How To Outflank Mad Theresa May's March to World War III
HARLEY SCHLANGER: Hello I'm Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute and welcome to our weekly international strategic webcast, featuring our founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche. There's been an extraordinary escalation on the part of the British over the last couple of weeks, to move toward a pre-war situation with Russia, and Prime Minister Theresa May has been mobilizing the European governments, putting pressure on the United States, the Commonwealth nations and others, to get what she's calling a "unified force" to adopt "European values." Now, since when did World War III become a "European value"? But I think we have to evaluate the situation from the top, with all the danger involved. And Helga, I'd like to start with you just giving your assessment of what's happened in the last week.
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it is extremely interesting, because by the reactions to this British insistence that the only explanation would be that Russia is responsible for the Skripal assassination attempt, you can really see who and who is on what side. Let me go through some of the international reactions, then you get quite a good picture. First of all, the Russian Foreign Ministry put out an official statement, saying that unless the British are providing concrete proof, that they have to come to the conclusion that there was an involvement of U.K. intelligence services in the operation, and this being part of the broad, international provocation against Russia. Now, that is what we put out as a hypothesis, immediately, that this whole operation was a new phase of Trumpgate, or Russigate, or Muellergate, however you want to call the effort, the collusion between the intelligence heads of the Obama administration with British intelligence to oust President Trump. And that just at the point that this was falling apart, when the investigation in the U.S. Congress pointed to the role of the British, the collusion with the foreign government not being Russia, but being the British government; and at a point when Theresa May was almost expected to be out of office any day, Corbyn was the absolute star in British policy, then she pulled this operation; and obviously this was an attempt to reset the agenda in the direction of the geopolitical aims of British confrontation against Russia and China. So therefore, the fact that now the Russian Foreign Ministry is also mooting the possibility of a U.K. intelligence involvement, I think is very interesting, because that sheds a very bad light on all of those who without any questioning and with any proof immediately fell into line behind Theresa May — which fortunately was not so many people. I mean, sure there was a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats in 10 European countries and in the United States, but nevertheless, the picture is much more differentiated. For example, the Chinese Foreign Ministry completely denounced the "Cold War mentality" of those countries seeking the confrontation with Russia. A spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry even said this was a tool used by the Europeans and the United States to try to get unity at a point when they were completely disunified. And this is the old geopolitical game, that in order to create unity you create a war, and then everybody has to fall into line. But the reactions were quite differentiated: Japan refused to expel diplomats, even New Zealand, which is part of the Five Eyes [intelligence alliance among the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand]. You had Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Portugal, — I've probably forgotten one or two — who refused to expel any diplomats, so the EU was not in line. And if you look at now, the many voices in Germany, representatives of practically all parties in the Bundestag, the German parliament, came out against this: So, Verheugen, who is the former SPD EU Commissioner; Stegner, who's a top SPD person; Gabriel; Platzeck from the SPD; [inaud] from the Die Linke, [s/l Hubicki] from the FDP. So you had a very broad rejection against such endorsements of this provocation. And the Austrian government was maybe even the strongest. They say that they absolutely refused to expel diplomats, because Austria is a neutral country and they regard themselves as a bridge between East and West. The Austrian Foreign Minister [Karin Kneissl] even said that even if it were proven that Russia would have been the perpetrator of this attack, this would not change the position of Austria. So I think if you look at this very broad spectrum of reactions, you can see, actually, that the British provocation is exposed, and those who are backing it. And we have reactions from our own organizing in the United States and in Europe, and the general picture we've found, is that the population did not fall for it at all. Everybody said this is a complete provocation, [that there is no] proof. So I think this is not going well for the British despite the fact that it is very dangerous and should be denounced. And if they don't produce any proof, then I think they should be accused for having led an effort to manipulate world public opinion in an unbelievable way. So this is a very interesting picture after two weeks.
