KEYNOTE: HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE
The New Silk Road: A New Model
For International Relations
Helga Zepp-LaRouche is the Founder and President of the Schiller Institute. This is an edited transcript of her presentation to the Nov. 25-26, 2017 Schiller Institute Conference, “Fulfilling the Dream of Mankind.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to welcome you to this conference of the Schiller Institute. There are many honored people in the audience, whom we will introduce in the course of the event. But let me just greet especially the Consul General of Ethiopia, Mr. Mehreteab Mulugeta Haile.
Let me start with an idea of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. He said that we are actually living in the best of all possible worlds. This is a very fundamental ontological conception. It’s the idea that we are living in a developing universe, that what makes the universe the best of all those possible is its tremendous potential for development. And it is created in such a way, that every great evil challenges an even greater good to come into being.
I think when we are talking about the New Silk Road and the tremendous changes which have occurred in the world, especially in the last four years, it is actually exactly that principle which is working. Because it was the absolute, manifest lack of development under the old world order, which caused the impulse of China and the spirit of the New Silk Road to catch on, so that now many nations of the world are absolutely determined to have development, which will give a better life to all of their people.
Now, I think that the New Silk Road is a typical example of an idea whose time has come; and once an idea becomes a material reality in that way, it becomes a physical force in the universe. I personally have had the chance to see the evolution of this idea, which in many senses really started with this great gentleman—my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, who many decades ago—almost half a century ago—had the idea of a just new world economic order. This then became more manifest in the 1970s, then in the 1980s—but especially in 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, this idea of creating a just new world economic order became very prominent.
I personally had the chance to see how it spread, after Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road in 2013 in Kazakhstan. I visited China in 2014, and at that point there were still only a very few officials discussing it. But then it spread very rapidly. There were industrial fairs in all the cities of China; there were hundreds of international symposia; the BRICS countries started to join in the same spirit, as did the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; altogether, more than 100 large nations and international organizations joined in support. This was evident in the Belt and Road Forum this past May, where 29 heads of state spoke and 110 nations participated. Then I think the determination of the Chinese people to effect a new world economic order was consolidated in a completely new way at the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China in October.
The Optimism in China
This has generated a completely optimistic perspective. Xi Jinping announced that China will be a country in which poverty is completely eradicated by the year 2020. I think that is wonderful! And it is absolutely to be believed, because China has had an incredible economic miracle, in which it lifted 700 million people out of poverty. China now has only 42 million poor people left, so why should it not succeed in totally eliminating poverty by the year 2020? By 2035, China is to be a great modern country of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which in my view means predominantly Confucian characteristics. And by 2050, China will be—according to Xi Jinping—“a great modern country of socialism with Chinese characteristics, prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.”
So, the Chinese people are to be happier, and have safer and healthier lives by that time. But also, the peoples of the other countries of the world are to have better, healthier, and happier lives.
Now the Chinese media announce very proudly that this is a grand vision for the future. A new era has dawned. Xinhua wrote that “China will make a new and greater contribution to the noble cause of peace and development for all of humanity.” Well, it is very easy for the Chinese people to understand that, because the whole country is already united around this mission. The spirit of the New Silk Road has also caught on in the 70-plus countries that are cooperating. There are many people in the West who have also understood that, either because they have investments in China, or because they know that the New Silk Road is the largest infrastructure program in history. It is already now twelve or maybe even twenty times larger than the Marshall Plan was in the postwar period, but without its military connotation. It is creating total enthusiasm among all those who understand this project.
The Opponents in the West
But of course, there are also those in the West who are completely opposed. Right now, a fight is going on between the old paradigm of geopolitics and the New Paradigm of the one humanity. The representatives of the old paradigm say, “Oh, what Xi Jinping is saying is just empty propaganda. The real intention of the Chinese is to replace the United States as the hegemon. Xi Jinping is a dictator. He just wants a system that is a threat to the Western model of market-oriented democracy, and therefore, it is bad.”
The President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, even went so far as to explain, in his so-called “State of the Union” address, that the EU fully intends to block Chinese investments in Europe under whatever pretext. There are many think-tanks like MERICS or the Rhodium Group, which see the New Silk Road only as a geopolitical challenge. Der Spiegel magazine of last week had a big cover story with Chinese letters on the cover—“Xing Lai!” which means “Wake Up!”—and an article about the awakening giant, writing that when Trump went to China just two weeks ago, he kowtowed; that this was his farewell speech, handing over the leadership of the world! That the West must urgently wake up and unite against a rising China, that the Chinese achievements are a threat to the values and the system of the West.
