ZEPP-LAROUCHE IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Choice Before the United States
This is an edited transcript of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s keynote address to the Schiller Institute’s June 8 Strategic Seminar in San Francisco, which drew 70 guests and experts to discuss, “Will the United States Join the New Silk Road? Global Scientific Development or Nuclear War.”
If you look at the world situation—especially you the American public, who know almost nothing about it—people in Europe know a little bit more—but if you compare the immediate danger of an escalation of a confrontation between NATO, the United States, and Great Britain on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other,— public knowledge about it is so little that for me, this is actually the more scary aspect. Because the absence of public debate on the possible extinction of all civilization may be because of the indifference of many people, because they just don’t care; or it may be that they are too scared to think it through. But the lack of a public debate is what we have to change.
So therefore, what I am going to say is not only meant to be food for thought—and I really want you to think about it—but it is also meant to be food for action. Start with the first immediate situation, which is the war danger.
For about two days, maneuvers have been underway in the Baltic states and Poland, where there is a remarkable combination of four NATO exercises. The most prominent is Anaconda 2016. It includes 30,000 soldiers from 24 nations, including 14,000 Americans and 12,000 Poles; 1,130 parachute drops; the crossing of the Vistula River; a night-time assault; 35 helicopters; and 3,000 vehicles, along with naval vessels.
Together with the other three exercises in the Baltic states, there are more than 60,000 troops in maneuvers right now on the border of Russia. I can tell you that it is the first time since Hitler and his Operation Barbarossa that that number of troops has massed at what was then the Soviet border; it’s the first time since the beginning of the 1940s that this has occurred.
Obviously, when you have this many troops in exercises—rehearsing the non-existent threat of Russia attacking the Baltic states—then there is a danger that an accident could happen. You could have an escalation. The warning time is a couple of minutes, so you could have a rapid deterioration of this situation into a large war. The Guardian—this is a British newspaper—quoted an unnamed European defense attaché saying this is a nightmare scenario, because a mishap could lead to a great danger. I wouldn’t call it a matter of a mishap. I say it is the largest provocation, intended to compel Russia to capitulate. But will it capitulate? Obviously not.
Just a couple of weeks ago in Romania, the U.S./NATO anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system was completed and went live—the ABM system that many Russian experts have said is intended to destroy the capability of the Russian nuclear arsenal. Two years ago at a conference in Moscow, video animations were used to demonstrate that the entire ABM system which Obama has been steadily building, has only one aim, and that is to prepare for a first strike on Russia, by taking out its second-strike capability. Russia said, of course, that it cannot—it will not—accept that this ABM system be built beyond a certain point, because when Russia becomes indefensible, obviously, then it will be too late.
The Forgotten Lesson
The whole ballistic missile defense system supposedly was directed against Iranian missiles. Everyone knew from the beginning that that was a lie. Russia repeatedly offered to have such installations in the South of Russia, much closer to Iran, which the United States refused. And now, since the signing of the P5+1 agreement with Iran, such a threat no longer exists. Furthermore, Putin has proposed to Obama many times that the threat which Russia sees in this ABM system be discussed. And Obama has flatly refused to even discuss it. So there are now arguments appearing that correctly make the point that there is only one explanation for the refusal to discuss it, and that is indeed, that the United States is preparing a surprise attack on Russia.
U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes
Normally you would say this is crazy, this cannot be, because if you use nuclear weapons,— People have forgotten the stark lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis, and that President Kennedy said at that time, if it comes to nuclear war, those who die in the first hours will be happy as compared to those who die a couple of weeks later, or who die as a consequence of the nuclear winter, because those will die a much more miserable death. That lesson has been forgotten. It has been ignored.
But the NATO doctrine has been changed for the worse since the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and since the strategic confrontation of the medium-range missile crisis in the 1980s, when the SS-20 and the Pershing 2 were directed against each other with only a few minutes’ warning time. At that time there were hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in Europe, warning that if it comes to nuclear war, then it would be the end of human civilization.
Today, experts assess the danger of nuclear war as far greater, for a number of reasons. One reason is the junking of the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine, which was the idea that no one side can use nuclear weapons, because it will lead to the annihilation of everybody; but that idea of Mutually Assured Destruction has been replaced by a utopian conception, that with modern technology and smarter weapons you can actually win a nuclear war.
President Obama, when he took office, promised he would work toward a nuclear-free world. He got the Nobel Peace Prize for that. If you look at it, he has just recently committed the United States to spend a trillion dollars to modernize all of its nuclear arsenals, including tactical nuclear weapons installed mostly in Europe, the so-called B61-12 bombs, which are supposed to be put on stealth bombers, and then sneak through the air defense of the opponent, meaning Russia, and disarm it in a first strike. They are supposed to be “more usable” that current bombs. Now recently in hearings in the U.S. Senate, Senator Dianne Feinstein commented on that, and said the very idea of having new, modernized nuclear weapons which are supposedly “more usable,” is already an utterly immoral idea.
