There is an ongoing transformational shift underway in the world, as the era of geopolitics, with its destruction of nations through financial manipulations and wars, is being challenged by the emergence of a new era of “win-win” policies of mutual benefit, spearheaded by China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Developments in Asia, with the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao, China, provide examples which show that peaceful economic cooperation is not only possible, but is already underway.
The benefits of this new era can be seen in new infrastructure projects throughout Eurasia, Africa, and in South and Central America, and the clamor to be included is also heard now in a number of nations in Europe.
The growing likelihood of a Trump-Putin summit is part of this new geometry, an indication that the U.S. President is breaking out of the containment intended by the fraudulent, so-called Russiagate allegations. For this moment of great opportunity to be realized, there must be an elevation in both the capabilities of creative thinking, and passionate activation, of citizens of all nations. Schiller Institute founder and President Helga Zepp LaRouche’s weekly webcasts are a critical part of elevating populations to the level required by this promising moment of history.
This is the edited transcript of the June 21, 2018 Schiller Institute New Paradigm webcast, an interview with the founder of the Schiller Institutes, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. She was interviewed by Harley Schlanger. A video of the webcast is available.
Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger with the Schiller Institute. Welcome to our webcast this week, featuring our founder, Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
Since our program last week, Helga has drafted a memo that is being circulated widely in government circles and to institutions such as the United Nations, and at events and forums. It should be circulated everywhere. It’s titled “Follow the Example of Singapore!” This really shapes what we want to start with today. What Helga described is the process that was unleashed, leading into the meeting between President Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un and its stunning outcome.
So Helga, why don’t we start with the memo that you drafted?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un were able to completely transform a very dangerous situation around North Korea within a few months, into the total opposite: from being the potential trigger point of World War III, to being, instead, a hopeful perspective. North Korea can now be integrated into the Belt and Road Initiative, with the support of the United States, China and Russia. The promise of security guarantees, eventually lifting sanctions, and complete denuclearization are part of integrating North Korea with the Belt and Road Initiative. If this works, as it promises to, making North Korea a prosperous country, this will be a really groundbreaking set of developments. As President Trump said at his press conference, “The past does not have to define our future.”
That is obviously proof that you can turn the worst situation around if you have an inspiration, a vision, and the political will to carry it out.
We now have a series of complete destabilizations in the West. The refugee crisis is threatening to completely rip apart the so-called European unity, which is actually nonexistent; it could end the chancellorship of Angela Merkel within less than two weeks. The border crisis between the United States and Mexico also shows that the immigrant question is out of control and needs to be addressed.
The Singapore Model
The proposals by the European Union and by different factions of the German government, are all completely unworkable. These plans are brutal and barbaric—creating camps outside the borders of the European Union in North African countries, to warehouse refugees and deter them from coming to Europe—this is barbaric. All the people who were so freaked out about Trump ripping the babies from the breasts of their mothers—these are the same people and the same media who have no problem in proposing camps in countries that have no clear government control. There are many reports that people in these camps have been sold into slavery, have been raped and tortured. They are subject to absolutely terrible conditions. But, if the real root causes of why people are coming to Europe are not addressed—the horrible conditions in many parts of Africa, where people face impossible situations, then there will never be a workable solution.
I have proposed in this memorandum, which Harley just mentioned, that the EU follow the example of Singapore. The EU should change the agenda of their upcoming summit, which will take place in a week, and instead put only one issue on the agenda: The real development of Africa. Invite President Xi Jinping because he has enormous credibility in Africa. The Chinese government has led investment in railways and industrial parks, in hydropower and many, many projects. The EU should invite some of the African heads of state who have already achieved great results by cooperating with China in these projects.
If the European leaders—plus Xi Jinping and half a dozen African leaders who would speak for the continent—would declare a crash program for the infrastructure development of Africa, not only would such an action have credibility, because of Xi Jinping’s presence, but it would signal to all relevant governments and all young people, that there exists a great opportunity to cooperate in the construction of their own countries. Many, many people would no longer feel compelled to traverse the Sahara, risking death by thirst, or death by drowning in the Mediterranean, or risk being captured by Frontex (the EU border police) to then be herded into what even the Pope has characterized as “concentration camps.”
I think this positive agenda can be made to happen. Now, it’s not so likely, however, that the EU will be the institution that does this, given the fact that they are what they are, but this is absolutely the correct idea, and if this EU summit misses this opportunity, then one can have a summit at any time, in July or August, or one can even use the UN General Assembly in September to make that issue the only point on the agenda.