Now, isn’t this funny? One day the headlines say that the collapse of the Chinese banks and the Chinese economy will trigger a world financial collapse—but the next day, the same papers write that China is about to take over the world.
Western Elites Unable to Reflect
Obviously, some of these critics are completely freaked out about the fact that the old order is very clearly not working—the idea that you can have a unipolar world and geopolitical control based on the Anglo-American special relationship in the tradition of Churchill and Truman in the postwar period, and what the neo-cons started to build after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As you can see in the revolt against the system: whether it’s Brexit or the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the U.S. election, the “no” to the referendum in Italy, or the pitiful collapse of the “Jamaica” coalition talks in Germany. The talks collapsed because none of the participating parties had any vision for the future, or any substantive ideas.
So, there is no comprehension among these parties of the rapidly changing strategic alignment going on in the world. The common denominator of all of these phenomena is that the Western, neo-liberal, left-liberal establishment is completely unable, and unwilling, to reflect on the causes of the demise of this Western system, which are: The absolutely ridiculous income gap, where eight individuals have as much wealth as half of the rest of humanity, while the gap between rich and poor is increasing in every country; the policy of regime change, of color revolution; and the abysmal situation of the refugee crisis. Also, people have seen that what we have been fighting for, for literally centuries, in terms of civil rights, has almost vanished without discussion. There is total surveillance by the NSA and the GCHQ—the British secret service.
Western values of democracy are in shambles. If the Democratic Party leadership decides one year before the party convention who the candidate will be, and then manipulates the election against Bernie Sanders for a year—that is not a happy picture of democracy. There is the collusion of the Democratic Party in the United States with British intelligence and MI6 to invent Russia-gate against Trump. There is the collusion of Obama’s heads of intelligence against the elected President of the United States.
If you look at the famous human rights of the West, well, even the UN Human Rights Commission has denounced what the Troika [IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank] has been doing in countries such as Greece—completely violating human rights. There is a deafening silence concerning the genocide in Yemen, conducted by the British and the Saudis. The way the EU has been treating the refugees has also been called a human rights violation by the United Nations.
When these people criticize China, what you can see is that they are projecting their own intentions and viewpoints onto China and the New Silk Road. These people in the West who are attacking China, cannot imagine the existence of a government which is truly devoted to the common good and a harmonious development of all people, because they think that the world is a zero-sum game—that if one wins, the other has to lose, and that they have to control the rules in order to be able to rig the game in their favor. If you can’t do that, you are a loser.
This all leads to very absurd conclusions. For example, in 1995, Lester Brown, who was the President of the Earth Policy Institute, had a big scare story, “Who Will Feed China?” saying that the growing number of people in China will mean a growing demand for food, which will overstretch demand on the food supply in the world. This is nothing but the old Malthusian idea that the number of people will grow more quickly than the amount of food. Now if you look at China today, they can perfectly well feed 1.4 billion people—and I can assure you, with excellent food. Many countries would be envious to have such good food—like the British, for example. Right now China is producing 30% of the world’s economic growth.
New Silk Road Reaches Africa
So, the reality is quite different from what the Western media portray.
In 2014, we published a study called The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge. That is exactly what is happening. What started with just the old Silk Road line between China and Europe, is now very quickly developing into six major development corridors.
Freight trains already run from China to different European locations over 40 rail lines every week. The 16+1 countries—that is, the Eastern and Central European countries and China—are having a conference right now in Budapest. They are completely on-board the collaboration with the New Silk Road. There is a new Balkans Silk Road. The President of Panama was just in China after Panama switched its diplomatic relations from Taiwan; now they are allied with the mainland. The President of Panama said that all of Latin America will join the New Silk Road, and that this is not directed against the United States, because the United States is also invited to join.
The New Silk Road has reached Africa, and there it has changed the mood in an unbelievable way. There is now a total sense of optimism.
But the most important shift, of course, is that of the United States, and of the relationship between China and the United States. The result of the recent trip of President Trump and his two-day state visit to China, is obviously the most consequential. Because if the two largest economies of the world have a good relationship, then prospects for world peace are moving in a very positive direction. Remember that the policy of Obama was the so-called “Pivot to Asia” and the TPP—which was the idea of the encirclement of China and exclusion of China. There is still an element of geopolitics, so we have to watch whenever the term “Indo-Pacific” is used, which is the idea of making Japan, Australia, and India a counterweight to China.
