This article appears in the May 1, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Zepp-LaRouche, Polyanskiy, and Zhou
Speed: We’re now going to take questions for our first three speakers. As I mentioned, Ambassador Huang could not be present, and Counsellor Zhou Guolin, head of the consulate’s Science and Technology section, is standing in for him.
An Urgent Summit
The first question is from a member of the Schiller Institute in New York City, addressed to the Russian representative, Mr. Polyanskiy. The question is:
Recently, Kremlin spokesman [Dmitry] Peskov publicly discussed President Putin’s call as an urgent heads of state summit of the Permanent Five members of the UN Security Council. Peskov described President Putin’s call as a call for “a truly visionary summit.” Given the great issues today of war and peace, the COVID-19 pandemic, and others, what format can be used in the very near term to hold such an urgent summit?
Polyanskiy: Thank you very much for this question. This is a very important issue, and we are in the process of discussing it right now. The summit is on the agenda. As you know, there was a Russian proposal to hold a summit of the five member states. It was done before the pandemic, and of course, we have in mind it happening physically, not online. This is of course, a bit of a middle-term perspective. For the time being, there are a lot of ideas to organize a video summit of the five member states. We think that this will be a successful endeavor, but of course, we don’t need a summit for the sake of the summit. We need to breach our positions a little bit in order to make this summit possible to produce a certain impulse toward cooperation.
That is why the agenda is now being very suddenly worked on. We are preparing documents, possible outcome documents of this summit. I’m sure that it will take place at a bit later stage, but we shouldn’t wait too late for it.
As I told you, diplomacy is mostly an art of communication, and of course communication should be perceived as physical communication first and foremost. You can’t do everything online; there are certain limitations to this. There are also certain challenges to online communication. This is not very favorable for sincere, open communication between the five members right now. But we are trying to do our best to substitute them with online means of communication. I am sure that in a very short period of time, you will hear some concrete ideas in this regard. Thank you.
Nuclear Energy for Africa
Speed: Our next question, which will be directed in general to the panel, is from Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo. He is the Deputy Permanent Representative of the South African UN Mission. He writes this question:
There is interest in several Africa countries either to introduce or expand nuclear energy. At the moment, South Africa possesses the only nuclear power plant on the continent, located in Koeberg, near Cape Town. The Koeberg nuclear power plant has been operated safely for nearly three decades and produces the cheapest electricity in South Africa. Although there has been a rapid development of renewable energy in recent years, coal remains by far the largest source of energy for the country.
For South Africa and other African countries, nuclear power would supply a clean source of energy, enabling us to meet our domestic and international commitments to address climate change. It would also be an important source of base load electricity. For a country like South Africa, nuclear is the main alternative base load source of electricity to coal until realistic storage technologies for storing renewable energy are developed. The speakers on the panel may therefore wish to address the issue of a regulatory framework for nuclear power from their own experiences. Regulation, safety, and security would be the building blocks in the African continent as most countries would be getting into nuclear energy for the first time.
Speed: I’ll ask if the Chinese representative has anything to say about this question, and then we’ll go to Helga, and then we’ll go to Mr. Polyanskiy.
Zhou Guolin: This is a very big question from the ambassador of South Africa to the United Nations. At this moment, new energy is one of the most important sources for future energy to be developed. Notice in China we have already had a lot of development and efforts to make new energy available, like windmills and hydropower, even tidal wave energy and many others, including from plantations.
At the same time nuclear energy is also very important in China. After a few decades of development in China, nuclear energy is now rapidly developing in China. South Africa is in the same situation. I’ll just mention, there’s only one nuclear power plant in Africa. The sole nuclear plant in Africa is in South Africa. In my opinion, with nuclear energy, the most important matter is safety. Of course, we know nuclear energy is clean energy. Just a short time ago, Mme. Zepp-LaRouche mentioned the ITER, the thermonuclear fusion reactor project in Cadarache, France. That is one of the very new ways to make nuclear fusion energy available in the future, perhaps in a few decades.
The Scientific View
We are producing as much energy as possible through different methods, to make new types of energy available in the future, because it is better than the traditional nuclear energy.
