Sept. 30—Helga Zepp-LaRouche was interviewed by “V the Guerrilla Economist,” a contributor to the Rogue Money website, on Sept. 28, 2017. An edited transcript follows.
V the Guerilla Economist: Today is Thursday, 10 AM on the Eastern seaboard of the United States and we have a very special guest—in fact we have two guests: We have none other than Harley Schlanger, who needs no introduction; and we have a very, very, very special guest, who I’m absolutely humbled to have on. We have Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who is a German political activist. Many have called her the Mother of the Silk Road. She is the wife of none other than the famous Lyndon LaRouche. They are the creators and founders of LaRouche PAC, as well as the Schiller Institute.
Incredible opportunity here, so without further ado, I’m going to hand it over to Harley. Harley, why don’t you introduce Helga and give a little bit of a background, and then Helga, feel free to take this program however you want and for as long as you want. Go ahead.
Harley Schlanger: Thank you. Helga is probably most well-known for the founding of the Schiller Institute in 1984, and since that time, the Schiller Institute has played an increasingly important role in shaping events in world history. And I think rather than saying anything more about it, we’ll just let her tell you what she’s up to and what her view is of the strategic situation. So, Helga, why don’t you start and give us a sense of where you think things stand right now in the world?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: What I would like to start with is something which I think is the most important, and which is, unfortunately, not well known in the United States and in Western Europe: It is a fact that there is, already, a completely new model of economics, of international relations among nations, and of a completely different paradigm. I think if people would know more about it, they would have much more hope for the future. What I’m talking about is that there is right now a New Silk Road dynamic. The old Silk Road, which connected cultures and nations about 2,000 years ago, and which exchanged not only goods but also especially technologies, cultures and ideas, laid the foundation for the economic wellbeing of all the participating nations. This was during the Han Dynasty.
The New Silk Road
In the recent period—exactly four years ago—President Xi Jinping revived that policy and he called it the New Silk Road. In these four years, this policy has taken off like a rocket. It is already now the largest infrastructure program in history. People are saying it’s maybe twelve times or even twenty times as big as the Marshall Plan was in the postwar period for the reconstruction of Europe. And, it involves the collaboration of more than seventy countries. To put it in a nutshell, China—which I had the fortune to visit already in 1971 in the middle of the Cultural Revolution—especially in the last thirty years, has made gigantic progress in economic development. They have lifted 700 million people out of poverty, and the Chinese economic miracle is the most impressive economic miracle in history, ever, even bigger than the German economic miracle in the postwar period. China is now simply offering that model to all participating countries, providing an infrastructure connection among the different countries, and it is just taking off.
I think if Americans who are right now in a real hardship—with all these hurricanes in Texas and then Florida and Puerto Rico—only knew about the potential of that program, they would have a completely different outlook for the future. So I would like to talk more about it, if you want me to.
V: Yes, please.
Zepp-LaRouche: First of all, the New Silk Road is based on “win-win cooperation.” Most people in the West cannot imagine that any government would be devoted to the common good and also have an interest in the common good of the other nation, because in the last fifty years or so—I would say since the assassination of John F. Kennedy—foreign policy was always based on geopolitics: you have to defend your interests against another nation. And in the Bush and Obama period you had interventionist wars to change regimes. Because of these policies, people have the wrong idea of what policy can be.
But I’m telling you as a person who has been involved with China for more than forty years, that I really have come to the conclusion that China has offered a new model of win-win cooperation: China is pursuing its own interests, but it is also at the same time, making sure that the other country is fulfilling its own interests. And that is simply a completely different model of cooperation: They have the win-win cooperation policy for infrastructure development with a completely new financial system which goes along with that, which is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the AIIB; the New Silk Road Fund, and the New Development Bank which goes along with the BRICS countries which are cooperating with this project. And these new financial institutions offer credit for infrastructure financing.
It’s a completely different model. It’s not like Wall Street or the City of London, looking toward high-profit revenues of 20-25%. Rather it starts from the understanding that without infrastructure there can be no economic development and no agricultural development. So in a certain sense, it’s not profit oriented, but it’s oriented to create the framework for industrial development.
