HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE TO LIVING MEMORIAL CONFERENCE
This Is the Crossroads for Mankind
This is an edited transcript of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s keynote address to the LaRouche PAC conference, “Living Memorial—Ending War and Terrorism,” held in New York City on May 28 to observe Memorial Day in the United States. She addressed the conference via a live video connection.
Hello. Dear members of the LaRouche PAC, guests of the Schiller Institute, dear friends, it is a great pleasure for me to talk to you today. And as we are talking and thinking about the soldiers who have died in wars, I want to stress that in the time of thermonuclear weapons, it should be clear to anybody on this planet that war cannot be an option anymore to solve any conflict. Because if it were to come to the unthinkable, that you would have an exchange of nuclear weapons,— well, there are some theories right now, that you could have a limited nuclear war, a winnable, regional, nuclear war.
But I think that anybody who has studied the matter a little bit more in depth, as, for example, by reading the writings of Ted Postol, who has made the very elaborated argument as to why such a thing as a limited nuclear war does not and cannot exist,— Simply because, anybody who assumes that, overlooks the fundamental difference between conventional war, in which the aim is to defeat your enemy, to disarm him, and then to stop the war; and nuclear war, in which the logic is that once it starts, all existing weapons will be used and they will be used instantly. And if it were to come to this point, it would mean the immediate extinction of civilization.
I think that was clearly understood at the height of the Cold War. You had the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine, in which it was very clear that either we survived together or we all die together. But that MAD strategy has been eroded for quite some time; because now you have all kinds of scenarios with the idea of winning war by having smarter, smaller, leaner, more usable, more precise, nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and that therefore you could use them. But that is now a mortal danger to civilization. We have been warning of that for quite some time. We made a video called Unsurvivable. We made many speeches about it, and we were almost—with few other people—the voice of one calling in the desert. But now, in the last several weeks, there has been a sudden eruption of awareness on the part of many who are now speaking out, warning that things have gone completely haywire.
This is all happening in the face of several acute strategic crises: one on the Russian border in Eastern Europe, another one in Southwest Asia, still another one over Korea, and another one over the South China Sea. Each one of these conflicts could become the trigger point for a global nuclear war. And people are really freaking out, because the upcoming NATO summit, which will take place at the beginning of July in Warsaw, is scheduled to manifest all kinds of changes, such as moving four major battalions of 1,000 troops each into the Baltic countries; of linking, at the time of that July summit, the recently installed ballistic missile defense component in Romania with the Aegis class destroyers already deployed in the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and elsewhere. And that buildup is reaching very quickly a point at which Russia has said that it cannot tolerate a continuous building of this ballistic missile system, because it’s clearly aimed at Russia, and it’s clearly aimed to take out the second-strike capability of Russia, and it has never been what was always the pretext, it has never been against the supposed missile threat from Iran.
Two or three years ago, the Russian military produced video animations showing that the systems installed now in Poland, in Romania, in Bulgaria, in Spain, and on these warships, are really assigned to hit Russia. But especially after the P5+1 deal with Iran, containing the danger of missiles coming from Iran, there is no more such pretext. Now it has been noted by people such as the New York University professor Stephen Cohen, that this buildup is very clearly with the intent to launch a war. Another very important spokesman in Russia, General Leonid Ivashov, has said that what we are seeing right now are clear steps in preparation for war.
It is very significant that even in Germany, Michael Stürmer, whom I would characterize as a staunch Atlanticist, someone belonging absolutely to the mainstream establishment, last week published a very important article in the conservative daily newspaper Die Welt with the headline, “No Protocol Will Save Us From Nuclear War.” And there he talks about the modernization of nuclear weapons and the fact that there are supposedly fewer of them. Even so, one has to say that the Obama administration has eliminated fewer nuclear weapons from the stockpile than any earlier post-Cold War administration, and the rate of reduction has been slowing down significantly.
