China’s Belt and Road connectivity initiative, which bears a strong imprint of the Eurasian Land Corridor - a blueprint conceived by The Schiller Institute - should be followed by a World Land Bridge that will link North America with the New Silk Road, says the co-founder of a top think-tank.
In an interview with The Hindu, ahead of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the co-founder of The Schiller Institute (TSI) says the World Land Bridge is the natural sequel to the Eurasian Land Bridge, the mega-connectivity initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road in all its dimensions, including its lost cultural and civilizational attributes.
“Siberia in Russia can be connected with Alaska, if we build an undersea tunnel across the Bering Strait. That would lay the foundation for a World Land Bridge. President Vladimir Putin of Russia is a strong supporter of this idea,” Ms. Zepp-LaRouche observed.
In one of its presentations, TSI has highlighted that the Siberia to Alaska link would be the single most decisive connectivity project, leading to the emergence of a World Land-Bridge, as it will connect Russia and the United States—in other words all of Eurasia, to the entirety of the Americas. Ms. Zepp-LaRouche who was in China as part of the T-20-- a meeting of 20 global think tanks to brainstorm recommendations for the Hangzhou summit--said that world leaders who will be meeting for the G-20 have to start looking beyond the prism of geo-politics. They must have a “real and comprehensive vision” to resolve the problem of terrorism, revive the international economy and promote cultural collaboration on a global scale.
The TSI founder stressed that international terrorism, mass migrations to Europe and the refugee crisis cannot be resolved, unless the destroyed societies of West Asia and North Africa are rebuilt in the spirit of the Abbasid period of Iraq.
“You have to rebuild the region, the countries that have been destroyed by war-- Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and others-- and this cannot be done just by any one country. It is too big an undertaking. Ideally you would have to have a collaboration of Russia, China, India, Iran, Germany, France, Italy and the United States, all working together to extend infrastructure into Southwest Asia.”
Ms. Zepp-LaRouche stressed that provisioning water would be a top priority to rebuild the region, premised on the judicious use of the most advanced aspects of nuclear energy. “To build up this region, you have to have water as most of this area is desert. You would need to develop new water resources, by peaceful use of nuclear energy, to desalinate large amounts of ocean water. That would include use of floating nuclear reactors.”
“You need to have the ionisation of the moisture of the atmosphere. That should be done on a large scale that way you could green the desert. Then you need to build new cities, mirroring the great tradition of Baghdad of the Abbasid period. That is the only way to counter terrorism, because you have to give young people hope not to join Jihad. That is the path to resolve the refugee problem.”
Ms. Zepp-LaRouche advocated better coordination among the leaders of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) within the G-20 framework, to achieve far-reaching results.
She stressed that the energy committee of the BRICS must embark on a “crash programme” to develop thermonuclear fusion, to achieve long-term energy security, and reduce pressure on finite resources.
“A crash programme for thermonuclear fusion is necessary. Fusion power would give us energy security for a very long time, probably forever. The fusion torch has the potential of making raw material out of waste by separating the isotopes and putting them newly together to raw material. Besides, joint space explorations, including the industrialisation of the moon, are the other avenues, which should be on the BRICS’ radar. India has done a magnificent job in its Mars
Ms. Zepp-LaRouche, however, underscored the necessity of “replacing unsafe nuclear plants with first generation fusion reactors which are inherently safe, like high temperature reactors.” “ This is a reactor type, which China is building now, which is German technology passed on to China because it was not welcome in Germany because of the strong anti-nuclear movement. We should go to thorium cycle— which would be good for India because it has large thorium reserves.”
The TSI founder highlighted the revival of culture as an inherent element of the Eurasian Land Bridge connectivity project. “On the cultural side, it is equally important because we not only face a financial and social crisis, we also have a civilizational crisis.”
Recalling the emergence of the Eurasian Land Bridge concept, Ms. Zepp-LaRouche pointed out that the idea was triggered by the collapse of the Berlin wall, the economic distress of the Eastern European countries, and the crumbling of the former Soviet Union.
“When the Berlin Wall came down, we suggested that with the productive triangle of Paris, Berlin, Vienna, as the core, we can have development corridors , connected by Maglev trains to Warsaw, to Ukraine, and to Balkans.”
“And when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, as predicted by my husband Lyndon LaRouche in the mid-eighties, the most obvious thing was to enlarge this conception by establishing development corridors connecting the population and industry centers of Europe with those of
“ We looked at the best routes; we saw the trans-Siberian railroads, as an obvious corridor line, the ancient silk road is another one, and then we connected other branches into India, so we enlarged this and called it the Eurasian Land Bridge proposal.” Ms. Zepp-LaRouche said that the Chinese government was the only one that supported the idea.
“So in 1996 there was a big conference in Beijing and the name of the conference was the regions along the Eurasian Land Bridge. I was one of the speakers presenting these ideas, and Chinese government at that point said that the development of the Eurasian land bridge is the long term strategy of China until 2010.”
“So when in September 2013 President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan announced the New Silk Road, we were extremely happy. But I have no idea if this was an independent Chinese initiative or we had something to do with it. Actually it does not even matter. Ideas are important because ideas are what change history.”