Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIW This transcript is in the July 7, 2017 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
WHAT BERLIN STILL DOESN’T UNDERSTAND

Our Future Lies with
the New Silk Road

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

[Print version of this transcript]

This was the address by Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche to a June 24 Schiller Institute conference in Berlin.

LaRouche PAC
Helga Zepp-LaRouche

The optimistic note which was struck by the music we just heard [see page 12], is totally appropriate to the world situation. Perhaps that’s not readily understandable to you here in Germany, but I am very, very optimistic that the world finds itself on a good path. And that has everything to do with the New Silk Road.

The New Silk Road is growing at an unbelievably rapid pace, and it is in the process of developing into a new, just world economic order—even if you have neither heard much about it on Tagesschau, nor read anything at all about it in Bild-Zeitung or the FAZ. That does not mean it isn’t true.

I am totally happy to be able to begin with what’s perhaps the most important point: America, under President Trump—and this definitely goes against everything which you have been used to seeing in the German media about Trump—is now cooperating totally and fully with the Belt and Road Initiative.

I would simply point out that this is a little bit to our credit, because I know very precisely that in 2014, when the Belt and Road Initiative was already in process—President Xi Jinping had already declared the New Silk Road, then called “One Belt, One Road,” to be official Chinese policy in Kazakhstan in 2013—we clearly stated for the first time that this policy could only be successful if America and China, the two largest economies in the world, worked together on a global concept. At that time we published our report, The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge, to which we then added a chapter saying specifically that the United States should cooperate with the New Silk Road. I can assure you that at that time no one believed that that would come to pass.

It seemed to be a totally far-fetched idea, but yet it has actually occurred, and thus there is more than a glimmer of hope that the world will again turn out all right.

America Joins the Silk Road

I will briefly review yesterday’s developments for you.

It was mentioned at the outset that Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi was in Washington in April to prepare for the May Belt and Road Forum in Beijing; consequently, Matt Pottinger, a high official from the State Department, went as an official delegate to the Beijing Summit—which was already a gigantic breakthrough; because you will recall that during the election campaign, Trump had spoken of trade war and said that China must be fought against. So there’s been a total turnaround. The same Yang Jiechi was just now in Washington, and met at length with Trump, to prepare for a new meeting between Xi Jinping and Trump on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Trump declared afterwards that China and the United States would work together on the Belt and Road Initiative, and begin joint ventures in third countries.

Photo/China Daily
Premier Li Keqiang meets with U.S. delegation attending the ninth round of the China-U.S. CEO and Former Senior Officials’ Dialogue in Beijing.

At the same time there was a whole array of high-level conferences—for example, the Ninth U.S.-China CEO and Former Senior Officials’ Dialogue in Beijing. There it was determined that within a year, a very large U.S.-China conference would be held either in the United States or China, where cooperation would be further developed. Then there was another large conference in San Francisco, also with CEOs, government officials, and infrastructure companies; there it was decided that there would be cooperation in building infrastructure in America, and also in third countries. And then there was a conference in Detroit, Michigan with 3,000 participants, including 600 Michigan entrepreneurs from medium-sized enterprises, at which the head of Alibaba, Jack Ma, stressed to the assembly: “If you miss China, you miss the future.”

That evaluation is totally correct, because what is on the agenda is not only economic cooperation, but a totally new paradigm of cooperation among the nations of this world. Even if that reality is not well received in Europe—at least not in Germany—that doesn’t mean that such relations between nations are not developing.

Since Xi Jinping declared this initiative as official Chinese policy in September 2013, this policy of “win-win cooperation”—whereby the Chinese economic model has, in effect, been put into practice in other countries—has developed with breathtaking speed. Let’s just recall once more what huge change has occurred there.

Dramatic Changes

In 1971, during the Cultural Revolution, I was in China for the first time; at that time the population was poor, unhappy, miserable. At the time of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 the median life expectancy was 35 years, and illiteracy was 80%. After the war against Japan and the civil war, the population found itself in a horrible situation, and during the Cultural Revolution there were many, many steps backward. But especially after Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms, which were very strongly oriented toward, among others, the German economist Friedrich List and the American economist Henry C. Carey, the situation decisively changed.

