Is Europe Sleepwalking Its Way
to World War, as in 1914?
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Jan. 3—It is high time for people in Germany to wake up. The situation would be grotesque, were it not so dangerous. Dozens of historians, authors, and columnists are warning about the parallels to 1914, and describing how the people of that time marched like sleepwalkers into the great catastrophe of the war—and yet we are in principle doing exactly the same thing today—with the crucial difference that the Third World War would be thermonuclear and humanity would be wiped out.
The Russian state-owned foreign radio broadcasting service Voice of Russia warned on Jan. 2 that the world is closer today to nuclear war than it was even at the height of the Cold War, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The article however then argues, in a kind of subterfuge, that this is the result of erosion of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In addition to the original Nuclear Club—i.e., the states that had detonated a nuclear weapon before Jan. 1, 1967—India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea today possess such weapons, others are very close to having them, and a total of 30 to 40 states are striving to become nuclear states, according to the article.
The truth is even worse. Anne Applebaum, a Polish-American historian and the wife of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, wrote on Dec. 25 in the Washington Post about the sudden return of Cold War tactics, but she confuses cause and effect. Russia's deployment of missiles on its western border was not the beginning of the Cold War tactics, as she suggests, but rather a response to the construction of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. China's establishment of an Air Defense Zone is a reaction to the American doctrine of "Air-Sea Battle," whose stated intention is to penetrate the defenses of the Chinese mainland.
Behind the eastward expansion of NATO (and the EU) as well as the Obama Administration's so-called "Asia Pivot," stands the attempt—first by the senior Bush and Margaret Thatcher, then by Bush, Jr. and Tony Blair, and now by Obama and David Cameron—to erect a new world empire based on the Anglo-American "special relationship." The EU acts as the regional junior partner of this empire.
This policy has been causing a new global arms race for quite some time. There are also various U.S. and NATO offensive military doctrines, which must be seen as part of an overall strategy. One is the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which rejects the sovereignty of nations guaranteed by the UN Charter, in favor of "humanitarian" intervention. No less dangerous is the repeated blurring of the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons, as for example, in the doctrine of "Conventional Prompt Global Strike" (CPGS) or the so-called pre-emptive use of "small" nuclear weapons, the "bunker-busters."
In relevant military publications such as the official journal of the U.S. Air Force, the end of NATO'S MAD [Mutual Assured Destruction] doctrine is announced, and the claim is made that it is now possible to neutralize the nuclear capabilities of any country without creating radioactive fallout. In the Yale Journal of International Affairs, Prof. Amitai Etzioni calls for a public debate on the question of who in the Pentagon authorized the preparation for war against China.
In response to all these developments, both Russia and China have now made unmistakably clear that they are each very well equipped with a nuclear second-strike capability, and will use it with full force if they are attacked. Various representatives of the Russian government have also stressed that they will not wait until the West has achieved the technical superiority it desires, but if necessary they will launch a nuclear first strike.
Anyone who thinks through this whole situation must realize that the chessboard for World War III, this time a thermonuclear war of extermination of mankind, is being prepared today much more meticulously than was World War I before the shots at Sarajevo were fired. We would all be losing sleep if we realized how quickly a stupid accident or a provocation by a third party could bring about the destruction of mankind.
If the impending crash of the trans-Atlantic financial system occurs, which could happen at any moment, and which even such traditional economists as Dennis Snower of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy are warning about, it is likely that the ensuing chaos would quickly lead to military consequences that would end in World War III.
The First World War would never have happened if Germany's Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had remained in power, since the pre-history of the war began with his ouster. What lessons can we learn today, in this moment of great danger, from Bismarck's policy?
Instead of media campaigns to build up an enemy image of Russia and China and thus contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy, ending up once again, as in the case of Syria, on the side of the terrorists, we need to declare our full solidarity with Russia, in light of the terrorist attacks in Volgograd and other locations in southern Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck should give practical expression to this solidarity by attending the Olympic Games in Sochi, with a prestigious delegation.
The nations of Europe should respond promptly to the repeated offers by President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin for the development and deployment of a joint missile-defense system. The problem of erosion of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the risk that these weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists, can only be dealt with by effective cooperation between East and West.
Viktor Ivanov, the head of the Russian Drug Enforcement Administration, has repeatedly offered Russia's cooperation with NATO, the U.S., and the EU in the fight against drug cultivation in Afghanistan and against drug-money laundering. But with no response to this offer, drug production has increased 40-fold under the aegis of NATO in the 12 years of the Afghanistan War! As a result, a large part of the population in Russia, China, Central Asia, and also of European youth, is being destroyed. The European nations should promptly take up the "Rainbow 2" proposal of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to destroy drug production in Afghanistan, which includes an economic reconstruction program. Alexander Rahr, a German expert on Russia, recently supported this idea, as well as a proposal that the BüSo has circulated for years, namely to integrate Afghanistan into an economic union with all its neighbors and thereby stabilize it.
The nations of Europe should respond immediately to the proposal of Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Russian presidential advisor Sergei Glazyev for tripartite negotiations, in which Ukraine and Russia would work for a common economic development perspective.
This economic cooperation could be part of the expansion of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, which was declared a priority by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kazakstan recently, in the form of a New Silk Road. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang detailed this perspective during his recent tour of Eastern and Central Europe, with a groundbreaking agreement among Romania, Hungary, and Serbia for the development of a Chinese high-speed rail system in those countries. All the European nations are currently suffering from an enormous backlog of needed infrastructure investment and could hugely benefit from such cooperation. Joint development of the World-Land Bridge would also be a solid basis for peace in the 21st Century.
Cooperation in Space
The asteroid impact over Chelyabinsk in Russia on Feb. 15, 2013 once again starkly reminded the world that we currently have no defense mechanisms to protect our planet from the impact of asteroids, meteorites, and comets. In the worst case, the impact of one these objects, of which there are millions traveling through space, and of which NASA and the European Space Agency have so far been able to identify only a fraction, would wipe out the human race, just as happened 65 million years ago with the dinosaurs. The common defense of our planet can only be achieved through international cooperation in research and development of defense systems.
China has proven, with the landing of its rover Chang'e-3 on the Moon—the first Moon landing in 40 years (!)—that it is well on its way to becoming the leading spacefaring nation. International cooperation in space and the conquest of new frontier areas of science are among the common aims of mankind, which will allow us to leave behind Earthly strife and supposed geostrategic conflicts of interest and to launch a better era of mankind.
So it is high time to wake up and contribute to making sure that mankind has any future at all, and that this future is a great one. There are wonderful alternatives to a Third World War, and the above-mentioned areas of cooperation could be expanded in many important areas, such as development of a fusion power-based global economy or exchanges in areas of Classical culture, and the design of a completely new era of mankind, appropriate to the dignity and the nature of mankind as the only creative species.
Translated from German by Susan Welsh
 Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, "The New Era of Nuclear Weapons, Deterrence, and Conflict," Strategic Studies Quarterly.