This Michael Stürmer notes that one should not assume that because these nuclear weapons become fewer and smaller, that this is good news. To the contrary, it is more reason to worry, because the very idea that these weapons are usable is lowering the threshold for them to actually be used. And then he says that during the Cold War, the military and political leadership had a very clear understanding of what Mutually Assured Destruction would mean, namely the annihilation of all of mankind. But now we have new generations of both political and military leadership, which don’t even pay attention to it anymore. And, he said, all of these almost fatal incidents, which are taking place now almost every day—either over the Baltic Sea, or in the Black Sea, or in the South China Sea—would have, in former times, set off the alarms at the highest possible level, because people recognized how quickly such an accidental almost-incident could lead to global war.
Other statements in recent months have made very clear that the systems of both NATO and Russia are kept in launch-on-warning status, and therefore the window for decision-making for either side—the President of the United States or the Russian President—is about 3 to 6 minutes, at best half an hour. So we are sitting on a potential Armageddon, which if people would just think about it, they would really do everything possible to stop it.
Right now there is a growing awareness of this. In a hearing in the U.S. Senate, Senator Dianne Feinstein commented on the United States now committing $1 trillion in the next decades to modernize its nuclear arsenal, including the tactical nuclear weapons, the B-61-12, which are stationed mostly in Europe. She noted that this makes the idea of using these weapons more within reach, and that alone is utterly immoral because of the implication that it could lead to the extinction of civilization.
We have a situation similar to that in Europe, right now, in the South China Sea. There is a lot of propaganda that China is supposedly aggressively taking land. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that China is doing, is putting installations on some of these islands which historically it has claims to, going back to the Ninth Century. And every other country in the region—the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam—is doing the same thing, and has been doing so for a long time. Not one freighter has been prevented from traveling. So the whole argument that China is violating the freedom of navigation, which has been put forward by the United States, is simply not true. And all the incidents were caused by U.S. ships’ violations of the 12-mile zone around these islands or by overflights, which are also a breach of international law.
A Question of Intention
So we are really at the edge. I must say I got a very, very eerie feeling when I received reports that Obama, before he went to Hiroshima, not only did not apologize for the U.S. having dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for which there was, in reality, no reason. That attack did not save the lives of a million American soldiers, as claimed by the official narrative of the Truman Administration. It was very well known that Japan had already negotiated, with Vatican mediation, a resolution and capitulation. So dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was simply to establish the principle of Schrecklichkeit [horror], to demonstrate to the Soviet Union at that point the power of nuclear weapons.
So, Obama did not apologize, which is telling in itself. But in an interview with Japanese TV, when he was asked what he thought about the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima, he said, “I have been President now for seven and a half years, and having been a wartime President myself, I can understand that presidents, under those conditions, could be forced to make such decisions.” I think people better wake up to where we are really at.
We have no reason to go to war. Russia is not aggressive; don’t believe it for one second. Every step Russia has been taking, especially since beginning of the Ukraine crisis, has been for war avoidance. The Ukraine crisis began with the effort to pull Ukraine into the EU Association Agreement. That was unacceptable to President Yanukovich who, at the time, reacted strongly and fled from the EU Summit, because he realized that signing the agreement would have given NATO control over Ukraine. And it would have opened up the Russian market for all EU products, which was unacceptable for Russia. So he rejected the agreement.
Ukrainian Antifascist Solidarity
Then the Maidan protests were sprung against the Ukrainian government. Then came the coup on February 21, 2014, a coup organized by Nazis; everyone knew that the organizers were going back to the Stepan Bandera tradition. So the West went along with that. It led to the terrible conditions inside east Ukraine, and as a reaction to all of this Russia annexed Crimea. It is wrong to say that Russia was aggressive in taking the Crimea, because Russia reacted at each single step as Russia reacted to the entire breaking of the promises which were given to Gorbachov, but also to other people at the time when the Soviet Union disintegrated, that NATO would not extend its troops to the border of Russia. Then you had the color revolution in Ukraine, the sanctions, all of this has been correctly characterized by Russia as being forms of a hybrid war which is already going on, with the ultimate aim of regime change in Moscow. Madeleine Albright and the former Green Party Foreign Minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer, said at one point that Russia has too much territory and too many raw materials; is it going to be allowed to exploit these raw materials all by itself?
