Building the Europe of the Future: Common Development, Not a Debtors Union
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institutes and national chair of the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo), gave this speech to the annual conference of the party in Frankfurt am Main on June 16, 2012. While giving a strategic overview of the global situation, she also presented highlights of the EIR special offprint titled “There Is Life After the Euro! Program for an Economic Miracle in Southern Europe, the Mediterranean Region, and Africa,” which was also the Feature in EIR, June 8, 2012. The report is being translated into French, German, Spanish, and other languages. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche’s speech in the original German can be found on the Büso website. A PDF of this article can be found here.
Dear BüSo members, respected guests,
I think anyone who observes the world situation these days with an open mind will have the queasy feeling that humanity is in extremely serious danger. There are two principal problems that constitute an existential threat to humanity. On the one hand, the trans-Atlantic financial system is disintegrating, as we speak. It could even come to pieces this weekend. And the second point is the acute danger of war.
There is such panic on the financial markets that the top central banks are simply turning on the money spigots. Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, said yesterday that we must pump as much liquidity as necessary into the system, without limit! Thus, if there is a risk of uncontrolled collapse somewhere, anywhere, money will simply be printed or created electronically.
Threat of Hyperinflation
The danger is that if you try to keep this absolutely bankrupt financial system going in such a way, then we are heading for a hyperinflationary explosion just like that in Germany in 1923, with the difference being that it will go much, much faster. Germany’s 1923 hyperinflation actually lasted three and a half years, starting in 1919; but it was invisible until the Spring of 1923. Then, in just six months, prices rose to the point that people ended up having to bring their money to the baker’s in wheelbarrows, before noon, when the value of the currency was reset.
And that was only in one country; this time we’re talking about the whole Eurozone, the entire dollar sphere, which means not only the United States, because the dollar still plays an important role as a world reserve currency.
Today we are at the point at which the monetarist system, known as globalization or the British Empire—which of course does not mean England or Great Britain, but rather the whole combination of central banks, investment banks, hedge funds, holding companies, special purpose companies, insurance companies, and reinsurance companies, i.e., the entire financial structure that represents globalization—is more bankrupt, you might say, than the G.D.R was on Nov. 9, 1989.
We predicted this collapse in 1990, by the way, when I warned that if people made the mistake of imposing on the bankrupt communist system the de facto equally bankrupt free-market system, this might delay the collapse for a couple of years, and some people might rake in enormous profits, but when the collapse came, it would be far worse than the collapse of communism. The danger is that the collapse of the present global financial system will not be as peaceful as the collapse of communism ultimately turned out to be, in that no major wars resulted from it.
The reason we are now in an acute danger of war lies with the so-called Blair Doctrine, which former British Prime Minister Tony Blair first enunciated in Chicago in 1999, when he said, in effect, that international law is now ad acta and it is now legitimate to intervene militarily, under the pretext of humanitarian assistance, anywhere around the globe.
Blair’s doctrine stands in complete contrast to Russian President Putin’s so-called Putin Doctrine, according to which Russia accepts the standards of international law, the UN Charter, and the defense of national sovereignty. These two doctrines are clashing head-on now in Syria.
There is a solution to prevent the worst.
That is an immediate halt to all bailout packages for bankrupt banks, and an immediate implementation of a global two-tier banking system, a global Glass-Steagall standard in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The essential first step in Europe is to cancel all the EU treaties, from Maastricht to Lisbon, so that all European nations can recover sovereignty over their own currencies and economies; we must immediately introduce fixed exchange rates and agree upon a credit system for a reconstruction program that will create an economic miracle in Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa.
It is a happy coincidence—a blessing in disguise, so to speak—that our party’s national convention is being held this very weekend, because I think that now people’s illusions are gradually disappearing. Even in Germany, where the tendency to deny reality is particularly strong, people can see that this system is really at its end. We can use this meeting to call upon our members, all conference participants, as well as fraternal organizations in other European nations, America, and other parts of the world to carry out a huge mobilization for the program that I will present in detail. It will very much depend on this mobilization whether this historical era ends in tragedy, in chaos and possible war, or whether we can begin a new, optimistic epoch of mankind.
The Current Eurozone Situation
Let’s review the situation first. The central banks have decided to turn on the money spigots without limit. This has been happening increasingly in recent weeks; for example, the weekly report of the New York Federal Reserve said that the European Central Bank [ECB] had tapped $1.544 billion in currency swap credits from the Federal Reserve. The weekly rate had recently been only $300-500 million. Since last September, there have been swap agreements, i.e., unlimited credit lines, from the Fed to the ECB, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, and the Bank of Japan.
These central banks have agreed that everything must be done to prevent any further collapses, like that of Lehman Brothers in 2008, or that would trigger a chain reaction in which a bank deemed “too big to fail” infects other banks or leads to a sovereign bankruptcy, which would in turn be contagious; the banks will simply provide whatever liquidity is needed. Charles Evans, CEO of the Chicago Fed, said that “aggressive infusions” are required to make the economy “bulletproof.” The International Institute of Finance [IIF], the organization of the 420 largest banks in the world, which for some time has participated in EU summits to make sure that the necessary “expertise” is available to the heads of state, wrote in an open letter to the G20 summit in Mexico that “the markets will be looking expectantly for evidence of a globally coordinated policy response targeted to revive growth prospects worldwide on a sustainable basis.”
This is of course banker-speak, and it translates as: Governments should simply agree to print massive sums of money. In 2009, there was a $1 trillion stimulus program, but this is completely inadequate today, the IIF wrote. Now we need much faster and many more of such injections.
The participants in the Bilderberg Conference, which took place near Washington’s Dulles Airport, then attended a meeting of the Atlantic Council, and we hear from reliable sources that Mr. Ackermann afterwards put out the line that evidently emerged from the Bilderberg Conference: We must simply wait until panic reaches the point that the politicians agree to the entire package; and we are at that point now.
