This transcript appears in the July 13, 2018 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Europe’s Future Must Be Inclusive with New Silk Roads and World Land-Bridge
Jacques Cheminade was the first speaker on Panel III of the Schiller Institute conference, on July 1, 2018. He is the leader of Solidarité et Progrès, the LaRouche movement in France. This is an edited transcript.
Let’s be clear. The European Union has become a walking shadow, a moral corpse. In Italian, you may say a “morto qui parla.” But it would be self-destructive to fall into a state of morose self-indulgence, into the comfort of blaming ourselves. Second to the British Empire, pessimism is our main enemy, because it paralyses our will. Beyond all criticism, there is the idea and the contribution of Europe to human civilization, which is absolutely different and opposed to the European Union. It is a Europe of the nations, a multiple having generated a one, an immortal contribution to humanity that the world needs.
Our task is to awaken such a Europe from its present nightmare, to bring it out from the Valley of the Clueless where it stagnates and turn it into a new beacon of hope illuminating the world’s silk roads. De Gaulle did not fear to say that the princess of the legends, France, should be mobilized to build the European cathedral. But, for real and as a metaphor, a cathedral is not a closed shop, it is a landmark for all those who are outside and a place to conceive of, and pray and work hard for a better world for those who enter.
We are far from that—but, because of the world situation and our own, we are not allowed to lose. To win, we first have to look inward and from above, make an examination of conscience—a joyful examination of conscience—because to reach above our state of mind towards the needed relatively higher states will free us from the shackles of impotence and recover our self-esteem.
Let’s Arise from our European Waterloo
Let’s commit ourselves to arise from the mud of our European Waterloo. For more than thirty years, our leaders have neither responded to the demands of their peoples nor met the challenges of the international situation. As a result, we are withdrawing from change and engaging in a process of balkanization, of decomposition of our identity. We have submitted ourselves to the Empire of the City of London and Wall Street, letting them ruin ourselves and our neighbors in Africa and the Middle East, and then blaming the human beings escaping from those places ruined by our policies, for our misfortunes and woes.
What hypocrisy! At the last European Council of June 28 and 29, our leaders reduced the question of migrants to a thing in itself, trying to transfer to their partners what all see as a burden without the least commitment to a minimum solidarity. Some want to assemble migrants for control in hotspots located in European countries; others want to sub-contract the problem to the countries where the migrants are coming from; all are unable to conceive anything but hotspots, which are nothing but human triage camps, rather than treating the real causes of migrations. Our leaders throw statistics and figures at each other’s faces, reducing human lives to accounting evaluations.
Italy had to abandon Mare nostrum at the end of 2014, which was the relatively best humanitarian operation organized by a State, because of the absolute lack of European support. All ended up delegating the job to the NGOs and now blame them as accomplices of the smugglers. With that logic of blame, European ports have been closed to ships carrying the migrants, but in truth, it is all the European leaders that have to be blamed for the criminal inaction of their countries.
I first decided to raise this moral issue because a union of states in which no member considers migrations as a challenge to be solved through massive help in favor of the countries where the migrants are coming from, and where no state organizes itself properly to receive those that come as a potential for the future, is a union that has lost its mandate from Heaven, as the Chinese would say.
The Failed Finite Lifeboat
All European nations share a geopolitical conception of our planet as being a relatively finite universe, a sort of lifeboat which has a limited space to contain a growing population. That is, indeed, the real problem of the European Union: It does not produce real wealth, it does not produce children, and does not welcome foreigners, because it has accepted the rule of a zero-sum universe, a sort of fortress Europa against the people, but friendly to financial speculation, with a euro that has become the conveyor belt for that speculation.
The European reformers and the so-called populists alike, with a few exceptions, are trying to solve a problem within the terms that have created the problem. None faces the cause, which are the policies of the British Empire, Wall Street and the City of London. Macron has exhibited an oratory talent at France’s Sorbonne University or in Greece, but only dealing with words and not with reality.
He calls for a “refoundation of Europe,” but within the realm of financial liberalism. He was not capable of endorsing a Glass-Steagall Act when he had the opportunity to do so as adviser and later Finance Minister to Hollande, nor today, even though at least some of the Italian ministers and many of their advisers are calling for it. Macron pretends to be a lead climber, but in reality he’s begging for German money to be able to climb, while Angela Merkel messes around with her government and covers up for financial interests which all, like the Deutsche Bank, are potentially bankrupt. Others go in all directions, with no vision. None has the courage to see beyond its own nostrils.
So how can we, here, be morally and culturally optimistic? Because, if we look beyond our terrible state of affairs, since September 2013 there has been a new development: A new model for relations among major powers has been set forth, the model of the new silk roads. This model is based on the principle of absolute respect for the sovereignty of others; it is a new world order based on mutual trust and benefit. The intention, expressed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, is to transcend the outdated concepts, such as the clash of civilizations, the Cold War, to go beyond the mere thinking in the geometry of zero-sum games or exclusive clubs. It is precisely the model that should inspire us in Europe today.
