Let Us Work for the Common Aims of Mankind
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the chairwoman of the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo) in Germany, gave this address to a private luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 25, 2012.
The problem is that mankind is presently confronted with two existential crises, which we have to solve if there is to be the continued existence of civilization in the form we have known it so far. One of these existential crises is the fact that we are in the absolute last phase of a financial disintegration of the global monetary system.
The second, related, crisis is the fact that we are right now maybe millimeters away from the danger of a global thermonuclear third world war, which could be triggered by a whole number of problems, but obviously, right now, it's focusing on Syria and Iran.
But let me first speak on the financial crisis.
The problem is that when the secondary mortgage crisis erupted in July 2007, my husband, Mr. LaRouche, had a proposal which would have stopped that crisis right there. It was the Homeowners and Bank Protection Act. It was a kind of introduction of Glass-Steagall, by eliminating the usurious element of the casino economy, the so-called derivatives speculation and the entire bubble. Unfortunately, this proposal, even though it had a lot of traction in the United States Congress, among hundreds of city councils, and state legislators, was defeated because of massive pressure from financial interests.
And what the G20 did instead, is to have, for four and a half years, one bailout package after the other. Altogether, even though these figures are somewhat blurred, we are probably talking about anywhere between $30 and $40 trillion of bailouts of bankrupt banks.
In these four and a half years, the G20 countries have failed completely to re-regulate an out-of-control financial system; and what they have done, the only thing they have accomplished, is to transform private speculator debt, gambling debt, into state debt, through the mechanism of these bailout packages.
Now, if you talk to some financiers, they would say, "Oh, no, there is no problem with the financial system. It's a state debt crisis." But, the state debt crisis has been the result of these bailout packages, entirely.
This has reached a situation where the euro is collapsing. I think it could collapse, actually, while we are sitting here eating lunch, or it could collapse in February, March, April. But even renowned economists, such as the chief economist of Deutsche Bank, Thomas Mayer, recently said that he would be surprised if the euro still exists on the first of May.
This situation has reached the point where the effort to maintain the euro, through vicious austerity policies, is alienating the European nations, the populations of the European countries, against their governments, and against the EU, in such a way that we are truly talking about a mass-strike process; we are talking about a revolutionary situation; and we are talking about potential civil war.
Greece: The Paradigm for All Europe
The country where the brutality of the present EU policy is most obvious is Greece. Austerity packages have been imposed upon Greece one after the other, and the country is in despair. The people of Greece are right now really looking at no future: All the young people, and the academically trained people, are leaving the country; you have parents who are giving away their children because they cannot any longer nourish them; and people are dying, because the pharmaceutical concerns are no longer delivering certain medicines to hospitals, because there is no money to pay. You can draw your own conclusion what that does for the life-expectancy of the people who don't get these medicines, because obviously they're not in the hospital for luxury purposes.
Now, this thing is coming to an explosion. The negotiations with Greece are not moving forward. They cannot move forward, because you cannot squeeze a lemon which has been squeezed to the last drop.
A similar situation exists in Italy, where you have a mass strike, involving taxi drivers, truck drivers, pharmacists, doctors, lawyers, so that basically what is called the "pitchfork strike," which started in Sicily, has now spread to the entire country of Italy. And this was all triggered by a decree of the Monti government—which is, after all, a technocratic government imposed by the EU, and not elected—by refusing to respond to this protest, by simply making a decree of these brutal cuts in all areas. And the population is not accepting it.
One member of our organization is a leader of this strike movement. He was repeatedly covered on national TV as a leader. He has had meetings with the Monti government, and this is heading toward a complete confrontation. Because you cannot deprive populations of their life earnings in the way the present policies are doing this.
After the downgrading of nine EU members by Standard & Poor's rating agency last week, you have a deleveraging of all the major banks in France, but also in many other countries, so there is a frantic effort right now by IMF Managing Director Mrs. [Christine] Lagarde, to increase the money for the EFSF, the European Financial Stability Fund, by another €500 billion. They are pulling up the date for the launch of the ESM, the European Stability Mechanism, which is supposed to be the permanent bailout fund, to July of this year. Mrs. Lagarde demanded another several hundred billion contribution from Germany. [Robert] Zoellick from the World Bank also demanded that Germany must pay more, to which Mrs. [Chancellor Angela] Merkel responded that the German capacity to pay all of that is not limitless.
So, this thing will not function, and the financial press in Europe is already using a language which I prided myself to have been the only one using these words, but now the headlines of the popular press are saying, "The ECB has become a money-printing machine," "We are looking at hyperinflation like 1923 in Germany." And this was, if you think a couple of years back, the "H-word," meaning hyperinflation, one of the absolute taboo words which were not allowed to ever be mentioned.
