The Promise and the Vision
of the New Silk Road
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
[PDF version of this presentation]
The following presentation was recorded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Nov. 10, 2015, for a series of conferences which she could not attend personally, including the one in Dubna Dec. 21. Zepp-LaRouche is the founder of the Schiller Institutes and chairwoman of the German political party Civil Rights Movement Solidarity.
Hello! I send greetings to your conference. I want to talk to you about the vision which is embedded in the New Silk Road,—which is the policy initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and which is quickly unfolding to become the most promising dynamic on the planet.
But let me briefly tell you why it is so extremely important that people start to look at this new model of economics. The underlying dynamic behind all major crises in the world, from the wars in various parts of the world, to terrorism, to many other social crises, is that the trans-Atlantic financial system is about to blow out in ways which will make 2008 look like the proverbial peanuts, if it comes to that, and if it is not prevented ahead of time.
Now you also have an unbelievable economic and social collapse in the United States. According to a report just published in the New York Times, the death rate of white Americans in the middle-age bracket of 45-54 years of age, has increased by 10% on average, and for the poor it has increased by 22%. Now, that’s not supposed to happen. People are not supposed to die when they are in the middle of their lives. And the only comparison to such an event, was what happened in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the ’90s during the Yeltsin period, at which point basically one million people disappeared from the demographic statistics every year. This decline ended only after President Putin came to power.
Now, what is causing these deaths among these middle-aged Americans? It’s drug addiction, deaths by drugs, alcohol, and suicides. And that is obviously a reflection of the fact that the general mood in America has shifted from the optimism of the Kennedy period, to the present time, in which most Americans are pessimistic about the future. They believe that coming generations will be much worse off than the present one. This is the first time in the so-called advanced world, in which such an idea could be accepted. It used to be the basis of morality, that parents would say, “I want my children to be better off than myself.”
Now, that has vanished. And if you look at it, you have people in many areas who have lost income; the living standard is collapsing. People have to work two or three jobs. Take drug addiction in Baltimore, for example: One out of every ten people is a heroin user. There’s a heroin epidemic! A lot of the heroin is coming from Latin America. The United States is being flooded, and many people become addicted, because heroin now costs 25% of the price of prescription drugs. So the whole country is really collapsing.
And in Europe, it is no better. It is different, but not better. You probably have heard reports of an unprecedented refugee crisis, which comes mostly from Southwest Asia, from these wars which are based on lies. Now you have refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen, but also from many countries in Africa. There are presently 60 million people already in various states of being refugees and many of them have the desire to go to Europe; that is destabilizing the very foundations of Europe at this point.
Now, I could mention more of such horrible developments, but the overall picture makes it very clear: We must have a paradigm shift. We must go to a completely different economic model. And that is why the New Silk Road is so extremely important.
The New Silk Road in Action
In 2013 in Kazakhstan, President Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road policy. In November, he announced the Maritime Silk Road policy. Then the BRICS countries practically joined the New Silk Road movement, which was first demonstrated at the BRICS heads of state summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. This thrust was consolidated at the Ufa BRICS summit this year in Russia.
What is unfolding is a completely new dynamic, based on totally different principles than the casino economy of the trans-Atlantic sector. Remember that the ancient Silk Road was an exchange not only of goods such as porcelains and silk, but also of technologies: How to make porcelain, how to make silk—an exchange of culture and ideas. And that is exactly what has been revived right now by President Xi Jinping, who has explicitly said that every country that participates in this Silk Road development, will benefit from a “win-win” perspective: that it is in the interest of every country participating in it.
Now with an unbelievably rapid pace, new trade routes have developed in the last year: from Chengdu in China, Yiwu, Chongqing, Xi’an, and Lianyungang. Now, every week trains are leaving full of goods for such places in Europe as Duisburg and Hamburg in Germany, Madrid in Spain, or Lyon in France.
Now, this development fever, one can say, has already caught on in Central Asia and the Balkans. Countries in the Balkans are looking to China for infrastructure development, and not the EU. But the vision of the Silk Road has also caught on in Europe. A couple of weeks ago, Xi Jinping was in Great Britain, and the British, being always very smart to be first to smell the new breezes, not only made massive trade arrangements and trade deals with China, but they said that the “Golden Age” of British-Chinese relations is about to begin.
In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has just been in China, and she concluded many, many trade deals. But even more important, they combined the complementary aspects of their economies to form an economic powerhouse. China just did the same thing, by the way, with South Korea and Japan; this is obviously very, very important for overcoming the conflicts in the South China Sea.
But that is not all. In Spain there was just a very important forum on the Silk Road, where the leader of the most important development agency of China used the beautiful image that the Silk Road can and must become a “Noah’s Ark” for all the countries in trouble around the world.
That is especially important for Southwest Asia and Africa, the sources of the big, big refugee crisis which is destabilizing all of Europe right now. It is obvious that if one takes the Silk Road, which now goes from China through Central Asia, all the way to Europe, and then extend that into Southwest Asia—to build infrastructure, integrated systems of fast trains, waterways, of highways, of declaring war against the deserts by tapping into new fresh water sources through large amounts of desalination of ocean water using nuclear energy, and by ionizing the moisture in the atmosphere to create rainfall, thus creating new rain and weather patterns to declare war on the deserts—in this way, one creates the precondition for new cities, for industry, for agriculture in those regions too.