So you have infrastructure development and a new financial system, but you also have a new model of foreign policy, based on the absolute respect for the sovereignty of the other country, based on the respect for the different social system of the other nation. In that sense, it may sound funny to American ears, but when President Trump talked about the American System, and the Chinese model, they have much more in common than you would ever think if you just read the New York Times.
I think it is really an incredible new model, and I wish to encourage people to find out more about it. If you want to learn more about it, you can visit many Chinese websites, but you also can go to our website of the Schiller Institute and the Schiller Institute’s New Paradigm page where we have featured many, many projects and many conferences. Right now, President Trump is faced with the incredible task of the necessity of financing the reconstruction of these states which have been hit by these hurricanes. Given the combination of powers in the House and in the Senate, two days ago he had a meeting in the White House with Democrats and rejected the public-private partnership—PPP—model as a way of financing the reconstruction.
Since 2015, we have promoted the idea that the best way for U.S. infrastructure to be built—even long before these hurricanes hit—would be for the United States join with the New Silk Road and take up the offer of President Xi Jinping to President Trump when they met for the first time in Mar-a-Lago in April, that the United States should cooperate with China on building the New Silk Road, even inside the United States.
V: Helga, let me ask you this question: Why do you think the Atlanticists, the British, and the deep state influence that’s here in the United States—why do you think they are so resistant to the Silk Road? I know China’s been calling on the United States from the beginning saying, “Hey, c’mon, get involved, there’s a lot of money to be made here, everybody can prosper, everybody can be successful, and you’ll be helping many nations,” and time, and time, and time again, the politicians here in the United States have always said, “no.” Why do you think that is, Helga?
Zepp-LaRouche: The concept of “oligarchy” is really important to be understood, because the trans-Atlantic establishment is really an oligarchy in the old tradition of empires: the idea that you have a small elite which has all the privileges, and they form a club, and they have rules and these rules must be followed by those people who want to be members of the club. And they do that to the detriment of most of the population.
For example, why did the German election just now go in the same direction—a rejection of that policy? Because the majority of the people are the victims of this globalization. So, these Atlanticists, or neo-cons, or neo-liberals, whatever you want to call them—see an emerging paradigm which is for the benefit of the common good; they can see that. The reason why the New Silk Road is so attractive is because people benefit from it! And this old oligarchy sees that this new model is much more attractive to the population, but all of the privileges of the oligarchy rest on high-profit, high-risk speculation,—all this virtual paper of derivatives—something which has no real value. The reason why this oligarchy wants to stick to this system is that all of their privileges are associated with the system.
So in a certain sense, it’s really like an old oligarchy, with entrenched powers, and they don’t want to give it up. But I think it’s a question of time, because the new paradigm is already emerging, and since it is so much more attractive for the common people, I think it will win.
V: Yeah. Can you detail for us some of the latest developments with the New Silk Road and One Belt, One Road Initiative? I see there are some clues that are being given. For instance, we now have Saudi Arabia meeting with President Putin; China is launching their new gold settlement, petro-yuan standard, for purposed of pricing oil in the Asian markets, which I think eventually will go worldwide as a replacement for the petrodollar.
What other major events are happening? Because I think the way the New Silk Road is being built up, it is unavoidable, and you simply cannot ignore it.
Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railroad, Ethiopia.
Zepp-LaRouche: There are many things, but the most dramatic is the Chinese investments in Africa. For many centuries, colonialism left Africa in a horrible condition. Subsequently, IMF conditionalities prevented any real development. There was very clearly, from the side of the West, no intention to ever industrialize Africa. Look at the horrible conditions which caused the refugee crisis, thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean, fleeing from hunger and war—there was no intention of the West to do anything efficient about that.
Africa Standard Gauge Railway, Kenya.
