America First, or a Common Destiny
for the Future of Mankind?
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Jan. 21—President Donald Trump’s inaugural address contained a mixture of interesting promises, reminiscences of earlier periods of American history, impractical proclamations, and what is unfortunately the all-too-common notion in the United States—that there is no real world beyond the American continent, which he expressed in the slogan “America First!” It will become apparent over the next days and weeks how he intends to implement his pledge to massively boost the economy, and how foreign relations, especially with Russia and China, will take shape.
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Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev commented Jan. 19 that Obama’s biggest foreign policy mistake was to have brought relations with Russia down to zero, and that his “reckless” policy of interference in the internal affairs of other countries, such as Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria, had cost thousands of human lives. If Trump abides by his promises, he will correct this error. While the Obama Administration rejected Russia’s invitation to participate in the Syrian peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, Trump’s team has signaled its willingness to take part in this process, which began Jan. 23.
On the same day that Trump took office, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, stressed the absolute necessity of creating a truly universal anti-terror coalition, as proposed by President Putin at the UN General Assembly in 2015. The unprecedented increase in terrorist activity is the greatest threat to global security, he said. In this fight a great deal depends upon the West, but especially the U.S. administration. For his part, Trump emphasized his intent to go after radical Islamic terror—an intention which is evident in his choices of many cabinet members and advisors.
If you look at the European commentaries on Trump’s inaugural address, it is obvious that many representatives of the mainstream media—and many politicians—consider the enemy to be not ISIS, but Trump. German journalist Roland Nelles, for example, is typical of the Fourth Estate, which uses the instruments of NATO’s black propaganda to depict snow as black and to blame the sufferings of the peoples of Southwest Asia not on Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Islamic card” against (originally) the Soviet Union, but on Putin and Russia. This caste of court scribblers will lose influence if Russian-American cooperation creates facts on the ground that such post-truth commentators cannot account for.
The Economic Challenge
Trump’s commitment to “build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation,” can bring about a real reversal of the U.S. economic decline. But the absolutely crucial issue is whether he will honor his electoral promise to re-enact Glass-Steagall, made on October 26, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and thus end the casino economy.
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However, the testimony of Trump’s Treasury Secretary-designate, Steven Mnuchin, who worked for Goldman Sachs until 2002, raised doubts about the meaning of Trump’s statement, when questioned by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) during his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing. Mnuchin contended that it would not be possible to return to the original Glass-Steagall law, but rather, a new version is needed, because otherwise there would be too many liquidity problems in the financial markets. His argument reflects the line of the American Enterprise Institute.
Lyndon LaRouche stresses expressly that only the original Glass-Steagall law, as applied by FDR in 1933, could reorganize the hopelessly bankrupt financial system. Of course there would be a lack of liquidity, if the illegitimate debts, derivatives, and toxic paper of all kinds were written off. That is why Glass-Steagall is only the first step and would absolutely need to be completed by the other three points of LaRouche’s “four laws,” namely, the creation of a national bank in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton; a credit system to reconstruct the physical economy; and a crash program to develop both fusion energy and international cooperation in space research. That is the only way the urgently needed rise in productivity of the labor force can be achieved.
Therefore the LaRouche Political Action Committee (LaRouche PAC), in collaboration with an array of other organizations, such as Democrats from Ohio and the Americans for Financial Reform, will escalate their mobilization to put on the agenda FDR’s Glass-Steagall Act in its original form, as well as LaRouche’s “Four Laws” as a comprehensive package.
Trump is of course right when he raises the problems of the deplorable condition of American industry as a consequence of globalization, or the drug plague, criminality, and so forth. The problem with his campaign slogan, “America First,” is that the world has long since developed past the point where the defense of even legitimate national interests is adequate.
A Common Destiny for Mankind
The alternative to Anglo-American style globalization—the current system, which favors the international oligarchy at the expense of the general welfare—is not a return to simple national sovereignty. The universal history of mankind has long since reached the point at which only an entirely new paradigm can lead the way to the next evolutionary stage. This new paradigm must put the common interests of mankind first; it must proceed from the idea of “one humanity with a common future” as a conception overarching all legitimate national interests; those interests, of course, must never be at odds with the interests of mankind as a whole. This new paradigm must be as distinct from the axiomatics of globalization as the modern era is from the Middle Ages.
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Interestingly, Chinese President Xi Jinping had spoken on precisely this subject on Jan. 18 at the United Nations Palace of Nations in Geneva. There he presented his ideas on how to create a “community of a shared future of mankind”; he drew on the long history of international law, from the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, to the Geneva Conventions of 1864-1949, to the Five Principles of peaceful coexistence of the 1955 Bandung Conference, and to the principles of international cooperation today.
Clearly China’s initiative for the New Silk Road—the Belt and Road Initiative, in which more than 70 nations are already cooperating—is based precisely on these principles, whose dynamic is developing into win-win cooperation, potentially for the whole world. On January 19, the day before Trump’s inauguration, China’s Center for China and Globalization held a seminar to launch its report entitled “Trump’s Coming Era: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Responses,” in which it offers cooperation. The report states that cooperation with China is actually necessary if Trump intends to revive the American economy to the extent he has proposed, because there are too many people in the United States who really do not really want the policy shift. American entrepreneurs should not miss out on the great opportunity of cooperation with the nations along the New Silk Road, and the even greater opportunity of cooperating with China itself, it says.
China has tendered the same offer of cooperation to Germany for more than three years now, and many eastern and central European nations, as well as Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland, have already recognized the advantages of cooperation with the New Silk Road.
Perhaps it is an irony of history that it is Trump’s election victory that is also leading to this realization in Germany: The Bavarian weekly newspaper, Bayrische Staatszeitung, in a Jan. 19 commentary by its editor in chief, proposes that many Europeans’ fears of the consequences of Trump’s economic policy should lead them to seek major alternative trade arrangements. China is creating a Eurasian economic zone with its New Silk Road, the paper says, in which not only China’s billion-strong population, but also the 60 nations collaborating with it, represent an enormous demand for German and Bavarian goods and services. Other opportunities lie in collaborating with China in the emerging African states, according to the newspaper.
The alternative to “America First” lies in the international collaboration of all nations of the world for their common benefit. America urgently needs a New Silk Road which—proceeding from the southern tip of Chile and Argentina, through South and Central America to Alaska, and a tunnel across the Bering Strait—would link the transportation corridors of the two American continents with those of Eurasia. The economic development of the war-devastated Middle East, and of Africa, represents such a weighty challenge for the world as a whole, that the nations of Europe, together with Russia, China, India, Japan, and the United States, must all tackle this mission.
That is the program that the BüSo and the Schiller Institute have worked for, for more than a quarter of a century: “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.” There is every reason for optimism that 2017 will be the year when this program is consolidated as the economic basis for the new paradigm.