The same can be applied to the United States. President Trump should have a summit with Xi Jinping and with leaders of Ibero-America, and there, do the same thing: commit to joint ventures between the United States, China and Latin American countries, to transform the continent and eliminate the poverty, which is the reason why people are now flooding into the United States.
I think this approach is eminently feasible. It is the only way to solve the problem. I’m very happy that my call has found good responses. It has been translated into eight languages already, including the most important European languages, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and Korean. I would ask all of you who are watching this program to help us circulate this call, and also the call issued by Kesha Rogers, the Texas congressional candidate who is focusing on the American aspect. Please help us circulate these calls. Get onboard this mobilization because it is extremely urgent that this approach be taken now.
Schlanger: I think it’s most important that your proposal breaks the controlled debate. The reason that we’re in this mess today is that the debate has been phony: Either let the borders be opened and let nations be overrun, or clamp down the borders. Missing from the discussion, as you say, are the generating processes that have been wars and poverty.
In the last few weeks, since the Singapore summit, Trump has been moving toward going ahead with a summit with President Putin of Russia, which again, breaks the controlled environment. Do you think such a summit would contribute positively to resolving the forced migration crisis? Would you give Trump the advice that he should take up your proposal in his meeting with Putin?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think that a meeting between Putin and Trump is the next important item on the strategic agenda. Active preparations are now being made for such a meeting, possibly taking place in July, possibly in Vienna. I think this is now possible with Russiagate falling apart. U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified to a Senate hearing—remember his investigation and report was only on the email scandal around Hillary Clinton—that there was unprecedented bias on the part of all of the people involved in the Clinton investigation, and that Trump was completely justified in firing FBI Director James Comey. I think this has freed Trump to move forward on this front.
Dangers of Trade War
Let me raise another issue, because there are unfortunate escalations in possible trade war. Trump raised the possibility of imposing tariffs on $450 billion in imports from China, and there are now countermeasures going into effect. Tomorrow the EU will put in countermeasures. Turkey, Canada and Mexico are also putting up new tariffs, and there is a great danger of an ever escalating trade war.
The Chinese are very indignant, saying this is completely counterproductive; this is a lose-lose policy. Many people who voted for Trump—farmers and industrialists—are now being hurt by these tariffs and are in danger of going bankrupt. This is no good.
I have proposed the Singapore approach as a solution. Were the United States and China to engage in joint ventures to develop the countries of Central and South America, trade volume would increase significantly, in a multilateral way. The trade imbalances would be overcome through increased trade. I would like to get this message out, in particular, to the Trump voters who are affected by these policies—farmers, people and companies that have investments both in China and in the United States, all of whom are now in danger of going bankrupt, putting many jobs at risk. I ask our listeners to move on our “Singapore solution” proposal and to get the message to President Trump. We have to counter the ideologues in the Trump camp who are so anti-China and who are such extreme neo-liberal free-traders that they are giving him advice that could potentially turn his base away from him.
Trump, while continuing to having his excellent relationship with Xi Jinping, can add to that an excellent relationship with Putin. He can expand on the direction he so courageously accomplished in Singapore with North Korea. He can take the same approach—the predicates are different, but the approach would be the same—turn a bad policy, a lose-lose policy, into the opposite: go with win-win cooperation. The world is urgently in need of such a policy change. I think it can be done! The fact that the Singapore summit took place, is the proof that you can completely change a policy when it is leading nowhere.
The West right now is faced with the decision: either change policy, or collapse. That is what is at stake. So I appeal to all Trump supporters; pick up on this proposal and help us turn this around.
Schlanger: On this matter of being able to change relations from the past to a completely new relationship, we’ve seen that starting to take place between India and China, with the Modi meeting with Xi Jinping. There are also some significant developments that just took place between Japan and China.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, this is very good. In recent history, there had been deep mistrust between China and Japan. The history between those two countries during the period of World War II left deep scars. But, this is all now past, starting a year ago last May, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent his number two, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party, Toshiro Nikai, to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. From then on, there has been increased cooperation between China and Japan.
Just three days ago, Japan and China signed an agreement to jointly invest in infrastructure projects in third countries. So, if two countries, which were not in a friendly mode, can agree on this higher level of reason of joint mutual interest for the benefit of third countries, I think this is a model for every country in the world. I hope that the Europeans will look at Japan. If Japan can change in this way, Europe should be able to do it as well.
Schlanger: Speaking of unfriendly nations getting together, look at the potential now between South Korea and North Korea.
