A NUCLEAR POWDERKEG:
Is Mankind Smarter Than the Dinosaurs?
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
It's almost inconceivable: The world is not just on the brink or war, but already in the midst of a dynamic that could very quickly lead to global thermonuclear war and the extinction of the human species; yet in Germany, there is no debate in the media about the threat, none of the parties that are represented in the Bundestag has anything to say about it, and there are no mass demonstrations in the streets. Will human civilization come to an end under a state of general anesthesia, because we are too busy with our daily lives?
At the height of the medium-range missile crisis in the early 1980s, when the deployment of the Soviet SS-20s and the U.S. Pershing II missiles in Europe had reduced the warning time for the launch of nuclear weapons to a few minutes, many hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets, warning against the threat of a "nuclear holocaust." Over 10 million people worldwide demonstrated before the launch of the 1990-91 Gulf War, while in Berlin alone, there were over 500,000 on the streets before the Iraq War in 2003.
A Drumbeat for War
And today? Since the "humanitarian intervention" in Libya and the brutal murder of Qaddafi last Fall, there has been a growing concentration of nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the eastern Mediterranean, and the western Pacific—weapons whose "overkill" capacity could destroy the human species and probably everything else, a few dozen times over. The policy of "regime change" plunged first Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya into chaos, and now the conflagration has spread not only to Syria, but to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, while the entire Middle East looks like the Balkans before the First World War, with several fuses for catastrophe already burning.
The three-week "Austere Challenge 2012" maneuvers, which had been delayed since the beginning of the year, began on Oct. 21, with 3,500 U.S. soldiers from the U.S. European Command and 1,000 Israeli soldiers. This is the largest joint air defense exercise of the two armed forces, whose goal is to strengthen their "interoperability." U.S. Aegis-class ships are deployed, which are a key component of the ballistic-missile defense systems which the United States and NATO are constructing, and which have been denounced by Russia and China as a dramatic change in the strategic balance.
Officially, the maneuvers have nothing to do with specific current events. The Wall Street Journal, however, wrote on Oct. 22 the exercise "signals to Iran that an attack on Israel would involve drawing the U.S. into a conflict." American military circles around the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are opposed to a military strike against Iran, however, are acutely concerned that the maneuvers could provide the context for a provocation of third parties, drawing the United States into a military operation against Iran through a staged incident, which would, in all likelihood, mean a Third World War.
The trail of destruction across the whole region is horrific. The war against Iraq, far from being a "cakewalk," was staged by Tony Blair and the U.S. neocons on the basis of blatant lies; 6,000 American soldiers and civilians lost their lives; at least 125,000 Iraqis were killed, 350,000 wounded, 2.8 million displaced; and it all cost the U.S. taxpayers at least $3.5 trillion. In Afghanistan, more than 3,200 NATO soldiers have been killed, including 53 Germans, and according to the German Institute for Economic Research, the deployment of the Bundeswehr (German army) alone has already cost EU17 billion, while the United States has paid considerably more than a trillion dollars.
A Spiral of Terror
The drone war, started by Bush and Cheney and expanded by Obama, has so far killed some 5,000 people, including many civilians; it has not reduced the number of terrorists, but on the contrary, has enormously increased the recruitment potential for al-Qaeda and a myriad of spin-off organizations.
The Washington Post ran a three-part series Oct. 23-25 about a new project of the Obama Administration, in which a so-called "disposition matrix" of character traits has been compiled, which is supposed to allow the identification of potential terrorists. Obama presides over the weekly decision-making process as to which individuals on the so-called "kill lists" will be selected for drone attacks.
Terrorism experts agree, according to the Post, that the short-term "successes" of the drone killings perpetuate the spiral of terror, because for every dead terrorist, a large number of new ones are recruited, whose hatred of the U.S. and the West as a whole grows immeasurably. "The problem with the drone is, it's like your lawn mower," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism advisor, told the Post. "You've got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back."
You can hardly get more inhumane than this. At least one in every four victims of drone strikes is a civilian, and of these, over a quarter are children. Indictment, proof of guilt, a trial? No way! The definition of a militant is: anyone who is killed by a drone. So there will never be a shortage of terrorists!
The policies of regime change and drone warfare, started by the neocons and escalated by Obama, have led to, if anything, an enormous loss of prestige for the U.S.: Abu Ghraib, killings transmitted by live video, violations of the Geneva Conventions, training of Afghan soldiers and policemen who then massacre their trainers, countries that have been bombed back to the Stone Age and where tribal and religious wars are being kindled.
The previous heads of these states were certainly no Western-style showpiece democrats, but in their secularly governed countries, different religions coexisted in a relatively unproblematic way, and living standards improved through economic development. The policy of regime change has contributed to turning the tender shoots of the Arab Spring in some countries into a repressive version of Islam, making the Muslim Brotherhood seem like liberal softies. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rightly warned of the danger that the Arab Spring will become a nuclear winter.
It is clear how close are we to a thermonuclear catastrophe, when none other than Zbigniew Brzezinski speaks out vehemently against arming the rebels in Syria, condemns the British and French policy as responsible for the disaster, and instead urgently advises working with Russia and China to propose an acceptable solution to Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. Brzezinski was no less than the architect of the Trilateral Commission's policy in 1975, to play the "Islamic card" against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and train the mujahideen, which is where the disaster began. Now, Brzezinski warns that there is a threat of religious warfare throughout the region between Shi'ites and Sunnis, which would, among other things, have catastrophic economic consequences for Europe. Therefore, he says, cooperation with Russia and China is urgently needed.
The strategic situation is now more dangerous than even during the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the medium-range missile crisis. We are on the brink of the thermonuclear annihilation of the human species. Among other things, 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles are in a state of high alert, and could reach their designated targets in 13 minutes or less, by order of the U.S. President, and obliterate the world. In the early 1980s, the NATO and Warsaw Pact nuclear arsenals were on "launch on warning" status, in case of a suspected or actual attack by the other side, because the warning time was only a few minutes. Today the entire nuclear arsenals of NATO, the U.S., Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Britain, France, and North Korea are probably also set at "launch on warning." Mankind is minutes away from being wiped out. If you can still sleep well in the face of that, there's no help for you.
This whole situation is the reason that American statesman Lyndon LaRouche is trying to encourage, for the post-election period, a Presidency that is above party politics, that governs on the basis of the Constitution, and that especially puts a peaceful solution with Russia, China, and other sovereign states on the agenda.
The policy of regime change and supposed humanitarian intervention must be ended, and international law reinstated, as laid down in the UN Charter. The principle of the Peace of Westphalia—i.e., the recognition of national sovereignty, which ended 150 years of religious warfare in Europe, and which is the basis of international law—must absolutely be upheld again.
We also need a real development strategy for the entire region of Central Asia, Iran, Iraq, the Gulf, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Mediterranean region. If the money had been spent on real development of these countries and the improvement of living standards, instead of destructive wars, subversion, and drones, then this region would not be the powder keg for a Third World War, but rather these countries would have an interest in building upon the best traditions of their respective cultures.
In the age of thermonuclear weapons, war can no longer be a means of conflict resolution. Either we end wars once and for all, or we end the human race.
Translated from German by Susan Welsh