Beyond the Liberal Financial Model
Emmanuel Macron, during his January trip to China, said in his Xi’an speech that “we have reached times where France and China can afford to dream together”; reached a point at which “the new silk roads reactivate a collective imagination, an imagination to be shared.” Well said, but typical of present European ways, he tries to locate this momentum within a liberal financial model. I would say these are the prison bars of his ideology. There you have a clinical example of today’s European failed state of mind: trying to put a nightingale in a cage.
Totally contrary is the Chinese concept of tianxia, expanded by Confucius and Mencius, which inspires the policies of Xi Jinping, establishing that when something new comes from outside, it should be adopted inside with an approach which is neither that of an exclusive club nor of a closed shop which adds something without a change, but with a dynamic motion creating the conditions for a higher level of coexistence. “Politics is not, as some would believe, domination by mere force, but the art to create a global cooperation.” It is therefore not uniformisation or domination, but what is called in Chinese philosophical terms: “complementarity” with the qualities of inclusiveness, connectivity and attractiveness. Ah, some would say, there you come with an Asian model. Are you sure it will fit for Europe? The answer is no, not only for Europe, it would fit for the whole world.
Why am I so sure? because our great European philosopher, Leibniz, understood it. He wrote, in his Novissima Sinica, and in various letters to his Jesuit friends, that the concept of “social harmony” from the Chinese would enrich European culture! The opportunity was missed then, sabotaged by the feudal oligarchy and the British financiers, but it has left marks, footsteps in our Europe. Interestingly, the concept of “complementarity” meets the Leibnizian one of “completedness”—not a destructive uniformization but a mutually harmonious inspiration. For the West today, it is evidently difficult to grasp this new dynamic of the silk roads. The truth is that Europe, as reflected in the question of the migrants, is trapped in the old paradigm of geopolitics and the so-called “free and fair” competition, something which in reality has never existed.
In a provocative book titled, The Rape of Europe, Robert Salais, a French historian, describes how right from the beginning, the European Union was under the double rule of free trade and, worse, financial liberalization against the very conception of sovereign nation states. This is my point: Europe should be freed from this financial and ideological cage, as exemplified by the case of Macron and almost all European leaders. We could say that Europe has to be freed from such an original sin that is promoted more and more with a vindictive proselytism absolutely opposed to the Confucian and Leibnizian notion of harmony.
The European Union, in other terms, is not a harmonious union, but an inductive/deductive construct, based on codes, standards and rules that they call “instructions”; it is based on fixed categories, and as such, bound to self-destroy, fading into nothing for lack of creativity. Not destroyed by others, but by its own anti-creative axioms, its mental closedness. I see today’s European Union as an endless set of polygons (France calls itself a Hexagon), unable to get to the superior order of the circle that Cusa described, each polygon seeing itself as the reality, or pretending to be the circle; each seeing itself as a oneness, unable to understand the superior principle of rotation which creates the circle.
Beethoven’s Harmony, Not Cacophony
What angers me the most is to see a counter-culture expanding everywhere, banalizing human perceptions and appetites, from ultra-violent video games to the imbecility of the “world music.” The worst example is what Macron organized on the steps of the Elysée Palace to celebrate the “Day of Music” on June 21. He who pretends to like philosophy and the pomp and riches of the Court, invited a bunch of DJ stars who transformed the Palace in a giant night club where they “sang” such things as “come, come to dance, you motherfucker” and “Let’s burn this house tonight, let’s burn it from top down” or “shit everywhere, she was [unprintable in EIR],” etc. . . . All were of course half naked and hip-hopping, giving the worst image of black Africans to an already disoriented population.
No wonder the children’s concentration span is falling and, except for their attention to these voyeuristic shows, a majority of adults is no longer curious about how others live. This happens in our Europe where the social points of reference are collapsing, in a society controlled by those who pretend to fight for human rights. Europe has lost its positive sense because the ideals of social value are disappearing and there is no project for a better future. At best, people see the European Union and the euro as a protection against the others, a sort of giant condom, and certainly not as an Ode to Joy. See Macron pretending to love Europe and playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy like a mantra, while at the same time transforming the Elysée Palace into a giant and depraved night club.
Again, why am I nonetheless so sure that Europe is fit to join the New Paradigm? Because, as exemplified by Leibniz, Europe has within it the resources which can be revived and inspired. Europe and the United States have historically been the leaders of an active form of humanism.
It is Nicholas of Cusa, so dear to Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who explained how a human mind can create a higher order where all differences are transcended. In his late writings, he referred to it as the posse facere omnia or the posse ipsum, not knowledgeable by the human mind as a fixed point, but only through the becoming, the moment when human creativity meets the process of the universe, as when the light manifests itself in visible objects. It is in those moments that a human being is really, creatively human, contributing with new discoveries to the future of society, beyond the formal, established rules of logics, at a level where what was apparently contradictory is no longer so, that is, at a higher order. It is what Cusa called the “coincidence of the opposites,” an inspiration to reach into the unknown future, something that the instructions of the European Union forbid.