With the New Silk Road development, China has simply brought the new development approach to Africa. They have built a railroad between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, 750 km, which is already functioning. They’re in the process of building other railroads from Kenya all the way to Rwanda. They have also built many hydropower dams, industrial parks, and agricultural development projects. And most recently the Chinese government and the Italian government have agreed to do a feasibility study for what will become the largest infrastructure project in history, ever: the Transaqua project.
Coca Codo Sinclair Dam, Ecuador.
Transaqua is something we have been supporting for decades. The idea was more recently developed by Italian engineers, to bring some of the surplus water of the Congo River tributaries—these tributaries are at an altitude of 500 meters—and you can build a canal system which brings the water down to Lake Chad, which has dried out and shrunk to about 10% of its previous volume. That way you would develop an internal shipping system for twelve countries; you would develop hydropower, water for irrigation; it would completely change the character of Africa.
Bui Dam and hydroelectic station, Ghana.
So this is now seriously on the agenda. I have talked recently to many Africans who are, for the first time, culturally optimistic, that they can overcome hunger and poverty in the short term—a perspective of hope which the African continent never had before! And that has changed their self-confidence, so African leaders no longer want to listen to the sermons and advice from the European Union, for example, about “good governance,” when these Europeans never offered any development. They’re now saying, we want to be treated as equal partners. We want to have direct investment: And China has offered to join hands with all countries, because obviously, if you want to industrialize the African continent the opportunities are enormous.
And there are some economists who agree with us, that while China is now an absolutely incredible economic miracle, Africa will be an even more gigantic development miracle following that.
So I think it has completely changed the world, and I’m very optimistic that this will become the way we will reshape all the relations among nations. And we will overcome geopolitics: This is the most important. If all the nations cooperate in a win-win policy, you do not need geopolitics any more. Geopolitics has caused two world wars in the last century, and obviously, with thermonuclear weapons, we cannot afford to have war as a means of conflict resolution. With the New Silk Road, that option is on the table, and as dangerous as the North Korea situation is right now, I think but for the good relations between President Xi Jinping and President Trump, this conflict could have gotten out of control already; but fortunately, they telephone a lot, and so far they have been able to avoid complete disaster. Even so, it obviously remains extremely dangerous.
Port of Gwadar, Pakistan.
V: I agree with you. I think even in the North Korean situation there’s a stability that can be brought there, because of the New Silk Road and some investment that China and Russia want to do in North Korea. Let’s be honest: Last year, or the year before, it was discovered that North Korea has close to $10 trillion worth of rare earth deposits as well as strategic metals and minerals, and now, all of a sudden, the war rhetoric is starting to heat up amongst the Atlanticists. I don’t think it’s a coincidence to see all this saber rattling, so to speak, Helga. What say you?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think the geopolitical forces in the world consciously created this North Korea crisis to have an opportunity to work against Russia and China. Remember that an earlier South Korea President, Jim Dae-jung, already had a Sunshine Policy with North Korea: They were building an industrial zone in the north of South Korea, where the Russians, and North and South Korea worked together. That was then interrupted by Bush and Cheney, for no good reason. And the whole THAAD deployment and the military drills which the U.S.A. and South Korea are carrying out is a continuous provocation, in order to provide a pretext for a policy which is really an encirclement policy against Russia and China.
But this is being outflanked right now, because at the recent Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, President Putin had a big meeting with the North Koreans and the South Koreans, and they discussed restarting the economic development zone in the northern part of South Korea, where Russia and the two Koreas would work together, with Chinese input, to put this back on the agenda.
As you said, the New Silk Road is really a prescription for peace, everywhere where you apply it! We have always said, if North Korean and South Korean engineers are working together on building railroads and industrialized areas, then the reason for war would be eliminated. And I think that that is the only path to solve that problem definitively.
Schlanger: I’d like to jump in here, and ask Helga to talk a little bit about the whole question of the New Silk Road and Europe, given the changes going on in Europe and the election in Germany: What’s happening with the Italian banking system; Macron’s proposal [in France]. Do you see a shift in Europe, an openness now toward the Chinese and the New Silk Road?