Thus today life expectancy in China is 76 years, illiteracy has almost disappeared—it is less than 4%—and especially over the last 30 years, China has carried out the greatest economic miracle in history, even more dramatic than the German economic miracle after the Second World War. Already the New Silk Road is approximately 20 times greater than the postwar Marshall Plan. Over the last 30 years China has freed about 800 million people from poverty, and there is a growing middle class, which lives very well and is very optimistic about what the future will bring. With the New Silk Road, China has put an offer on the table, for all nations who want to cooperate to be able to repeat this model of self-development in their own countries.

Xinhua
Inaugurating freight rail service between Duisburg, Germany and Chengdu, China.

This is an unbelievable perspective. Originally the project was only for the reconstruction of the old Silk Road routes from China through East and West Asia to Europe. But by now there are six great infrastructure corridors—for example, the Eurasian Land-Bridge, the link from China to Europe. Trains travel on schedule daily on 39 routes—from Xi’an, Chengdu, Chonqing, Yiwu, and Lianyungang to Hamburg, Rotterdam, Madrid, Lyon, and Duisburg; and all this developed unbelievably fast.

Meanwhile there are more and more countries and organizations cooperating. At the Belt and Road Summit, which consolidated the whole initiative as a new world economic order in the middle of May, there were 29 heads of state, 110 countries with government representatives, and 1,200 economists, scientists, and experts on this topic. I myself had the great privilege of being invited to be there. It was the highest-level conference in which I could participate, and Xi Jinping’s speech, for example—which I would heartily propose that you yourself read or listen to—basically expressed a totally new Confucian model of relations between nations. After that Putin, Erdogan, UN Secretary General Guterres, and many others spoke. I spoke with several conference participants who all had the impression that they were participating in making history—that is, something entirely new was coming into being. The Belt and Road is not only about development corridors in Asia—such as China-Central Asia-Europe, China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Pakistan, and naturally a China-Bangladesh-India-Myanmar corridor—but now the New Silk Road has also extended to Latin America. Many countries are now saying that the future of Latin America lies in cooperation with the New Silk Road.

Xinhua
The Chinese financed and built the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway.

But perhaps the most inspirational change is the transformed mood in Africa. Because China is not only currently building more railroad lines there. The line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa has already been opened. In Kenya, a standard-gauge rail line from the port city of Mombasa to Nairobi, replacing the century-old colonial narrow-gauge line, has just been completed. There are also plans to connect Kenya with Uganda, and ultimately with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other stretches of rail have been modernized, some in Nigeria, and all this, according to my information, has totally changed the mood among the Africans. For the first time, they see a country coming to them which is not only making beautiful speeches about democracy and human rights, but is actually establishing the preconditions for being able to overcome underdevelopment and poverty. Some of the African countries have the explicit goal of developing very soon, and finally overcoming the situation which has been with them since the colonial days.

Europe Is Responding

The spirit of the New Silk Road—people use that term—which makes possible mutually advantageous cooperation, has also seized Europe. For example, the Eastern and Central European countries, the Balkan states—Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic—are all thrilled that the possibility of a new economic future is open to them. Even Italy: Prime Minister Gentiloni was at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, and clearly has the goal of having Italy and China cooperate on the development of Africa.

This is obviously because Italy, along with Greece, is the country which is convulsed the most by the refugee crisis. Italy now sees in China’s development and industrialization policy a way it can contribute to solving the problem in a humane way, and not the way the EU has previously proposed—with refugee camps lining the Mediterranean.

Emmanuel Macron, the new President of France, himself has a very, very positive attitude. For example, he sent former Prime Minister Raffarin to the Beijing Summit. Raffarin delivered a very, very positive speech there about cooperation between France and China in extending the initiative.

The same goes for Spain. Prime Minister Rajoy was also in Beijing, and there was just a large conference in Spain at which it was decided that Spain will not only be the terminus of the Eurasian Silk Road, but that Spain sees itself as the bridgehead toward Africa and Latin America. More deepwater ports, like Valencia and Barcelona, will be built. The same goes for Portugal. In Italy, noble competition has broken out between the North and the South, because Gentiloni admittedly brought back from China an agreement for the North—for instance, the expansion of the ports of Genoa and Trieste—yet the South has so far come up empty-handed. Thus a trade union movement has for good reason arisen in Sicily which is saying: No, we insist that Sicily’s deepwater ports—Augusta and others—be urgently included, because Sicily is actually the natural place for trade which comes through the Suez Canal for transit through to all of Europe.