But a major breakthrough occurred when Trump visited China, where Xi Jinping gave him the most unbelievable reception—what Xi called ”.” Remarkably, he closed down the Forbidden City for the day. The Forbidden City is the world’s largest complex of palaces, where the Chinese emperors had lived since the 15th Century. It’s incredibly beautiful; it’s majestic, it’s really breathtaking. So, Xi Jinping used an entire day to give Trump and the First Lady a course in Chinese history. They had a beautiful gala dinner; they had three Beijing operas. I want to read you some of the statements made by President Trump, which I think you need to hear because the Western media naturally will not report a single word of it.
‘Proud Spirits of America and China’
Trump, commenting the next day on his reception, said:
Yesterday, we visited the Forbidden City, which stands as a proud symbol of China’s rich culture and majestic spirit. Your nation is a testament to thousands of years of vibrant, living history.
And today, it was a tremendous honor to be greeted by the Chinese delegation right here at the Great Hall of the People. This moment in history presents both our nations with an incredible opportunity to advance peace and prosperity alongside other nations all around the world. In the words of a Chinese proverb, “We must carry forward the cause and forge ahead into the future.” I am confident that we can realize this wonderful vision, a vision that will be so good and, in fact, so great for both China and the United States.
Though we come from different places and faraway lands, there is much that binds the East and West. Both of our countries were built by people of great courage, strong culture, and a desire to trek across the unknown into great danger. But they overcame.
The people of the United States have a very deep respect for the heritage of your country and the noble traditions of its people. Your ancient values bring past and future together into the present. So beautiful.
It is my hope that the proud spirits of the American and Chinese people will inspire our efforts to achieve a more just, secure, and peaceful world, a future worthy of the sacrifices of our ancestors, and the dreams of our children.
Now I am sure that that is not what you read in Bildzeitung about Trump, nor does it ever report what President Trump is actually doing.
The Chinese Ambassador to Washington, Cui Tiankai, recently made the point that there were sixteen times in world history when a rising country surpassed the country that had been dominant up to that point. In twelve cases it led to a war, while in four cases the rising country took over peacefully. He said that China wants neither of those outcomes, but that China wants to have a completely different system of a win-win relationship of equality and respect for one another.
It’s clear that the most important question, strategically, if you think about it, is to avoid the so-called “Thucydides trap.” That was the tension, the rivalry between Athens and Sparta in the Fifth Century BC, which led to the Peloponnesian War and the demise of ancient Greece. I think nobody in his right mind could wish that this occur today between the United States and China in the age of thermonuclear weapons—and therefore, we should all be extremely happy that Trump and Xi Jinping have developed this very important relationship.
I stuck my neck out in the United States in February of this year, by saying that if President Trump manages to get a good relationship between the United States and China, and the United States and Russia, then he will go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents of the United States. Of course everybody was completely freaked out, because that is not the picture people are supposed to have about Trump. But I think if you look at what is happening, you will see that Trump is well on the way to accomplishing exactly that.
Trump came back from this Asia trip with $253 billion worth of deals with China. I watched the Nov. 13 press conference of the Governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, who said that now, because of China, there is hope in West Virginia. West Virginia is a totally depressed state; it has high unemployment and a drug epidemic. But he said that now we can have value-added production, and we will have a bright future. So the spirit of the New Silk Road has even caught on in West Virginia.
Obviously the United States has an enormous demand for infrastructure, especially now, after the destruction wrought by the hurricanes. Just to restore what has been destroyed will require $200 billion, without even talking about disaster prevention. So, this is all on a good path for China to invest in the infrastructure of the United States, and vice versa, for U.S. firms to cooperate in projects of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Putin’s Grand Design
There is a strategic realignment caused by all of this. The relationship between Presidents Xi and Putin is the best in history. They have developed a close friendship, and the integration of the New Silk Road and the Eurasian Economic Union is now quickly expanding.
