forward with new and varying ideas--all different, but all provoked by a common unspoken intention, and all tending toward an implicit common end, while at the same time they fed each other like sparks of a single fire. One is reminded of Plato's description of his method of dialog in his "Seventh Letter."

They were like trickles, joining to streams and eventually into a great river, always propelled by an unseen, intangible force. What force? The greatest of all forces: the self-subsisting positive, the common aims of mankind. How is it possible that something which you didn't even believe to exist at one time, can later become the purpose of your life? Can become the mission whose importance even far outweighs your life itself?

One dichotomy which ran through the discussion, one especially acute in today's U.S.A., was that of "culture" versus "productivity," as they are wrongly understood to differ from each other. This false dichotomy goes back to Hegel's lying distinction between "Geisteswissenschaft" (the humanities) as against "Naturwissenschaft" (natural science) in the 19th Century. It was exacerbated by Bertrand Russell's decortication of science, against Einstein, beginning in 1900. Franklin Roosevelt worked successfully towards overcoming it until he was effectively removed from office by the FBI, while he was still alive. Then, after World War II, it was still further inflamed by the poison pumped out by the British Empire's Congress for Cultural Freedom.

The full Congress for Cultural Freedom program never took hold in the Soviet Union, although there were numerous other severe problems; this is why Friedrich Schiller seemed to be more respected at times in the Soviet satellite of East Germany than in Western Germany. Soviet thinking always correlated productivity with the cultural level. Witness the 1972 Soviet movie "The Taming of the Fire," a heavily-fictionalized portrayal of space hero S.P. Korolyov. Director Khrabrovitsky was forced by the censors to change almost all of the facts and names, but he placed all the more emphasis on some basic truths. Almost as soon as the film opens, pioneering Russian space scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky is passionately trying to explain to young Korolyov, how and why the "cultural level" of the entire country must move far, far upwards if its factories are to be able to produce cosmic rockets, artificial satellites ("sputniks"), and space vehicles.

Most everything President Putin does, reflects his higher standpoint on this struggle to upgrade Russian culture, as reflected, for instance, in his year-end press-conference.

Within the new international paradigm created by Vladimir Putin and the Chinese leadership, and after the dumping of the Bush-Obama dictatorship, a renaissance and a U.S. economic recovery--one and the same thing from two different viewpoints,--are now immediately on the agenda if we act to bring them about.

Happy 39th wedding anniversary, Lyn and Helga!



Putin Announces Syria Ceasefire Agreement; LaRouche Gives His Evaluation

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, during a televised meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that documents relating to a cease-fire have been signed by Syrian opposition groups and the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Lyndnon LaRouche commented, Thursday, that the deal is insecure. "It can't be counted on, because Obama is not nailed down," he said.

"Reports have just arrived," Putin said at the outset of the meeting, "that several hours ago there was a development that we all have looked and worked for for so long. Three documents have been signed. A ceasefire between the Syrian government and the armed opposition is one. A package of measures to control the ceasefire is another. There is also a declaration of readiness to enter peace talks on Syrian conflict settlement." Russia, Turkey, and Iran undertook commitments to guarantee a peaceful settlement in Syria. The deal is the result of Russia's cooperation with partners in the region, Putin emphasized.

Putin was clear that the really hard work is now beginning.

"No doubt, the agreements reached are fragile and demand special attention and assistance with the goal of preservation and development. But nevertheless, this is a notable result of our joint work, efforts of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and our partners in the regions," he said. "As we understand very well, all the agreements reached are very fragile, they demand special attention and patience, a professional approach to these issues, and a constant contact with our partners," Putin stressed.

According to the Kremlin transcript, Shoigu presented Putin with a list of the armed opposition groups that have agreed to the ceasefire, subsequently published on the Defense Ministry website, and a map of their distribution. He reported that the Defense Ministry, with Turkey acting as mediator, spent two months in negotiations with the commanders of these seven groups, which are composed of some 60,000 fighters.

Lavrov reported that the Foreign Ministry will take steps to ensure that the package of agreements that was signed be disseminated as official UN Security Council documents, and that Security Council members are briefed and their questions answered.

"It is important to increase the number of guarantor countries, and we therefore want at this stage to invite our Egyptian colleagues to join these agreements," Lavrov said. "Later, at subsequent stages, we could probably get other key countries with influence on events in Syria involved too, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, and Jordan."

In Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army's General Command announced a "comprehensive" cessation of hostilities to take effect at midnight tonight, local time.

"The Command added that the terrorist organizations of Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIS and the groups affiliated to them are excluded from the agreement, pointing out that the ceasefire comes with the aim of creating suitable circumstances for supporting the political track of the crisis in Syria," reported SANA. The signers on the opposition side, as reported by the Russian Defense Ministry, include Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam, the two largest groups, as well as five smaller groups: Jaish al-Mujahideen, Faylak al-Sham, Suvar al-Sham, Jaish Idlib, and Jabhat al-Shamiya.

China Releases White Paper on Transportation

The State Council Information Office published a White Paper on the "Development of China's Transport" network Thursday. [url:""l] It outlines the results of the last decades' development of transportation in China and the plans for the next five to ten years. The paper deals with the extensive railroad network being developed, as well as the extensive air and seaport development, serving as important nodes in a transportation grid which is being highly computerized and making maximum use of satellite and other high-tech communications systems for its operation.

By the end of 2015, China's total railway operations reached 121,000 km, ranking them the world's second longest, including 19,000 km of high-speed railway, the world's longest. China now has five east-west and five north-south railway trunk lines serving as the matrix of the total rail network. By 2025, China will have 175,000 km of rail, of which 38,000 km will be high-speed, according to Yuan Chuantong from the Ministry of Transportation. And by 2030, China will have a rail network of 200,000 km.

By the end of 2015, China's total highway traffic length was 4.58 million km, with 123,500 km of expressway, ranking it first in the world. There are 3.98 million km of rural highways, connecting 99.9% of towns and townships and 99.8% of administrative villages. Graded highways comprise 88.4% of total highway length.

A water transport network connecting trunk and branch lines has also been established. By the end of 2015, China had 3,300 quay berths for production use, including 2,221 berths for 10,000-ton-class ships or above. Inland waterway navigable length was 127,000 km, with graded waterways comprising 52.2% of the length. This forms an inland waterway system composed of two horizontal trunk waterways, one vertical trunk waterway, two high-grade waterway networks, and 18 high-grade mainstream and tributary waterways.

By the end of 2015 China had 210 civil transport airports, forming a pattern with international hub airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as centers, with regional hub airport in provincial capitals and major cities, and some other support trunk and branch airports. Radio Frequency Identification, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and other modern navigation technologies have been applied to civil aviation and logistics. The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System has become the third GNSS applied in international navigation.

Safety has not been sacrificed with this rapid development, but rather increased considerably. In 2015, the number of deaths per 10,000 vehicle road accidents dropped by 72.4% from the number in 2005; the number of accidents of cargo vessels of a million-ton-class throughput and above has decreased by 5%, on average, annually since 2005; and the rolling 10-year accident rate per 1 million flight hours in civil aviation transport was 0.018 in 2015 (the world average is 0.24). China has also initiated an enormous development of inner-city and regional transportation in the major cities and in the new regional conglomerates like the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Bohai Sea Rim.

Assisting the Belt and Road Initiative, China has established railway connections with 5 of its 14 neighboring countries, with 11 railway crossing points. Multiple container trains operate on railways to Central Europe and Central Asia; highway crossing points in border areas, open year round, are connected to roads at Grade II level and above; and a group of logistics parks and cargo operation centers capable of handling international logistics has been put into use. China actively promotes international and regional cooperation in shipping, and is jointly pushing forward the navigation of the Lancang-Mekong River with Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

China's astounding transportation development has also made it a leader in many advanced technologies, including high-speed rail, which now serve as the main items in its "Going Global" strategy, bringing development to the rest of the world. China's technologies for high-speed, alpine, plateau, and heavy-haul railways have reached the world's most advanced level. China's key construction technologies for offshore deepwater ports, improved technologies for large estuary waterways and long waterways, and construction technologies for large-scale airports, are leading the world. A number of world-class large bridges and tunnels have been built by China with globally advanced construction technologies. The latest example of this is the world's largest bridge, the Beipanjiang Bridge, now under construction, which will soar 1,854 feet over a gorge separating Guizhou province from Yunnan province, with a span of 1,354 meters, more than eight-tenths of a mile.