The Best of Europe Instead
We can therefore say that as a construct, the European Union has raped the best of European culture, which our mission is to revive. The higher order in the macrocosm can only exist if there is the maximum possible development of all microcosms. Human beings should develop each in their maximum way and act in the interest of each other, and all nations should develop each in their maximum way and act in the interest of each other to have a harmonious world. It is the spirit of the Peace of Westphalia: To overcome war, you have to base your foreign policy on the curiosity for and the interest of the other.
It is the principle of a true Republic, and it is not only complementary but springs from the same cognitive and emotional source as tianxia. The principle is Humanity first, the aspiration for human beings and nations alike where, as Schiller said, duty and passion, necessity and freedom are one.
We have that in the storage drawers of our history. So let’s stop our petty quarrels, let’s stop behaving like children in a tragic playground and reread our philosophical classics to meet the ones of the East, and find our inspiration in Lyndon LaRouche’s Earth’s Next Fifty Years, written in 2004 but reaching through our future. I would also advise you to read Rabelais and Heine, especially Rabelais, to reject the unduly and criminal ruling powers with the weapon of creative laughter, against all careerists and courtesans regurgitating the answers and moods expected by the principalities and powers of a self-destructive world. Glass-Steagall, a National Bank, credit for infrastructure and development, fusion and the more advanced contributions of science: the four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche, not as proselytism to convert but as a common inspiration to build together.
Let me end, related to what I said, with a quote of Confucius: “If you meet a man of high value, try to be like him; if you meet a mediocre man, try to identify his shortcomings in yourself.” This is one of the secrets to reach the ren—the sovereign good for the advantage of the other—in a harmonious world, to be the true citizen of a Republic or of a more perfect Union, not its caricature inhabited by self-satisfied nonentities. It is our instrument to reach into a future, to rediscover Europe as a pathway to the World Land-Bridge.
PROF. HANS KÖCHLER
The Re-Establishment of International Law
Hans Köchler, a retired Professor of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, is the founder and President of the International Progress Organization based in Vienna. This is an edited report, combining elements of his prepared address with the transcript of his speech. He spoke on Panel III of the Schiller Institute conference, on July 1, 2018.
Mr. Lyndon LaRouche, Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, ladies and gentleman. As time is short, I will not read out the prepared text; I have forwarded it to the interpreters.
I will proceed in four steps to meet this challenging task that the organizers have given me, namely to say something about the re-establishment of international law.
The facts, of course, are clear and obvious; we see almost regularly that countries that are powerful, act as states—they regularly invade other countries, they destroy political system—“regime change” is now one of the buzzwords, and these nations are not held accountable. These countries are not held accountable, and the leaders who are responsible for the decisions are not held accountable.
For me, the most shocking example is what has happened since 2003: The United States has never met its responsibilities; has never had to shoulder its responsibility concerning the destruction of Iraq, and the leader at that time has never been brought to justice.
So, this is a very frustrating situation and it is obvious that there is no “international rule of law,” in spite of the solemn commitment to this noble principle in the United Nations Charter.
So, now I will try to meet that challenge put before me, in four steps.
Diagnosis: Antagonism Between Law and Realpolitik
First, we have to be clear about what “law” is; unless we know what the nature of law is, we cannot make any assessment about re-establishing it.
The second question I will address here is: Do these criteria of law, the basic elements of law, really exist in the field of international law? Yes or no?
The third question will be, If—in what is called “international law”—the criteria of law are not met, what are the reasons for this state of affairs? Why is it so that in this now vast domain of rules and regulations—for which we use the notion of international law—there is not this nature of law? Why is it so that in fact, it is power that rules, but not law?
And, finally, the fourth point, if we have been able to identify the reasons, we may think about what to do about it; how to change that system; how to re-establish international law. But, this can only be undertaken if first we know what law is, and we know why things went wrong. Otherwise, we will only be led by illusions, and we will always have wrong expectations, and blame this United Nations organization for something it is not able to do, or maybe it was not even meant to do. We’ll see.
Law is a system of norms, which is enforced by the state, according to a clear framework of regulations, and checks and balances. And, that is also what distinguishes a legal norm from a moral norm . . . If I violate a legal norm, there will be a consequence, there will be a sanction, and this can mean the removal of my freedom. Of course, I do not say that the legal norms are independent or the legal system is independent of morality; a legal norm has consequences in the real world, a moral norm (if I violate it) would have consequences in the metaphysical world. A system of law—this is my position—must be based on the common good, and must be based on human rights, or what others would call certain “natural” norms which cannot be changed.
