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This article appears in the July 27, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.


Productive Triangle to
Eurasian Land-Bridge

[PDF version of this article]

Since Lyndon LaRouche's historic press conference in West Berlin in October 1988, the Eurasian Land-Bridge has developed step by step, despite all the interventions of the Anglo-American financier oligarchy to prevent it (such as the 1991 Gulf War, the genocidal wars in the Balkans, and the 1997-98 assault on the Asian currencies). This timeline documents how a powerful idea becomes history.

Oct. 12, 1988: Lyndon LaRouche gave a press conference at West Berlin's Kempinski Bristol Hotel, on "U.S. Policy Toward the Reunification of Germany." He forecast the collapse of the Comecon economies, and elaborated a "Food for Peace" policy for transforming East-West relations, centered on rebuilding the economy of Poland, so that "the desirable approach to reunification of Germany can proceed on the basis a majority of Germans on both sides of the Wall desire it should."

December 1989: LaRouche commissioned a group of scientists and other specialists from the Schiller Institute to work out an economic program for Europe, known as the "Productive Triangle."

January 1990: The Productive Triangle, Paris-Berlin-Vienna: Locomotive for the World Economy was published, in German. This geographical area, a spherical triangle approximately as large as the territory of Japan, encompassing the industrial regions of northern France, western and eastern Germany, and parts of former Czechoslovakia and Austria, was envisioned to serve as a locomotive to restart the collapsing world economy.

The program aimed at stimulating the economy of eastern and western Europe following the fall of the "Iron Curtain," by means of large projects for the modernization of infrastructure in transportation, energy, water, and communications. These projects, to be financed chiefly through state credit at low rates of interest, would stimulate the demand for investment goods over the long term, secure employment, and favor the creation of modern industrial factories.

The backbone of the triangle was to be an integrated system of high-speed and magnetic levitation rail, to be used for transport of both passengers and freight. The transportation network was to be expanded with roads and waterways, linked by automated freight-transfer systems. The urban centers would be connected with magnetic levitation lines.

March 1991: A Schiller Institute conference in Berlin, "Infrastructure for a Free Europe," was attended by over 100 economists and political activists from 17 countries. Its "Berlin Declaration" appealed to "the governments of Eastern and Western Europe, to make the 'Productive Triangle' the centerpiece of their government policy."

In a speech read to the conference, LaRouche (who had been a political prisoner of the Bush Administration since January 1989) identified the political battle of the last century, of European and Asian leaders attempting to unite Eurasia as "a sphere of cooperation for mutual benefit among sovereign states," which could have ended the British domination of the world. Then, as now, he said, the British and their allies launched a twofold attack, using balance-of-power methods, playing off potential collaborators among France, Germany, Russia, Japan, and so on, against each other, and waging cultural warfare for the internal destruction of European civilization.

October 1991: At the First All-European Conference on Transport, held in Prague, transport ministers from 16 nations resolved on the need for a common European infrastructure network. Schiller Institute representatives distributed the Productive Triangle program and discussed LaRouche's concept of energy-intensive, technology-intensive development corridors.

November 1991: Schiller Institute conference in Berlin. Some 400 participants from over 30 countries, including the republics of the Soviet Union (then breaking up), deliberated on " 'The Productive Triangle': Cornerstone of an All-Eurasian Program of Infrastructure Development."

1992: The Schiller Institute elaborated the "spiral arms" of the Productive Triangle, as a network of transcontinental Eurasian development corridors. The concept soon resonated in China, where attention to the potential for development along the new Eurasian Land-Bridge began to intensify, after the link-up of China's rail system to the Soviet system was made at the Alataw Pass in 1990, becoming operational in June 1992.

Throughout the early 1990s, intense discussions on such cooperation were going on throughout Eurasia. The 14,000 kilometer Trans-Asia railway project, to link Indonesia in Southeast Asia, via Thailand and Myanmar, with the Indian subcontinent, and then to Istanbul on the border of Europe, which had been under discussion and planning since the 1960s, was revived. In the early 1990s, work began on filling in the strategic "missing links" between Southeast and South Asia, Southeast Asia and China, and South and West Asia. China completed its Nanning-Kunming railroad, which could be linked to northern Myanmar. Iran, although under serious economic pressure, remained committed to finishing the short, vital 600 km rail line necessary to link Pakistan, and thus the Indian subcontinent, with West Asia and Europe.