I want to come back to Europe and the refugee crisis, because it’s so central to the June 28-29 EU summit coming up. The refugee crisis seems to have hastened the confrontation taking place inside Germany, and I would like you to talk about that. But also, no one should lose sight of the fact that this isn’t just a refugee crisis. The economic crisis continues; there are stupid and dangerous proposals being put forward by French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel to increase the power of the Brussels banking bureaucracy.
The EU summit is coming up, Helga. What do you think will happen at the summit? And also, what are the chances that Merkel will survive?
Europe Needs Self-Reflection
Zepp-LaRouche: The mood in Germany—and we get this from all sides—is that Merkel should really go. It’s time for her chancellorship to end; she has been there too long. The relationship between Horst Seehofer and Merkel has been poisoned for a very long time. The background is this: Seehofer, the chairman of the CSU (Christian Social Union) party and the Interior Minister, threatened to unilaterally impose controls at the German border which would mean that the Schengen Agreement [which abolished internal borders among France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Netherlands] would be wastepaper, and with that, so would be the basis for the currency union, the euro.
Merkel met with Macron and insisted that she wants to have a European solution to the problem and not a German national solution. Even the mainstream media are mockingly saying that the chances that Merkel will get a European solution are slim. There are more than eight countries that refuse to accept refugees, and refuse to accept a quota for receiving refugees. Die Zeit, the Hamburg news weekly, wrote that the irony of the matter is that in this upcoming EU summit, Merkel will need the support of Greece and Italy for her European solution. These are the two countries that have been hit with the greatest amount of refugees. These two countries are where Merkel is the most unpopular—Merkel and Schäuble treated these countries absolutely brutally during the so-called euro crisis. The anti-Merkel sentiment in Greece and Italy is really quite large.
It’s very difficult to say what will happen. It may be that Merkel will sell whatever result she gets as a European solution. In all likelihood, there will be some kind of bilateral deals that will include the horrible idea that I mentioned earlier—internment camps outside of the EU, which would be barbaric. If there is no agreement, it is still possible that by the end of the two-week ultimatum, Seehofer would unilaterally impose border controls in his capacity as Minister of the Interior, in which case, this would be insubordination against the Office of the Chancellor. If Merkel capitulates to that, her power is gone; but if she doesn’t, her only option is to kick out Seehofer, who could then take the entire CSU out of the coalition with him. There are already polls indicating that the CSU would get 18% of the German vote, should they expand and become a national party.
This is all unworkable. No matter what combination you make—Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Union) party could take the Greens or the FDP (Free Democratic Party) into the government. But if they keep the policy, it will just be a prolongation of the crisis, and it will not solve anything.
There has to be deep reflection on the fact that the West is clearly crumbling. There are articles in all kinds of newspapers on this very subject. One article I found quite noteworthy was in the Austrian paper Der Standard, a liberal paper. The article says that the West completely missed its chance after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States was, then, the only superpower. The West gambled that moment away by plunging into absolutely barbaric wars, in the Middle East, and other places, which wars caused the refugee crisis and many, many other problems, and, now, the West has lost.
There is a very interesting story this brings to mind: It’s called “The man and the wife in the vinegar jug”—it’s the Essig-krug, I don’t know the word in English right now. It’s about a man and a woman who live in an old, horrible house. A little bird comes and tells them to make a wish. The couple says, “We want a nice, big farmhouse, with many acres of land.” Their wish is granted. However, they’re not satisfied, and they ask for more, “We want a big villa in the city.” They get that. Then their wishes follow quickly one after another: “Oh, that’s not enough, we want to have a big castle, and we want to be King. That’s not enough, we want to be Emperor.” They get all of this. Then, they say, “That’s not enough: We want to be God.” And then, everything vanishes. They are back in their old, horrible, little house.
The moral of the story goes to the chance missed by Western Europe and the United States: The West had the chance, with the crumbling of the Soviet Union, to change the world for the better. But, because of the limitless greed of that group of nations, and their limitless power-seeking activities, they messed it all up. So, I find this nice, little fable to the point.
More fundamentally, the West should really reflect on what has been going wrong with the neo-liberal, left-liberal, neo-con, geopolitical model. Why is the Asian model so much more attractive to many countries? Why is the Asian model so much more concerned with the common good of the people? China is rising because the Belt and Road Initiative is absolutely the biggest infrastructure project in history, with a clear focus on the common good. We must find some thoughtful people in the West, who are willing to enter into dialogue on what is necessary to correct the present policies. I think there has been much too little reflection and serious thinking about what is going on. If people just insist on keeping the status quo of the neo-liberal establishment, the West will crash against the wall.
