Germany Must Jump Aboard
the New Silk Road Express!
March 18—The atmosphere could hardly have been more uneasy between German Chancellor Angela Merkel und U.S. President Donald Trump during her visit to the White House. No handshake for the cameras, next to no eye contact, strained faces for both of them. Not only is there no chemistry between them, but it is obvious that in the current trans-Atlantic geometry, no solution for the tensions can be found. There is nonetheless a way out in sight, but it can only be found on a totally different, higher level—the win-win cooperation with China and the New Silk Road, which the United States and Germany have both been invited to join.
Given that Trump’s election meant the defeat of the neoliberal, neoconservative policy of Hillary Clinton, whom he called “America’s Angela Merkel,” and that Merkel was considered “Obama’s closest ally,” it was not to be expected that the two of them would be on the same wavelength. Thus the New York Times headlined its coverage, “Merkel Meets Trump—The Defender Versus the Disrupter.” When, during their joint press conference, a correspondent of Die Welt attempted to provoke Trump by bringing up the charge that British intelligence agency GCHQ had wiretapped him for the Obama Administration, Trump turned to Merkel and jokingly remarked, “At least we have something in common.” Trump got the laughs for that, while Mrs. Merkel could barely muster a smile.
Similar unresolvable divergences were evident among the G20 finance ministers at their meeting in Baden-Baden, where they could not agree on formulations about “protectionism” and “fair trade” for a final communiqué.
The Chinese Solution
Much more promising, however, is the dynamic of China’s comprehensive diplomatic initiatives in preparation for the May 14-15 summit, the Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing. Already more than 20 heads of state, 100 ministerial delegations, 150 leaders of major organizations, and 1,200 delegations of scientists, industry executives, and economists have confirmed their participation. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who is responsible for preparing and coordinating the conference, visited President Trump and members of the Trump team in Washington at the end of February. Shortly thereafter, Trump invited President Xi Jinping for a two-day working summit, which is now tentatively set for some time in April at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate. In contrast to Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Trump’s estate, the visit with the Chinese President is not expected to be about golf, but about comprehensive American-Chinese cooperation on economic and strategic questions.
At a press conference March 10 on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Yang Jiechi stressed to China Daily that the goal of the May 14-15 summit is to consolidate a “broad international consensus on the ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’ ” This initiative was China’s idea, but it will not be a solo performance by China, he said; a better analogy would be a symphony, he explained, performed by an orchestra composed of all participating countries.
Without a doubt, one of the most important strategic developments is that the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, and the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, have announced that the UN will cooperate fully with China’s New Silk Road initiative. Thomson stressed that Xi Jinping’s vision “is the only future for mankind on this planet” in an interview with Xinhua. After Xi’s keynote speech at the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva on Jan. 18, “Thomson and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both pledged that the United Nations will join China in promoting world peace and development, and in realizing the goal of building a community of shared future for mankind,” according to .
That is not only definitely true, but China’s conception of the New Silk Road has developed over the last three-and-a-half years into a unique strategic initiative going far beyond the original dimensions of the ancient Silk Road, and has become a development strategy for all the world’s continents.
No one can contest that the several hundred New Silk Road projects—in different stages of realization—are approaching at a tremendous tempo the conception that EIR proposed in 2014 in a 370-page comprehensive study, . In other words, China and more than 70 other nations have now received the official support of the United Nations to make the longstanding dream of the Non-Aligned Movement for a new, just world economic order come true. And with that, it is also undeniable that it is the ideas and principles that Lyndon LaRouche has fought for, for more than fifty years, that are becoming dominant on the international plane, as Tunisian diplomat Dr. Ahmed Kedidi recently described in a remarkable in the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq.
Overcoming the Obstacles
Of course there are significant and even existential threats standing in the way of this vision of a united mankind, a vision which previously was conceived only by philosophers such as Confucius, Sri Aurobindo, Nicholas of Cusa, and Leibniz. Pressing instances include the extremely dangerous conflict over the North Korean missile tests (in reaction to the stationing of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and the U.S.-South Korean military maneuvers); the only partially mitigated crises in the Middle East; and the conflict escalating once again in Ukraine. Pragmatists and cultural pessimists will of course cite these crises, using Aristotelian arguments, as proof that the goal of a common future for mankind is an unattainable utopia.
But exactly the opposite mode of thinking is required. If we define the common interests of mankind from the standpoint of the future—of a vision of where we intend mankind to be in 10, 100, or 1,000 years—then we can imagine a higher level of reason, on which conflicts on a lower level are resolved. China’s initiative for a New Silk Road—in which all countries can participate in win-win cooperation—proceeds precisely from this approach.
It will very soon be clear that President Trump can only realize his promise to rebuild U.S. infrastructure if countries with great expertise in this area, such as China, Japan, and Germany, participate in the process. In the same way, it is already clear that the further disintegration of Europe can only be stopped if European nations, along with China, decide to build up the Balkans and Southern Europe as part of the expansion of the New Silk Road. The conflict on the Korean peninsula is only solvable if North and South Korea return to a common strategy for development, which had been ended, under pressure from the Obama Administration, by the recently impeached President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye. This is only conceivable if the two Koreas are embedded in the dynamic of the new Silk Road.
And Europe could perhaps again evoke a western community of values, if it gave up its unspeakable attempts to make horrific deals to organize reception camps for refugees—which have become detention camps—and instead participatedin a workable development strategy for Southwest Asia and Africa. But this presupposes that the representatives of the arrogant, neoliberal, trans-Atlantic Establishment come down off their high horses—or are replaced by other political forces.
This might appear unrealistic to many people today, but the moment in universal history has come, in which the best ideas that mankind’s greatest thinkers have brought forward, must be put into practice. One of the most important conceptions of this kind is the method of thinking that Nicholas of Cusa developed with his coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites. Nicholas fully realized—and he wrote of it—that what he was thinking had never been conceived by anyone else. But with this scientific method, he not only laid the basis for the Treaty of Westphalia, but also for the creation of new discoveries in science and Classical art.
If we are to solve the problems of mankind today, we have to start from Cusa’s approach, an approach much like that of Confucianism, on which Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision is based. To better understand this approach, Cusa’s De Docta Ignorantia and his associated memorandum in its defense are highly recommended readings.