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Moving the World in a
Completely Different Direction

Address by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Berlin, Germany
July 11, 2017

Conference Program and Links

The following is an edited transcript of remarks made by founder of the Schiller Institutes Helga Zepp-LaRouche, following the presentation given by Prof. Zhang Weiwei, at the July 11 Schiller Institute event in Berlin.

I am very happy about your presentation because it was very transparent and very clear, and I think it’s very important for people to understand China better, because the mainstream media has not been very objective, and I thank you very much, because this is very important.

I briefly want to say that we have a completely changed strategic situation, which most people in Germany are not entirely aware of, since the mass media here tend to be still very much wedded to the old paradigm. The new paradigm is quickly coming into being, which is influenced by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in ways which are not immediately recognizable, but this is a long-term wave which has changed the world, especially in the last four years. This dynamic is the dominant factor influencing developments below the surface. Now, this changed strategic situation has very deep implications for Germany, even if Germans are not yet aware of it. I am predicting they will be aware of it very soon.
Russia President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump met at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.

Let me just situate this in the context of the July 7-8 G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, where two events had positive implications. Everybody is aware of the fact that the demonstrations and riots that took place in the streets in Hamburg, were horrible, but two excellent developments emerged from the summit. One development was the historic meeting between President Trump and President Putin. This potentially represents a complete breakthrough. It opens the possibility for a new detente, and the reason it is a big success is that the neo-liberal establishment of the trans-Atlantic sector has tried to prevent this in the last six months with the so-called Russia-gate affair.

In my view, this anti-Russia attack had only one aim—namely, to prevent President Trump from fulfilling his promise to improve relations with Russia once he was elected President. The accusation that he may have been given the election as a result of Russian collusion, was designed to prevent him from realizing the improvement of relations he wanted. Therefore, in a certain sense, I think the two Presidents, Putin and Trump, outfoxed their opposition and, according to Tillerson, the Secretary of State, the chemistry between them functioned well. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said it was very constructive, and some of the agreements made, including the cease-fire for Syria, are holding. They also discussed Ukraine, North Korea, terrorism, and cyber problems.

I think if the two Presidents of the two largest nuclear powers are able to discuss these conflicts, it is extremely important for world peace, and everybody should be very happy about it.
President Xi Jinping and President Putin signing a joint statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on July 4, in Moscow.

Just before the G-20, President Xi was in Moscow for a meeting that Russia and China have characterized as the most important event for their respective countries this year. They deepened their friendship, they deepened the strategic partnership, they made many agreements, and they both characterized the China-Russia relationship as the best in the history of the two countries. This is very important, because on April 1, President Xi Jinping was in Florida, meeting with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

The two Presidents hit it off well in this meeting also; the chemistry functioned well, and there were many meetings following it. President Trump sent a high-level delegation to the Belt and Road Forum in May, led by Matt Pottinger, and Trump and Xi also met again in the context of the G-20 meeting. So the United States and China established four high-level dialogues at Mar-a-Lago—economic, political, social, and security—and at that time President Trump said that the United States intended to collaborate with the BRI.

President Trump and President Xi Jinping at their April 6, 2017 meeting at Mar-a-Lago.

This is very, very significant because, if you have the Presidents of the three largest and most important nations of the world, Trump, Xi Jinping, and Putin, finding bilateral communication channels, then by implication, the three are in a new strategic relationship. This is a gigantic step in the direction of the new paradigm of international relations, because if Russia, China, and the United States can work together strategically, we have made a major step in the direction of what President Xi always calls “a shared future of humanity.” This is very important, because what people have not yet realized is that the Belt and Road Initiative is not just about infrastructure—economic deals—but it is about a new paradigm in which geopolitics is overcome. Geopolitics played a major role in organizing the two world wars in the last century. In an era in which thermonuclear weapons exist, if we do not overcome geopolitics, we are at risk of facing annihilation as a species.

So these two meetings are very important developments, because a new paradigm means that you start with the interest of humanity first, and the national interest second. With this approach, it will never again be possible for the interests of one nation or a group of nations to be set against another group of nations, because you start with what is in the common interest of humanity. We can talk about this more, and what that means, in the discussion, but I think it is a concept—it is a step into a new era of mankind. It is something which has not happened before, and we will only make it as a species if we are successful in making this transition.

Of course, the U.S. mainstream media, the Democrats, and the neocons in the Republican Party, reacted to the successful Putin-Trump meeting with complete hysteria. However, Mikhail Gorbachov, the last leader of the Soviet Union, commented that this reminded him of the first meeting he had with President Reagan at the time of the end of the Soviet Union. He recalled that immediately after the successful Gorbachov-Reagan meeting, a U.S. warship entered Russian waters, and Gorbachov said: “I understood immediately this was a provocation, and that some people in the Pentagon did not want that dialogue.” Gorbachov warned that this type of sabotage could happen today. And indeed it is happening.

The Transformation of Africa

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Xinhua/Sun Ruibo
A passenger train on Chinese financed and built light rail in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The second important development at the G-20 meeting that makes me very happy, is that there are clear signs that Germany is reluctantly overcoming its hesitancy to work with China in the development of Africa. Ironically, this change came because of the election of Trump. Previously, the German position was identical with that of the European Union: “No, we don’t want China to develop railroads in the Balkans, we have to have the European standard, and we determine the rules.” This hampered real development to a very large extent. Then Trump was elected, and Germany said we have to unite with China as the defenders of free trade and fair trade. As a result, Germany is now looking more towards China.