There is also the same kind of geopolitical intention for regime change against China, which I don’t want to elaborate on now; we can possibly do so in the discussion. But what I’m saying is that neither Russia nor China is aggressive. Don’t believe these media lies, which are forms of pre-war propaganda. As a matter of fact, the absolute opposite is true. China has initiated a policy which is a war avoidance policy; it is actually the only perspective for overcoming geopolitics which has been put on the table by anyone. In September 2013, when Xi Jinping announced in Kazakhstan the New Silk Road, this was a policy in the tradition of the ancient Silk Road which, 2000 years ago, during the Chinese Han administration, involved an exchange of goods, of culture, of ideas. It led to a tremendous increase in the prosperity of all the nations participating in the Silk Road at that time; and what China is now offering with the New Silk Road, is doing exactly the same t
This project, which is now almost three years old—in September it will be three years since it was started—already involves 70 countries; its impact has been mainly in Asia, along the ancient Silk Road, but it is also now reaching out to the ASEAN countries, to Iran, to Africa, to Egypt, to India. This is now a project which is pursuing a completely different principle. It is not the casino economy of the trans-Atlantic sector; it is the idea to build infrastructure, to have a banking system associated with it which is not investing in high-risk speculation, but providing the necessary credits to solve the incredible lack of infrastructure which has been the result of the policies of the IMF and the World Bank, which have deliberately denied developing countries access to credit for infrastructure.
The New Silk Road policy, and the banking system associated with it—the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS New Development Bank, and the new Shanghai Cooperation Bank which was just started; also the Silk Road Fund, the Maritime Silk Road Fund, the SAARC Development Bank (the South Asian countries)—all of these banks represent a completely different model of banking and economic cooperation. And they have invited the United States to join. Xi Jinping has repeatedly said, this is an open concept for every country on the planet. We want to have a win-win perspective where, naturally, China has its advantages; but every other country has its own advantages if it participates.
The Problem Is the British Empire
Now, where does the war danger come from? Why are the United States, and the EU, and Great Britain,— why are they not simply joining? Well, the problem is the British Empire. The problem is that the United States, in reality, is run by the idea that there must be a unipolar world run on the basis of the special relationship between the British Empire and the United States. And unfortunately President Obama has completely bought into this idea, which is really a continuation of the neocon policy, presented by such people as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle at the end of the 1990s. They called it the Project for a New American Century. And that is the idea, that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is only one superpower left, and that superpower has the right, basically, to deploy militarily around the globe; that that superpower will not allow any nation or group of nations to bypass the United States in terms of economic, political, or military power.
The problem for this outlook is that the unipolar world, in reality, does not exist anymore. Because China is rising; all of Asia is rising. China is already producing many more high technology goods for export than the United States. It is producing more scientists, more engineers. It is just much more future oriented, as you can see by the most fantastic space program that China has, while NASA has been dismantled. But not only is China rising, but many countries in Asia are rising. India, for example, India has the largest economic growth rate in the world, about 8%. Other countries are totally committed to being modern, middle class countries by 2020 or 2025, such as Malaysia; even Ethiopia wants to be very soon a normal, developed country. This is happening and you cannot stop that desire for development of all these nations around the globe.
The problem is that the trans-Atlantic sector is about to blow up financially. The G-7 meeting has just concluded. The G-7 is supposedly the group of the most important countries economically, or that’s what they think they are. In reality, their influence is shrinking, so that even the German tabloid Bild Zeitung, which is read by 8 million people every day, had a banner headline saying that the G-7 summit was the summit of the seven dwarves. That was a correct characterization; the only reasonable person at that G-7 summit, was—a big surprise—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Because he went into the summit after coming back from a visit to Sochi, where he met extensively with President Putin and concluded many, many economic deals, gas and oil in the Russian Far East and many other such projects, which he did despite enormous pressure from the Obama Administration not to do. He came into the summit and said, “Look, we have to discuss the fact that the western financial system is about to have a crisis as big as 2008,” the crisis of Lehman Brothers.