There is great hysteria about the Greek election tomorrow [June 17], but it really does not matter which side wins, because from the standpoint of international banking circles, Greece’s withdrawal from the euro has long been taken for granted. But the situation will be totally changed, because if the leftist party wins, it will stop dealing with the EU Commission, thus will no longer implement the austerity demands; if the conservative side wins [which it did], the catastrophic economic situation in Greece will turn into one of utter despair, and social problems will become so enormous that it will be clear to everyone that things cannot go on like this.
In the past week, the Spanish banks were once again quickly provided with EU100 billion, but it was quite clear that this amount would in no way suffice to rescue these banks—that would take about EU600-700 billion. But the EU did not want to escalate the Spanish crisis so close to the date of the Greek elections. Naturally, that paltry sum did not help, and there was a so-called negative reaction on the markets, because everyone knew that the only thing it accomplished was to put the Spanish government EU100 billion deeper in debt.
And so on June 13, the Moody’s rating agency downgraded the Spanish banks by three levels, to one level above junk, and 10-year yields immediately jumped to 7%. Previously 5% was considered the upper limit, beyond which it would be too expensive to refinance the debt.
When interest rates rise that high, it becomes clear at some point that the limit has been reached. Spain’s national debt can basically no longer be financed at 7%, so capital flight is underway.
In Italy, which has a national debt of EU1.9 trillion, 5-year yields have gone up to 5.3%. As this situation was coming to a head in the last few days before the Greek election, there were frantic trans-Atlantic phone calls and conference calls among Obama, Blair, Hollande, van Rompuy, and various other people, putting out the line that the markets’ negative reaction to the EU100 billion bailout for Spain shows that much more is needed.
Meanwhile, various new proposals were made. For example, that the ECB should immediately get a banking license so as to provide liquidity directly to the European banks, rather than to the governments; that financial union should go deeper, with the issuance of Eurobonds; and that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) should be strengthened. The pressure on Germany grew tremendously: that Germany had to agree to “collectivization” of the debt, which means that the German taxpayer should sacrifice his life savings to pay off the gambling debts of all of Europe.
Even the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, not known for being pro-Roosevelt or oriented toward the real economy, came to the conclusion that neither the construction of firewalls, nor the establishment of a Debt Union, nor German deposit insurance, nor a Bank Union, nor eurobonds, nor TARGET ersatz ECB loans would protect the euro countries from contagion. On the contrary, any expansion of common liability would lead to greater infection with the debt virus, until the last healthy debtor country could no longer bear the burden.
This is an admission that the system is at an end, and it does not matter which of these proposals is now on the table, because the problem will only get worse.
Hilmar Kopper, the former head of Deutsche Bank, felt compelled, to explain in Bildzeitung why he was opposed to the introduction of eurobonds. It sounds like a bad joke, but he said that the Social Democrats want the dutiful German taxpayers to be held liable for the funds that are pumped into countries from which the wealthy will then suck them out again.
Rainer Brüderle, the former German Economics Minister from the FDP [Free Democratic Party], said in a parliamentary debate the day before yesterday that if it were up to [Green party leader] Jürgen Trittin’s new friends at the Bilderberg financial group (Trittin attended the Bilderberg meeting), the savings accounts of German grandmothers would be squandered to pay the gambling debts of foreign investment bankers. At the very least, Mr. Brüderle! He then talked about the policy of the “green-painted Schicki-Micki” [pretentiously chic] party, which Gregor Gysi [Left Party] immediately put forward to protect the Greens from Brüderle’s vulgar remarks. So much for the Left Party and its comprehension of the situation.
The problem is that basically all the parties that are represented in parliament are for the euro and for the perpetuation of a system, a construct that is hopelessly defunct.
The only honest solution would be to admit that the euro is a failed experiment—an insight that even came to Alan Greenspan during the past week.
What’s Wrong with Political Union
Mr. Kopper added, in the above-mentioned interview, that it is nonsense to claim that the euro was introduced solely for political reasons. But that is precisely the point! The euro was introduced—and we at the time vehemently opposed it—because the British (Margaret Thatcher), François Mitterrand, and the senior George Bush were determined to force the reunified Germany, for geostrategic reasons, into the corset of the EU and the Maastricht Treaty.
Jacques Attali, a former advisor to French President François Mitterrand, has since admitted in many interviews, and even in the biography he wrote about Mitterrand, that Mitterrand at that time had threatened Chancellor Kohl with war, if Germany was not prepared to give up the deutschmark as a price for reunification. Attali has also said in several interviews that the euro was deliberately created with a birth defect, so that under crisis conditions, the political union that was at that time impossible to achieve, might be accepted under conditions of panic.
That’s the plan. The escalating crisis situation will be used to make Europe into a political union, a federated state, without any consultation with the populations of all the member countries. Prof. Dr. Hermann August Winkler wrote in the June 13 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, under the headline “From a confederation of states to a federation”: “It was the hope [when the euro was introduced], that monetary union would lead inevitably to the political unification of Europe.” He then praised the “legendary European speech” by Joschka Fischer [Green party leader who was then the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor—ed.] on May 12, 2000, calling for a European government, with genuine legislative and executive powers and founded on a constitutional treaty. (Fischer, among others in the European Council on Foreign Relations, works closely with George Soros.) In those days, the time for such a revolutionary step was not ripe, but the debt crisis has created a new situation, according to Winkler. It is forcing a new “finality debate,” a broad public discourse about the objective and purpose of the process of European unification. There are several proposals on the table that would give greater powers to the Commission, which could then be a kind of European government.
Just imagine it: Do you want the EU Commission as a European government? I certainly do not!
And furthermore: A strong parliament with the right of legislative initiative and the right to elect the Commission would come into existence, along with a second chamber, consisting of the Council of Heads of Government, and the European Court of Justice, as the supreme court. Professor Winkler makes the right point, that we can no longer avoid this debate, and we need a referendum under Article 146 of the Basic Law. Article 146 states that a new constitution may only be legitimized by a referendum.
That’s exactly what we need right now. We need a thorough debate about what kind of Europe we want: Do we want a Europe of ossified bureaucrats whose policies wreck entire industrial sectors, who are transforming the EU into an imperial strike force, as Robert Cooper, the advisor to Lady Ashton has described in detail, or do we want a Europe with which people can identify and where they can choose the institutions themselves?