In a separate, but nevertheless related development, there was a historic visit of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi, Russia, just now, to meet with Putin. What actually happened there was diametrically opposite to what you would read in the media, which says, of course, “the dictator Putin and the horrible Assad.” But what happened was the opposite. Putin introduced Assad to the Russian military leadership, and Assad thanked them for having saved Syria. Remember that when, more than two years ago, Putin decided that the Russian military would intervene in Syria to defeat ISIS, that country was in complete disarray. It was hopeless. Al-Qaeda and ISIS were winning. But now, they are militarily defeated and the reconstruction can actually begin—and Assad invited the refugees to return to help in the reconstruction of the country.
And the Silk Road will also be extended into Afghanistan, into Iraq, and hopefully all the other nearby countries.
This is a grand design of Putin, which involves the Astana process. He is integrating Turkey, Iran, and Jordan, and even trying to get Saudi Arabia onto a different track. We were already pushing the idea of extending the New Silk Road into Southwest Asia a long time ago. By 2012, we had a conference of the Schiller Institute, also in Frankfurt like today’s, where we said that the only way to stop terrorism and unleash development and peace in the Middle East, is for all the big neighbors—Russia, China, India, Iran, the United States, and also European countries—to join hands in its development.
This is now a concrete possibility, because of the Russian military intervention and the Chinese extension of the Silk Road. In this context, the relationship between Putin and Trump has also gotten onto a much better track: In the aftermath of the Assad visit, Putin and Trump had a 90-minute telephone discussion; and people in Russia on various levels—in the Duma and in the Federation Council—afterwards expressed great optimism that the relationship between Russia and the United States can now become much more fruitful and better.
Think about it—because I know that almost everything I am saying goes against all that you hear in the Western media. But think: From whom does the motion for peace and development come? Is it coming from those who attack Putin, Xi, and Trump? And from those who support Obama? It’s obviously time for people to rethink what the Western viewpoint is on all of these matters, or to change the glasses through which they look at the world.
Besides the change in the relations between the United States and China—and that in Southwest Asia—the biggest change for the better as a result of the New Silk Road, is in Africa. China has invested in Africa.
In railways, it has built a railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa; it is building other railways from Kenya, and they are supposed to go to Rwanda. They are building hydropower dams and industrial parks. Especially in the last four years, the outlook of most Africans has completely changed, because they see, for the first time, that after suppression by colonialism and the denial of development through the IMF conditionalities, there is a possibility to truly develop the continent. They do not want to be lectured any longer about good governance, human rights, and democracy, with no development—which is what the Europeans normally offer, but they want to treated as equal partners.
Lyndon LaRouche’s Vision for Africa
Let me give tribute to the person who had that vision for African development more than 40 years ago—again, my sweet husband. [applause] He wrote in 1980, as a supplement to the OAU’s Lagos Plan of Action, a book-length paper with the title ”.”
There he laid out a beautiful vision, a grand design for the development of Africa, based on the LaRouche scientific method of physical economy, which in turn is based on Leibniz and Alexander Hamilton’s credit policy, but LaRouche of course has added very much to that. He said, “The competent conception of economic processes flows originally from a moral principle, which is immediately accessible to any sane adult or adolescent in any part of the world, however literate or illiterate. To make my mortal individual existence of some value, how do I develop and inform my practice to produce something of benefit for the development of generations to come?”
Lyn defines economic science as an inseparable facet of science, usefully called “statecraft,” which includes the development of law and the cultural advancement of the people—the development of the individual to master the lawful principles of the composition of the universe. He presented a total counterposition to that of the Club of Rome, with its “appropriate technologies” and “sustainable development”—which is just another word for no development. He proposed to upgrade the labor force continuously to higher modes of production, by changing the proportions of employment from rural to urban productive occupations, using continuously higher energy-flux densities in the mode of production.
He took as a reference point for the development of Africa, the development of the United States, and showed how, for example, in the United States at the end of the 18th Century, 98% of the people worked in agriculture. Today it is less than 4%, obviously producing much more food than at the time. This exemplifies the way for Africa to go, including the development of roads, canals, and railroads; the specialization of farmers; the increase of productivity and income in agriculture and industry; a shift away from labor-intensive to capital-intensive modes of production; and better education—all amounting to the development of the power of the population to produce material alterations of nature with an increasing potential relative population-density and at higher energy-flux densities.
He said, “The development of Africa must be directed to what nations of Africa are to become by the year 2000 and 2020.” This was written in 1980, namely, two generations ago. He said, “The conception needed is one of the development of the productive powers of the entire population, over the development period spanning two generations.” Apart from basic infrastructure—meaning a continental system of rail, waterways, and highways—he proposed a string of new cities of 250,000 to a maximum of 2 million inhabitants, where at the core of each new city would be an educational complex of pedagogical museums, libraries, cultural centers, parks, and teaching and research institutions, including medical science and research institutions.