That fell on deaf ears. Obama said, no, no such thing, we are in an upswing. So the final communiqué of that summit said the upswing is continuing, we are all doing fine. Now nothing could be further from the truth. Because right now, the too-big-to-fail banks, if one of these banks were to go bust, the entire system could evaporate. You have right now the ridiculous debate around helicopter money. That is the idea that the last resort of the central banks is to print money electronically, the equivalent of throwing dollar bills out of helicopters over cities, to prevent a crash from happening, which was the crazy idea of Ben Bernanke many years ago, but they are now doing it.
The bankers have negative interest rates. They are issuing hundred-year bonds. If you want to make a donation to the bank, then buy a hundred-year bond, because it is an illusion. It will evaporate, and if you sell such a bond before the hundred-year term is up, you will lose a lot of money. So it is a complete swindle to get people who have savings to invest in the banking machine. The fact that people are buying these bonds, shows you that the confidence in the markets has really shrunk to an abysmal point.
Two Opposing Policies
This is the real war danger. Because there are people in the trans-Atlantic world who are absolutely determined not to allow Asia to rise, who are about to commit exactly the mistake that the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, warned of many times, to fall into the Thucydides trap, the trap described by the historian Thucydides. That was the conflict between Sparta and Athens in ancient Greece, in which the fear of each, over the rise of the other, led to the Peloponnesian War and the destruction of Greek civilization. Greece has never regained the importance it had at that time. Dempsey had warned that the United States should not make the same mistake; but that is exactly what is happening.
Many, many changes in the world are taking place right now with at high speed. As I said, Japan is, right now, swinging towards the BRICS coalition, the Silk Road coalition. Obviously, if Japan has very good relations now with Russia, that is a good stepping stone for improving relations with China as well. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was just in Iran and concluded, together with President Hassan Rouhani and the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, long-term investments for the development of Chabahar Port and its industrial zone, which is part of extending the Silk Road from China to Iran and from there to India and to Afghanistan. [See “Breakthrough on the Gulf of Oman,” by Tanu Maitra on page 26 of this issue.]
The former Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, had already stated at a conference in New Delhi in March, that the only way Afghanistan can be pacified is by making it a hub of trade and commerce for the New Silk Road connection between Asia and Europe. The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, was just in China for a four-day visit, and also concluded many, many deals. He made a beautiful speech referring to the long, ancient cultural collaboration and exchange between China and India. He said, “If our two nations,” which are the biggest in the world in terms of population, together more than 2.5 billion people, “If our two countries work together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish on this Earth.”
So, you have right now two completely different sets of policies. The trans-Atlantic world is in fear of losing its unipolar control and is preparing for war; however, people in Europe are freaking out about it. There is much discussion about ending the sanctions against Russia. The French National Assembly has voted to end the sanctions. Just yesterday, a commission of the French Senate also voted against sanctions. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is against sanctions, and he is going in June to the St. Petersburg economic summit, which is clearly not what the United States would like to see. In Germany, half (or even more) of the country is in favor of ending the sanctions. And right now, people realize they have to make a choice: Do they stay in the war machine in the trans-Atlantic world, or do they side with those countries which represent the future?
The Branching Point
We have right now a branching point in history. Do not think that this situation will last forever; it is changing very quickly. I think the decision as to which direction mankind will go, will be made in the coming weeks, in the month of June and not much beyond that. There is a war danger for this summer; people are talking about a danger of war with Russia in 2017. There is a book out by a neocon with that title. People are very worried that the crisis in the South China Sea may explode this summer, or be exploded. There comes a point of no return.
So, we have to really think of what can be a way out. But I must bring in one other problem. In Europe right now, we are in complete turmoil because of the influx of the largest number of refugees since the end of World War II. Last year about 2 million refugees came to Europe; this year it is expected to be a little less, because the EU is now committing a murderous policy by using the military means of Frontex to drive the refugees back. Many of them are drowning in the Mediterranean. The EU is making extremely dirty deals with Turkey and Saudi Arabia to get their help in preventing the refugees from entering the EU.