1992: The Economic Cooperation Organization, composed of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, expanded to incorporate the Central Asian republics, which had declared their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. ECO held a series of summits, some including China, to plan Eurasian rail development, and outlined a modern transportation network running from Istanbul to China. These nations also discussed the construction of oil and gas pipelines to link Kazakstan and Turkmenistan to Iran and China.

Intensive diplomacy between India and Iran developed beginning in 1992, with one key issue being that Iran would provide India with a bridge to Central Asia via Turkmenistan.

June 1992: With the completion of additional Eurasian rail lines in Central Asia, it became possible for the first time to travel the 11,000 kilometers from China's east coast port of Lianyungang on the Yellow Sea, through Central Asia, to Rotterdam, Europe's biggest Atlantic port.

Autumn 1993: China officially announced its policy to develop the "regions along the Eurasian Continental Bridge," an idea very close to LaRouche's concept of "development corridors" extending for about 50 kilometeres on either side of a central transport-spine of waterways, rails, pipelines, and trunk power-lines. With Russia, in the grip of Western "shock therapy," plunged into economic disaster, the Beijing leadership put forward a policy to bridge the growing economic gulf between China's fast-developing coastal regions and the huge, backward hinterland.

Winter 1993-94. The Transport Infrastructure Committee of the European Union, under Jacques Delors, proposed the "Delors Plan" for extending Western European rail lines into Eastern Europe. At its heart was the completion of the Trans-European Network (TEN). The Delors proposal aimed to expand existing national high-speed rail projects, such as the French TGV and Germany's ICE, into the most modern rail grid in the world. Investments of some $500 billion would be required by the year 2010, and 26 high-priority projects would be carried out, including the construction of a comprehensive Europe-wide high-speed rail network. The construction of a modern rail connection from Berlin to Warsaw would signify an important improvement of the "continental bridge" to the Asian part of Russia and on to China. The Delors Plan map closely mirrored LaRouche's Productive Triangle proposal, but omitted the war-torn Balkans. The most important corridors called for by the plan were never funded.

December 1994: A Schiller Institute conference in Eltville, Germany, "Global Economic Recovery and the Cultural Renaissance," focussed on the "New Silk Road" development policy. Lyndon LaRouche, personally taking part for the first time since his imprisonment under the Bush regime, conducted a seminar on the Eurasian development corridors perspective, with leaders from Russia, Ukraine, China, and Eastern Europe.

May 7-9, 1996: Experts and officials from 34 countries gathered for an "International Symposium on Economic Development of the Regions Along the New Euro-Asia Continental Bridge" in Beijing. Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche addressed the conference on "Building the Silk Road Land-Bridge: The Basis for the Mutual Security Interests of Asia and Europe."

May 1996: Iran and Turkmenistan announced the opening of the Mashhad-Ashkhabad rail line. This provided the missing links of the Land-Bridge, from the Persian Gulf to all the Central Asian countries, and beyond.

Jan. 4, 1997: LaRouche addressed a forum of the FDR-PAC in Washington, D.C. laying out a broad policy orientation for the second Clinton Administration, centering around two proposals: that the U.S. President convene an international conference to establish a "New Bretton Woods system," to put the world economy through bankruptcy proceedings and to reorganize it for productive development; and that the United States join in global projects of benefit to all mankind, with a special focus on the Eurasian Land-Bridge program.

January 1997: EIR published a special report, The Eurasian Land-Bridge: The "New Silk Road." With its in-depth discussion of development corridors, and of the national banking approach needed to finance the project, the report circulated far and wide.

1997-98: The global financial crisis, spearheaded by George Soros' speculative assault on Asian currencies, devastated the economies of Southeast Asia.

1998: The European Union and Russia resolved to extend the No. 2 Pan-European Corridor (Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk-Moscow) to Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorky, Russia's third-largest city, a Volga River industrial center), effectively making it coextensive with the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Oct. 27-Nov. 1, 1998: Conference on "Asia-Europe Economic and Trade Relations in the 21st Century and the Second Eurasian Bridge" in Beijing, with visits by foreign guests to four Chinese cities, to inspect construction of the New Eurasian Continenal Land-Bridge. Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave a keynote speech on "Principles of Foreign Policy in the Coming Era of the New Eurasian Land-Bridge."