Right now, we’re a the situation where beginning of July in the NATO summit in Warsaw, they intend to emplace battalions at the Russian border in the Baltics, they want to beef up the equipment, move heavy armament into Poland, into the Baltic States, and arm the Ukrainian forces deployed against the Eastern Ukraine. They want to link up the Romanian ballistic missile system with the Aegis destroyer warships in the Baltics, in the Black Sea. And all of this has reached a point of utmost provocation.
But one should be very clear, and that has also been expressed by many military experts, with all of this big moving of troops into Poland, into Estonia, Lithuania, what does it all amount to? Nothing! Because if it came to war, these conventional forces would be overrun by the Russian army in no time. And there is general agreement among military experts that they therefore only constitute a so-called “tripwire” condition, mainly being the pretext, where some kind of an incident then creates the precondition for war.
Danger in the Pacific
Now if it comes to war,— and that has been stressed just today in a comment by the Russian Ambassador in Denmark, where somebody said to him, obviously Russia makes a fierce response to these maneuvers, and the Russian Ambassador to Denmark said, “No, we will not dramatize these maneuvers. We’ll just keep a very sharp eye. And people should just be aware that if it comes to war, it will be a general war, which nobody can want.” Now Russia is obviously reacting to it. They’re taking their own military measures. They’re putting more troops into the various bases in the Northern Military District. They are making their own maneuvers against the intrusion of Aegis destroyer ships in the Black Sea, pilots training to take out these Aegis ships, which are part of the system. But this all shows you how extremely dangerous this is. And we are sitting on top of immediate war danger right now; and the people in the United States do not even know about it.
Now unfortunately, this is not the only spot of potential war danger. The other one is related to China, because the confrontation against China is exactly of the same nature as that against Russia. One of which is the South China Sea. Now when you listen to the western media, you will hear about the alleged aggressive land grabbing of China in some of these islands in the China Sea, most of which are just rocks. But in reality, it is nothing of that sort.
If you look at the map, the South China Sea islands are all in the relative vicinity of China, and since the 9th Century have been regarded as Chinese territory. China has expressed that by the so-called Nine Dash Line, showing what its claims are. And in the recent period the United States started to make the point that China is fortifying some of these islands, building landing strips, which China is doing. But so have all the other countries done,— Vietnam, the Philippines, have all done the same thing. And Washington is clearly moving to create a similar provocation.
Now the Philippine government, still under the old government, went to the Hague, to the International Arbitration Court, and said that these claims are not legitimate; and basically, it’s expected that the Hague Court, soon in September will come out with a ruling against China. People have to understand that there are laws and agreements; for example, there is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the so-called UNCLOS. And for the parties in the South China Sea, the DOC, which has been signed by all the countries from this region, which says that nobody would unilaterally seek arbitration, but that every territorial controversy would be negotiated on the bilateral level through negotiation and diplomacy. And therefore, China has taken the position that the effort to take this to an International Court, which is not recognized by China, is actually a violation of International Law.
There have been deliberate violations of the 12-mile zone by U.S. warships or overflights of these islands by U.S. fighter jets; and it is very clear that at a certain moment, China may assert its right to put up an air defense system, an ADIZ system. And at that point we are probably looking at a showdown, at the potential that it gets out of control.
Okay, now let’s take a step back. What is this all about? Why are we staging military provocations at several spots in the world,— at the Russian border in Eastern Europe, at the South China Sea, and around South and North Korea with the threat of the United States to station THAAD missiles, missiles which look very far into the territory of Russia and China, and are not just aimed against North Korea? Then naturally the whole situation in Southwest Asia, which is still a complete powder keg; despite the fact that the situation in Syria has been stabilized by President Putin’s intervention. Why are we at the verge of World War III? What is the cause? What is the issue?
The Unipolar Illusion
Well, it all comes back to when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. As recent decisions make clear without question of doubt, there were promises given to Gorbachov, to Chancellor Kohl, to Genscher, and to others, that if Germany were allowed to unify, and be part of NATO, then NATO would absolutely not expand to the borders of Russia. Now recent archived materials have documented the truth of what was said by the former U.S. Ambassador Matlock and others, that these promises were given, and that was part of how the Cold War ended.
But at the same time, Secretary of State Baker had already made moves to do exactly the opposite: namely to move NATO troops closer to the border, and to win over more members of the former Warsaw Pact to join NATO. And as Victoria Nuland has publicly stated, the State Department spent just in the case of Ukraine, $5 billion for regime change, for color revolution. And all of this was an attempt to encircle Russia, with the idea of finally causing regime change in Russia; and by the same logic also in China.