In other words: There is a totally new dynamic underway, which was absolutely not captured by the barren words of Mrs. Zypries [German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy] at the Summit in Beijing. Because everything Mrs. Zypries said merely meant: We insist that the rules be complied with; we insist that “European standards” be respected.

The fact is simply this: Win-win cooperation—the replacement of confrontation with cooperation—is the key to overcoming geopolitics. If all nations work together for their mutual interests and their mutual development, that’s the key for overcoming geopolitics. I would simply describe geopolitics as a fossil, which is not appropriate for mankind. The idea that there are national or group interests which must necessarily be pursued with war against the interests of another group, is an oligarchical idea, which is compatible with empires, but not with the natural condition of mankind. Unfortunately there are some people who have not understood this. But I am absolutely convinced that these people will become ever fewer, and that they will not ultimately prevail.

cc/Tobias Koch
Wolfgang Schäuble and Chancellor Angela Merkel in the German Bundestag, 2014.

The spirit of the New Silk Road, which has now captured most nations in the world, is simply more optimistic, because it provides an approach for solving problems, and it would also be in the fundamental interests of Germany to cooperate with it fully. Admittedly Mrs. Merkel has given lip service when she says she supports it, but her statement is dry and barren. And our Finance Minister Schäuble gave a speech at the ceremony awarding him the Kissinger Prize where he said, If we let Russia and China fill the vacuum, or vacuums, now created by America, that would be the end of the “liberal world order.”

In one respect he’s right, because the liberal world order is not so desirable that one would want to preserve it at any price. And almost all the countries in the world are running like mad away from this liberal world order or the old system of globalization, which rests on neoliberal economic concepts and neoconservative military principles—of war for regime change, and economic policies which have led to the enlargement of the gap between the rich and the poor. There has been a revolt underway against this liberal world order for a considerable length of time.

The famous Brexit caught the Establishment flatfooted; Trump’s election was totally similar, because those who had so disdainfully been designated “deplorables” by Hillary Clinton, voted for Trump. Where there previously was industry, and a functional infrastructure, in the so-called “Rust-Belt” of America, it no longer exists; life expectancy is dropping in America. And if there is any one factor which describes the health or sickness of an economy, it is whether life expectancy is rising or dropping. And if life expectancy is dropping in the apparently richest and most advanced or economically strongest nation in the world, that is an indicator that something is totally and absolutely out of whack.

The rise of the rightwing movements in Europe—in France, Holland, other countries—is also attributable to this—but also to the fact that part of the population feels it’s no longer represented by its governments. That’s why in the second round of voting for the National Assembly in France, only 43 % of eligible voters cast their ballots—which was the lowest level of participation in such an election in French history. That doesn’t exactly signify that people feel represented; it has a totally different significance.

All these phenomena have been in process a long time, and what has been placed in question is the unipolar world that some people intended to erect with the fall of the Soviet Union.

The Growth of the Silk Road Concept

Our concept is totally different, and therefore we are using the fact that the Silk Road is in part “our baby.” I will not say that we are the only ones who thought that way, and I also have no intimation whether our proposals directly influenced Chinese policy or not. I only know that since 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, we have said: Now that the Iron Curtain or the Wall is gone, we can develop the region of Paris-Berlin-Vienna as an economic region with western technology.

Then the strategic situation developed thus: Margaret Thatcher launched her campaign against the Fourth Reich—thus against German reunification; Mitterrand demanded the giving-up of the deutschemark as a price for reunification; the United States under Bush senior saw in the enforcement of the euro an opportune method for locking Germany into the EU structure, and preventing, above all, Germany from conducting an independent policy toward Russia. All of that was achieved.

But then, when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, we simply expanded our program of the Paris-Berlin-Vienna Productive Triangle and said: Now is the time to link the European and Asian populations and industrial centers together with development corridors.

LaRouche PAC
The Eurasian rail network plan, as first presented by LaRouche’s associates in 1992.

For us this was consciously conceived as the basis for a peaceful world order for the 21st Century. We then submitted this proposal to all governments throughout Eurasia.

The Chinese government took up this proposal and organized a major conference in Beijing in 1996, to which I was invited as a speaker. Even then, China had put the New Silk Road on the agenda as a long-term perspective for China. However, this development came to a halt with the Asian crisis in 1997, which was partly due to the speculations of George Soros, who had speculated the Eurasian currencies down by 80% within a week. Then in 1998 there was a Russian state bankruptcy, which further stalled this concept.

