The New Silk Road is Taking Over—But LaRouche's Ideas Can Make it Unstoppable

April 30, 2019
Heads of state attending the April 2019 Belt and Road Forum in China. Photo:

Are more than 130 governments, nearly 40 heads of state, all major international financial institutions, and 5,000 businesses all at one conference, enough to convince you that a new economic order is coming into being? The extraordinary attendance of governments, heads of state and government—a significant number of them recently considered "skeptics" and "critics" of Belt and Road infrastructure great projects—and companies at the Second Belt and Road Forum, compared with the largest international meetings in history. It was already proof that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has expanded greatly since the first Belt and Road Forum in 2017 and is now an unstoppable new paradigm of economy. Certain myths of "backfire" and "criticism" in Asia which have been spread, also fell away.

"Developments of the last period make very clear that the dominating dynamic in the world today is the Belt and Road Initiative," noted Schiller Institute president Helga Zepp-LaRouche in a discussion with European colleagues Monday. She is, with her husband Lyndon LaRouche, an intellectual author of this dynamic from the 1980s onward.

"This," she said, "is the major initiative in terms of unprecedented infrastructure, in terms of a new set of relations, in terms of new cultural relations and a new spirit of the Silk Road, that it is simply the most powerful item on the agenda, and it's the only long-term strategic plan to move the world into a new paradigm. And interestingly, this was stated more or less in that way by the Swiss President Ueli Maurer, who commented that this was Switzerland's long-term strategic plan; then he signed a memorandum of understanding with Xi Jinping."

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said essentially the same thing, happy that Italy had "opened the way for other European nations, who will now make agreements" with China's New Silk Road.

The most urgent question, she said, is a cooperative relation between the United States and China. America, which was not represented at a high level at the Forum, needs the Belt and Road.

However, both need something else.

"I think what is absolutely lacking is an unmediated access to the ideas of [Lyndon LaRouche], of mostly the United States population, but well beyond that, of the whole world. And I have compared that to the impact that the introduction of Plato had in the context of the Councils of Ferrara and Florence, triggering, really, the explosion of the Italian Renaissance. Because if Nicholas of Cusa would not have brought the Greek Orthodox Church scholars, Bessarion and Plethon, who all were the absolute scholars in Plato; and brought the entire works of Plato, which had been lost in Europe for 1700 years—there were maybe a couple of copies in some monasteries, but nobody could read it any more, because people could not understand Greek any more—so, it was really when the Greek Orthodox Church brought Plato. Fortunately, you had the Medicis who financed a crash program to translate the works, and it was the excitement for Plato which made the Italian Renaissance what it became."

"And I think in the ferment of the Belt and Road Initiative, there are many good ideas and many important concepts, but the depth of what is required lies only in [LaRouche's] works. So that is why the exoneration is so absolutely important, apart from the fact, that naturally, his opponents are the war party."

Lyndon LaRouche's exoneration, she concluded, "is the crucial piece in getting the world to a safe place."



Xi Jinping's Keynote to Belt & Road Forum Emphasized Goals of the BRI, New Policy Steps China Is Taking

Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech to the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum on April 26, "Working Together To Deliver a Brighter Future For Belt and Road Cooperation," broadly laid out the BRF approach and prospects for the future.

"Together, we will create an even brighter future for Belt and Road cooperation.... The joint pursuit of the BRI aims to enhance connectivity and practical cooperation. It is about jointly meeting various challenges and risks confronting mankind and delivering win-win outcomes and common development.... A large number of cooperation projects have been launched, and the decisions of the first BRF have been smoothly implemented. More than 150 countries and international organizations have signed agreements on Belt and Road cooperation with China....

"Infrastructure is the bedrock of connectivity, while the lack of infrastructure has held up the development of many countries. High-quality, sustainable, resilient, affordable, inclusive and accessible infrastructure projects can help countries fully leverage their resource endowment, better integrate into the global supply, industrial and value chains, and realize inter-connected development. To this end, China will continue to work with other parties to build a connectivity network centering on economic corridors such as the New Eurasian Land Bridge....

"Innovation boosts productivity; it makes companies competitive and countries strong.... China will continue to carry out the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan, and will work with our partners to pursue four major initiatives, namely the Science and Technology People-to-People Exchange Initiative, the Joint Laboratory Initiative, the Science Park Cooperation Initiative, and the Technology Transfer Initiative."

President Xi also used his speech to present a list of a half-dozen major policy steps China has undertaken as part of its Opening Up strategy, which read like some of the major components of the economic and trade deal being negotiated with President Trump.

"First, we will expand market access for foreign investment in more areas....

"Second, we will intensify efforts to enhance international cooperation in intellectual property protection....