With the EU Commission, and if the ESM should ever come into existence, which is still the intention of the parties in the Bundestag this month, then we will be governed by bodies that are accountable to no one. The policies of these bodies have failed already. The euro and EU policy have not, as they have it inscribed on their banners, strengthened peace in Europe, but rather, if one looks today at the political landscape, one must realize that never since 1945 have the peoples of Europe been so divided and hostile toward one another as they are today. Germany has never been so hated.
The policy of the Troika [EC-ECB-IMF] is to reduce Greece to African conditions. The 77-year-old pensioner Dimitris Kristolas, a retired pharmacist who shot and killed himself a few weeks ago only 50 meters from the Greek Parliament, has become an emblem of the Greek resistance. There is an epidemic of suicides, and the mortality rate is rising. Three hundred vital drugs are unavailable in hospitals or from doctors.
And this is only Greece. Spain, Portugal, and Italy are headed in the same direction. More than 70 proprietors of small and medium-sized companies have killed themselves in Italy since the beginning of the year. Most of these people were involved in public works projects, but the state did not pay them, and sent the tax collectors after them instead. Seventy or more of these men took their own lives.
This is only a foretaste of what threatens us all, if the policies of the Troika, the International Institute of Finance, the Bilderbergers, et al. are carried out.
Hyperinflation, as all Germans know, is the most brutal form of expropriation of the population, and will certainly lead to social chaos and a collapse of civilization, as we have experienced before.
Go for Glass-Steagall
There is an alternative, and we must put this alternative in place of these bankrupt policies. That is our development program for an economic miracle in Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa. I will describe these projects in a moment. If we launch these projects, there is no reason why we cannot quickly achieve optimism, economic growth, and full employment.
The first step must be a trans-Atlantic introduction of the two-tier banking system, the Glass-Steagall Act in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the 1930s, Roosevelt brought America out of the Depression within a few years, by the combination of the Pecora Commission, Glass-Steagall, the TVA, infrastructure programs, and the New Deal. Today, Rep. Marcy Kaptur has a bill [H.R. 1489] to this effect in the American Congress, with nearly 70 co-sponsors, and also supported by many institutions: trade unions, regional savings banks, mayors, city councils, the people who are among the hardest hit by the economic crisis.
This is the result of our own mobilization. Now in this crisis, in which the euro is coming undone and the crisis threatens to spread to the U.S. banks, the pressure is building especially on the House of Representatives and the Senate, where a similar bill is being prepared, to implement Glass-Steagall.
Glass-Steagall would separate the commercial banks from investment banks and place the commercial banks under state protection. The investment banks would no longer have access to the deposits of commercial banks and would have to put their books in order without bailouts. If they are insolvent, they would have to declare bankruptcy and shut down their operations. We would, however, no longer be held hostage by “too big to fail” and continued bailouts.
During the past week, there has been a surge of support for Glass-Steagall, not only among Democrats (for example, Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, supports it), but also among Republicans. Thomas Hoenig, [formerly] one of the 12 governors of the Federal Reserve and current chairman of the FDIC, expressed his support for Glass-Steagall, and has become the center of the mobilization for the Republicans.
Also included are people like Joseph Stiglitz, and Prof. Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago, who recently published an article in the Financial Times in which he describes how he went from being an opponent of Glass-Steagall to becoming a strong proponent: a member of his fraternity who converted.
There is a very simple pedagogical way to make it clear that money has no value in itself. The proof is that after November 1923, people used the currency notes, 1-trillion-mark notes, 1 billion-mark notes, for wallpaper, because that paper was the cheapest at that time. People who could no longer afford to have wallpaper used the currency notes to paper the walls.
Today, money does not even have the value of the paper it is printed on, but only pure virtual value, and pressing the “delete” button on the computer suffices to bring the whole nightmare to an end.
The first step is the two-tier system; then the immediate cancellation of the EU treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon. [Czech Republic President] Vaclav Klaus also raised this demand. And there is no reason that Europe should not work very well as it was before 1992. A Europe of the fatherlands, as de Gaulle called for, could work very well together, and much better on a multinational level to uphold common European goals. We do not need a supranational bureaucracy, which has now made itself completely independent.
Return to National Currencies
The next step must be a return to national currencies. There are several studies, e.g., by Prof. Dirk Meier of Hamburg, but also from other financial institutions, that lay out how that could be done. One could, for example, over a long weekend, maybe Saturday to Wednesday, set up bank holidays, during which the account balances of individuals and companies would be assessed.
Then you would set up temporary capital and exchange controls, so there would not be wild inflows of euros from other countries. At the same time, the existing euros would be stamped with magnetic ink and it would be specified that these euros are now the new deutschemarks, new drachmas, or new francs. A decision by the Council of Europe, for example, could transfer monetary sovereignty back to the national governments. It would be necessary to pass new national currency laws, and the euro could continue to be used for some time as a unit of account between the central and National banks.
In all of this we can take advantage of the experience gained from the transition from the deutschemark to the euro, because that worked reasonably well.
The next step would be for each country in Europe to establish its own National Bank. This would function just like the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Finance Agency) after the Second World War, which operated on the model of Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corp. The National Banks would provide loans for well-defined projects that would be exclusively limited to building up the real economy. The projects should be guided by the principles of physical economy—i.e., based on scientific criteria.
One would have to completely say goodbye to Ackermann’s idea of a 25% rate of profit in a month. This is a perverse idea. No one can honestly make 25% profit. Every entrepreneur, every farmer, knows that it is a preposterous idea that money makes money; these are air bubbles. Instead we must limit these loans to what creates real value.
The first principle has to be that the economy serves only the people. The economy needs to create the basis for expanded production and improved living conditions from generation to generation.
The World Land-Bridge
It has been said for some time now, that the present generation is the first in history not to assume that their children and grandchildren will be better off than the adults living today, but rather that they face a grim future. That is a symptom of a dying civilization, and it’s simply unacceptable! There’s not one single legitimate reason why the catastrophic underdevelopment in parts of Europe—which are meanwhile descending into African conditions—cannot be overcome for good by a development strategy in the course of one to two generations. Nor is there any reason why it shouldn’t be possible to provide for life with dignity for all people in this region, and to build a real future for them.