Given the fact that the Singapore model exists, I encourage all of our listeners to engage with us, to become members of the Schiller Institute, to participate in our activities, and strengthen such an international dialogue. Such dialogue and debate is extremely necessary, it’s urgent. The potentials in the world situation are also very hopeful, because changes are already happening in a positive direction.
More European Integration Unlikely
Schlanger: Speaking of changes, the fact that the Austrian national daily Der Standard did what it did, even though it’s three decades behind you, Helga, it’s good that it made that comment.
Also, coming up at the EU summit, there’s the question of what will be brought in by the new Italian government and Austria. The leaders of those two countries have been talking about getting rid of the sanctions against Russia, and also favor openness toward China. Do you think they will have much of a voice at the EU summit?
Zepp-LaRouche: The Italians clearly have learned from what happened to Greece. When the Tsipras government was voted in, it went to Brussels and tried to revolutionize the whole process, and got smashed! It got smashed by a combination of the EU, the other European governments, and the European Central Bank. I think the Italians will probably play it more carefully. I do not think there will be a similar process as there was with Greece.
Remember, Italy is not Greece. Italy is the third largest economy in Europe. There are also all these other governments that want Europe to move in a different direction: Spain, Portugal, the Balkan countries, the East European and Central European countries, Austria, and Switzerland are all on a different trajectory. I don’t think the policies of Macron and Merkel in favor of a Eurozone budget will find any majority. Söder, the new minister-president of the Bavarian state government, said that he absolutely rejects the idea of a Eurozone budget; it would just means paying more to have another budget, of which Germany would have to pay a large proportion.
I think this idea of imposing more European integration now, at a point when almost all the governments are questioning the merit of the Maastricht Treaty process—I think this will not happen. That’s my modest prediction.
Now We Can Influence History!
Schlanger: Let’s hope some of them will take up your proposal on the Singapore model.
I want to get back to something you brought up earlier: the idea that President Trump has been somewhat freed by the breakdown of the Mueller investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving desperately—jailing former Trump Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, revoking his bail, and moving against Roger Stone, claiming that he was the WikiLeaks Russia connection. But at the same time, there’s the report of Inspector General Michael Horowitz; there’s more coming out in the Congress. How much longer do you think this dual situation can continue, with the allegations of collusion and obstruction, when all of the allegations are falling apart?
Zepp-LaRouche: There are signs that some Congressmen are moving forward aggressively. Next week, Peter Strzok will be forced to testify in Congress. I think many of these people connected to the Mueller investigation could face criminal charges, fairly soon.
Unless this happens, and the whole situation gets straightened out, the danger remains very high. It’s not yet time to relax in the certainty that things are going in the right direction. The same Democrats and the same mainstream media that were silent when Obama (and before him Bush), during his two terms as President, was conducing these so-called “humanitarian wars,” in which the worst kinds of atrocities were condoned—these same Democrats and media are now yelling and screaming against Trump because of this border question and the plight of children and families. The hypocrisy of these screamers is enormous!
They had called for a national demonstration this coming Sunday. Trump has now issued an order mandating that these families should stay together, with their children. The border police had questioned if all these children really belonged to these adults, because this had been a longstanding problem which started about four years ago under Obama. The human traffickers had figured out that they could send lots of children, and they did. At that time Obama slammed down as well.
I think this whole situation really needs a grand design. When you have a messy situation—which you now have here—sometimes you have to go to a completely different level—that is exactly what Trump did in Singapore. Having done that, in his incredibly good level of approach reflected in his statement in Singapore—“The past does not have to define our future,” making clear things can be changed—I think he needs to take that kind of an approach toward this whole situation. The Muellergate affair should come to the point where the responsible people are brought to justice for their illegal acts.
The even bigger picture is the need for a grand design. Trump really has to move away from this building trade war, and move toward cooperation with Latin America, with China, and with Russia, and bring the United States in, as an integral part of development projects in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Were he do that, I think the world would find itself in safe waters in a very short period of time. Since it is within reach, I can only repeat my appeal: Help us, and move with us, because this is the time we can all influence history, which cannot be done when everything is going along quietly along quiet roads. But in such times of turmoil, the whole world is changing; at such moments in history, interventions can be made if you have the courage, if you have love for civilization, and if you have a vision of what to do. Join with us, and help us turn this situation around.
Schlanger: I encourage all our viewers to go to the Schiller Institute New Paradigm website and get Helga’s statement, “History is Now Being Written in Asia! The EU Summit Must Follow the Example of Singapore!” Circulate this statement, create a ruckus around it. Let’s get that debate going!
Helga, thank you very much for joining us this week, and we’ll be back next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, till next week.