SCHLANGER: I think you can also say that there were other events that occurred, which forced their hand. You mentioned the Russiagate falling apart — we'll get back to that in a moment, because there are some new developments on the fact that the people pushing the whole scandal, are the ones who are now becoming the defendants. But you had Putin's speech on March 1, you had the Putin election victory [March 18], and then Putin's discussion with Trump [March 20]. So there had been some significant momentum toward what President Trump said he was doing, when he ran for President, collaborating with Russia. So in the midst of this, you have this Theresa May operation. And I think what might be interesting to look at is, what about those countries, such as France and Germany, that are going along in lockstep with Theresa May? What does that say about the situation there, within the core EU?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the case of France is a little bit more complicated, because Macron, who had a slightly different emphasis on the cooperation with the New Silk Road and China, than Merkel, for example; the French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian just announced that Macron will go to Moscow in May. So I think that that looks a little bit different than Mrs. Merkel, who — really, I mean, it's a complete shame, and obviously this new "Grand Coalition" government, which is not so grand, given the fact that they are all falling in the polls like a stone; I think this is really a reflection of the fact that there is presently no German elite worth being called the name. And I think that people in Germany should really not accept that. The history of the German-Russian relationship, given the fact that there were two world wars, the Second World War being an unbelievable memory in every Russian person; and then the fact that Russia agreed to the German unification, without any shots being fired or tanks being deployed, — you know, in a peaceful way. Russia gave up East Germany and agreed to the unification, and received promises at that time that NATO would never be expanded to the borders of Russia, a promise which was broken. And then you had all these escalations. So in a certain sense, I can imagine that the Russians feel really betrayed by this kind of behavior by Merkel. Now, Merkel has a specific background. You know, many people have always asked themselves, what makes this woman tick? Nobody has been able to answer that question in any satisfying way. But I think the Russians really feel betrayed. And I think the German people should go back to the kind of Ostpolitik, at minimum, which was characteristic for German attitude for a very long time, to have a policy of good-neighborliness, of peaceful dialogue, of cooperation. And I think this is really, really important that the population in Germany does not fall in line with this aggressive British policy which Merkel is just obviously following like a puppy-dog — even though puppies are cuter than Mrs. Merkel, I would say. But I think it's a serious matter, and I think people should absolutely not fall for this, because these are the kinds of things which can get out of control and be the trigger for a new world war, and who would want that?
SCHLANGER: And the other, underlying cause of hysteria from the City of London, has been the unstoppable progress of the New Silk Road. There was a conference in Portugal this week, that I know you know something about. You also have the coming together, it appears, of Italy of a government which is probably not going to go along with sanctions against Russia. So, what else can you say about the situation in Europe? Why don't you start with the Portugal situation?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think this is very good and very positive, because it confirms what I have been saying for a long time, namely that the Spirit of the Silk Road has caught on in many countries, and that the New Silk Road initiative is unstoppable. What happened in this conference in Lisbon, was that the Friends of the New Silk Road Association organized a conference which was addressed by the Portuguese Foreign Minister, the Chinese Ambassador, and many other VIPs. And what was discussed, was to make Portugal a hub, not only for the western end of the landline of the New Silk Road, but also to build on the deepwater port Sines, which is about 200 km south of Lisbon, to extend the high-speed railway from Madrid, Spain to Sines, and then turn this into a connection where the land Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road sort of connect. And make this deep sea port the connection to the Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. And I think that is really a very good thing, because now you have Portugal taking this attitude, you have Spain in the same mode; Italy working together with China on the Transaqua project [in Africa]; naturally Greece, and then the 16+1 countries [in Central and Eastern Europe]; Switzerland, Austria. So I think it's moving forward, and the blocking which is still coming from Brussels and Berlin and London, will be swept aside at a certain point. So I think this is very good.
SCHLANGER: There was another very interesting flank this week, which seems to have once again caught the U.S. intelligence community off-guard, which was the trip by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Beijing where he met with Xi Jinping. The media are trying to say this is an outflanking of Trump, and it's a way the Chinese are flexing their muscles, but in fact, Trump's tweets seem to be very supportive of this. So, what are your thoughts about this flanking action?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Oh, I think this is the absolute overwhelming event, happening this past week. Because the Western mainstream media are again so ridiculous. They were saying, "oh, these two dictators meeting..." and so forth, but this is very, very good, because obviously, both Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un recalled the long friendship between the two countries, North Korea and China, and Kim Jong-un, in particular, promised to carry on policy in the tradition of his father and other relatives in the past. He basically promised that he wants to work towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, provided that this offer is being met in an atmosphere of peace and constructive attitude. Obviously, North Korea will need security guarantees; without that, he probably will not give up the nuclear weapons. But the fact that he first went to China, and then is going to meet with President Moon Jae-in from South Korea, at the end of April, and then, in all likelihood, with President Trump in May, that means that one of the most dangerous possible points for a World War III scenario could be peacefully resolved. And, you know, the fact that, as contacts were telling us in South Korea, this whole thing had an economic dimension to it. China — according to these sources — is going to build ports in North Korea on the east coast and the west coast, and also obviously, the whole question of the extension of the Belt and Road Initiative, involving South Korea, North Korea, Russia, and China, — that is the framework within which one can get a really stable development. So Trump immediately made a tweet, where he said he got a phone call from President Xi Jinping, who told him that the meeting went very well, and that he is extremely optimistic, looking forward; that unfortunately the sanctions [against North Korea] have to be maintained until the problem is resolved, but that he is absolutely looking forward towards this coming summit. So I think this is really good, and it shows you that if you have back-channels and in this case, you had everybody involved, — Trump, Xi Jinping, Putin, but also Abe from Japan — so this really shows that if you have this kind of diplomacy and negotiation, there is no problem on this planet which cannot solved by people who have a good will. And I think everybody should be very happy about this development.