If we survey the entire Mediterrane an region and Africa, we’re immediately struck by one thing: its glaring lack of infrastructure. And that is why it is absolutely necessary to begin a reconstruction program for developing that infrastructure. This has always been the prerequisite for any successful industrialization, as it was in Germany in the 19th Century, and in America, Russia, China, and any other nation on this planet.
The Europe-Mediterranean-Africa Program is a component of the extension of the World Land-Bridge (Figure 1), which also includes development corridors stretching from Chile at the southern-most tip of Latin America, through Central and North America. It also includes NAWAPA, the largest infrastructure project in history, which will take the huge quantities of water flowing unutilized into the ocean from Canada and Alaska, and divert it through an integrated system of canals and river diversions along the Rocky Mountains all the way into Mexico, thereby immediately creating 6 million new productive jobs.
I can assure you that in America we have launched a huge mobilization to get this NAWAPA project underway, in tandem with Glass-Steagall and the creation of a system of national credit. If we can divert these enormous quantities of water along the Rocky Mountains into areas that are either entirely desert or that have a serious water deficit, people could start up new farms there, and plant new forests. New precipitation patterns would develop, because these plants would emit moisture, forming clouds which would then rain this moisture back down. New cities could be built, requiring enormous quantities of concrete and steel; new maglev railways would have to be built, because of the great inclines there that have to be traversed.
This project has already fired the imagination of many thousands of people: engineering firms, urban planners, and experts who have been involved with such projects in the past, but who are now experiencing how America is disintegrating. If you drive around Detroit, you see large parts of the city looking just like Dresden after the fire-bombing at the close of World War II. The windows in the factory buildings are long gone, and all boarded-up.
In Ohio’s so-called auto manufacturing belt, catastrophic conditions prevail. And yet, there are still many highly trained workers there, who are simply waiting for such a project so that they can get a job and support themselves, and to give them a perspective for the future.
The NAWAPA plan is America’s only chance of preventing the country from collapsing. It’s a question of “To be, or not to be.” NAWAPA will be complemented by a tunnel under the Bering Strait, connecting Alaska with Siberia—a project which President Putin has declared an priority. Vladimir Yakunin, the head of the Russian Railways, has stated that the planning stage must be completed by 2015, after which it will take only a few years to bring it to reality.
On the Russian side of the Bering Strait, the Eurasian Land-Bridge will be further extended, in order to open up Russia’s Arctic regions—which is extremely important for Europe and for Germany. Russia’s Arctic regions possess every raw material, every element in Mendeleyev’s Periodic Table—but they’re underneath permafrost conditions.
Therefore, in order to access this abundance—which will be decisive for all of humanity, not just for Russia, for the coming 50 to 100 years—we must create the physical conditions for people to live under these permafrost conditions. With that in mind, the Russian government is planning to build an entirely self-contained new city, Umka, where 5,000 scientists and engineers will live. Inside the city will be vegetation which will replicate conditions existing, for example, on the International Space Station.
Developing the Arctic region is therefore an important step in the development of manned space flight and the colonization of the Moon and Mars, because we will learn how to survive under such extreme conditions.
Projected Tunnel Under the Strait of Gibraltar
Source: SECEGSA (Spain)
The Eurasian Land-Bridge will then be connected, via development corridors, to the Iberian Peninsula, by means of a tunnel in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar, going to Morocco (Figure 2), and the construction of the Strait of Messina Bridge and a tunnel to Tunisia (Figure 3). A development corridor through Egypt will then connect to the so-called Africa Pass (Figures 4 and 5), complemented by the Transaqua Project, which will go from the Congo to Lake Chad.
Italy: Messina Bridge and Tunnel to Tunisia
Artist’s Depiction of the Africa Pass Project
Africa Pass: Canal from Eastern Congo to the Qattara Depression
Now, of course, you’re asking yourselves: How is this all going to get paid for, and who’s going to do it all? My reply is to tell you that the underlying image of man which will make this plan possible, is not the oligarchical model, which degrades man, treating him as merely a burden to the environment, and claiming that the Earth can only sustain 1.5 billion people—as the Royal Society has just announced in its annual report—which begs the question of what is supposed to happen to the other 5.5 billion people currently living. Should they, perhaps, be killed off, as Sparta did with the Helots?
And that is, in fact, the current policy of the globalization advocates. I was once in Sudan, and I’ve seen how the people there live. Families there live off a single goat which they have tied up to a post somewhere. And that’s what they live on.
The vision that we have for Greece’s future is tempered not by current conditions, but rather by the contributions of Homer, Aeschylus and the other tragedians, Plato, and others: the idea that these great Greek philosophers, tragedians, and story-tellers marked the advent of man’s self-consciousness as a being who is capable of having ideas.
Mediterranean Basin Great Infrastructure Projects
That was by no means self-evident; most of our citizens have still not even gotten to the point of knowing that ideas exist, since ideas aren’t practical, and aren’t necessarily a part of their way of life. Yet this has been Greece’s unique role and contribution, because previously, under the Babylonian priesthood, human beings were entirely in the thrall of prejudices, of mystical visions, and their concepts were vague and confused. But with Homer, Aeschylus, and Plato there arose, for the very first time, the idea that man is capable of having relevant ideas which can lead to progress in science and culture—that man has the capacity to formulate increasingly appropriate hypotheses, or what Plato named the Hypothesis of the Higher Hypothesis. For the very first time, man became conscious that he, distinct from all other creatures, is a creative being.
And that is something that, once again, has to be our vision for Greece.
We proceed from an image of Italy that is stamped by the culture of the Etruscans and the culture of the Italian Renaissance, and for the Iberian Peninsula, from an image of Spain and Portugal stamped by Alfonso the Wise, the Andalusian Renaissance, Goya, and Cervantes.