He proposed a connected system of rapid transport for persons and freight, and low-cost transition from one mode of transport to another. He envisioned inner-city distribution of freight from warehouses in the city to stores, with daily deliveries of perishable goods such as foodstuffs. And around the core of the educational complex, then residential, industrial, and commercial areas would be developed.
Productive, Beautiful Cities in Africa
The cities were not only supposed to be functionally well designed, but beautiful, using the principles of Platonic ratios in architecture. Utilizing, for example, those methods used in Gothic cathedrals, or in the architecture of the Golden Renaissance of Italy. It included the idea of having many trees and flora, so that people would be happy and the climate would be moderated.
He said, “The essential thing which the citizens of such a city must experience over the course of the city’s gradual completion, is a sense of ongoing progress of perfection.” To aid this process, there should be technology transfer from the developed countries, financed by grants. He made the correct point that technology transfer from Europe and the United States to Africa would stimulate the economy in the exporting nations and increase their tax income, and that the developing countries receiving grants would become the next generation’s customers for purchasing on a credit basis. The exporting nations would develop prosperous customers for tomorrow, and have an accelerated turnover of capital stocks, and thus those exporting countries would increase their productivity, and therefore their national and per-capita wealth.
Now, that is obviously completely the opposite of what the IMF did, which lured countries into the “debt trap” which was quite dramatically exposed by John Perkins in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
Now, Lyn [LaRouche], on the other side, said that, “The technology-exporting nations must seek those portions of the labor force in the developing nations, which can be upgraded immediately to productive employment, using the most advanced technologies embodied in the capital stock to be exported from the industrialized nations. That labor force is able to assimilate the advanced technologies, and that must be expanded. It requires methods of promoting the development potentials of the population on a large scale, so the investment in infrastructure and the development of the population has to occur at the same time.” He said, “Every infant born in any part of the world, has the potential for the development of his or her mental powers to the level sufficient for a direct, competent use of modern technology. It is that potential development which is the only source of wealth. That development is a creditworthy asset in the eyes of a truly prudent lender.”
Citizens Become Artists
So what occurs at the point where economic development will have absorbed most of the population of the world? By that time, we must have an increase in the rate of development of technology, such that we no longer depend on the expansion of the economy in scale. When that transition to a new world economic order has been completed, we will have more and more members of society living and working as artists; as “golden souls,” as Plato describes them; as “beautiful souls” as Schiller terms it; as junzi, the Confucian idea of the noble man; or the people living on the level of Paradise in Dante’s Commedia; or, as Vladimir Vernadsky says, that the noösphere—that part of the physical universe which is dominated by creative activity of man—will take over more and more of the biosphere.
Actually, what is happening right now goes in this direction. What Xi Jinping has defined as a goal for 2050 for China and the rest of the world, is to lead better and happier lives, with poverty having been eradicated and people being able to devote their lives to meaningful purposes. This actually goes very much in this direction.
Is this realistic? I can practically can hear the howls of protest of the neo-liberals and neo-cons alike, in the West. “What about Western values? What about our freedom? What about democracy?”—or better, “market-conformed democracy,” as German Chancellor Mrs. Merkel likes to put it.
We had better reflect where these values have gotten us in Europe. Europe is completely disunited. We are faced with a financial crisis, worse than that of 2008, about to erupt. The EU has just completed guidelines eliminating the possibility for the separation of the banks, a Glass-Steagall type of separation which China has just reconfirmed. The right-wing movements are rising, and the refugee crisis has caused the reputation of Europe to go down the drain completely in the world. There is a very dangerous anti-immigration sentiment.
The entire social and political fabric of Europe is disintegrating. Because Europe, in its present form of the European Union, is like a giant Tower of Babel, attempting an amalgamation of cultures, languages, and histories that leads to ever more frictions between supranational integration and the self-interest of these nations of Europe. Not to even mention the government crisis in Germany, which is the worst since 1949, since the founding of the German Federal Republic.
