A seminar was held in Paris on Nov. 6 to launch a French edition of the Schiller Institute and EIR report From the New Silk Road to the World Land-Bridge, complete with updates. Participants included representatives from some 10 embassies from Europe, Africa and Eurasia, Chinese and Russian media, strategic analysts, and African associations particularly interested by the industrialization perspective for their continent.
Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche opened the seminar, stating that the dossier, with its development projects for Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of the world, offers the solutions to the major crises of today, including the threat of a new financial crash, the refugee flows, and world peace. In the same vein, the Belt and Road Initiative, based on the principle of win-win cooperation, proposes an alternative to classical geopolitics of “divide and conquer”.
Zepp-LaRouche further drew a parallel between Chinese President Xi Jinping’s idea of a “shared community of principle for the future of humanity” and the notion the great Nicholas of Cusa developed of the “coincidence of opposites”, in which humanity is thought of as a “One”, which is of a higher magnitude than the “Many”.
Odile Mojon went through the 40-year historic role of Lyndon and Helga Zepp-LaRouche in the emergence of this Eurasian perspective, going back to the fights of the non-aligned movement in the 70s and the 80s and up to the emergence today of the BRICS group and China’s New Silk Road. Karel Vereycken presented the secrets of the Chinese development model, which has nothing to do with British free trade, but much more with centralized long-term planning that regulates the market, such as guided the New Deal in the US and the French planning tradition.
Sebastien Périmony went through the rapid industrialization occurring in Africa as a result of Chinese investments, a situation that is creating panic in France whose market shares plunged from 11% to 5,5% between 2000 and 2017, while the Chinese share rose from 3% in 2001 to 18% last year. Périmony debunked the “debt trap” campaign designed to discredit Chinese initiatives, and concluded by presenting a few large infrastructure projects like the Trans-Sahelian Noukchott-Ndjamena railway, which would give France an excellent opportunity to engage with China in joint African projects.
This dossier will help to counter the negative propaganda about the New Silk Road promoted by many of the national think tanks and media in France, including the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI),. While the French government is reportedly open to participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, it is so far only involved in small joint projects in the area of artificial intelligence, and a couple of joint projects in Namibia and Cambodia.