"Third, we will increase the import of goods and services on an even larger scale. China has a vast potential for increasing consumption....

"Fourth, we will more effectively engage in international macro-economic policy coordination. A globalized economy calls for global governance. China will strengthen macro policy coordination with other major economies and keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable....

"Fifth, we will work harder to ensure the implementation of opening-up related policies."

Xi then touched upon what has reportedly been a central sticking point in the negotiations with the U.S.: "A binding mechanism for honoring international agreements will be put in place. Laws and regulations will be revised and improved in keeping with the need to expand opening-up."

China hopes that, in return "other countries" — ie., mainly the U.S. — "will also create an enabling environment of investment, treat Chinese enterprises, students and scholars as equals, and provide a fair and friendly environment for them to engage in international exchanges and cooperation."

Putin Delivers Ringing Endorsement of the Belt & Road Initiative, Saying It 'Has a Very Bright Future'

At an April 27 press conference at the close of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, the first question that Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked was: "The Belt and Road is a very ambitious project—to the extent that it raises concerns in some. China is not a country that makes plans only for years ahead—it makes plans for decades proceeding not from billions but from trillions of dollars. This leads to the question, is this China's project or is it beneficial for other participants? Is it beneficial for Russia?"

Putin's response was categorical, and included important indications of his close cooperation with Xi Jinping in conceptualizing the advance of the BRI over the six years it has been in existence:

"China is a vast country.... Therefore, of course, China has plans for its development, and they are immense and ambitious; when China implements anything it uses a highly pragmatic approach to achieve its tasks. China is our strategic partner; this is obvious from all indicators and parameters.... Just like us or any other country, they are governed by their national interests."

Putin then specified China's unique approach to promoting its national interest:

"China implements this in a civilized and delicate way, making sure proposals for common development meet the interests of the vast majority of international participants, if not all. Generally speaking, China has offered nothing new; what it is doing is actually making attempts to reaffirm the principles set out by the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, and many of our colleagues are mentioning this backstage like they did at the last meeting. What is China's goal? Stability....

"So how should China respond when it faces certain restrictions and attempts by some countries to stop its development? What should China do? It must strengthen the fundamental tenets of global economic relations, and create conditions for promoting its products. How can this be done? By developing transport infrastructure, port facilities, air, rail and motor transport, and building roads. This is exactly what China is doing."

Putin elaborated on how the concept of the BRI has evolved:

"This was how it all started, but later it became obvious both in terms of China's growth and for us as well, that this would not be enough. We needed to strengthen the fundamental tenets of international economic relations. Is Russia interested in this? Of course, it is. Considering the high volume of trade and the fact that it is growing, we are certainly interested in benefiting from the transit potential of the Trans-Siberian Railway and Baikal-Amur Mainline, and we intend to invest heavily in them, as well as in motor transport and roads. We have earmarked trillions of rubles for infrastructure development. Why are we doing this? In order to make effective use of our country's transit potential and to be able to engage in mutual import and export operations."

Putin continued:

"I am very grateful to President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang for their consistent efforts to improve China's trade patterns with Russia. Does this meet our interests? Absolutely. I think that this initiative has a very bright future ahead of it, since almost all of us are interested in this, as I have already said."

The complete transcript is posted in English on the Kremlin website.

Global Times Op-Ed: 'It's Time for Washington To Consider Joining the Belt and Road'

On the eve of the Second Belt and Road Forum, an April 25 op-ed by Xu Hailin was published by Global Times which straightforwardly urged the U.S. to join the Belt and Road Initiative and not miss out on the opportunities that it provides.

The article emphasized that "ever since it kicked off six years ago, the BRI has always welcomed the U.S. to join. It was the U.S. that has refused to accept the BRI and has attempted to forge ideological opposition to it."

But now is the time for all that to change.

"This could be good timing now for the U.S. to deliberate signing up to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). From a narrow national interest point of view, the U.S.'s concerns about the BRI are understandable. But Washington's increasingly deep misunderstanding of the initiative is pushing the U.S. to the sidelines of the economic and trade activities that are providing huge yields to the world. Hence, the U.S. will miss opportunities for growth while forcing its allies away from development opportunities.

"If Washington still claims itself the leader of the world, if it wants to benefit more from the global growth and keep its leading status, if it wants to make the initiative operate conform to the U.S.'s rules, joining BRI as soon as possible is the best way."

The op-ed concludes that it is pointless for the U.S. to try to set up a competing grouping:

"Rather than be envious of China's increasing global charisma brought by the BRI, while introducing a $113 million `Indo-Pacific Economic Vision,' intended to be a competing project of BRI, it is better for the U.S. to be part of the real BRI. Washington should abandon the zero-sum mindset and pragmatically promote global economic development, which will eventually benefit U.S.' growth."