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Eurasia Center Optimism Breaks Through the Washington, D.C. Swamp

Oct. 5, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Eurasia Center, a Washington, D.C.-based organization of business, political and diplomatic layers committed to getting American business engaged in Eurasia, held a forum on Oct. 4, titled: "The Silk Road Summit—2nd Annual Conference: Exploring Business, Trade & Investment Opportunities on the New Silk Road." The event had speakers from around the world, all of whom were extremely optimistic about the Silk Road, and committed to breaking the impasse in getting the United States to fully join the process.

The influence of the LaRouche movement was openly acknowledged and greatly appreciated. Two EIR representatives attended, posing several issues in the question periods on the danger of geopolitical thinking (a few presentations fell into that) versus China’s win-win world view—and were met with enthusiastic support in response.

Several of the Eurasia Center leaders have long been familiar with the LaRouche organization and its ideas, but there was a clear shift towards open cooperation. Richard Trifan, their Director of Government Relations, who spoke at a LaRouche PAC Manhattan Town Hall forum in Manhattan on Aug. 25 on the New York City infrastructure crisis, chaired a panel at the Eurasia Center meeting on "smart cities" on the Silk Road—noting wryly that New York City is clearly not in that category.

A member of a U.S. government department who has been dedicated to getting the United States into the New SIlk Road for several years, but only met a LaRouche representative in the past months, is now strongly advocating for people to get involved, noting privately that the only cogent material on the issue from within the United States comes from the LaRouche movement.

EIR posed a question at the last panel which said that the often-heard objection from geopoliticians that the Belt and Road is not sustainable, because it invests in areas which are unstable or corrupt, misses the point that China’s approach is not for short term profit, but for long term Confucian harmony among nations through uplifting the economic and cultural standards of such nations, even if it means some projects fail economically. The speakers—a major investor in projects along the Silk Road, and an investment banker from Pakistan—both responded enthusiastically, agreeing that China had this higher view of their foreign policy, and gave several examples of major investments in places where no one else would take the risk, with some leading to substantial progress, and some failing—but that even the failures were considered temporary. "They believe it may take 50 years, but they will complete the projects eventually," one said.

One officer of the U.S. military, in discussion with EIR, pulled out a dog-eared, heavily annotated copy of the EIR's Special Report, "The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge," which he apparently carries with him everywhere, saying that it was brilliant, especially on Russia.

Spokesmen from the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the World Bank’s International Financial Corporation all addressed the tremendous burst of investments across the Silk Road countries, spurred by China’s Belt and Road, but also opening up more investments from these existing international development institutions. The EBRD representative, in response to EIR, said that the anti-Russian campaigns had stopped all their investments in Russia—not because the sanctions forbid them, but because they were told that no such project proposals would be approved. She added, however, that Russia had actually vastly improved its own productive capacities, and expanded its trade with Asia, to overcome the impact of sanctions.

A U.S. energy company CEO gave a geopolitical presentation supporting the Ajerbaijan-Turkey Southern Gas Corridor to counter Russia’s control over European oil and gas imports. He was followed by a Russian political spokesman, who sarcastically thanked him for explaining that Europe no longer needed Russian oil and gas, then laid out in detail Russia’s turn to Asia, with massive gas fields in the Arctic, building huge icebreakers and liquid natural gas (LNG) ships. He said the future demand was centered in Asia, and that arctic LNG could reach East Asia in 16 days, while U.S. shale gas would take 24. Reality is reality. The Russian said privately that he had been reading LaRouche material for years in Russian, and was delighted to meet us.

One excellent presentation was given on the necessary primary role of nuclear energy, with a discussion on the role of small modular reactors across the Silk Road contries.

One speaker ended with a picture of Halford Mackinder’s "heartland" map, saying that when Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road, people everywhere went running for Mackinder’s work, wondering if China would take over the "heartland." EIR interjected that Mackinder’s work started World War I (the speaker jumped in—"What do you expect, he was at the London School of Economics!"), and added that China is in no way a "geopolitical" threat. Several people approached him later to concur.

Dr. Chen Xiaochen, the Director of International Studies at Renmin University and the Changyang Institute for Financial Studies, spoke twice, presenting a comprehensive picture of the Belt and Road Initiative (including a slide promoting "de-geo-politicizing" the world!). Dr. Chen had attended the conference sponsored by Chongyang in September 2015 to release the Chinese edition of the EIR World Land-Bridge report. He provided copies for everyone of a Chongyang study titled: "Boarding the Fast Train—Case Studies and Practical Solutions for the U.S. to Connect to the Belt and Road Initiative." He also noted that Obama and Zoellick had demanded that China be a better "stakeholder," and that perhaps China was not doing what they wanted. He added that Obama had told them there were "no free lunches"—so China "wants to provide the lunch."