It will not work; it already has led to the complete discrediting of the EU. No one from the EU should talk anymore about humanitarian values, or even human values, when the EU is carrying out such murderous policies against the refugees. But it should be obvious that you will not solve that problem by building new walls around every country; that is the end of the EU anyway. And also, not walls around the outer borders of the EU. But you need to eliminate the underlying cause that results in people risking their lives, with a 50% chance they might die in trying to get to Europe. They are running away from wars, hunger, and other catastrophes in Southwest Asia and in Africa. In the case of Southwest Asia and Libya, it’s clearly the result of American and British wars, NATO wars all based on lies, which have led to a complete explosion there. And in the case of Africa, it’s the result of nearly 50 years of induced increased death rates because of the conditionalities of the IMF.
Now there is a way out. As I said, China, India, and Iran are now all working to extend the Silk Road into Iran and Afghanistan; and the obvious idea is that we need a Marshall Plan-Silk Road approach towards the entire Southwest Asia region—from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, from the Caucasus to the Persian Gulf. We have to have a real development strategy to conquer the desert in this region through the development of new sources of fresh water—peaceful nuclear energy for desalination of large amounts of ocean water; temporary use of aquifers where they are abundant; and ionization towers to precipitate the moisture in the atmosphere. We can do everything. These countries, which once home to blossoming cultures, can blossom again to give a future to the younger generations. And it is already on the way because the neighbors are committed to do that.
All we have to do is convince the United States and the European countries to participate in such a Silk Road-Marshall Plan for the Middle East and for Africa. It would be so easy to eliminate poverty; we could do that in half a year. No person would have to die of hunger anymore, because the technologies all exist; and if you then build infrastructure—ports, railway systems, waterways, highways, food processing. Build new cities, build advanced technologies in all countries of Africa and Southwest Asia. It could be turned around in a few years, and in one or two generations these regions could be as developed as the United States or Europe were in the 1970s. I’m not saying now, but as they were in the 1970s.
To Preserve the Human Identity
So, why don’t we move in this direction? There is no good reason. We will lose identity as human if we don’t do it. I think we have never faced such a challenge as right now. It is extremely important to remember that this planet is inhabited by only one human race, contrary to the poison of the new racists and the new fascists, unfortunately now on the rise. As in the 1930s, you have the rise of racism and fascism. It is old wine in new bottles; the contents of these bottles remains the same. Anyone who says the refugees or foreigners are genetically different, or have different reproduction schemes, and therefore must be kept out,— these are racists in new clothing. We must absolutely establish the idea that what makes us human is that every child born on this planet, is gifted with a potentially limitless potential to be a genius.
The fact that we don’t have more geniuses on the planet right now is not due to the nature of the human being, but to the conditions of life that so far have not allowed the best development of every child born. If all children benefited from education, a decent living standard, and a culture of vision and hope for the future, we would have an increase of geniuses in the world. That would really show that mankind is in the infancy stage, maybe even the embryonic stage of its development.
If you want to evade the fate of the dinosaurs—that is, if you don’t want to vanish—you have to make that evolutionary jump, so that we are no longer defined by blood and soil, or territory, or color of our skin or hair. We are defined, rather, by that which is common to all of humanity, that we can all be beautiful souls. That we can not only develop limitless new insights into the laws of the Universe and make scientific discoveries of physical principles leading to tremendous breakthroughs in science and technology, but that we can also become better human beings. That we can become more beautiful in our character, that we can become more loving; that we can become more artistically brilliant, that we can compose music at least as good as the great Classical music and beyond.
So I think we are really at a branching point, and you people there in New York have a very, very special responsibility. Because as Lyn has said, New York is a very, very special place in the United States; it is the birthplace of the United States. It’s the place from which Alexander Hamilton operated. But even today, New Yorkers are generally more cosmopolitan, they are less chauvinist, they are more intelligent, they are more political. If we want to get the United States back to being a republic, a country which other countries wish to be allied with and not shrinking from it in fear and terror, then it is you, the New Yorkers, and your example shining out to the entire United States of America, which will turn this country around. So on this Memorial Day weekend, we have a tremendous moment. Think about the people who died in previous wars: We must have a solemn commitment that war should never become a means of resolving conflict. We must mobilize people around that idea, and the idea that humanity is really at the point of either finishing itself off, or of making an evolutionary jump—a jump by which we all define ourselves by the global development partnership in which we engage and the responsibility for building the bridge to a better age for future generations. I think we can do it.