Leibniz’s Proposals Were Analogous
This is not the first time that Europe has been in bad shape. This was addressed by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in a policy memorandum of 1670, in which he named the challenges of his time—“in badly established trade and manufacturing; in an entirely debased currency; in the uncertainty of law and the delay of all legal actions; in worthless education . . . in an increase in atheism, in our morals, which are, as it were, infected by a foreign plague; in the bitter strife of religions; all of which . . . weaken us, and, . . . may in the end completely ruin us. . . .” So, that was the situation Leibniz saw.
This was still in the aftermath of 150 years of religious war in Europe, when he came up with the idea that the solution was a merger of the Chinese ancient natural theology and European culture. He called it a beautiful coincidence that the two most developed cultures in the world, are like two poles reaching hands across between Europe and China. By creating a common exchange between them, civilization could reach the next, superior stage in human history.
In the preface of his Novissima Sinica (The Latest from China), he expressed this intention. Leibniz very closely followed all the news from China. He engaged in a very lively dialogue with many of the Jesuit missionaries, who informed him on all of the developments in science and the famous “Rites Controversy,” in which he sided with people of Matteo Ricci’s view, saying that there was a strong affinity between Confucianism and Christianity.
He said that Confucianism has much more to offer than any other known belief system of his time. He said, “We need the Chinese to send missionaries to Europe, so that we can learn from them the natural religion that we have almost lost.” He proposed an exchange of cultural ambassadors, which for his time was a very modern conception. He said, “There is in China a public morality, admirable in certain regards, conjoined to a philosophical doctrine, or rather a natural theology venerable by its antiquity, established and authorized for about 3,000 years, long before the philosophy of the Greeks.”
For Leibniz, the affinity of Confucius and Christianity, despite all differences in culture, proved that humanity has the universal characteristic of reason. The fact that the Kangxi Emperor and he—Leibniz—studied the same mathematical solutions, proved for him the universal character of human reason and the human species. In Chinese philosophy, he emphasized that the notion of the li refers to the supreme order of the universe, in which harmony exists if each being exercises its lawful function in its proper place. And together with the notion of ren, which approximates the Christian notion of agape—love—the Chinese Confucians use different terminologies and different conceptions, but they have analogy with, and affinity to what Leibniz describes in his Monadology.
According to Leibniz, “God has created the universe by the way of a pre-stabilized harmony, where the realm of the spiritual and the material world, the soul and the body are in total correspondence. This is so, because God—in His divine anticipation—has created the material and spiritual substance in such an ordered way and with such a precision, that even if they follow their own lawfulness embedded in their nature, nevertheless there is such a cohesion as if there existed between them, a reciprocal inference. And as if God, apart from His general contribution, were to act concretely in each single instant. Each monad, each uniform substance, reflects in germ the entire universe at large. But they only relate to each other because they take part in the absolute being of God.”
Leibniz and Xi Jinping
Once one understands this inner cohesion between Chinese ancient philosophy, especially in the Confucian expression, and the idea of Leibniz, it is no surprise that he not only recognized the affinity, but concretely thought a reciprocal exchange of the two cultures would merge into a superior, more advanced level of civilization. Among Leibniz’s plans for this project were the creation of a world language, for which he thought the Chinese language and script were most appropriate; the creation of a world academy of sciences, where Chinese and Western scientists would work together; and the creation of a world citizenship, which would allow every human being to absorb all cultures of the world.
He envisioned the future role of Russia in mediating between China and the West, and the development of Siberia in relation to the development of Northern Africa. And Peter the Great, with whom he was in contact, in 1712 ordered the expedition of Vitus Jonassen Bering, for whom the Bering Strait has been named.
Further, he advocated the comparative study of languages to find the common origin of human language, which was later pursued by philologists such as Humboldt and others. He proposed a chronology of the history of the West and China—and the only museum where I have seen that, is the museum in Taipei, where you have a beautiful exhibition where you see above the history of China, and below what happened parallel in the Western culture—which gives you a completely different way of thinking about universal history.
He also pioneered the binary system, which became the basis for computers and the like, and found evidence of its prior use in China. He proposed the development of a key which would make it easier to learn the Chinese language—now I think everybody who has tried to learn Chinese would be very thankful for such a key. He advocated the development of a method to teach the difference between Western and Chinese culture. He called for defining principles of a new moral code for Western statesmen and politicians, but also to guide the behavior of the ordinary citizen—based on Confucianism. He wanted an analysis of Confucianism based on Western methods, intending to show its closeness to Western Christianity.