So, if law is as I have now described it, the question is: Do we have law in this sense, in the international field? In the relations between states, is it so that if a state or a leader of a state violates norms of international law, there will be a sanction, and there will be action against the violator? Certainly not! This leads me to step two: We have enforcement of the law, at least on paper, namely in the United Nations Charter, and that is in just one particular field—that is about the use of force by one state against another state, including also the threat of the use of force.
UN Charter Specifies Impunity for Some
To serve justice, all law must be enforced consistently and comprehensively. If selective enforcement is the “modus operandi” of a legal system, it does not deserve to be called a system where the rule of law prevails. Because, in law there must be no double standards; there must be equality. So, that is exactly not the case in regard to international relations.
Let me explain why this is so in the third step. As I said, the UN Charter has this basic provision that the use of force, and the threat of the use of force, are illegal under international law. The issue is, there is a body with almost absolute powers in the United Nations—that is the Security Council. If it adopts decisions under the famous Chapter VII of the UN Charter—these are decisions on collective security (related to the enforcement of the ban on the use of force)—the first problem is, these decisions will only take effect if there is no veto cast by the five permanent members. The five countries have the privilege in a body that consist of 15 member states—they have the privilege to prevent any decision from being adopted (for which they are not obliged to give any reasons); it is their sovereign right. Of course, this is absolutely in total contradiction to one of the basic principles of the UN Charter, named right at the beginning of the Charter, namely, sovereign equality of states.
The big issue here is that those five states (that were the most powerful in 1945) themselves do not need to pay attention to the norm on the non-use of force, for they can prevent any decision for its implementation if it is against their interests.
The general norm that a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting—a common-sense principle of justice, so to speak—does not apply to decisions of the Council under Chapter VII. This means that a permanent member can commit an act of aggression against another state with full impunity. According to Chapter VII, the Council has the power, and can pass resolutions that all have legally binding effect on all member states of the United Nations, and these measures include the imposition of economic sanctions, diplomatic sanctions and also the use of military force—it’s all at the discretion of the Council. If one is aware of the almost absolute power of the Council, it makes a mockery of justice.
Re-Establishment of International Law
This brings me to the last point: How to do something about this situation, or what could be done to re-establish international law. The UN, in its present form, lacks even basic procedural provisions for the enforcement of international law in a consistent manner.
Instead of linking permanent membership, connected with the veto privilege, to the power constellation of a bygone era, the Charter should redefine the notion of permanent membership—it should not be related to a single country, but to a region or regional organizations such as the African Union, Latin America, the European Union, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), etc. Any binding decisions under Chapter VII of the Charter would, thus, require consensus among all regions. This would be more democratic, a more responsible and acceptable use of the veto right, and would provide additional protection to smaller and weaker states against abuses of power by the organization’s major players.
But, what also would be necessary is that, first and foremost, the wording of Chapter VII that somehow obliquely allows aggressor states to use the veto to protect themselves must be abolished. A legal ban on the use of force is simply not credible if an aggressor can be a judge in his own cause.
It would be so easy, in terms of drafting—it would just be necessary to eliminate a few words in paragraph 3 of Article 27.
There should be no illusion: Under present conditions, statutory as well as political, this is still a dream—because the holders of power and privilege will not easily agree to give up their dominant position However, the emerging multipolar power constellation may gradually convince those who have benefited the most from the status quo in the UN that continuing to insist on their privilege may ultimately be detrimental to the pursuit of their national interests (including their vital economic interests).
There is hope for the re-establishment of international law . . . in view of the re-emergence of a new balance of power. We have seen the development of several regional groupings, such as the development of the BRICS grouping, and these new factors will become stronger in the near future.
That, in my view, means two things: First of all, the great powers that enjoy these privileges in the Charter will have to be more cautious in how they use this privilege. The other aspect is related to the large, global picture. Should the real international community at some point come to the conclusion that one cannot reform the Charter of the UN, the time may come that one has to think about a new beginning—and that means phasing out an organization that has been paralyzed, that cannot reform itself. Unconventional measures are possible; we have seen it also in the case of how the President of the United States acts, on issues that were considered almost intractable a short time ago. And as far as a world organization is concerned, it would be worth considering such a new statute, which would include the global regions as major players, and which would do justice to this principle of sovereign equality.
Has European Integration Gone Too Far?
Marco Zanni is a Member of the European Parliament, and is sitting within the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) Group. He is also a member of the Lega Party, has professional experience in banking, and is therefore a member and representative of the EU Parliament’s Committee on Monetary and Budgetary Affairs. He spoke on Panel III of the Schiller Institute conference, on July 1, 2018.
Good morning everyone! It’s always a pleasure to address such an audience. It’s the third time I have participated in a conference organized by the Schiller Institute, and it’s a really nice experience.
