This article appears in the December 14, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
PDF version of this article
LaRouche, FDR, and Nuclear Power in Southeast Asia
by Mike Billington
Dec. 16, 2007 — Malaysia and the Philippines are experiencing nearly opposite socio-economic conditions. Malaysia is relatively stable, economically strong relative to the region, and generally optimistic about the future, while the Philippines is an economic disaster, with a population living in a state of fear, both economically and socially; the government is generally despised and subject to regular coup attempts and impeachment efforts. Yet, in both nations, leading elements of the governments and the private sectors are increasingly aware of the global economic catastrophe sweeping over them, and are opening up to the ideas of Lyndon LaRouche as the necessary means to radically transform their fate. Nuclear power is a focus for both, as a central means for leaping forward into an energy-independent, technology-driven economy, rather than continuing to serve as exporters of consumer goods and services for the West.
During a November tour of Malaysia and the Philippines, EIR Asia correspondents Mike and Gail Billington found people increasingly shell-shocked by the unfolding collapse of the international banking system, and anxious to discuss LaRouche’s call for returning to the Bretton Woods policies espoused by Franklin Roosevelt, unleashing great infrastructure projects as the physical economic foundation of a new financial system. In the case of the Philippines, the small, but increasingly influential Philippines LaRouche Society, and a core of young Filipinos who constitute a chapter of the worldwide LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM), are providing both political leaders and the nation’s youth with a universal perspective for dealing with the devastation afflicting their country.
Malaysia: The Legacy of Dr. Mahathir
The Billingtons held a series of meetings in Malaysia, both private and semi-public, with leaders in the Malaysian scientific community, government officials responsible for science and technology, and private entrepreneurs. Together with the LaRouche movement’s close collaborator Mohd Peter Davis, a visiting scientist at the leading research university, UPM (Universiti Putra Malaysia), the LaRouche representatives presented a perspective for Malaysia to play a leading role in reversing the current descent into a new dark age, and bringing about a new world economic order.
In a meeting with the director general and the top staff of the official Nuclear Malaysia Agency, Mike Billington warned that Malaysia must not abandon the global leadership it asserted during the 1997-98 “Asian Crisis.” At that time, then-Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad refused to allow the hedge funds to loot his nation, as they were doing to Malaysia’s Southeast Asian neighbors, through speculation against their national currencies. Instead, Mahathir imposed currency controls on the Malaysian ringgit, set a fixed exchange rate, and told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank that Malaysia would retain sovereign control over its domestic economy and financial policies. While this created a firewall around the national economy and the general welfare of the population, Mahathir also never failed to add that his ability to protect his nation against the international financial powers was limited, and that the world’s leading powers had the historical responsibility to end the speculative floating-exchange-rate financial system and return to a new Bretton Woods arrangement like that promoted by Lyndon LaRouche (see “Malaysia’s Mahathir: Back to Production, Dump Globalization,” by Gail G. Billington, EIR, Oct. 18, 2002, http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2002/2940_mahathir.html).
Today, LaRouche’s Four-Power perspective—for Russia, China, India, and the United States (under new leadership) to agree to a new global financial order based on the original Bretton Woods of Franklin Roosevelt, and on great infrastructure development projects as the physical economic base of such a system—has brought about the means to realize that goal. The Nuclear Malaysia officials were quite conscious of the importance of such a new international alliance of great powers, as a basis for directing their own nation’s policies toward large-scale infrastructure projects.
While the Nuclear Malaysia Agency is primarily dedicated to achieving a nuclear power program for the nation, it believes the means to that end must include convincing the government and the people that transforming the nation requires a broad package of new technologies. Agency officials explained their concept of development corridors, “a nuclear-hydrogen supergrid with liquid hydrogen-cooled electric power superconductors, alongside maglev trains to connect the nations of Asia,” along with new nuclear powered cities, or nuplexes constructed along the routes. In the same meeting, LaRouche ally Davis strongly encouraged the Agency directors to transform the Asian Railroad—the rail line connecting Singapore with Kunming, China, long championed by Dr. Mahathir—into a maglev line, on the theme that Malaysia and its neighbors “should not be the last nations to use an old technology.”
