While many European countries have by now expressed openness to joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the German government is still holding out, despite pressure from national industry and business interests. That stance was visible at the Belt and Road Forum on May 14-15, where the German representative, Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries, used the occasion to lecture the Chinese on “living up to European standards”.
The government’s attitude led Helga Zepp-LaRouche, chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, to ask once again, in her June 21 webcast, whether the EU is really in such enviable shape, that all others would want to meet its standards. Just look at Greece, Spain or Italy, she said, and it is obvious that the EU policy has failed. China, on the contrary, is experiencing an economic miracle, including because of the role of state-owned companies.
The German political class is indeed having tremendous trouble freeing itself of the old paradigm of geopolitics and the zero-sum game, whereby an advantage for one necessarily means a disadvantage for the other. Another example of that was given by the German ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, in a recent speech in Berlin. He noted that Europeans and Americans “underestimate” the importance and the dimensions of the New Silk Road, and that “people should wake up”. He went on to suggest that to counter the new China-centric orientation, Europe should develop its own concept for developing Africa and Asia.
It is certainly the case that Europe has done nothing to develop Africa, while China has been building infrastructure and investing in industries and agriculture, which has brought renewed hope to the continent.
The German Development Minister Gerd Müller has called for a Marshall Plan for Africa, at the very least to prevent millions of new refugees seeking to reach European shores. However, as Helga Zepp-LaRouche pointed out in her webcast, Angela Merkel “has found nothing better to do than to travel to Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia in order to organize detention camps”, which come down to “concentration camps”, rather than to offer real economic development to Africa, and to all of South-West Asia.
The Chancellor’s geopolitical obsession is shared by her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who stated on June 21, that he doubted “whether the United States truly believes that the world order would be equally sound if China or Russia were… simply given a free hand to dominate the spheres of influence that they have defined for themselves. That would be the end of our liberal world order.”
But how “sound” is an “order” that has brought us the danger of a new world war due to NATO expansion, that has created millions of refugees fleeing sectarian war, terrorism and underdevelopment, in which a new, catastrophic financial meltdown can occur at any moment, and where the foundations of the European Union are being shaken on a daily basis?
The full article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, in German, can be read here.