But during this time, we have held other conferences and seminars. If one reckons all this chronologically, we come up with hundreds of conferences and seminars on five continents—not just all of us here, but also from our colleagues in Australia and elsewhere. We have co-workers all over the world, who have represented the same program.

In this way, we have represented these ideas for two and a half decades, and the economic power of China has now created a material force behind it, which is to say that ideas have acquired a material effect.

But what was the reaction—unfortunately—in Europe? There was, admittedly, a promise not to bring the NATO troops to the borders of Russia, if Russia agreed that Germany would be reunited; this occurred in the intergovernmental talks between Gorbachov and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and was also reported by the then U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, Jack Matlock. This was a great achievement on the Russian side, especially considering that Russia and the Soviet Union had lost 27 million people in the Second World War, and the “Great Patriotic War” is still a great historical wound for the Russians. But Russia certainly was generous in agreeing to German reunification—after all, Germany was her opponent in the war. In Russia, one never understood why Germany had not felt more gratitude about this peaceful transition. Germany not only supported the war policy of Bush senior, Bush junior, and Obama, but now, when Hillary Clinton did not make it into the White House, Mrs. Merkel now styles herself as the leader of the free West, who must uphold this policy. From the Russian point of view, this has a very different perspective, of which we should really be aware.

Unfortunately, at the time the Soviet Union disbanded, the neocons, with Bush senior in Washington, were pursuing the old concept of the British empire to govern the world as a unipolar world. They have attempted to do this step by step—through color revolutions against the governments that did not want to surrender to this unipolar world, or through intervention wars as in the case of Iraq, Libya, or Syria. If all this had succeeded, Iran and similar governments would probably be gone.

The banking sector was also deregulated with the same policy, which led to an unbridled speculation that led the speculators to become richer, but many people in many parts of the world were becoming poorer—in Germany through Hartz-4 and other other mechanisms, and even more so in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal. In these countries, the economy has shrunk by a third, while the standard of living and health care has declined.

In the meantime, however, a revolt has developed against this unipolar policy of unbridled globalization, and if you just substitute the term “Anglo-American Empire” for globalization, you have an approximate idea of what has become of the EU as a regional satrapy of this policy, in order to enforce the interests of the banks and these financial interests.

Before and after his election, President Trump explained that he did not want any interventionist wars, that he wanted to return to the American System of economics of Alexander Hamilton, Henry C. Carey and Lincoln, that he wanted to reintroduce Glass-Steagall, and that he wanted to normalize the relationships with Russia and China. That is why he was elected, and he has been pursuing this policy for four or five months now. But this is also the reason why, from day one, the neoliberal establishment has displayed an unheard of, truly unprecedented enmity against Trump. Even in Germany you can pick this up, but what is currently developing in America is really a witch hunt, and the word witch hunt is actually still too mild.

To give an example: The whole campaign against Trump comes originally from Great Britain. British intelligence had already announced in 2015 that Russia would manipulate the election in America, and in the summer a year ago, Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent, produced that strange dossier. This dossier on the alleged perversions of Trump in Moscow was so outrageous that during the election campaign, it was not picked up by any major newspaper. After the election, the bosses of FBI, CIA and NSA—Clapper, Comey and Brennan—went to see Trump at the White House and introduced this dossier as “intelligence,” as something to be taken seriously, after which it was also broken in the media. Since then, every day the news is full of the assertion that Russia stole the election, and therefore a special investigator—the for­mer FBI chief Robert Mueller—should be appointed. Unfortunately for them, no one has been able to provide any proof. The whole assertion that Russia had manipulated the election and helped Trump to get elected was completely ridiculous.

Then the tactics were changed somewhat and it was said that Trump had obstructed justice because he had supposedly told Comey in a two-party discussion that he wanted the investigation of National Security Adviser Flynn to be suspended soon. Several constitutional lawyers have now spoken out to say that this accusation is as outrageous as all the others, because it is among the rights of the President to pardon people. He could even instruct Comey to stop such investigations, because as President he has the right to make policy.

A tough internal power struggle has broken out, where Trump’s opponents are trying to remove him from the White House. The British daily The Spectator had published an article immediately after Trump’s election in January with the title, “Will Donald Trump Be Assassinated, Ousted in a Coup, or Just Impeached?” That is precisely the intention of this neoliberal or neoconservative opposition to Trump. These people will not give up until they are defeated.

The situation is completely on the brink, but if this development continues, there is also the absolute chance that the matter will find a positive end.