Davis also presented several ideas for new, indigenous Malaysian industries to foster the global infrastructure renaissance, including a housing concept known as honeycomb housing with thermal-comfort construction (see www.21st centurysciencetech.com/2006_articles/HoneycombHousing.pdf), and for Malaysia to become the tree nursery for the world, utilizing the ideal biological growth conditions in the country to produce literally billions of saplings for use in greening the deserts of the world.
A plan for cooperation in mobilizing the population behind such a scientific transformation was set in motion.
The Philippines: Revive the Marcos Industrial Plans
The physical and social dissolution of the Philippines is palpable to any visitor. Nearly every young person has some personal horror story which has afflicted his or her life in the past few years. Graduates with degrees in economics or engineering at leading universities are forced to take jobs at colonial “call centers,” servicing consumers in the United States on a midnight shift, as their talents are wasted, despite the desperate needs of the nation. Their fathers are being sent to the Mideast or elsewhere as “overseas workers” in order to earn foreign exchange with which to pay the (illegitimate) foreign debt, leaving broken families behind. One youth’s father was misdiagnosed at the public hospital for over a year—only to discover too late that he had a brain tumor—because he could not afford to see one of the few doctors on call. Thousands of doctors and nurses have been sent out of the country by the Overseas Filipino Workers program, leaving the hospitals understaffed, or even forced to close. Barefoot children line every traffic stop, pleading for a peso for food, when they belong in school.
One week before the Billington trip, a story flashed across the national press about an 11-year-old who hung herself, leaving a diary explaining that her parents could no longer afford to feed her and her siblings, so she decided to help her siblings by committing suicide. Virtually the same day, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced that the nation’s economic ills have been largely solved, because the debt was being paid on time, through regressive taxes and the export of their people as virtual commodities.
In this context, Butch Valdes, the head of the Philippine LaRouche Society, together with the Philippine LYM, intervened forcefully in the debate over the nation’s energy future. First, they attended numerous meetings on the Al Gore-spawned global warming hoax, exposing it as a racist, genocidal attack on the development of the third world, and against industrial progress generally.
Then, they intervened in a series of conferences called to discuss the potential of nuclear power, taking with them the material produced by the international LaRouche movement on the nuclear revival required to turn a global collapse into a global renaissance (see www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2007/2007_30-39/2007_30-39/2007-31/pdf/45…).
The nuclear issue is deeply political in the Philippines. The centerpiece of the Eleven Industrial Development Projects under the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos was the Westinghouse nuclear plant in Bata’an—the first commercial nuclear power facility in Southeast Asia. It was precisely this commitment to industrialization and nuclear power which motivated then-U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and his Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz, to orchestrate the “People’s Power” coup which overthrew Marcos in 1986, placing a puppet of the Anglo-Dutch financial oligarchy in power. The first act of the new regime, under the direction of Shultz, was to mothball the totally completed nuclear power plant, which was ready to turn on at the time, while also assuring Washington that the Philippine people would pay every cent of the nuclear reactor’s cost of production, while receiving no benefit! The Philippines never recovered from this act of imperial depravity.
After 21 years, most Filipinos are now, finally, beginning to understand what they actually did to themselves in their “People’s Power” campaign against the “dictator” Ferdinand Marcos.
The response to the LaRouche Society intervention on the nuclear issue was extraordinary. Not only were the global warming hoaxters exposed, but several serious government and private sector leaders sought out collaboration with the LaRouche Society and the LYM. The Undersecretary of Energy, Mariano Salazar, who personally intervened against those who wanted to exclude the LaRouche Youth from a major nuclear conference, is now proudly presenting his budget proposal for the energy sector, which contains a provision for nuclear energy for the first time since the coup against Marcos. Salazar knows that the alternative energy programs demanded by the so-called international community can provide only a small fraction of the energy needed for a real industrial economy—a fact which exposes the actual intention of the green, “Gorey” fanatics.