I don’t want to use the word “Marshall Plan,” because it’s a slightly different conception, but it is a kind of a Marshall Plan, because that gives you the idea that it is possible through directed state intervention and economic policy based on physical principles to overcome any economic crisis, as the Marshall Plan did for Europe.
If all the great neighbors of the Middle East and Near East—Russia, China, India, Iran, Egypt, and the European countries, which are now destabilized by refugees—were to say: Let’s together make a Marshall Plan for the Middle East and invite the United States to be part of it, I think that there is an absolute reason to believe that the problem of terrorism could be overcome. With such a vision of hope, you could persuade many young people, especially young men, not to join the jihad, but to fight for a better future, to become scientists, to become engineers, and to create a family, and to have a future.
Obviously the same is true for Africa, where now millions of people are fleeing, taking the 50% risk of not making it by getting into little boats in the Mediterranean, where about 6,000 or more officially have drowned already this year; and people still take that risk to get to Europe.
Now if we were to do the same thing with Africa, and say, “Let’s extend the Silk Road together, let’s join all the countries and develop Africa,” I think we could eliminate poverty and create stability in a very, very short period of time.
The Common Aims of Mankind
Now, why am I so optimistic? Well, if you look at the China model of economy, China has created an economic miracle, which apart from the German economic miracle in the postwar period is really without any precedent. China has replicated in only 30 years, what America and Europe needed 200 years to accomplish. And with that economic method, they have eliminated poverty, they have elevated 600 million people out of poverty; and the intention is to use the Silk Road development to basically make the same thing possible for people in the interior regions in western China.
Why is this functioning? And what can we learn from this Chinese model?
I have been to China many times, and I am convinced that this rapid economic growth is based on the Confucian tradition of China, which put a very high premium on excellence in education. Confucius said, rejuvenate yourself every day, develop a new idea every day; never the same thing twice, always improve yourself; perfect yourself every day. And that is the principle which China has applied and is applying especially to the education of the young, the students, pupils, also women. It has put a very big emphasis on achieving gender equality by having as many women as men participate in university education. This year they are graduating 2,000 students in the area of fusion power [engineering] alone, and I don’t know of any country in Europe or the Americas which comes close to such a rate of progress.
But China has not only created a “win-win perspective” with the Silk Road for other countries to join. It has also put up a new model of foreign relations, which is based on the idea of respect for sovereignty, respect for the difference of the social model of the other country, and non-interference. It has invited the United States and the Americas to join. And here, you see behind me the world map of projects from EIR’s special report, “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.” It is a model of how to transform the underdevelopment of every part of the world, and create instead a completely new paradigm.
What is this New Silk Road, World Land-Bridge policy? It is an effort to overcome geopolitics—geopolitics, which was the cause for two world wars in the Twentieth Century—which is the idea that a group of nations or one nation has a legitimate interest which it must defend against other nations, if need be, by military means. That kind of thinking has to be eliminated, because in an age of thermonuclear weapons, war cannot be a means of conflict resolution any more.
So, we have to replace the idea of geopolitics with the idea of the common aims of mankind. And there are many common aims of mankind! For example the elimination of poverty, which would be very easy. We could get rid of poverty in a year, in two years,—very easy. We have to protect our planet, which after all is only a tiny blue planet, in the big Solar System, in an even bigger Galaxy, and our Galaxy is only one of billions of galaxies. So our very little blue planet is really very precious to us, and it must be protected against asteroids, comets, and other dangers from outer space.
To do that, we should explore space. We should travel through space. We should develop technologies which allow us to do that. And China, again, presently has the most advanced space program in the world. With its lunar missions, it is preparing to mine helium-3 from the Moon, and bring it back in a couple of years in large quantities, because it does not exist in that form in big quantities on Earth, and use it as a fuel for the future fusion economy on Earth.
Presently there are many reports indicating that fusion breakthroughs are very close. If we reach fusion, we can have raw materials security and energy security for a very long time—for tens of thousands of years. Helium-3 will already be the second generation of fusion economy, basically changing all the physical principles we rely on, and also allowing us to use fusion power for space travel.
So, there are many good things in the future. But I think we have to really fight for this model. I think it is within mankind’s reach, that every child on the planet could have access to universal education. And if that happens, oligarchism will disappear. Moreover, if every child can have access to all areas of knowledge in order to develop the fullest potential which is embedded in each human person, more and more people will become truly human, more and more individuals will become geniuses, and we are only at the embryonic age of mankind.
Just think, in the last ten thousand years—that’s not a long time, if you compare it with the age of the universe, or even of our planet—how much development did man accomplish? From a population potential of maybe a couple of million people who were hunters and gatherers, we now have 7 billion people. And we have unbelievable technologies, you know, we can communicate, we can do all kinds of things. But for the next ten thousand years, we can explore the riches of our universe, which we presently do not even know exist.
But we must have that kind of optimism, that we are on the verge of humanity becoming the truly creative species. And I think that is the promise and the vision of the Silk Road. So, join it and study it.
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