SCHLANGER: Absolutely. Now, we see the discussions in the United States about tariffs against Chinese imports, that this could become a significant problems. But at the same time, there's a lot of discussion going on, including between the Presidents Trump and Xi. What do you make of this discussion around the tariff fight, how it's unfolding?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, there is actually a very interesting response from China, where the Prime Minister Li Keqiang made a proposal: He said, rather than reducing the trade deficit by imposing tariffs, which would end up in a trade war, and nobody would be the winner in the end, he said, the other way to resolve the trade deficit would be to increase the volume of trade, and that way you could have also joint ventures between the United States and China and third countries. And that is obviously the approach which we have been proposing for a very long time. There was also an extremely productive approach being discussed on CGTN, the China Global Television Network, where they said that the United States and China should start a dialogue about infrastructure, and that Chinese investors could invest in the development of infrastructure in the United States, through a fund. Now, this is a proposal which we have been pushing from way back, saying that China has these very large U.S. Treasury reserves, which if they just sit there, don't do anything good. But if they would be invested in the infrastructure inside the United States, through an infrastructure bank or some other mechanism, it could help to solve the financing problem which President Trump clearly has, given the fact that presently what is available in terms of funding, is very far from the $1 trillion he had mentioned during the election campaign, and the American Society of Civil Engineers had said what is needed is not $1 trillion but actually $4.5 trillion; and some experts have even said, in order to get modern infrastructure in the United States, you need $8 trillion in investment. So, I think there is a situation where you could get rid of the trade imbalance by really using the Chinese expertise in high-speed train systems and other infrastructure. And what we have shaping up from the Schiller Institute was this idea to do exactly in the United States what China has been doing and will complete by 2025, or even 2020, to connect all its major cities through fast train systems. Now, obviously the infrastructure in the United States is in terrible shape and needs urgent repair, most of it is almost 100 years old or even older. So this would be an approach to really resolve this on a higher level. I think many people should discuss this, and there are already many forces in the United States who have opened channels with their Chinese counterparts. The governor of West Virginia, the mayor of Houston, Texas, the governor of Alaska; naturally people in Iowa are very tuned in, because the former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is U.S. Ambassador in Beijing. So there are actually other alternatives than going into a trade war, which nobody would really benefit from.
SCHLANGER: I'd like your thoughts on this particular question a little bit further, because, there's an effort to portray the idea of a Chinese involvement in the United States as something Americans should be afraid of, should be wary of. And yet, as you point out, Alaska's doing work with China; West Virginia; I think the Mayor of Miami was just in China. The Mayor of Houston, Texas took a trade delegation there. And this is part of the win-win. So, is there any reason Americans should be fearful, that the Chinese have some devious, secret communist plot, to move in and take over the United States, by helping to rebuild the infrastructure here?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I mean, first of all, people should think, where does this propaganda come from? It comes from neo-con think tanks, like CSIS, CFR, European Council on Foreign Relations, MERICS [Mercator Institute for China Studies]. So it comes from think tanks that are really belonging to the British-dominated geopolitical faction, which is behind this confrontation against Russia and China, which we talked about in the beginning. And I would really urge people to take a real look at what China has been doing: Domestically, I think there is no country in the world which has made such a gigantic transformation as China has. I was in China for the first time in 1971, in the middle of the Cultural Revolution, and at that time the country was completely distraught: people were unhappy, fearful, and it was just a not good moment in Chinese history. But since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, and especially in the last five years of the Presidency of Xi Jinping, — but in the last 40 years, this country has undergone a transformation which is absolutely without parallel. Seven hundred million people have been lifted out of poverty. People are optimistic, and they feel generally no need to export their model, because the real root of Chinese culture is, for the last 2,500 years, Confucianism. And unlike Christianity, which demands that all Christians should proselytize their religion, convince other people to also become Christians, the Chinese have no such inclination, and Confucianism is a philosophy which, to the contrary, is based on the idea of a harmonious development. That Xi Jinping has emphasized, in every writing, in every speech, that this new "shared community for a common future of mankind" is based on the total respect for the sovereignty of the other country, the total respect that for the