Development of Greece
Balkan Countries: Existing and Proposed Waterways
1994 European Community Infrastructure
Back in 1990, when we responded to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic by proposing a “Productive Triangle,” we were pursuing the idea of development corridors extending through the Balkans to Greece and Turkey (Figure 8).
Unfortunately, that plan was never carried out. Jacques Delors’ 1994 map detailed many of the same ideas which we had in our Productive Triangle—but not the Balkan development corridors (Figure 9). That, of course, was the result of cynicism, since it was assumed that with its civil wars and NATO deployments, the Balkans would not develop—and today that is indeed the situation in many Balkan nations: economic chaos and misery. Their infrastructure has been largely destroyed, their populations are shrinking, and development never took place.
Nevertheless, the task remains to push forward and develop infrastructure in the Balkans and in Greece: modern railways, roads, harbors, waterways, air transport, energy production and distribution, medical supplies, sanitation, clean drinking water, flood protection and irrigation systems, and protection against earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Greece and Trans-European Project 29
Greece has two main north-south axes (Figure 10): the Adriatic Sea route in the west, and the Aegean corridor in the east, which goes through the ports of Thessaloniki and Vardar/Morava river corridor into the interior. With the extension of the World Land-Bridge, production and trade among Asia, Europe, and Africa would experience an enormous surge; and then we would have the same problem which Southern Asia is facing now, where the Strait of Malacca is completely overburdened, so that one of our old projects, the construction of a canal through the Isthmus of Kra, is once again on the agenda. At this point, Japan, China, and the countries of South Asia are apparently deciding to move in this direction. Under the changed circumstances of the World Land-Bridge, Greece would become a hub for this increased trade activity.
Greece enjoys a very big advantage: It has the world’s largest commercial shipping fleet, and therefore is also a valuable reservoir of skilled professionals in shipbuilding and shipping. It could thus become a hub which could connect to the west via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal to the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Hamburg, and to the east via the Danube corridor to the Black Sea, and further onward to the Dnieper-Volga-Don Canal, and thence to the Caspian Sea into Central Asia, and finally into western Siberia. Toward South Asia, Greece would be connected to the Anatolian Peninsula via rail corridors that would lead via Iraq and Iran toward India. And thirdly, going from Greece via Turkey, Jordan, and the Sinai into North and East Africa, a connection would be created that would run through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar, thereby opening the way to the Indian Ocean, and to the Atlantic.
China has already recognized Greece’s future role, and has signed long-term contracts for using the port of Piraeus, and is building various facilities there.
On the other hand, thanks to the Troika’s policies, all rail connections beyond Greece’s borders have been shut down, so that at present, it does not have a single rail connection into Europe or Asia. And even the London Financial Times is expressing concern that the EU’s policies might possibly have geopolitical consequences, and that Greece might become more aware of its historical ties to Russia. Well, that’s exactly what Greece is doing right now.
The policies of the EU and the World Trade Organization have led to the point that Greece now has to import 40% of its food, even though it has a so-called “Mediterranean agro-climate”—i.e., citrus fruits, olives, grapes, and of course all kinds of grains grow there easily. There are now Greek agronomists who have developed expertise in so-called precision farming, whereby fields are monitored via GPS, inspected with sensors that store data and make exact measurements of what combinations of fertilizer and irrigation are necessary, and what are the optimal times to till, sow, and harvest. That’s basically the same thing that astronomers were doing 3,000 years ago, when for the first time they used their observations of the planets’ cyclical motions to create the preconditions for developing agriculture, because then they knew exactly when in the Spring they should sow, when they should harvest, and so forth.
The Iberian Peninsula
When we take a look at the Iberian Peninsula, we see that it has the highest unemployment rate in Europe: an average of 24%, and over 50% unemployment among young people. Its economy has been totally skewed by over-emphasis on tourism. Now, tourism isn’t useful for any country: It’s useful for the international tourist agencies which reap big profits, but it leaves the country’s real resources, namely the productivity of its labor force, virtually fallow. Anyone who goes to work in the bar of a big hotel complex, or as a chambermaid, is not going to be developing their labor power much, or their cognitive potential.
Second, the entire real estate sector has turned out to be nothing but a bubble.
And yet, just as with Greece, Spain can have a catalytic function at the intersection of diverse civilizations. That has often been the case in its past, for example during the reign of Alfonso the Wise. From 1252 to 1282, Castile’s capital city, Toledo, was one of Europe’s most important scientific centers, which helped to bring the influence of the Greek classics and the Arab Renaissance into Europe. It had famous astronomers, and a school for translators where scholars of the three monotheistic religious—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism—transcribed the most important texts and ideas into the languages of their respective cultures.
What shipbuilding is for Greece—namely one of its strengths that we can build on—the railway sector is for Spain. Few know that with its 2,600 kilometers of rail, Spain has the best-developed high-speed-rail network in all of Europe, and that worldwide it ranks second, only after China.
Spain and Portugal: High-Speed Freight Rail Lines (EU Project 16)
Spain and Portugal: High-Speed Rail Lines (EU Project 19)
Spain is also a world leader in the development and production of new rail technology, and its government already has plans for another 10,000 km of high-speed railways (Figure 11 and 12)—which, of course, is impossible under the EU’s current austerity diktat.
Spain traditionally has a different rail gauge than most other European countries, which is probably the reason that Spanish firms have developed a technology whereby the axle length of existing rolling stock can be automatically altered as the train is moving (at 15 km/h)—which is also extremely important for accommodating to rail gauges in Eastern Europe.
Back in 1969, the internationally active firm Talgo developed such a technology for gauge-changing systems, and together with other Spanish firms such as Renfe, CAF, and AVE, they built and operated rail lines in Kazakstan, Argentina, and the United States, sold rail cars to Russia, and so forth.
An existing high-speed line already connects Spain with Berlin, Paris, and Perpignan, and a new rail tunnel under the Pyrenees is soon to be built, which would connect the French side with Barcelona and Madrid.
Spain must therefore assume a leading role in the planning, construction, and export of high-speed-railway lines into Africa, and it must expand the requisite supplier industries in the construction and steel sector, in metalworking, the electricity and electronics industries, and in telecommunications.
