|This article appears in the December 9, 2016 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
RUSSIA AND CHINA RELY ON CREATIVITY
Can Zero Be a Negative Quantity?
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The Western politicians and media who are accustomed to seeing Russian President Putin only through the lens of demonization, would do well to read through Putin’s December 1st State of the Nation address before the Russian Federal Assembly, without prejudice, for once. Since the rejection of Obama—because Hillary Clinton’s defeat was also that—and the first telephone conversations that Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, a real opportunity for normalizing relations among the world’s three most important nations has opened up. And only a suicidal fool would throw away this opportunity.
If we take into account the entire chronology of Putin’s offers to the West—including his hopeful address to the German Bundestag in 2001 and his speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007 expressing his keen disappointment—then we should accept his words at face value when he says, “We do not want confrontation with anyone. We have no need for it . . . We do not seek and never have sought enemies. We need friends. But we will not allow our interests to be infringed upon or ignored.”
Later on in his speech Putin stressed—as priorities for the educational system—the fostering of knowledge and morality as the prerequisite for the viability of society. The interest of young people in national Classical literature, culture, and history must be awakened, he said. The schools must promote creativity, by the children learning to think independently, and learning to work both on their own and as part of a team, to master exceptional challenges and formulate and reach goals. Admittedly, gifted education is important, he said, but in principle, the educational system must be based on the understanding that all children and teenagers are gifted, and can achieve success in science, the creative fields, and life. The task of the state is to foster their talents.
Putin also underscored the fundamental importance of basic research as the basis for economic growth and social progress. More than 200 laboratories have already been established, he said, that are in a position to operate on the global level, thanks to very large subsidies, and which are led by scientists who have identified the trends in global scientific developments. In this connection, he said, it is also important to overcome the bottlenecks which have existed in Russia since the time of the czars by utilizing these scientific advances in the production of commercial goods.
The Putin demonizers should also study the speech Putin gave the day before at the Primakov Readings International Forum, held in honor of Yevgeni Primakov, the former prime minister and “intellectual pioneer” who died 18 months ago. U.S.-Russian relations were also high on the agenda of his speech. Putin referred to Primakov’s belief that it would be very difficult to adequately address today’s big challenges—especially in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East—“without a serious partnership between Russia and the United States.” Primakov, according to the Russian President, “had the truly strategic vision” that allowed him to “look into the future and see how unviable and one-sided” was the model of a unipolar world. It was Primakov, Putin said, who first advocated trilateral cooperation among Russia, China, and India, which then evolved into the BRICS, “which is gaining weight and influence in the world.” Moreover, Primakov’s insistence on maintaining close ties with partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Putin said, “is the backbone of our integration policy in Eurasia . . . We hope that talks with our partners, including those on linking up with China’s Silk Road Economic Belt project, will enable us to build a grand Eurasian partnership.”
Another document which the geopolitically minded western politicians and media should study, is a new White Paper by the Chinese government titled, “The Right to Development: China’s Philosophy, Practice and Contribution,” which affirms that there is an “inalienable right” for all peoples and countries to develop. “The right to development must be enjoyed and shared by all peoples. Realizing the right to development is the responsibility of all countries and also the obligation of the international community,” the paper says. “It requires governments of all countries to formulate development strategies and policies suited to their own realities, and it requires concerted efforts of the international community as a whole. China calls on all countries to pursue equal, open, all-round and innovative common development; it promotes inclusive development, and creates conditions for all peoples to share the right to development.”
But the white paper goes much further. It clearly shows that China’s model for development and China’s political and social structure has achieved unqualified success. And while the model continues to develop, it is at a pace and in a form that is determined by the Chinese people themselves. The paper notes that China has already raised 700 million people out of poverty, now with only 5.7% of the population living under the poverty line, making it the first nation, the report notes, to reach the UN’s Millennium Goals. But China is determined to eliminate poverty altogether. The Chinese government outlined a strategy for entirely eliminating poverty among the rural population by 2020 in its “Outline of the 13th Five-Year Program for the National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China,” published in March 2016.
Anyone who does not want to listen to Putin or China can study a white paper by the heavy equipment company Caterpillar, builder of machines for construction, recently reported on in Chinese media, on the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative.1 This initiative will unleash “a new wave of prosperity” for China and the rest of the world, it says. The construction of an infrastructure network—one of the initiative’s priorities—will make possible the free flow and efficient utilization of resources, market integration, and coordination of economic policy among nations.
The construction of the infrastructure will help lower the costs of logistics, boost the competitiveness of the emerging economies, and reduce inequality among nations. Caterpillar considers the “Belt and Road” initiative to be an “open and inclusive” framework which will permit all the countries along the routes to participate in construction of the project. “It is not intended as, and cannot be, a solo effort of China,” according to the white paper.
New China TV
Caterpillar values the business opportunities opened by the initiative, and hopes to be able to participate even more in projects along the routes, explained Chen Qihua, Caterpillar’s Vice-President and Chairman of Caterpillar China.
Moreover, western politicians and media should finally realize that there is broad support in the population for international cooperation, especially in the area of scientific and technological progress. The Citizens’ Dialogue of the European Space Agency (ESA), which has 22 member states, revealed that 88 percent of those it surveyed support the agency’s space program, and 96% are convinced that space offers opportunities that do not exist on Earth, but should be pursued.
In his report on this survey at the “Frieslandmahl” celebration at Upjever Air Base, former German astronaut Thomas Reiter, now chief ESA coordinator of International Space Station Affairs, said there is reason to be optimistic in spite of the endless budget controversies at the European level. The EU8 billion spent on the space program during the past five years, he said, have generated EU14.5 billion in economic benefits for Europe and its citizens.
“But there is also the political aspect of international cooperation. This works well in spite of the conflicts on Earth,” Reiter said. “There are 95 countries taking part in the ISS research work, and up there the objectives are for the good of all mankind.”
Reiter was also optimistic about the lunar dimension of space development, particularly on the far side of the Moon. It may serve as a launch site for deep space missions in the future.
Bernhard von Weyhe, head of the Communications Department of the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, also addressed the “bridge function” that space technology serves for mankind in an interview with the Allgemeine Zeitung. He said that “joint manned space projects promote human solidarity, even at the time of the Cold War. Space has always been an area for intensive international collaboration—and it continues to act as a bridge. Space travel is per se a project of cooperation.”
The common denominator for all of these statements is this: Mankind’s future lies in nations cooperating for the economic development of the entire world, and for the common aims of mankind, especially in the development of technology, science, and human creativity. It is well worth investing in such cooperation. Whoever does not understand this, and instead sets his sights on a zero-deficit budget, will end up empty-handed.
1. Xinhua, “Belt and Road Initiative Presents ‘Enormous Opportunity’:Caterpillar,” Nov. 30, 2016: . Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman had expressed this optimism in speaking with New China TV in September 2015: .