If you look at these plans by Leibniz, it is absolutely amazing how similar they are to what Xi Jinping is doing with the New Silk Road policy today, which has aspects of all of these plans. So why, then, in the West, are so many people having a hard time accepting an offer of a “win-win cooperation” among all nations, which would be so clearly in the interest of all people?
The CCF’s Cultural Poison
Let me briefly go back to the end of World War II, to find the roots of this problem. Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his famous dialogue with Churchill in Casablanca, had pledged the end of colonialism and the help of the United States to develop the developing countries. Churchill, on the other side, said the British did not fight World War II in order to end the British Empire. Now unfortunately, Roosevelt died at a very inconvenient moment, and Truman—who was a very small man—took over the White House. Remember what Lyn always said—he was in India at the time—about how shocked the people were when Roosevelt died at that point.
So Roosevelt, who was allied with the Soviet Union in the Second World War, had gone. Churchill stepped into this vacuum, and basically then he made his famous March 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri, launching the Cold War.
Churchill proposed a new alliance, based on the special relationship between the United States and the British Empire, and that speech by Churchill in Fulton shifted the American view on the U.S.S.R. Then followed the Truman Doctrine in March 1947, which allowed such atrocities as Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witchhunt in America against everybody suspected of being a communist—a communist under every bed. Now this is what is happening with the anti-Trump witchhunt today.
What happened in Europe? Recently there was an amazing article in the leading German daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), covering an taking place in Berlin right now, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the scandal erupting around the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF).
The CCF, which lasted from 1950 to 1967, was the gigantic cultural warfare program by the CIA, which had as its aim to recruit left-wing people, communists, into an anti-Soviet Cold War. In reality, they wanted to destroy the axioms in the population which had made Franklin D. Roosevelt possible, because Wall Street had been completely freaked out about Roosevelt’s implementing Glass-Steagall, about his New Deal, and his alliance with the Soviet Union. So, once they were rid of Roosevelt, Truman started, in cohesion with the British, to establish a paradigm shift in the population, using the left-liberal outlook which we have today. That is what the FAZ article said. It said the CIA did not plan to foster reactionary movements: Rather, they created exactly that left-liberal axiomatic outlook which is the politically correct view in Europe today.
I think that is really noteworthy to reflect upon, because that is exactly what they did in Germany through the Dulles brothers and High Commissioner [the U.S. dictator for defeated Germany] John Jay McCloy. If you look at this operation, it was huge: It involved 35 countries and 20 magazines. The CIA controlled practically every art exhibition and cultural event. In Europe, there were very few writers, poets, musicians, historians, critics, and journalists who were not connected to this project—some witting, many unwitting. It was part of the Cold War to fight for “the liberation of the human mind.” The CCF acted like a cartel. It controlled the entire cultural industry and based it on the myth of a freedom-oriented outlook.
Remember, the CIA, at the same time that it pretended to be for freedom, made a coup against Mossadegh in Iran, conducted the Bay of Pigs operation against Cuba, Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, and other similar operations.
The CCF and the Frankfurt School
The cultural warfare was in part funded with money from the Marshall Plan, diverted to the CCF, but also, by altogether 170 foundations. One of the key ideologues, George Kennan, in a speech before the National War College in December 1947, developed the strategy of the “necessary lie,” which would become an essential part of U.S. foreign policy, laid down in NSC Directive 4A, and later in another directive for psychological warfare operations. This lasted for decades. So, the idea of fake news, of manipulating the population with lies, is not new, and it has not erupted only against Trump.
The aims of the CCF were very much those of the Frankfurt School. They wanted to destroy idealism and Classical culture. The Frankfurt School’s Theodor Adorno, for example, argued that idealism leads to Nazism, because it leads to a radical view. That has to be rooted out; both in order to eradicate the remnants of Nazism, but also to work against the dictatorship of the Soviet Union. Adorno said, for this purpose, we have to eradicate beauty from art completely. Remember that Schiller said that art which is not beautiful is not art. And I fully agree, because art has to ennoble people and uplift their spirit, and when it’s not beautiful, it does not do that.
In music, the CCF started a vicious campaign against Furtwängler; and instead of Classical composers, it pushed atonal, twelve-tone music, such as that of Alban Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern, and eradicated the idea of polyphonic harmonic composition. The famous writer, Susan Sontag, said, “We knew we expected to accept ugly music as pleasant.” That is what happens when you go to the concerts—the Rheingau festivals or others—you always have Beethoven, alongside Berg and some other modern composer. You never can get a Classical concert.