Nov. 24, 1998: Chinese President Jiang Zemin gives a speech in Novosibirsk, Russia's "science city," injecting the crucial element of rapid scientific and technological progress into the growing momentum toward what LaRouche had dubbed the Survivors' Club. Jiang called for "a new technological revolution," and defined a policy of cooperation to harness Russia's enormous scientific-technological potential for the development of Eurasia.

Nov. 25, 1998: Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Japan, discussed the implications of the Eurasian Land-Bridge development for the peace and stability of Asia. A joint press statement called the Land-Bridge one of the main areas for "cooperation in the international domain."

Dec. 21-22, 1998: Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov visited India, proposed the formation of a "strategic triangle" among Russia, India, and China.

Feb. 24-28, 1999: Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji visited Moscow to consolidate the economic base of the new relationship between Russia and China. Eleven cooperation accords were signed with Prime Minister Primakov, governing trade, science and technology, energy, transport, and regional cooperation.

April 21, 1999: EIR seminar in Bonn/Bad Godesberg, Germany, on "The Way Out of the Crisis: Europe, the World Financial Crisis, and the 'New Cold War.' " Lyndon and Helga LaRouche joined a panel of distinguished speakers from Russia, India, China, and Germany.

May 12, 1999: Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired Prime Minister Primakov.

July 28-29, 1999: Michael Liebig of the Schiller Institute in Germany addressed a conference in New Delhi on the topic of Indian relations with Central Asia. The written proceedings included a statement by Helga Zepp-LaRouche on the Eurasian Land-Bridge and the "China-Russia-India Strategic Triangle."

July 30, 1999: Scholars of India, China, and Russia founded the Triangular Association, at a meeting in New Delhi, to promote the Eurasian Land-Bridge as a vital task in the strategic interests of the three nations. Lyndon LaRouche was named as an honorary adviser.

March 26, 2000: Vladimir Putin elected President of Russia.

April 15, 2000: Conference in Port Said, Egypt, on linking Africa to the Silk Road through Egypt.

June 23, 2000: South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il held the first meeting between the national leaders of the two Koreas, in Pyongyang, and pledged to promote reconciliation and economic reconstruction, including restoring the North-South railway links between them, which had been broken off for half a century.

September 2000: The Second International Eurasian Conference on Transport, held in St. Petersburg, Russia, was attended by over 40 nations. Russia, India, and Iran agreed to develop a north-south corridor. Upgrades of the transcontinental lines, and the links from Russia to Europe were also discussed. The rail line Calcutta-Delhi-Lahore (Pakistan)-Sukkur (Pakistan)-Zahedan (Iran), being problematic due to political and military tension, the north-south corridor entailed sea shipments from the Indian west coast ports of Mumbai (Bombay) and Kandla (south of the border with Pakistan) to Bandar-e Abbas on the Persian Gulf in Iran, then north by rail.

Nov. 10, 2000: Formation of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation group, including India, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Their "Vientiane Declaration" called for joint development of transport networks, as well as cooperation in science and technology.

Nov. 24-25, 2000: Summit meeting of the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, South Korea, and Japan (ASEAN-Plus-3), announced their intention to launch regional development projects, and to concretize the Chiang Mai Initiative for mutual currency support, the formation of an Asian Monetary Fund, and the redesign of the global financial architecture.

May 4-6, 2001: Conference of the Schiller Institute in Bad Schwalbach, Germany, on "The Ecumenical Battle for the Common Good." LaRouche's keynote speech underlined the importance of transcontinental Eurasian development, and a conference panel on "A Twenty-Five-Year Development Perspective for Eurasia" presented the views of leading figures from China, India, Russia, Egypt, and Germany.

May 15, 2001: The creation of a Eurasian Transport Union (EATU) was announced by Russian Minister of Transport Sergei Frank, providing an institutional venue for deliberations among the nations of Eurasia, and any others, interested in building great infrastructure projects as a road out of economic depression. Frank said that the EATU was open for countries, transport companies, other firms and organizations to join. The new organization aimed to promote the rapid build-up of international Eurasian railroad-centered transport corridors across the territory of Russia. This activity included upgrading existing infrastructure, such as the rail and port facilities of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and developing a new north-south corridor, from Europe through Iran and Russia to India.

June 14-15, 2001: Founding summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation (SCO) in Shanghai. Participants included the Presidents of China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Discussions focussed on security and territorial integrity, and economic cooperation.

July 15-16, 2001: Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Moscow, signed, with President Vladimir Putin, a 20-year "Good Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation."

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