Anyway, in this regard, as the Science Counsellor in the General Consulate in New York, my opinion is that we need to strengthen cooperation between Africa and China, between the U.S. and China, between Russia and China. Among all countries, we are all stakeholders: We need to get together to enhance one another’s efforts, as our two distinguished guests just mentioned. Only with cooperation internationally are we going to be successful in the future. So, in terms of this, we think nuclear energy is probably one of the hopes for making both more efficient and more abundant energy available in the future. Thank you.
Zepp-LaRouche: I fully agree with Mr. Zhou, that international cooperation will be crucial: Africa will have the largest population in the world fairly soon, hopefully if this pandemic can be contained, and then, nuclear energy will be absolutely crucial. And I can only say, do not follow example of Germany! I think the exit from nuclear energy by the Chancellor Angela Merkel was probably the biggest mistake of her government, and she made a couple of other ones. I think even Europeans, who have been very anti-nuclear, will come out of this crisis—this is my modest prediction—with the realization that you cannot have an industrial nation without nuclear energy. And in the meantime, until the Europeans get back to their senses, I think what you said, Mr. Zhou, is absolutely true: There must be an international cooperation among the pro-nuclear countries in the world, all helping Africa to access nuclear energy.
Hopefully, we can eventually overcome this absolute, irrational fear and demonization of nuclear energy, which is not grounded in science. Nuclear energy is an absolutely manageable technology, mankind can control nuclear energy, and all the cases which are always cited as the proof of the opposite, can really be refuted. So I think the way to go for the time being is to go for an international cooperation, as you said, Mr. Zhou.
Speed: Mr. Polyanskiy?
Stop Demonizing Nuclear Power
Polyanskiy: Thank you very much, Dennis, for this question. It’s really a big issue right now: what will be the future of energy in the world, and I don’t think there is a contradiction, or argument, between those who argue for development of nuclear energy, and for those who are speaking about increasing the share of solar and wind energy, the cleanest energies available.
The fact is the share of renewable energy, not biofuel, but real clean, renewable energy is increasing in the world, it is still very modest, and there are certain limitations to this. On the other hand, the demand of mankind for energy is growing and we, in Russia, think that nuclear energy is one of the best responses to this challenge. That’s why I absolutely agree with Helga LaRouche when she said that one should stop demonizing nuclear energy and citing the examples from the past.
As far as Russia is concerned, we have come a long way since the emergence of the new Russia, and we have now very advanced technologies. We’re eager to help out many countries in the world to build their nuclear power plants, and we are absolutely convinced that these power plants are safe. And that’s why we think it would be a very good solution for the whole world to combine different sources of energy, not only nuclear, but also natural gas, which is quite a clean source of energy.
You know everything is relevant: Some people say that the future will be in electric cars. They claim that this is the cleanest energy technology available. They are, of course, right. But on the other hand if you want to charge a battery for an electric car, then of course, you will need a certain amount of conventional energy. And it can be produced by not very clean sources. Also, there’s the question of disposal of electric batteries, which can be very damaging for our planet.
So everything is very philosophical, and there are always two sides to every issue, to every question. We think that international cooperation in the field nuclear energy should be developed, it shouldn’t be stigmatized, it shouldn’t be linked to any political calculations: It should be first and foremost based on the demands of humankind, and the possibility to provide clean and safe technology, to ensure the existence of nuclear energy. And as I told you, once again, Russia promotes such technology, and Russia is ready to help the whole world, including Africa, which is of course in big demand of energy, and this demand will be growing.
But, I would like to use this opportunity, also, to say goodbye to everybody and to thank everybody for their attention. I have another videoconference in a couple of minutes. That’s why I wish you very fruitful work and I wish you all the success, Helga, and to you, personally, I’m always very glad to communicate with you. Thank you, very much.
Will the Pandemic Bring Us All Together?