other social system there will be no effort to impose the Chinese model on any other country. It is just that China has offered, especially to developing countries, to help them to overcome their underdevelopment. And it is a win-win cooperation, which that's the reason why, in the meantime, 140 countries cooperate with that, because it's naturally in the interest of China — because it has a large population, large country, a very rich culture, 5,000 years of a very rich cultural traditions, so it's one of the major countries in the world, maybe even the most important one, given the size of its population. But they're not imposing what they regard as "Chinese characteristics" on anybody else — quite different from the neo-cons and neo-liberals, who had regime change, color revolution, export of democracy, and what they call "human rights." And so I think people should really not be prejudiced, but take a fresh look, read the speeches of Xi Jinping, yourself. There is now a second volume out [of The Governance of China by Xi Jinping] which is quite instructive. Look at other things, form your own opinion, and you will see that the world has reached a point where we have to overcome geopolitics. Because if, at this point, the United States, or the West in general, would go into the Thucydides Trap, take the rise of China as a reason to go into war and confrontation, this could very easily be the end of all of humanity, so we have to find a different way. And China has said many times, they do not want to surpass the United States and replace with a unipolar world order, but they want to be in a new alliance of sovereign countries, and have the idea of the one humanity first. And I think this is a new concept of foreign policy, and people should study it and relate to it, rather than going for the rather uninformed opinions of such people as Marco Rubio, who is on a rampage against anything Chinese. But it really is not going to work, because the rest of the world is very happy with what China is doing, and I think it would be for the absolute benefit of humanity if the United States and China could find a way to cooperate in their mutual interest.
SCHLANGER: It's also significant that the people who are pushing this anti-China, and anti-Russia line, and going toward a geopolitical conflict, are the same ones who are now being the target of some of the investigations, now that the Mueller investigation is falling apart, the connection of the MI6 agent Steele, with the Skripal affair; the role of the Obama intelligence chiefs from Comey and Clapper and Brennan, all of this is coming up now before the Congress, and the Justice Department Inspector General has just opened up a new investigation. Do you think, Helga, this is really possible that this is going to turn on them, in a way that can bring not just an end to the attacks on the President, but also an end to the reign of the geopoliticians over U.S. policy?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the possibility is clearly there. I don't see that the battle is decided, yet, because, for the British Empire — what we call the British Empire, which is not identical with the British government or the British people — but when we say "British Empire" we mean this system of leading financial institutions, the investment banks, the hedge funds, the insurance companies, the multilateral corporations, which are connected, naturally, with the private security apparatus, — I mean the neo-liberal model, that which has ruled the world for the last several decades, they want to keep their system going, and given the fact that it is about to go into another crash, of which many people are warning; you know, given the fact that nothing has been done to eliminate the root causes of the 2008 crisis, I think the war provocation by Theresa May has everything to do with the fact that this system is about to blow out. So I would not sit on your laurels. This is not a legal question, this is a political question and it's a systemic question. And fortunately, I think human nature is such that a great evil evokes an even greater good, so my tendency would be to be optimistic about the outcome of this battle. But the role of the British in this provocation, and its role in the coup against Trump, these are serious matters, and they require a resolution. And one could only hope that the people of America are mobilized enough to make sure this investigation in Congress goes in the right way, that Trump is getting the right support from his voters; so that the efforts to derail his policies whenever he has the impulse to have a good relationship with Russia, or with China for that matter, that his efforts are successful. I would call on all of you, to not just watch this, and don't be a bystander, sitting on the fence, but that you become active with the Schiller Institute and that you help us to basically spread the idea, especially about the new alternative of the New Silk Road: Because we have to move humanity into a completely new age, a new era, where we find a better way to work together, as many peoples in this world, and that is the real task. So I would invite you: Join the Schiller Institute, get in contact with us, help us to spread this message, and that way, you can do something to move humanity forward.
SCHLANGER: Well, Helga, there's so much going, I want to make sure that we're not missing something. Is there anything else you wanted to bring up today?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: No. I think that is really what I wanted to say.
SCHLANGER: OK, well, very good! So, Happy Easter to you and to the viewers, and we'll be back next week.