Zepp-LaRouche: It’s unexpected, but I think it’s coming here as well. First of all, the German situation after this election is total chaos! Merkel and the CDU/CSU, as well as the SPD both had their lowest election results ever. In the case of the SPD, the lowest since Bismarck, and in the case of the CDU, the lowest since the Second World War. They got payback for their neoliberal policies, which was the same reason Hillary Clinton lost the U.S. election. Merkel, like Hillary Clinton, is just not willing or capable of reflecting on the causes. So Merkel said she could not imagine having done anything better—and that’s her problem: She can’t think of anything better, and that’s why she lost the election.
As a result, since the SPD said they would not go back to a grand coalition government, the only option left is a so-called “Jamaica coalition,” which would be the CDU/CSU—and they have trouble now among themselves, so this is in a mess—and the liberals, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greenies. This is called “Jamaica” because these parties’ colors are the same as the flag of Jamaica [black, gold, green]. But this may not function: You could have an unstable government for the rest of the year in Germany, because inside these parties you have tremendous frictions and faction fights.
I’m saying this because I think the danger of a new financial crash is high, and the signs for that are mounting. The EU used to be really run by the Merkel/Schäuble combination, but Schäuble will no longer be finance minister, because one of the preconditions for the negotiations to form a new government, the FDP wants to have the Finance Ministry. So if a financial crash hits, at a time that we don’t have a stable German government, you don’t have a stable European Union either. If you look at all the other countries, the Southern European countries are completely unstable: Italy is a mess; in France, Macron won the election on the second round, but he fell in the polls and he’s now regarded as a liberal, so you can forget his famous proposal for a new European Union. It’s in the wastepaper basket, because he clearly conceptualized that speech for a different German election outcome than what actually happened.
What you have instead is that the attractiveness of the New Silk Road for East and Central European countries is enormous: The so-called 16+1 [16 Eastern and Central European countries plus China], they all want to cooperate with the New Silk Road. The Balkan countries want to cooperate; Greece, Serbia, Hungary and even Poland, they’re all on the bandwagon. The same goes for Italy, which together with Greece, was worst-hit by the refugee crisis, and between the Italian and the Chinese government there are many discussions and agreements that they have to cooperate in developing Africa as the only way to overcome the refugee catastrophe.
Even Spain’s Prime Minister Rajoy is now fully onboard. He wants Spain to be a hub for the New Silk Road, not only that it should be the Western end of the Eurasian New Silk Road, but he wants to have Spain to be the hub in the connection to Ibero-America. The same goes for Portugal, where they want to become the hub, not only for Ibero-America, but also for the Portuguese speaking countries in Africa.
Switzerland is entirely in favor of the New Silk Road. Austria is also absolutely for it.
I have said for a very long time that we have to surround Germany with Silk Road developments. The German government is still aligned with the European Union, which is hysterically against the New Silk Road. The EU tries to block some of the projects being built by China by saying that “we have to insist on the rules, we set the standards,” but these countries don’t want to listen to the European Union when they can have a high-speed rail line built built by—and connected to—China. The EU is clearly on the losing end in this.
Africa Standard Gauge Railway, Kenya.
Right now the spirit of the New Silk Road is slowly but steadily coming into Germany. You have literally dozens of conferences taking place on a local level in Munich, in Stuttgart, in Cologne, in Koblenz,—just all over—Chambers of Commerce, industrial associations, and they all have their Silk Road events, because they realize that for industry this is the future. So I don’t think that this can be stopped. It’s just a question of whether we can get results quick enough, before chaos strikes: If you have a new financial crash, without having some alternative in place, it could end up in chaos, and there, actually, is the biggest danger.
V: That’s excellent to know. What other developments are there? We talked about Europe; we talked about Africa. Are there any inroads that China’s making in the Western Hemisphere? What’s in South America, maybe Canada, or anything like that?