With offers from the Koreans to refurbish the mothballed Bata’an plant, and/or to build a new nuclear facility, and with other options also under consideration, the Department of Energy is optimistic that the anti-nuclear brainwashing can now be overcome.
Perhaps the best proof of the potential for that breakthrough is the case of the chairman emeritus of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Foundation, Ramon Pedrosa. Pedrosa, who is now devoting much of his energy to the revival of nuclear power, is the first to admit that he was among the leaders of the anti-Marcos ferment in the 1980s, and against the nuclear power plant in particular—simply because it was tied to Marcos! Now, Pedrosa proclaims “Mea culpa”—an important self–
recognition of how the nation was fooled into destroying its own development under the guise of defeating a dictator.
Pedrosa has led the effort at the Chamber to prepare a nuclear-development perspective for the government and the Congress, drawing on the LaRouche Society’s Valdes for assistance. In meetings during the Billington visit, Pedrosa recognized that nuclear power, as important as it is, is only one part of the required program for the transformation of the Philippines, and has called for cooperation in developing a 50-year plan for the nation, reviving the Marcos Eleven Industrial Development projects, in the context of LaRouche’s proposal for a Four-Power agreement for a New Bretton Woods and great infrastructure projects internationally.
FDR and the Youth
The Franklin Roosevelt tradition represented by LaRouche and his collaborators today has a deep resonance in the Philippines. Roosevelt, as one of his first acts as President in the 1930s, asserted that the U.S. flirtation with imperialism would come to an end. In 1936, FDR granted the Philippines full independence, to take effect after a ten-year trusteeship. Had Roosevelt lived beyond 1945, his plan for using the Philippines model of trusteeships leading to independence, for all the former European colonies which had been occupied by the Japanese, would have been realized, and there would have been no Vietnam War, and no genocide in Cambodia.
LaRouche has always looked at the Philippines to play a central role in Asia, as the only nation which shares its Asian culture with the culture of the European Renaissance. The Philippines national hero, Jose Rizal, not only translated the revolutionary work of the European Northern Renaissance, Friedrich Schiller’s William Tell, into Tagalog, the native tongue of the Filipinos, but also quoted Schiller (from his Shakespeare’s Ghost) in the dedication of his own revolutionary novel, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not). The Philippines can, and must, lead the way in bridging the gap between European Renaissance culture and Asian culture.
In this light, the final two days of the Billington visit to the Philippines were most promising. A two-day conference was held in Manila, attended by about 100 students, friends of the LaRouche Society, and others who had heard of the conference on Valdes’s daily radio broadcast. On the first day, Billington presented an international economic and strategic briefing, a class on the fight between the American System and the British System in Asia after World War II, and a class on the basics of bel canto singing, including teaching the group two Classical vocal canons.
However, the highlight of the event came on the second day, when the Philippines LYM took over, demonstrating the emergence of the young leadership required to save the Philippines from its current horrific state of poverty and decay. One of the leading youth members, Ver Archivido, performed the “Chaconne” from Bach’s Partita No. 2 for unaccompanied violin, transcribed for guitar by the great Classical guitarist Andrés Segovia, with such clarity and transparency in the long lines of development, that the audience was riveted throughout the performance, despite the fact that most of them had never heard such complex music, nor perhaps any Classical music at all. Archivido and three other youth presented classes on Eratosthenes’ measurement of the circumference of the Earth; the hoax of global warming; the emerging nuclear renaissance; a workshop on sphaerics, including a demonstration of the primacy of physical geometry over Euclidian axiomatics; a Platonic dialogue on doubling the square; a physical geometric proof of the Pythagorean Theorem; and the generation of lines, points, and the Platonic solids through circular action. Above all, they conveyed to the youthful audience the urgency of joining the LaRouche movement, both for their own education, and as the only hope for creating a future for themselves and their nation.