Obviously, this is a very important development, because the Belt and Road Initiative is already the most powerful dynamic on the planet. If you read the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or Bild Zeitung, you may not know it, because they don’t report it, but the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing concretized the BRI and made it the functioning basis of a new world economic system—110 nations participated. This was an historic event.

Professor Zhang and myself had the good fortune to be part of it, and I must say, this event, where you had 29 state leaders speaking, starting with a fantastic speech by President Xi Jinping—which I advise all of you to listen to [full text or video] if you haven’t done so already—followed by Putin and many other world leaders. People I spoke with had a similar perception to what I had—that we were participating in the formation of a new phase of history, in which conflict is put aside, and win-win cooperation is featured instead—and this dynamic is gigantic.

There are already six major economic corridors being built. It reaches into Latin America, many different kinds of international organizations are integrating their efforts, including the Belt and Road Initiative, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the “16 Plus One” organization of Central and East European states. In addition, countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain, and France want to cooperate—even Switzerland and Austria. It has a dynamic that is already overwhelming, and what China has done in Africa is absolutely breathtaking.

China has already built major rail lines in Africa, including from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from the port city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi, in Kenya, and has signed a contract to build a railroad from Tanzania to central Africa, which will eventually go up to Rwanda and other inland countries.

China is building railways in Nigeria; it is now looking, together with Italy, at the largest infrastructure project ever, the Transaqua Project, which will bring water from the tributaries of the Congo River, at an elevation of five hundred meters, and by gravity this water will be channeled all the way to Lake Chad to refill the lake, which has dried up to only ten percent of its previous area. Once this project is finished, it will provide irrigation to twelve participating nations; it will give them inland navigation; and it will completely transform the African continent.

China has already created 300,000 jobs for Africans. It employs a 90% African workforce in all projects it is undertaking in Africa, contrary to the Western propaganda, which claims that Chinese projects only employ Chinese people. It’s involved in major training programs, including dams, hydropower and agriculture projects, and industrial parks. China has already built ten industrial parks in African countries. This has led to a completely changed situation; Africans are now very self-confident, and they say that they no longer want to hear Sunday sermons by Europeans on good governance, and then have no investment. They want to have investment on an equal level; they want to be treated as business partners and not as beggars.

That changed attitude of the Africans, I think, helped to change the view of German institutions, to see that if Germany does not join China in Africa, they will be on the sidelines of history. Another very strong incentive is the new eruption of the refugee crisis, where, according to Professor Giulio Sapelli, last week, in three days alone, 50,000 people arrived in Italy from Libya. When Italy requested the support of Spain and France and the other Mediterranean countries to take some of these refugee boats, they refused, so the same refugee crisis in the European Union has erupted again.

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I think that these BRI-centered policy changes represent a completely changed dynamic. Remember that the financial institutions including the AIIB, the New Development Bank of the BRICS, the New Silk Road Fund, the Maritime Silk Road Fund, and the Shanghai Cooperation Bank were all created because there was almost no financing of infrastructure in the past decades. The IMF did not provide credits, the World Bank very minimally, and with bad conditions. Now a completely different financial system has emerged, which is indeed following the same principle—as Professor Zhang described as the system in China—namely, to intend to overcome poverty, and to increase living standards. If a country has the choice of either joining a military alliance and becoming an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea for the United States, or on the other hand, joining win-win cooperation with China and have economic development itself, it’s obvious which is the most attractive model—and this is actually a dynamic which is already much further along than people here realize.

Trump Is Not What the Media Say

Now, as for all the people who are anti-Trump and have been convinced that he is the most evil man—well, I agree with President Putin, who after his first encounter with Trump, said that Trump is very different from the way the media portray him. That is what I have heard from many other people who have actually spoken personally with President Trump. He is not what the western media portray him as, because what he said is that he wants to stop intervention wars, he does not want to have any more foreign interventions disguised as imposing human rights and democracy. Instead he says “America First,” and he said he wants to return the United States to the American System of economy, to Alexander Hamilton, to Henry Clay, to Henry C. Carey, and to Lincoln.

I have made the point repeatedly that the China model is much closer to the original American System of economy than people think. All the banking systems of China are really much more like Hamiltonian banking, or you can also say, like the policy framework of Friedrich List, the German economist, who, by the way, is the most famous economist in China today.

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I think that the possibility of moving the world in a completely different direction has never been as possible as now. And the reason that I’m optimistic about Germany—and I am known to be a critic of German politics, very much so—I don’t say it lightly, but the fact that Mrs. Merkel and President Xi Jinping agreed that there will be German-Chinese cooperation to build a hydroelectric complex in Angola together, and that they both said that this will be the model for future German-Chinese cooperation in the development of Africa, makes me very optimistic.

Secondly, I think that the agreement between Putin and Trump to have a cease-fire in Syria, opens up the possibility of accomplishing peace after the military intervention of Russia into Syria almost two years ago, and also opens up the possibility not only to develop Africa, but also to reconstruct the entire Southwest Asia region, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria to Yemen into northern Africa, a region which has been destroyed by wars that were based on lies and which have destroyed the lives of millions of people—and have, after all, caused the refugee crisis. So this new agreement between Trump and Putin, and the possibility of reconstructing the entire Near East, Southwest Asia, and Africa, will lead to the elimination of the refugee crisis. Once people have the possibility of a livelihood in their home country, they would much rather stay in their homeland. Therefore Germany should join hands not only for the development of Africa, but also for the Middle East, and then we will have a very positive future ahead of us.