The Importance of Sino-U.S. Cooperation

I do not know who among you has been in America lately. While the United States undoubtedly still represents a very high economic standard for technology and production, it has completely neglected investment in infrastructure for decades. The streets have potholes into which you can disappear with a Fiat 500, and it would not even be noticed—you might notice, but no one else. There are practically no fast trains—just between Washington and Boston, but they only go 150-240 km/h.

China had already constructed over 20,000 km of high-speed railways by the end of last year, and by 2020, all major cities in China are to be connected to a high-speed rail system with speeds of up to 350 km/h; also urban and suburban railways are to be linked in such a way that, for example, in the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin region—that is 130 million people—no one needs more than 20 minutes to travel to his workplace, as opposed to the four hours that Americans spend on average moving from home to work and back again.

View full size
wikipedia/Tony Webster
Decayed infrastructure: I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In America, the infrastructure is generally in a catastrophic state, but it is in New York that it is now a dangerous crisis. In New York, the infrastructure is on average more than 100 years old, so it is no wonder that now, for example, there have been several accidents at Penn Station where trains have gone off the tracks, so that these tracks must be repaired as soon as possible, and two tunnels under the Hudson River connecting New Jersey with New York must be urgently closed and refurbished.

The problem is, however, that all existing traffic routes are already completely overloaded. If you now want to find replacement routes for almost a third of the 1.5 to 1.8 million people commuting every day to Manhattan, these routes are already carrying loads three times higher than what they were originally built for. The whole thing will now be acute on July 10 when the repairs mentioned are to begin, which will be a huge disaster because there is no plan for alternative routes.

In our first brochure of 2014, we presented an overall concept for how America, as part of the New Silk Road, can connect all major cities in the country by means of high-speed railways. New cities have to be built, because in America there are the population centers on the west coast and the east coast, but in between there are many states which are very little populated and really not developed, because the development of America, launched by Lincoln with the Transcontinental Railroad, came to a halt at some point. The head of the China Investment Corporation, Mr. Ding Xuedong, recently stated that America does not need a trillion dollars in infrastructure investment, but rather $8 trillion, which is probably a realistic idea.

We have made the proposal that China, which holds $1.4 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds that have no positive use, should invest in the construction of infrastructure through a National Bank or an Infrastructure Bank. China Investment Corporation has already opened a new office in New York, and at the aforementioned conference in San Francisco, the representative of the Chinese side declared: Is it not astonishing that a highly developed country like America is now using China’s aid to build infrastructure? And he continued: This is now the “new normal in our relation,” the new normalcy between the USA and China. The situation has completely changed because the enormous experience that China has accumulated over recent decades in the construction of highways, deep sea ports and other infrastructure can now be positively used in the relationship between the United States and China.

This also defines the situation for Europe in a completely new way. The German Ambassador in Beijing, Michael Clauss, gave a speech last week in Berlin, in which he said the New Silk Road was far too China-based, and that we would now have to develop our own thing.

But the train has already left the station! Why should we develop something separate, directed against China? This makes no sense at all and is actually only an old geopolitical idea. First and foremost, what is offered by the German and EU sides is merely so-called “appropriate technology,” and if one knows the evolution of this terminology, then one knows what this means: no technology, no development. That is why, in my opinion, this is an end-of-life model. We must therefore persuade Germany not to develop a model of its own, which has no chance at all, but it would be the most important if European nations would cooperate with Russia, China, India, Japan, and America to really build a new world.

The overcoming of geopolitics is the prerequisite for ensuring that we do not destroy ourselves as a species. We were on the way to the Third World War with Hillary Clinton and Obama, and the neocons are now also attempting, within the Republican Party, to lead Trump down such dangerous paths. At a time when the cooperation in Syria with the deconfliction agreements was going in a very good direction—each side kept the other informed and launched no one-sided military operations—the United States fired upon a Syrian fighter jet, which led to the immediate suspension of this agreement by Russia. Such disturbing maneuvers occur again and again.

Good contacts have told us why Trump allowed it. He is openly under such attack with all the special investigations and other such operations that are being run against him, that he has left the decisions for what happens in Afghanistan and Syria partly to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon has seized the opportunity for sabotage.

All this is still very, very dangerous, but I believe there is a more fundamental question as to whether we, as a human species, are able to save ourselves from our own extinction, that is, to take the step that wars in the age of nuclear weapons can no longer be a means of conflict resolution, and that at the same time we are going to have a form of government which corresponds to human dignity and human nature.