Today, as Stefan said, I’m here to talk about the future of the European Union, and the question that I would like to pose today is a very important one. Last week on Thursday and Friday, we had a European Council meeting which showed clearly that European countries are divided and are no longer able to make progress concerning the future of the European Union. There is no agreement on immigration, there is no agreement on the future of the Eurozone, and the only thing they have agreed upon is to keep to the status quo and kick the can down the street. That is becoming the main policy of the European Union. So, this question is very important to address, because people are getting angry with the failure of the European Union and the European institutions to solve the three main problems that they are facing today.
Europe’s Failure to Solve Three Problems
First, the economic crisis is still ongoing in a lot of countries: Europe has one of the worst records of performance, in terms of economic growth, among the larger countries, or groups of countries, in the world. Second is the problem of internal security. People all over Europe are getting anxious about the lack of security we are experiencing in our cities all over Europe. The third big problem is the management of the flow of immigration into Europe. The impact of uncontrolled immigration into Europe has been very strong in the past years. The European Union has been largely ineffective in addressing this problem and in helping African and Middle Eastern countries in solving their problems. Europe has failed to improve conditions back home for those trying to reach the European Union, so that they would, instead, want stay in their home countries, having good opportunities there.
Addressing this, the European Union is sending a lot of money to those countries under what we call the Juncker Plan for Africa; it’s a sort of financial engineering plan with a small amount of fresh money and a lot of financial engineering with fake money marketed around by the European Commission. On this point, the European Union should look at what the Chinese are doing in Africa and in other developing countries. Sending this money has been really ineffective for the European Union. We have not been able to create development in those countries. We have not created any value with the aid money that we sent to African countries.
The Chinese model, on the other hand, is very effective in its operation, because all the flow of money that the Chinese send to African countries, to Eastern Africa, to the Middle East, also to the Balkans, is strictly controlled by the Chinese government. And the results and the value that this money creates is strongly controlled by the government with a centralized strategy.
The European Union is delegating to private companies the management of the foreign aid to African countries, so we don’t have control of the money that we send to Africa; we don’t have the tools to control the effectiveness and the results in terms of growth, employment, and creating value for those countries using the money of European taxpayers. So, our policy in helping those countries is really ineffective. We should look at the Chinese model in order to eradicate the problem of immigration flows at the source.
On the economic crisis, it’s pretty clear that the policies that the European institutions have pursued in the last seven years from the start of the Eurozone crisis in 2010, have been ineffective in restoring growth and employment in the Eurozone and in the whole European Union. Those mistakes created not only macroeconomic imbalances in the European Union, but they created strong divergence and balkanization of the European Union member states. What happened last week at the European Council—freezing all discussion about the future of the European Union, because there is no agreement and there is a lack of trust among the European countries, is a sign that we have to think about or rethink the cooperation among European countries.
It’s pretty clear to everyone, not only in the European Union, but also outside the European Union—and I will talk later about the approach of the new U.S. administration toward Europe—it’s pretty clear that Europe is divided. Europe cannot go on with forced integration that is being refused by the European people.
Has Integration Gone Too Far?
So, that’s the main question of my speech: “Has integration gone too far?” And my reply and my thought about this question is “Yes”. This forced integration is disintegrating Europe and European values, the European economy, and Europe as one of the most important contributors to the growth of the world economy and to civilization in the past centuries.
So, the big question that European leaders have to answer is, “Are we able to rethink and create a different institutional framework based on different values that could restore prosperity, cooperation, and solidarity in Europe?” That’s the big question. It’s clear that the actual institutional framework centralized in Brussels and in the European Union institutions—the commissions especially—is not succeeding in addressing the problems that European citizens have. It’s clear that this fragmentation and the balkanization in the interests of the European Union are creating a huge problem for the stability, not only of countries that are still affected by the economic crisis, the so-called PIGS [Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain], but of the whole European Union, including the countries that are considered positive examples and the winners in European integration.
The references to Germany are very strong; there is much talk about Germany vis-à-vis what is happening, and the lack of a sense of legitimacy of the European Union and the European Union institutions right now. The Chancellor of Germany has been, for years, the symbol of the unity and the values of the European Union, and has been seen as one of the stronger leaders in the European member states. The difficulties that the Chancellor, Mrs. Merkel, is experiencing now, are the result of the wrong policies that she backed, and pursued, at the European Union level, not only on immigration—that probably today is the main issue debated in Germany—but also in fostering and feeding a wrong economic model on which the Eurozone is based.
This economic model is really fragile and is not sustainable. Why? Because it’s too dependent on external factors. Our economy in the Eurozone is based on reducing internal costs—inflation and labor costs—to export our products outside the European Union, outside the Eurozone. So, we are supposed to pursue a larger external surplus in order to feed the economy at home. But this strategy is falling apart today because it is too dependent on the premise that external or third countries outside the Eurozone will absorb such a huge external surplus.