Many obvious projects, such as constructing a high-speed line from Madrid to Lisbon, are currently on ice, on orders from the Troika. Likewise with the four planned high-speed lines Vigo-Porto, Salamanca-Porto, Madrid-Huelva-Lisbon, and Seville-Huelva-Faro.
The southern-most point of Spain’s railway network is Algeciras. From here, a new high-speed line should be built to Tarifa and Cadiz, because Tarifa will be the Spanish terminus of a tunnel, through which a high-speed railway will run underneath the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier in Morocco (Figure 2), and thus will constitute the African leg of the World Land-Bridge.
This tunnel was first proposed in 1930, and a number of feasibility studies were made which explored various possibilities—for example, a fixed bridge over the Strait of Gibraltar, a floating bridge, or a floating tunnel moored to the sea floor. But all these variants turned out to be unfeasible, because of the great ocean depth, strong currents, and therefore great structural instability.
In 2003, an agreement was signed between Spain and Morocco for the construction of a fixed tunnel; the project design was contracted out to the state firms SECEGSA and SNED and the Swiss tunnel-building firm Lombardi. In 2009, Lombardi worked up a feasibility study and presented it to the EU, but because of the erupting financial crisis, nothing has happened since then.
The Lombardi plan came to the conclusion that the narrowest passage between the two continents, where the Strait of Gibraltar is only 14 km wide, is not suitable for a tunnel, because the ocean depth there is 900 meters. More suitable instead, is the route from Tarifa to Tangier in Morocco, where the depth is only 300 meters. Even so, this tunnel would be the world’s deepest. It would be 40 km long, with two tunnels for passenger and freight traffic, and another supply tunnel in-between. It would take only 15 years to build. In comparison, the Chunnel between France and England is only 50 meters below sea level, and is 49 km long. The tunnel under the Bering Strait would be approximately 54 meters deep and 85 km long, but would be interrupted by islands, so that the longest single stretch of tunnel would be 35 km.
Spain: Annual Rainfall and the National Hydrological Plan
Sources: INE (Spain); EIR
There are many additional projects for Spain (Figure 13), such as a river diversion project for the Ebro for irrigating the dry areas along the Mediterranean coastline; the construction of new, inherently safe, fourth-generation nuclear plants; a new Euro-African space center on the Canary Islands, which is already underway; a new science city and launch pad for satellites, for which the Canary Islands are quite suitable, because they have lava ground formations very similar to the Moon’s surface.
And then, research into the early detection of earthquakes must be expanded jointly by Greece, Italy, and many other countries. Just recently we once again keenly felt the need for this in Italy, because one of the reasons why Liliana Gorini can’t be here today, is that she lives in this earthquake-prone area, and can’t leave her home.
There has already been extensive research into the early detection of earthquakes, only the proposals have not been implemented yet—not to mention other projects for the defense of Earth, such as research into defense against asteroids which, because of the Earth’s changing position in our galaxy, are moving toward us more aggressively.
Italy: The Tradition of Mattei
It is obvious that Italy must likewise have an identity as a bridgehead between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. This is in the tradition of Enrico Mattei, who was a symbol for a development policy that was explicitly anti-colonialist, one oriented toward the actual development of the labor force in Africa and the Mideast.
Italy and theTrans-European Project No. 1
For Italy (Figure 14), the development of its south, the so-called Mezzogiorno, is an absolute necessity, along with the construction of a bridge over the Strait of Messina, where the southern tip of Italy’s “boot” will be connected to Palermo in Sicily by the world’s longest suspension bridge, 3.3 km in length. This in turn will foster the formation of a new population center between Messina and Reggio di Calabria which, on the one side, will be connected to central and northern Italy by a high-speed-rail line, and on the other, via a tunnel from Sicily to Tunisia. The plan for this has already been drawn up by the Italian technology agency ENEA. This tunnel would involve spanning a distance of 155 km, whereby five separate tunnels would be built, connecting artificially created islands.
Obviously this program is linked with the development of the Maghreb, where Algerian and other engineers long ago worked out plans for the development of the schotts—that is, the depressions in the Maghreb region—so that agriculture there would be totally transformed.
The Transaqua Plan for Water Infrastructure Development
Urgent Development of Africa
This program must be integrated into the Transaqua project (Figure 15), which I will not present any further here, since we have described it extensively at other conferences. That involves, first and foremost, directing the enormous volume of water of the Congo River through a river and canal system to Lake Chad, which today has shrunk to less than 10% of its original size. This would enable us to irrigate a large part of the Sahel; we could create enormous agricultural acreage there to feed the population.
The Transaqua project must now also be connected to the so-called “Africa Pass” program (Figure 4). When we decided to put out the Mediterranean-Africa Development Program, to our delight we were contacted by an Egyptian engineer, Aiman Rsheed, who in January 2011, immediately after the Egyptian Revolution, had presented his vision for the development of Egypt. In that, as you can easily see, he was inspired by our images of the World Land-Bridge. Where today there is total desert and not a blade of grass grows, it could look like this in a few years.
Africa Pass is a huge program for the development of the great human potential of nine African states, for the development of agriculture in areas which today are nothing but desert.
Africa Pass: Four Phases of Transport Corridors
The first phase of this program (Figure 16) would be the construction of a huge modern seaport in Sidi Barrani in northwest Egypt, near the border with Libya, which would be linked with both the high-speed highways of the Maghreb, and with the countries of the Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and North Sudan), as one transport corridor. This network would then—as I said—be linked through the Maghreb with tunnels to Sicily and Spain, and thereby integrated into the World Land-Bridge.
Along the Africa Pass corridor (Figure 5), five large new cities will be built at 250 km intervals, beginning with the Sidi Barrani port, where a modern container-handling site, industrial centers, and a large international airport will be built. Then it also makes total sense for a 40-meter-wide, 25-meter-deep irrigation canal to travel over 3,800 km, from the East Congo highlands all the way to Egypt. Thus, the Qattara Depression would be filled with freshwater from the Congo River. Seven hydroelectric plants are planned along this canal, utilizing the difference in altitude between the south (1,500 meters above sea level) to the Qattara Depression (80 meters below sea level), for power production. The canal should also be built along with rail lines and highways, so that it can be used for ship transport.