I would add that what is now developing with the New Silk Road has not only an economic side but also a cultural side. It is possible to promote the best traditions of culture from every nation and every culture, and then to engage in a dialogue such that ultimately all nations will get to know the best results of the other cultures. This is, in my view, the unconditional precondition for overcoming racism, prejudice and xenophobia, and building a community of humanity for a common future.

This is what Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized. And this is also what Putin just said at his annual press conference, that we need a new paradigm, in which we base the relations of the nations on how they ought to look in 50 years.

You would never hear anything like that in Germany. But this is Putin, as he really is. In his speech in 2001 before the German Bundestag, Putin had already offered a relationship in which Germany would cooperate with Russia in order to open up the infinite riches and treasures Russia has to offer to the general benefit of all Eurasia.

His speech met with general refusal at the time;
at least, no one has responded to these positive
proposals.

But immediately following the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, the situation is entirely changed: the new Silk Road Initiative, the Eurasian Economic Union, the ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the 16+1 countries are all integrating more and more economically, and therefore there is the possibility that we may come to a completely new level of relations.

I think that we in Germany are predestined to play a positive role. For reasons that are sometimes difficult to understand, Germany is still very much respected in the world. Let us take the example of German culture. In my most recent journey through China, I was utterly astonished at how many Chinese people revere, admire and appreciate Schiller, Leibniz, Furtwängler, Brahms, and Schubert as representatives of German culture, and thus actually say: Why don’t the Germans do what we do, when we work to create a Confucian renaissance? The philosophy of Confucius is alive today in all the pores of Chinese society. Why don’t we Germans do the same with our fantastic classical culture?

This is exactly what the Schiller Institute had chosen as its mission from the outset, which is why music, poetry and culture always play an absolutely central role.

I think we are at a completely new stage of the story that is already underway. The fact that in Germany this development is still almost imperceptible does not mean that this is not the case. The majority of humanity is now moving in a completely different direction, and that is very, very good. If we now get over the last obstacles, we can finally concentrate as a human species on the things that are the common goals of mankind. China has already announced plans to overcome poverty by 2020.

When poverty is eliminated, we could turn to the other important subjects, e.g. crash programs for the development of treatment methods for previously incurable diseases. We could concentrate on the question of energy and raw materials security by the development of nuclear fusion, which also creates raw materials security because with the fusion torch we can break down all wastes into individual atoms, which are then made into new raw materials. We can begin to deal with the laws of the universe. By the fusion of deuterium and tritium and later of helium-3, which can be extracted on the moon, we will also have energy security.

With the Hubble Space Telescope, it has now been established that there are about two trillion galaxies in the universe. I have trouble imagining a galaxy right now, and when you’re dealing with two trillions... the Hubble telescope has delivered these wonderful images of nebulae and star formations, which we know very little about.

We live in a huge universe, but we have just begun to make a first leap to leave the Earth’s surface. People have been on the Moon, we have a space station. In the next year, China will send up the first radiotelescope with Chang’e 4 to the far side of the Moon, to see even better into space.

We are just in the embryonic phase of humanity’s development. And when we deal with space travel, it is also perfectly clear that we are not living in a terrestrial system, but are part of the universe. The laws that apply in the universe also have an immediate significance for our planet. They have, in a sense, a meaning that also corresponds to creativity. For the human mind can always make new inventions, which then lead to technological and scientific advances; the ability to carry out space research, space travel, means that there must be a correspondence between the creativity of man and the effect we have in the universe.

I also think one of the really great projects will be this: For the coexistence of the nations in this new paradigm, we will have not only economic relations that promote mutual interest, but we must also come up with a new charter of coexistence, such as the Charter of the United Nations. We should define principles for the new paradigm that make a peaceful coexistence of humanity possible forever. It must be established that the political and economic order must correspond with the laws of the physical universe; these principles must serve as a basis for the coexistence of the nations.

From this process a new renaissance will emerge. When we heard the very moving African hymn in a new compositional form, I realized that there are so many treasures in the world’s cultures—just as the Renaissance in the fifteenth century arose through the revival of the greatest traditions before—that something new can emerge in dialogue.

I think, then, that we are in the very, very fortunate position of living in a historical period in which an episode of war, poverty, misery, comes to an end, and that we are experiencing the beginning of a new era that we can shape. And I would like to invite you all to participate.