They also made a list of allowed writers—including Ibsen, Shaw, O’Neill, Wilder, and Steinbeck. They forbade certain plays of Shakespeare and Kleist, and they invented the famous Regietheater, which is the idea that you completely destroy the Classical composition of Schiller or Shakespeare—each modern director puts his own interpretation on it, up to the point that you cannot recognize these plays any longer.
A big role was played by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which promoted modern painting—Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, Expressionism, abstract art, serialism, and so forth. The writer Eva Cockcroft wrote in ArtForum magazine, “Abstract expressionism was a weapon of the Cold War.” The connection between the Cold War and this expressionism was absolutely no coincidence, because it was intended to destroy the ability of the mind to understand anything. Harry Truman—of all people—liked to go to the National Art Gallery in the United States, to see Holbein and Rembrandt. He said, “What a pure pleasure, and what a difference from our modern Schmierfinken [hacks], our mucky pups.”
The CCF influence did not end in 1967. It ended under that name, when everything came out in a big scandal, but its influence is working to the present. This is why people have this left-liberal ideology today. This is what is behind the interventionist policy, the color revolution, the export of democracy, the “right to protect” (R2P). This is what Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov calls “the post-Christian values.” He said, “Western values are no longer those values which were handed down from our grandfathers, from generation to generation. But it has been replaced by ’everything is allowed’—a complete hedonism, where freedom is misunderstood as the right of everybody to live out all their pleasures in the here and now. Do whatever you like to do.”
That ugliness is what you see when you look at most movies nowadays, at the video games, the art, or youth culture, which are all characterized by a cult of ugliness. So, in that sense, the CCF has done a very successful job.
Revive Classical Culture!
So, we do have a problem in the West, a big cultural problem. There is a huge drug epidemic in the United States, out-of-control violence, mass shootings in schools almost every week, and terrorism. But the good news is that the solution to these problems is readily available. When we founded the Schiller Institute—now more than 33 years ago—we said from the beginning that a just new world economic order must be combined with a renaissance of Classical culture. This is now actually happening, because with the New Silk Road development being pursued for four years now, the world has changed already, and many countries are reviving their Classical cultures. This is why the Schiller Institute, in all our conferences, always have a concert expressing this dialogue of Classical cultures.
We obviously need a completely new set of international relations. We must overcome geopolitics, and we must have a system of relations among us with total respect for sovereignty, non-interference, respect for the different social systems, win-win cooperation in the mutual interest of all of us, and the perspective of one single humanity.
Nicholas of Cusa, who developed the method of the Coincidentia oppositorum, the idea of the Coincidence of Opposites, argued that the One has a higher power, a higher order of magnitude than the Many. So the idea of harmony in the macrocosm is only possible when you have the best development of all microcosms. That development must not be static or linear, but it works like a contrapuntal fugue, where each development furthers the development of the next segment, becoming unified into a higher concept of the composition.
What we have to build is a completely new set of international relations in which each nation is allowed to celebrate statecraft, meaning making possible the realization of the creative potential of all of its citizens. This will be an interaction among nations in which each focuses on the best cultural tradition and potential of the other. China is reviving Confucianism and its philosophy of philosophical Classical culture in poetry, music, and painting.
In Europe, we must absolutely do the same. We must revive the ancient Greek Classical period, which is what Greece is actually doing: They recently had a conference in Athens of the ten oldest civilizations, and they revived exactly that spirit. In Italy, we have the Golden Renaissance; in Spain, the Andalusian renaissance and other great thinkers. In France, you have the traditions of Louis XI, Jeanne d’Arc, and the [Ecole] Polytechnique. In Germany, we have a tremendous wealth of philosophers, composers, and poets—Schiller and Beethoven. In America, we have the American Constitution, the American System of economy. All these treasures are there, and only need to be revived.
If we undo what the CCF did, revive the Classical culture of all nations, and enter a beautiful dialogue among them, mankind will experience a new renaissance and unleash the enormous creativity of the human species as never before.
So, it is very good to live at this moment in history, and contribute to make the world a better place. And it can be done, because the New Paradigm corresponds to the lawfulness of the physical universe in science, Classical art, and these principles. Neo-liberalism and left-liberalism are as outdated as Scholasticism, and will disappear, as did the scholastics debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. What will be asserted is the identity of the human species as the creative species in the universe. [applause]