Zepp-LaRouche: There are several countries in Ibero-America that are absolutely catching on: Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador. Now the project for the Bioceanic Railway is seriously on the agenda, to be built from Brazil to Peru; and another rail line is to go through Bolivia. This is very important, because, like Africa, before this Chinese investment started, if you looked at the map of Latin America or Africa, there was absolutely no infrastructure connecting across the continent linking the coasts, or connecting to the interior of the continent. Now, with this Bioceanic Railway, you have for the very first time, something which was first considered by Alexander von Humboldt [in the 19th Century]. And naturally it was promoted by my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, when he worked with President José López Portillo of Mexico on “Operation Juárez,” which was his proposal in 1982 to have an Ibero-American infrastructure integration. So now all these things we have been campaigning for are, step by step, coming true; so I feel vindicated, also for the life’s work of my husband.
V: Absolutely. Harley, do you have any questions for Helga?
Schlanger: I would like to get Helga’s thoughts on the Trump Administration, where we see the prospect of the Trump-Xi Jinping meeting in November: Things have to happen pretty quickly. What do you think, Helga? Any possibility that we can see some change? You mentioned earlier that Trump seemed to indicate in a meeting with Democrats that infrastructure has to be government funded, rather than private partnerships.
Zepp-LaRouche: Xi Jinping campaigned for Trump to attend the Belt and Road Forum in May in Beijing. This was a very big summit, with twenty-nine world leaders addressing it—Xi Jinping, Putin, and others, and we campaigned strongly, calling on Trump to attend, that that should be the occasion for the United States and China to reach out and work together on this. Well, this did not quite succeed, but we may have had an influence that there was a very important representative sent—Matthew Pottinger, who attended the Belt and Road Forum. There have been many events since between Chinese and Americans in New York and elsewhere, and I think there actually is a steady process of integration and dialogue in four different categories. Economics, security, people-to-people exchanges—all of this is going on. If President Trump goes to China in November, as is now being prepared by Secretary of State Tillerson, and considering that Commerce Secretary Ross Wilbur was just in China, I think there is the potential to really upgrade, and I cannot imagine that Trump would go and not come back with really not just something on North Korea and trade, but a vision.
video grab, www.news.cn
Matthew Pottinger, a member of the U.S. National Security Council of the administration of President Trump to oversee Asian affairs, represented Trump at the May 14-15 Belt and Road forum in Beijing.
I think President Trump has surprised both his supporters and his opponents again and again, that despite all of these attacks on him, he has not given up, and he has come out again and again with principled policies. So, I think the fact that in the past he had mentioned the American System, the policies of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Carey, Lincoln, Glass-Steagall—all of these things are still on the agenda. Now, he should join hands with the New Silk Road development. I have written an article, which was distributed at the Belt and Road Forum, where I basically said, the Chinese have $1.4 trillion in foreign reserves in U.S. Treasuries. If they just sit on this paper, it doesn’t mean anything for them, but if they would invest this money through an infrastructure bank, or better through a National Bank, in infrastructure in the United States, such Chinese investment could go a very long way to help finance rebuilding U.S. infrastructure, and thus kick-start such a program. Chinese firms—China Invest Corp. for example—have said that the infrastructure requirement of the United States is not $1 trillion as Trump has said, but actually $8 trillion!
An aerial view of the core zone of the Tianjin Binhai-Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park, to which hi-tech industries have relocated from Beijing.
I have the idea that the United States should do what China is doing in terms of high-speed rail. China has built already, as of the end of last year, more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail; they’re now building high-speed trains which will top 400 kmh, and cruise at about 330 mph. These high-speed rail systems in China are really good. They’re smooth, quiet, and they’re planning now to connect every major city in China by 2020—that’s an enormous perspective. I think the United States urgently needs a fast train system: The infrastructure in the United States really needs modernization, and why not go, really, for a big program right from the beginning, to connect all the big cities through high-speed rail, while building a couple of new cities! You have the East and the West Coast which are pretty developed, but all the states in between, they could easily take a couple of new modern cities—science cities, research cities—and I think it would inject into the American population a sense of great optimism, providing a vision of the future, which is very difficult right now because of the heritage of the last two administrations.