Speed: The next question is from Earl Rasmussen, who is the Executive Vice President of the Eurasia Center. He is asking about the collaboration during the pandemic. He says:
Today we are faced with a global pandemic, which is challenging every country in the world. It seems to me that this is time to bring us all together, set political divides aside, and work collaboratively to solve this present need. Yet, I see some countries with just the opposite occurring, where countries are hoarding needed supplies for themselves, trying to leverage conditions to continue foreign policy objectives, and create even more divisiveness. These actions only compound the situation and create an environment filled with mistrust, where what is called for is trust and a cooperative engagement. What steps can we take to improve international cooperation, to break down political barriers in order to not only solve today’s pressing needs, but those of the future as well?
I’m going to ask Helga that you might take that, and then Mr. Zhou.
Zepp-LaRouche: I think I addressed that in a way in my initial remarks. We have to reach a point in which the idea, that every and any opinion is as good as the other has to go. Because we would not be in this crisis if all of these opinions were in fact so great. Let me refer to the great thinker Nicholas of Cusa, who, in the 15th century said that in his view, the only reason why people from different nations and different cultures can even communicate with each other, is because they all have scientists, they all have musicians, they all have poets, and it is those poets, who, because they speak a common language, even if they speak, formally, a different language, they speak the language of science, of art, of great cultural ideas, that they can communicate with each other.
In practice we have seen that in international space cooperation, in international scientific conferences, where scientists don’t have these kinds of problems that are artificially imposed by the politicians, because they’re more interested in the subject, in the advance of science, in the beauty of collaborating in cultural projects. If you were to look at any orchestra, be it in Asia, in the United States, or Europe, you’ll find instrumentalists from all over the world.
Truth Seeking Is Universal
So it is really that which unites people, which is the common search for truth, the common truth-seeking in these areas. And therefore, I made in my initial presentation the proposal that one of the lessons to come out of this pandemic and the breakdown of the whole system, which we will see a hyperinflationary blowout, is that if we are to come out of this crisis, we have to take all the elements of the crisis together, and address all of them, because I don’t think a partial solution will solve any aspect of it. And how do you arrive at a scientific solution? You get the best scientific minds together, and let them define the policy: The artists, the scientists, the people who can communicate on profound ideas.
Just in parenthesis, if you look at the assets of the Federal Reserve which have almost tripled since the beginning of the year, and they’re supposed to double again in the next weeks!—we are in a hyperinflationary blowout—that’s just in parenthesis.
The image of the politician should also change. It should be more people who are either scientists or are really skilled people who know these principles. Leaders of governments should be more like Plato’s philosopher king; they should really try to be truth-seeking people, and then I think all the problems can be solved.
Zhou: I think I have three steps to deal with this pandemic. This pandemic, you know, emerged from the stage of epidemic; it’s become more and more serious; it now involves all human beings in the world, and in particular in New York as the new epicenter in the world.
The first step is to establish greater awareness of the facts of this disease, for all human beings across the whole world, that is, to enable everyone to understand the damages caused by this coronavirus, which are very terrible. It potentially takes lives of people everywhere. So, this is the first thing, to make people understand, you need to probably, for example, in public places, wear masks; you probably need to wear gloves; you need to protect yourself and to protect others. So this is the first step: extend awareness of this coronavirus everywhere.
The second step is to share experiences. Because there are now more than 200 countries that have been infected by this coronavirus, a lot of countries have undergone a lot of experiences, as has China. China was first hit by this very terrible coronavirus in late January; in March it was very severe. So, we have already had a lot of experience with this case; we could share this with other countries. Also among European countries—Italy, Spain—there has been a lot of experience gained. And now in the United States, also. So, we need to share the different experiences of how to cope with this enemy, the human beings’ common enemy.
And the third step is we need to cooperate on research. At this moment, we don’t have a vaccine, yet; we don’t have very efficient drugs or medicines, yet. This is the most difficult period. When we have a vaccine, or a very good drug, then we will contain the coronavirus, prevent it from spreading.
In this case, we need to join hands. In all of the institutions involved, for example, the CDC in the U.S., the CDC in China, and other centers, other hospitals, public health institutions—we need, altogether, to join hands.Only in this way will we make the concerted effort, so that we can cope with this harmful enemy.
These are the three steps: Awareness, sharing experiences, and joining hands for research work. Thank you.