Agricultural centers for food processing must also be set up. That is the key, because this region—the Sudans, Egypt, parts of the Sahel—have the most fertile soil in the world. We only need to get water there, nothing else, and we can have three or four crops per year.
But we immediately need the appropriate infrastructure and food-processing centers, because otherwise the food would rot and be lost.
In the Qattara Depression alone, millions of hectares of arable land could be created, which would transform Egypt into a breadbasket. And there will be enormous hydrological effects from the great new freshwater lakes and new green areas: The climate would be moderated, the water cycle in the region would be raised due to increased rainfall, and the desert would be forced back bit by bit.
Nine African countries will be developed through this project, instead of remaining disaster areas, which you can see in pictures of the Sahel region, where dozens of millions of people die, without it even being reported. All you hear is: 20 million dead from hunger catastrophe in East Africa; another 20 million dead of starvation in West Africa; and then you hear nothing more. Why not?
Instead, we could develop these countries and build modern agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy farming, and job-creating industries there.
As Egyptian engineer Rsheed said, Egypt has over 470,000 engineers today. Every year there are 20,000 high school graduates, and these people made the revolution, because they saw absolutely no future under the conditions of the previous Mubarak regime.
These people are the key not only to the transformation of Egypt, but for the beginning of actual development of Africa. This is the only perspective for the industrial nations and regions of Europe, the way we can secure our own sustainable future.
Europe’s Powerhouse Can Help Drive Global Development
This pentagon (Figure 17) covers the areas we earlier named the Productive Triangle, but now we have added Northern Italy and Switzerland. This is the powerhouse of Europe. Here we still find the greatest concentration of industrial capacity in the world. We must create a future where our interests as industrial nations and the interests of humanity coincide. We in Germany are indeed the world’s export champions, but we also need to have a long-term perspective.
We should not complain that Africa is selling its raw materials to the Chinese, because the Chinese are doing what the Africans want the most, namely, real infrastructure development in return for raw materials. The Africans much prefer straightforward business dealings in the interests of both sides to sermons from the EU, in which there is a lot of talk about “good governance” and “human rights” and this and that, but at the end of the day, no development is achieved, but, to the contrary, IMF conditionalities block any development at all.
In the long term, we must therefore cooperate with Russia in the development of the raw materials in Siberia. The German small and medium-sized industries have a definite job to do in the development of infrastructure in Russia, Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. What we need are long-term, multilateral treaties of cooperation among sovereign governments, in which credit lines are designed over such a long term that the projects we’ve named here can be realized, the productivity of the labor forces involved will be raised, and in the long run, the purchasing power can emerge which these countries need in order to be economically viable.
We must rid ourselves of the idea of short-term profit, and switch to long-range economic development of the real economy.
Real infrastructure development and real technology transfer must and can begin immediately. This is the absolute moral test for Europe, on which the survival of Europe itself will also be decided.
To develop the Mediterranean, the Near East, and North and South Africa will give our nations not only a future-oriented, long-range economic perspective, but this is the actual alternative to the failed policy of the EU and the British Empire.
We have a choice: Either we form an alliance of sovereign states for an actual development perspective, or we will be drawn by the collapsing Empire into a war with Russia and China.
The Syrian Tinderbox
I would like to go into this danger again briefly, because it is very, very real. The most dangerous situation at the moment is Syria. Whatever you hear in the media about Syria has nothing to do with what’s actually happening on the ground, but very much to do with the Blair Doctrine.
Blair, in his famous 1999 speech, declared that international law had ceased to be valid—of course, he didn’t say it outright, but de facto—and that military interventions throughout the world, under the pretext of humanitarian interventions, would henceforth be legitimate, starting immediately. This so-called Blair Doctrine was unfortunately adopted by the Obama Administration and is called “Responsibility to Protect.” There is an institution there, the Atrocities Prevention Board, which is headed by Samantha Power, the wife of Cass Sunstein, a theorist of social engineering—i.e., how to change people’s axiomatic belief structures through media campaigns, etc. This Board draws up lists of countries where human rights violations or anti-democratic acts are being committed, which can then be used as a pretext for intervening militarily.
That is precisely the case for Syria right now. This doctrine is the opposite of the so-called Putin Doctrine, which is explicitly committed to defense of national sovereignty and the UN Charter. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, at a recent security conference in St. Petersburg, said that the violation of that doctrine could also lead to deployment of nuclear weapons. Chief of the General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov said the same thing in respect to the European missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic: that it could lead to deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe in a regional war.
There was an article in the English-language version of Russia Today about two weeks ago, which suggested that the situation in the Middle East, the Israeli threat to attack Iran, and the situation in Syria should be considered in the context of NATO’s eastward expansion and the missile-defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Maybe that is all part of a sinister plan. The article then pointed to the discrepancy between Obama’s campaign promises and his acts.
The only reason this situation has not yet led to a world war, is that after the military strikes against Libya and the bestial murder of Qaddafi, it was not only Putin who made it absolutely clear that he would not accept any attack on Syria or Iran, but U.S. Chief of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey also stated repeatedly, in contrast to Obama, that Iran’s government was rational, and it was possible to negotiate with them.
It is only because of Lyndon LaRouche, Putin, and Dempsey that the war danger has been postponed; but as I said, it has not gone away.
When my husband said for the first time, on April 9, 2009, that Obama had the psychological profile of the Emperor Nero, and when we then adorned a photograph with a certain addition, as you will remember, there was an outcry—including from members of our organization. People said that was really going too far, that he was, after all, President of the United States. In the meantime, LaRouche’s assessment has been shown to have been right on the mark, and one can read the list of violations of the Constitution that Obama has committed in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many other newspapers. Even in Europe, the message has gone out about the huge difference between Obama and the U.S. military.