Chaobaihe Bridge, which will connect Beijing’s Tongzhou District and Hebei’s Yanjiao County, under construction on November 27, 2016.
So I think this visit could really become a breakthrough, and obviously, our organization—LaRouche PAC in the United States—we are fully mobilizing to get precisely that on the agenda. And I would like our listeners to really help. If you want to do something good for the United States, note that Trump said again, recently, that he likes the Chinese, that he likes Xi Jinping, and that is clearly something people should start thinking about: Why is Trump saying that? And I fully agree, the Chinese model right now is something to study, and the world can only profit if the two nations, the United States and China, find a way to cooperate on this development. I think this will be absolutely decisive for history at this moment.
V: Absolutely, I agree with that. For world powers like the United States and China, and even Russia, to cooperate, and communicate and to help build a better world, is something so remarkable, and I think it will usher in a new era of peace such as the world has never seen, and I guess that is a nightmare to some of these cabal Atlanticists, some of these individuals you see up in the halls of power, and in the City of London and Wall Street, as well as Washington, D.C.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes! I think it’s a nightmare for the evil people, but it’s a dream for mankind.
Schlanger: V, one of the things I’d like to propose, is that since Helga’s going to begin doing a weekly briefing in the United States, we can get a link to you at Rogue Money that you could put up, so people can get regular updates from her.
V: Absolutely. Absolutely. We could definitely do that, and we’ll definitely get that done. We’ll get that set up, and when you have that link, we’ll go right to Rogue Money and blast that through all our networks, and put it out to all our distribution as well. Thanks for allowing us to do that.
Helga, your closing comments and anything else you want to say? And how can people follow you in your work?
Zepp-LaRouche: People should just have the idea that we are at a turning point in history. Most people don’t think in terms of the long arcs of history; they think about events and news and breaking developments, but I, because of my relationship and marriage with my husband, I have started to think in terms of long arcs of history. And you can actually see that we are right now at a turning point: I always say, the way to imagine the new paradigm that is emerging, is that it is as different from what has existed up to now, as the Middle Ages were with respect to the modern era. What separated these two was the Italian Renaissance, and with that emerged the completely different idea of the individual, of science, of the state. You know, in the Middle Ages, people believed in superstitions, you had the scholastics, the Aristotelians, and they had a different set of axioms of belief than what came with the Italian Renaissance: Namely the idea that man is endlessly perfectible, that the state needs to be devoted to the common good, and there were many ideas, which would take too long to go into; but it led to completely different axioms of thinking, and everything we enjoy today, in terms of science, technology, culture, came really from that shift, especially Classical music, Classical poetry, all of these things.
That’s the kind of change we are experiencing right now: What we used to associate with globalization, with Wall Street, with profit for a few and poverty for many—all of this will go, and we enter a new paradigm where, as President Xi Jinping always says, “we are entering a community for a shared future of mankind,” where the idea that we are one humanity, that that idea comes first, and that we will define the future, how we want to be in 100 years from now, or even 1,000 years from now. Do we still want to have wars, do we still want to kill each other? Obviously, not. We want to concentrate on the common aims of mankind, on thermonuclear fusion—research and commercial applications. If we reach that, we will have energy security; we will have raw materials security; we will have space transportation. We are only scratching the surface of what space is like. As a result of the recent findings of the Hubble Telescope, it is now known that we have two trillion galaxies—now that blows my mind. I cannot imagine two trillion galaxies, but that is out there! And we know absolutely only a tiny detail about it.
I think if we concentrate on the joint tasks of the future, people will start to grow up. For me, it’s mankind growing up and that is very exciting. So I want people to be optimistic and be part of our movement. We are shaping the future in the best possible way by thinking this way.
V: Right, absolutely. With that being said, Helga LaRouche, thank you so much for being on, and Harley, thank you so much for being on as well, and thank you for setting up this interview. I want to thank the both of you, and we’re looking forward to having Helga’s weekly address in the United States broadcast through our channels as well.
Zepp-LaRouche: Thank you