The Euro: A Failed Experiment
So, my best inclination is to say the euro will collapse, simply because some of the countries have no other choice than to leave it. And this is a good thing. The euro was a misconstruction from the beginning. It's a failed experiment. I predicted that before it came into being. If you go into the archives of our newspapers, I wrote about it immediately after 1989-90, when it was decided, because it could not function.
The EU zone, the Eurozone, was never a so-called optimal currency space, because it united completely agrarian countries, like Greece, Portugal, and others, with highly industrialized countries like Germany, and for ten years, you had the illusion that this would somehow function. But all it did was to develop bubbles in the so-called secondary, moving-up countries, like Greece and Portugal, Spain, while the domestic market in Germany has shrunk. Real wages in Germany in these ten years have gone down. They're being eaten up right now, already, by that inflation, so you have a de facto reduction in living standards. So this thing is not functioning.
You all remember, or some of us remember, and have written about it—that the euro had never had an economicly sound basis, but was purely political. It had a geopolitical intention: to keep Germany contained after the reunification, to prevent Germany from playing an important economic role—for example, in the cooperation with Russia—by forcing Germany into the straitjacket of the EU.
At that time, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand, and President George Bush, Sr., decided to impose the introduction of the euro as the price for the German unification.
Now, if you have a political intention, which is not economically sound, you should not be surprised that such an experiment fails, and that is what is happening right now.
If the euro collapses in an uncontrolled way, obviously this brings immediately into danger the entire global financial system: first, the trans-Atlantic system, because of the entanglement of the banking system. If the euro collapses in a disorderly way, then naturally all the U.S. banks will go bankrupt also, and the collapse of the trans-Atlantic system will immediately spread into Asia, and other areas of the world.
So, this is the situation.
The irony is that, right now you have the Davos [World Economic Forum] meeting going on in Switzerland, where a large part of the world economic elite is meeting—40 heads of state are there—and they are discussing the collapse of the capitalist system. They're discussing about, where is the way out. They are clueless, and it's not a surprise, because all of these people are guided by axioms which contributed to the emergence of this crisis.
Now, there is a solution. The solution is very simple: to go back to the Glass-Steagall standard, which Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced in the 1930s, and with which he brought the United States out of the Depression. We are campaigning in Germany, and France, in all European countries, for a Glass-Steagall. The French Socialist candidate, Mr. [François] Hollande, just came out for a Glass-Steagall solution for France. We have very important people in Switzerland, Italy—Mr. [Giulio] Tremonti, the former economy minister, just published a book [Emergency Exit] that says Glass-Steagall is the only way. We have important parliamentarians in Denmark, in Sweden, in Belgium, in Holland, we have important people in Germany—all fighting for Glass-Steagall.
So, it is an option. If the United States would put the Glass-Steagall law back on the table, this could immediately lead to a reorganization of the financial system.
However, that is not enough. We need to draw the lesson from the fact that the euro has failed. We need to go back to the national currencies. This may be a short shock for some countries, or actually, all countries, but if you go back to sovereignty over your own currency, and are in charge of your economic policy, your currency, and you can, especially then, issue credits for industrial investment, after a short shock, all of these countries would do much better.
So, that is part of the solution.
The Lost Chance for Peace
Now, let me briefly touch on the war danger. Now, the war danger comes from the fact that, when the Soviet Union and the Comecon collapsed in 1989-91, we—that is, the LaRouche movement—had the proposal for an international peace order, which was first called the Productive Triangle. And then, when the Soviet Union had disappeared in '91, we enlarged it to the Eurasian Land-Bridge, which was the idea to integrate the entire Eurasian continent through large infrastructure projects, transport corridors, an integrated system of high-speed trains, maglev trains, waterways, highways, building so-called development corridors with energy production and distribution, with communications, so that you would have uplifted the landlocked areas of Eurasia to an infrastructure situation like, for example, you find in Germany.
Now, we proposed this in really hundreds of conferences. We had such meetings in Moscow, Beijing, New Delhi—all over the world. And as you can see, Russia and China and many other Asian countries are moving in this direction; but naturally, it was not accepted by the Atlantic countries.
Now, instead of going with a peace order for the 21st Century, which would have been very easy, because there was no more enemy—you could have said, we now have the chance to make a peace order for the 21st Century, which allows the living of all nations on this planet—unfortunately the reaction of Anglo-American elite was different. They decided to go for a policy of empire, to basically get rid of every government which would be in their way.