This is what is happening not only with the Trump administration, but with the United States. From the time of the Obama administration, the United States started to question the large external surpluses of the Eurozone and of Germany. So, the economic model on which the Eurozone is based, is too dependent on the decisions of third parties, of countries outside of the Eurozone. It’s clearly not sustainable.
What about security? This is another very important problem that we are living with, in the European Union. Also, on this point, the European Union is too dependent on the decisions of third countries; NATO, the North Atlantic Alliance, is led by the United States in terms of investment in military capacity and in security. The European Union is not able, and has not been able, to build up a common military capacity, or to contribute its share to defense, to NATO. We are still too dependent on the United States for military defense—on a government that we do not control.
On the management of immigration flows, we are still too dependent on the decisions of, and the ability to make good agreements with countries in Africa and in the Middle East.
So, it’s clear that the strategy the European leaders have pursued in the last seven years has been a total failure in addressing the three main issues, because we are too dependent on external decisions.
This situation should end very soon, because the political unsustainability of the framework on which the European Union is based, is totally wrong. We have to change the framework, and look instead for a form of cooperation—not just thinking about the composition of the European Union (the 27 member states that from March 2019 will be part of the European Union), but seriously considering the development of an alternative framework that could put the European Union on a positive track towards growth.
Europe as a Bridge
Regaining the geopolitical importance that Europe had in the past should include the role that the European Union and Europe as a bridge between the United States—the traditional international power that shaped all the international institutions in the 20th Century—and the rising power on the eastern side of the globe, China. Europe, if it returns to real economic growth, will regain a role as a connector between the new rising powers in the East and the new approach that the Trump administration has begun in international relations. Thanks to the approach that Mr. Trump took in recent G-7 meeting, with the new Italian Prime Minister [Giuseppe Conte], Italy has regained a geopolitical importance in the international debate.
Before the European Council meeting and other recent international meetings that the new Italian Prime Minister has participated in recently, many people said that due to the radical approach of the new Italian government, Italy would be isolated by the other countries. But the reality is that, thanks to the support of the United States, to the openness of the United States to the attempt to create a strong relationship also with China, and thanks to our Undersecretary of Economic Development, who has strong experience in China and in Chinese relations, Italy is regaining geopolitical importance in shaping the future of Europe.
A New Institutional Framework
We need, however, a new institutional framework that will shape a new era for Europe, a new era that is no longer based on centralization, on decisions taken by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and by the European Central Bank. We need a new institutional framework that is respectful of the differences that the 27 member states of the European Union have. They are not only differences in the way in which we see and look at the economy and economic development; but they are also differences in political system, in the cultural systems that we have at the European Union level and in the member states.
So, the new institutional framework, if Europe is to survive this crisis, should be based on more subsidiarity. We should ask ourselves, “What is the common ground that we have today in the European Union and Europe? What are the common things that we can promote, for the common benefit and the mutual benefit of the European countries?” And on the other hand, “What are the topics on which the differences are too wide, in which the divergence is too big, and on which it is impossible to find common ground and agreement that can satisfy all the European countries?”
With more subsidiarity, while returning some competencies and powers to the national capitals, Europe can survive and can regain a path of growth and regain its role at the center of the geopolitical debate as a connector between the new U.S. approach to the international institutions and the rising powers in Asia and the Middle East. The work that the Italian government is trying to do in shaping this new institutional framework will be very important as an example to other European countries that want to pursue the same way.
Prospects After 2019
With this view in mind, what could happen after 2019? The year 2019 will be very important for the future of Europe and the European Union. In May we will have new elections for the European Parliament; so the European Parliament Assembly will be renewed. As you may know, the European Union institutions are mainly three: the European Council (the Council of the European Union); the Commission; and the Parliament. We have member states, we have the Commission which should be a sort of executive, and we have the Parliament.
Today, the European Council has changed its view on the future of the European Union. With the Italian government, with the new Austrian government, with other governments with new parties joining the European Council, the approach on the future of the European Union will be more based on subsidiarity, on the defense of the interests of the European people, and on finding common ground on things that we can do better together. But after 2019, we will have another institution—the European Parliament—that will foster a change in European politics. We will probably have three big political families in the next European Parliament: From the one side, the traditional parties that are falling apart in terms of consensus and voters with a socialist orientation, will probably disappear. In the center, we will have this faker Macron who is supposed to be the new leader of European integration, the new leader who will bring Europe into a United States of Europe. Macron’s power is falling apart in France; he is having grave difficulties domestically and he has no support in the Council for his proposal for reforming the European Union. On the other side, we will have a stronger group, even stronger than today, of the so-called euro-critics who will shape strongly the politics of the European Parliament.
If Europe wants to be saved, then we have to change radically our institutional framework, with no more centralization in Brussels, with no more decisions and economic systems focussed on the needs of the big banks and the City of London, but a cooperative system that is respectful of the differences of the national states, of the spaces of democracies, and of the decisions and willingness of the European people. Europeans don’t want to have a United States of Europe. They just want to have equal cooperation among European nations and sovereign states, in order to bring more prosperity to Europe and the world, and to solve the three main problems that they are experiencing today that I mentioned earlier in my speech.