The list of Obama’s offenses, which has elicited relatively few comments until now, is long. Der Spiegel, at least, did mention that Obama decides personally, once a week, which terrorists are to be assassinated by drone attacks. The civilians who are murdered as “collateral damage” during the same attack are considered only people from Yemen or Pakistan, not worthy of comment by journalists.
U.S. military leaders have stepped on the brake, because they know what a thermonuclear war would mean. The military buildup in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean, since last Autumn, is more than enough to annihilate humanity. The Ohio class submarines, which are to all effects, stationed on the second line of defense in the Indian Ocean, are all equipped with strategic long-range missiles with nuclear warheads. Were even a faction of them to be deployed, a nuclear winter on Earth would ensue. Human life would be wiped out, vegetation would disappear, animals would not survive, and, as Kennedy once said, the people who died first in such a thermonuclear war would be the most fortunate, compared to those who continued to live for a while in such conditions.
In Syria, as we said, the situation is the most precarious. The Blair Doctrine is actually being played out there, and the media campaign is absolutely scandalous.
On the basis of many discussions we’ve had with experts from the Middle East, who have studied the situation in depth, there is no doubt about it: All the governments know that the problem is not the Assad government. There are many reports, including from Catholic nuns, Orthodox bishops, Alawites, and other religious leaders, which unanimously testify that ethnic cleansing could break out at any time if the Syrian Army is forced to retreat. They say that the people engaged in the insurgency are Libyan terrorists, mercenaries flown in from Libya, and al-Qaeda in Iraq members, who are financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Although this is common knowledge, [talk show host] Anne Will asserted on her TV program that Assad was slaughtering children. This is black propaganda for the British Empire! We should not tolerate it any longer, because if there were a military intervention against Syria, it would lead to war with Russia; it would immediately expand to Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, and of course to Iran, and a global war would be only a matter of time.
American patriotic forces are aware of this danger. This is why Republican Congressman Walter Jones submitted resolution H.R. 107, which states that if any President launches a war again without the consent of Congress, this would be grounds for impeachment.
The same principle was affirmed by Democratic Sen. James Webb, who is planning to introduce legislation requiring the President to seek Congressional approval before taking military action for so-called “humanitarian interventions.”
Echoes of Watergate
The situation in America has almost reached Watergate proportions. There are several scandals in play, including the so-called “Fast and Furious” scandal involving arms shipments to Mexican drug traffickers, whereby the Executive branch, as with the Watergate affair, is trying to cover up the truth. Or the revelations about the so-called drone assassinations by Obama, which the press has reported. The Republicans demanded an investigation of how these revelations came about. It turned out to be part of Obama’s campaign strategy, to present himself as a tough and strong President. But local anti-drug agents were endangered as a result. This will be further investigated. Obama also made the same mistake as Nixon, saying in a press statement that the White House had nothing to do with it. But the investigations are now leading directly to the senior staff in charge of Obama’s campaign strategy. This could very quickly become his Watergate.
Thus we have a situation in which the fate of civilization is hanging by a thread. On the one hand, there is this danger—the danger of war, of financial collapse—and on the other, an unprecedented mobilization for Glass-Steagall and NAWAPA [North Amer-ican Water and Power Alliance]. In many European countries there are efforts underway to push through Glass-Steagall laws, such as the initiative of Sen. Oskar Peterlini in Italy, and many French economists who are thinking along these lines. The situation is similar in other countries.
We can say that it makes no difference how the voting goes tomorrow in Greece: whether to exit from the euro immediately, or a little later—in any case, the financial system is hopelessly bankrupt. In this extraordinary, really unprecedented crisis of the human race, we have to get rid of the oligarchical system of the British Empire, and replace it with a Europe and a world alliance of sovereign republics that is based on an real construction program, with the idea that each person gets a job again and can earn a livelihood.
We need to expand the economic development program that I laid out, although of course I was only able to sketch its broad outlines. We will reach out to engineering firms, architects, urban planners, and others, asking them to help us to bring it about. That will only happen as a result of a broad mobilization of the population.
Stop the Culture of Globalization
Our program has to draw on the highest achievements of our culture: Greek antiquity, the Italian and Spanish Renaissances, the Ecole Polytechnique in France, and the German Classical period.
We must stop accepting the culture of globalization, which has now brought an existential crisis of civilization upon us. A society in which 10- to 12-year-old children take porn photos and send them out by cell phone, destroys these children for the rest of their lives. The youth culture is now mostly satanic, and the current pop culture is so ugly and so degrading, that you have to call it a violation of human dignity.
This must be replaced by a return to the humanistic view of man as the center of politics. We need policies that will allow everyone to develop his creative potential, because man’s creativity is the most important resource, not only for the economy, but for society as a whole. We must have a policy that would be acceptable in the eyes of Plato, Philo of Alexandria, Augustine, Alfonso the Wise, Goya, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicholas of Cusa, Joan of Arc, Madame Curie, Leibniz, and Friedrich Schiller—just to name a few: a policy that could withstand their scrutiny.
If we do that, and promote and bring to fruition our own creativity, there is absolutely no reason to be pessimistic; but we can proceed cheerfully to meet these challenges, knowing that we are bringing about a new era for mankind.
. King said, “The Bank and the Treasury are working together on a ‘funding-for-lending’ scheme that would provide funding to banks for several years, at rates below current market rates.” All footnotes are supplied by the editor.
. A reference to communist East Germany when the Berlin Wall came down.
. Latin: to the archives; on the shelf
. Josef Ackermann, the Swiss banker who until recently was the CEO of Deutsche Bank.
. Through the Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System (TARGET) the ECB provides interest-bearing loans to finance countries’ current-account deficits; the volume of these loans is much larger than the official bailouts approved by parliaments.
. Namely, that a monetary union could not function without political union.
. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
. Cooper wrote in his 2003 book, The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the 21st Century (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press): “The most far-reaching form of imperial expansion is that of the European Union. . . . The post-modern European answer to threats is to extend the system of co-operative empire ever wider.” See Mark Burdman, “Britain’s Cooper Promotes Imperial EU,” EIR, July 2, 2004, p. 10.