This policy was called "regime change," and this had been lingering, even in the period where President Clinton was there. It was called "Clean Break"; it was pushed by such people as Richard Perle, [Benjamin] Netanyahu. It was a counter to the Oslo Accord. And naturally, we saw it in the form of the war against Iraq, Saddam Hussein. You look at Iraq today, which is in much worse shape than with Saddam Hussein.
It was later continued with the war against Libya. You look at Libya today: It's eaten up in civil war and chaos, in much worse shape. And now, regime change is on the agenda for Syria and for Iran.
Now, we have done interviews with very influential representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, like the former head of it, Hans Blix, and others, who have maintained that Iran will not have the bomb in the near future. I cannot say this one way or another, but in any case, there are always possibilities to negotiate something. There were Russian offers to Iran, to assist them in the development of peaceful nuclear energy. In any case, there is no reason—and there must be no reason—to go for a military strike against Iran. Because many European experts and others know, that once you start a military strike against Iran, in this situation, where the world is already disintegrating, this could very well be—and probably will be—the beginning of World War III.
Now, this is just one picture. You have to see also the fact that what was started with the Bush Jr. Administration—the European Missile Defense program in Poland and the Czech Republic—which Russia always looked at as part of the encirclement policy of NATO against Russia, and unfortunately, contrary to his election promises, President Obama has continued this policy. And more recently, both President [Dmitri] Medvedev and the Russian Chief of Staff, Gen. [Nikolai] Makarov, basically said that this policy could trigger a regional war in Europe, in which nuclear weapons could be used.
If you then take, in addition, the expansion of the British and U.S. policy into Asia, where China has also already said that they are not going to accept a violation of their vital interests there, you can see that we are looking at a potential World War III deployment.
And if you then look at the incredible amount of military forces being massed right now in the Indian Ocean, in the Gulf, in the Eastern Mediterranean, this is a very, very hot situation.
Now, we have basically said: Look, if this war would ever erupt, a nuclear war, especially with the use of thermonuclear weapons, could make the human species extinct in any form worth talking about.
Obviously, this comes all at the end of an era, at the end of a system, and I think what we have to do, is to call upon people to come up with ideas for a new order of mankind which fits the interests of all nations on this planet. The obvious thing would be to respond, as a collective assembly of nations, to the existential threats we all face. One of the threats is the collapse of the financial system. The other threat is the danger of war.
The Extraterrestrial Imperative
But we also have larger threats, namely, threats coming from the galactic cycles, which have caused tremendous weather changes, which have caused earthquakes, tsunamis. In the case of Japan, we had the events from Fukushima, which had much more effect in Germany than in Japan, because of ideological problems in that country. But there is no question that there is heightened solar activity; there are right now, today and tomorrow, huge solar storms, with warnings that satellite systems may be put out of communication. Flight routes, routes of airline companies over the North Pole, have been shifted because of that.
So, there are real questions, where our point of view is that the answer is that we should do what mankind always did when confronted with existential dangers: namely, to use the human ingenuity and creativity, and define the next step of human development.
And, for a whole variety of reasons, that has to be manned space travel, because as one friend of ours, the great German-born scientist Krafft Ehricke, once termed it: Mankind will only become adult when we respond to the extraterrestrial imperative; that is, when we start talking about industrialization of the Moon, of Mars, and from there, to other planets, it will force civilization to act rationally, and to become truly human.
We have, since a long time, proposed a reconstruction program for the world. We call it the World Land-Bridge (Figure 1). It's the idea to not only have Eurasia connected through infrastructure corridors, but to take these corridors, through great infrastructure projects like NAWAPA, all the way down to Chile. To take the Eurasian Land-Bridge all the way through Egypt, through a bridge or tunnel from Sicily to Tunisia, and through the Strait of Gilbraltar into Africa. And I've said many times that the great moral test, especially for people in Europe, is to develop Africa. Because if we cannot manage to save a continent which right now is threatened by hunger and starvation, then we are not morally fit to survive ourselves.
Now all of these polices are eminently feasible. Nothing that I have said is an insurmountable problem, except you need to mobilize the political will to do it. And I think that the decision, if we are able to solve these problems, and work together for the common aims of mankind—for example, the former Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, just had an article yesterday where he criticized the American Ambassador [Michael] McFaul, the new ambassador in Moscow, who is meeting with the opposition, extraparliamentary opposition, people who are financed by the same people who have done the Orange Revolution, or the Rose Revolution in Georgia. And Mr. Ivanov said, why not have Russia and the United States working together in the development of the Arctic, and other proposals, where we have to work together, in the joint development of space, manned space travel.
And I think that that is the task. Can we, at this point, where we are threatened with extinction as a species, get our act together, and say, this old paradigm, which led to this crisis, must be finished, and we must become adult as a human mankind, and work together for the common aims of mankind?