My hope is that in the near future, other governments will join the new Italian government in this effort to reform Europe with more equal, stable, and solid institutions. Without this reform that we strongly need, the European Union is condemned to failing and creating a huge geopolitical crisis at the heart of the world.
Let me conclude by saying that our Europe will reform in that sense, or the European Union will be finished and European countries will be affected by a new crisis that will be stronger than the one that we experienced after 2010. Our system is dysfunctional; our system is unequal and is fostering divergences and imbalances inside Europe. We have to change it. My hope is that we will be able to change it very quickly. If not, the European Union will finish very soon in a disorganized way, creating huge suffering for the European people. But I am confident that new politicians and new parties rising all around Europe will be able to change it as soon as possible.
DR. ARMIN AZIMA
The Controllable Energy
Dr. Armin Azima is a staff scientist at the University of Hamburg. This is an edited report, combining elements of his power points with the transcript of his speech. He spoke on Panel III of the Schiller Institute conference, on July 1, 2018.
Ladies and Gentleman, dear conference board, and dear Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Thank you very much for the invitation to give this talk. It is an honor for me to be here and I believe that I will convince the audience that physics in our modern world is very exciting. Promising developments are currently ongoing, about which you maybe even haven’t heard so far. Thus, please allow me to inform you and simultaneously entertain you with the marvelous progress in the field of energy technology, which we can witness today in the world.
In this talk I will concentrate on the following topics: I will provide you with some interesting numbers on the progress of German energy transition and what it means practically for the German people. Then I will focus on two hot spots of nuclear science in the world, which are very promising and provide the hope of having a very nice future with cheap, clean and powerful energy sources. Especially the mastering of fusion technology will open the gate to a new, wonderful world with possibilities that are currently unthinkable. And I would like to present you some ideas of what could be done, if power were cheap. However, in the history of mankind, we all know that every technology can be used for the sake of prosperity or for destruction. And of course the stronger and more powerful the technology, starting from the invention of steel, up to the first fission of an atomic nucleus, the higher the hazard of the correlated weapon. That’s why I feel it to be my responsibility to speak out loudly against the deployment and use of nuclear weapons in general here, which I will underline scientifically in the last section of my talk.
LaRouche’s Four Laws
Before I discuss technology, however, I would like to mention LaRouche’s Four Laws, the First of which is the reconstitution of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the Second being the introduction of a national banking system.
LaRouche’s Third Law concerns the continuous increase of the general energy flux-density of society in general. This demand includes the further development of civil infrastructure to be able to make use of powerful energy sources for increases in the productive physical economic output.
LaRouche’s Fourth Law, a topic that is important for me personally, being a physicist, is the research for the development of the utilization of nuclear fusion as an energy source, which in my personal belief provides the only possibility of maintaining a high level of prosperity in a growing world, for all mankind into the future.
But let me at first start with one of the major aspects in LaRouche’s Four Laws, and that is the energy flux-density.
Consequences of Germany’s Energy Transition
As a consequence of the well-known transition to regenerative energy sources in Germany I have created a map of all of the installed wind turbines in Germany, which are plotted as brown spots. Together, in 2016, they generate about the same amount of power as the seven red spots representing the nuclear power plants. And as you may know, those red spots will all disappear by 2022, when Germany’s national exit from nuclear power generation will be fulfilled. The wide spread of power generators, which we in Germany call “decentralization of energy production,” requires a complex and expensive power transport network—especially as compared to the time when the power mix was dominated by a few powerful central power plants about 20 years ago.
Energy costs have risen, and will rise still further in the future. Currently, we have fulfilled a transition to about 30% of regenerative energy sources in our energy mix and the electricity price has increased by more than 50%, inflation-adjusted. And the goal is to reach 80% in the year 2050! The federal government however, claims that electricity prices will decrease again after 2025, to which I would add the word “maybe.” We will see.
I have calculated the final power bill for Germany and compared it to France, which has more than 50% of nuclear generated power in its electricity mix. Sure, Germany is a wealthy country and many people can afford the higher energy prices, not all, but many. Even for a comparably large and comparably densely populated developing country, a power bill of 150 billion euro per year would be definitely too high. Hence, the French energy mix might be better suited to their needs, to say it in diplomatic words.
Nuclear Power as Such
Let’s now concentrate on nuclear power in detail. As we have learned, the energy flux-density of nuclear fission power is currently the highest technologically available of all power sources today.
Despite that fact, the German federal government has decided to fully exit nuclear power technology in Germany by the year 2022. The question is, “Why?” From a rational standpoint there can only be the following three criticisms, three reasons: the problem of nuclear waste disposal, reactor safety, and the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons. Due to limited time I will concentrate on the first point.
First some fast basics. Our general nuclear reactors are light-water reactors, which work with thermal, hence “slow” neutrons. The chain reaction is then greatly improved, since the slow neutrons interact with the fuel much more efficiently. However, this has a price: the neutrons lose the ability to crack isotopes of even mass number, which significantly decreases the amount of possible fuel materials for these reactors.
Natural uranium consists mainly of the isotope U-238, with an even mass number, which cannot be fissioned by the thermal, slow neutrons. Hence U-238 is artificially enriched by the isotope U-235. After three years of operation, most of the U-235 is burned up, while the amount of U-238 is almost the same as at the beginning. But new materials have been created in the process, such as plutonium and other minor actinides, which we refer to as “nuclear waste.”
Natural uranium becomes enriched, and then burned. The waste is separated and finally disposed of, and part of the fuel rod is recycled and reused in this process. The problem: The final repository must safely contain the waste.
The Russian ‘Fast Burner,’ BN-800
Russia has chosen another way. Since 2016, a new reactor type, called BN-800 has been brought on line. This reactor is called a “fast burner,” not to be confused with a “fast breeder.” The BN-800 is not a breeder reactor, it’s a burner. It uses “fast” neutrons, and thus their neutrons can, with similar efficiency, fission all the heavy isotopes including those with even mass number! And that’s the trick; this reactor is now capable of reusing its “waste” as new fuel in a long cycle, over and over again. The much smaller fraction of nuclear “waste” compared to conventional reactors, has an additional advantage, in that it decays way faster. After only 100 years, this “waste” can be taken out of storage. Thus, with this technology, a final disposal repository is no longer needed!
To make it perfectly clear, the BN-800 can burn “nuclear waste” as if it were conventional nuclear fuel. No final depository is needed for the end-products of this reactor. And this reactor is in operation now at this very moment!
The BN-800 has de-defined the word “nuclear waste,” because what is the waste now? Actually, it is exactly as Lyndon LaRouche predicted about ten years ago, when he said, “There exists no nuclear waste, only we currently do not have the technology to make use of the end products.”
So, I delete this bullet point from the list of criticisms of nuclear power. Problem solved! Let’s quickly move to another topic. I would like to show you some recent news concerning fusion research.
I would like to introduce to you a company called Tri-Alpha Energy from California. The mission of this company is to master a special form of nuclear fusion, which is vastly unknown, that is the p-B-11 reaction [the fusion of a proton with a boron-11 nucleus]. The special feature here is the aneutronic character of the end products. Classical fusion devices, such as the ITER tokamak project, are built to use D-T (deuterium-tritium) fuel, which mainly burns to neutrons as end product. But those little fellows are hard to make use of as they are electrically neutral and permeate matter easily, and thus cannot be easily transferred to electricity.
Two rings of plasma collide in the center. At the collision point, the two rings merge and form a donut shaped plasma sphere, which can stabilize and contain itself. The longest this machine has been able to keep the plasma stable, is more than 10 milliseconds. Recently they have also shown that they can reach high temperatures of up to 20 million degrees Celsius, which are milestones for this project.
Of course there is still a long way to go to reach finally 3 billion degrees Celsius for one second. But because the end products are positively charged, the direct conversion of the fusion energy to electricity works with 90% efficiency—no steam production, no turbine, is needed, which greatly reduces the size, and makes possible a 100 megawatt reactor of the size of a truck!
We can dream about future machines, as for example, what the U.S. physicist Robert Bussard has proposed. The direct nuclear-to-electricity conversion would allow us to empower an ion propulsion engine to continuously accelerate (or decelerate) a rocket at a rate equivalent to ± 1g up to a few percentage points shy of the speed of light speed. This would reduce the travel time between Earth and Mars to less than about two weeks! All the inner planets would become reachable. Yes, of course, at the moment it sounds like a dream, but scientists are really working on these kinds of engines.
What If . . .
And this brings me directly to more visions, of what would be possible with such a fusion reactor. What if power were extremely cheap and what if energy were available in abundance? We could think of desalination of seawater on a large scale or artificial petroleum synthesis, or, one of my favorite ideas, which is a revolutionary waste recycling system, which not only burns waste to CO2 and ashes, but uses even more power to transform the ashes into a plasma state. Of course, this is a very energy-consuming process, using the arc-plasma technology. But in the plasma state we would be able to crack down any component, any material, in to its molecules or even atoms, which plasma could then be further re-sorted and extracted element-wise out of the “waste”—an almost perfect ~ 100% recycling. We finally arrive at an end of hunger and thirst for all of us!
Last but not least, please let me remind you again about LaRouche’s last two Laws. Keeping in mind what I presented before, I think these demands are neither abstract nor unrealistic. Instead, reaching these goals would make our world better in all aspects, and that is why we should keep on working to realize them.
Thank you for your attention.