Now the logic behind that is, that at the moment when the Soviet Union disintegrated, there was a unique chance to have a peace order for the 21st Century, because the enemy was gone; Communism had disintegrated. And why not establish a peace order, which would have created a basis for the ending of war; and for finally attending to those issues which are in the common interest of all of mankind? Now we of the LaRouche Movement and the Schiller Institute, we proposed exactly that. We proposed first, the Eurasian Land-Bridge, the New Silk Road, and we kept pushing the idea of uniting Europe and Asia through development corridors, as the basis for a peace order, and we always invited the United States to be part of that.
Unfortunately, you had at that time the neo-cons in the United States. Already in 1997 the neo-cons had developed the idea of a Project for a New American Century, which was the idea that, okay, the Soviet Union is the enemy, and now is the time to have a unipolar world, and to go for regime change against anybody who doesn’t submit to this order. The idea that the United States, together with Great Britain—based on the “Special Relationship” with the British—would have an empire; and would not allow any one nation or a group of nations to ever become economically, politically, or militarily as strong as the United States, to bypass the United States. And therefore regime change, color revolution, or military intervention as we have seen it in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, would be legitimate.
Obviously this is an illusion, because the unipolar world has long ceased to exist. Asia is rising, bypassing the United States. They are already exporting more high-technology goods; they are already producing more high-technology scientists and engineers than the United States. China’s economic growth rate —even when it went down from 12% in the coastal areas, 10% generally, to only about 7%—is still significant growth. India is even bigger; they have 8%. China and India together have 2.5 billion people. One of every three humans is Indian or Chinese.
Since China launched the New Silk Road initiative, 70 countries have joined in this kind of economic cooperation; and it’s expected that by the end of year, it will be 100 nations, working in win-win cooperation with China, with Russia, and with India. And therefore, the idea of maintaining a unipolar world by military domination, by drawing people into military alliances for confrontation against Russia and China, is simply a no-win perspective.
That was just very, very clear a the recent Shangri-La Security Summit in Singapore, where U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter tried to impose a NATO-like structure for Asia. It did not go over so well, because Japan is now moving more with Russia, and the Vietnamese invited the Chinese for military maneuvers. So it didn’t go over so well, because many countries realize that they have the choice right now between either joining World War III on the side of the United States, or to keep going into a cooperation with the BRICS countries, with the Asia-centered Silk Road. Therefore, the idea that it’s possible to maintain a unipolar world simply will not succeed.
Now however, how do we get out of this? How do we get the United States to recognize that it’s not in their best interest to do this? Because, eventually, if it comes to a global war, it will lead to the destruction of all of mankind. Given the present combination of governments from the Bush administration to Obama, I don’t think that an appeal to pure reason is going to work.
Therefore, I want to focus on the significance of the 28 pages. Most of you are aware of the subject. For those of you who are watching and listening, let me just very briefly summarize it, again. The 9/11 attacks occurred. Then there was a Congressional investigation of both Houses, the Congress and the Senate, headed by Sen. Bob Graham. They published an official report; and of this report, 28 pages were classified. President Obama, in his election campaign, had promised the families of the 3,000 victims of the attacks that he would publish those pages, because these people have the right to know why their relatives died.
In the meantime, a whole movement has been created for the release of these 28 pages. Some Congressmen have read them; they were allowed to read them but not talk about them, because they were still classified. A lot of information has come out in various forms since, which makes very, very clear that what these 28 pages signify, is the role of Saudi Arabia in the financing of the September 11 attacks. The question then becomes, who in the United States was complicit in the cover-up? Everything points to the role of the FBI, among others.
Recently, the Senate passed the so-called JASTA bill (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act), allowing civil suits against Saudi Arabia to go ahead in this context. Why is this so important? Just take it a step back. What did September 11 do? It not only changed the Constitution in the United States. It eliminated many, many civil liberties. It allowed the limitless surveillance of not only American citizens, but citizens around the world, through the National Security Agency (NSA). In terms of foreign policy, it not only gave the go ahead for the war against Afghanistan; it was also the pretext for the war against Saddam Hussein. Remember the famous so-called “weapons of mass destruction,” which never existed. The war against Qaddafi, the attempt to topple Assad, the total destruction of the Middle East and Northern Africa.
And naturally, that has to be stated very clearly: Europe right now is completely destabilized,— to the point of the detonation of the European Union,— through an unprecedented refugee crisis. Or, rather, the last time there was something like that was at the end of World War II, when millions of people marched across Europe and Asia as a consequence of the Second World War. Now you have millions on the march, from the Middle East, from Northern Africa, trying to get into Europe; and Europe is falling apart as a consequence. And nobody dares to talk about the so-called “root causes” of this refugee crisis. But the root causes are wars based on lies, based on the lies of September 11.
So therefore, if this document were published—and now the demand is not only to publish that, but also the 80,000 pages withheld by the FBI which were never given to the September 11 Commission—then, naturally, the whole policy would have to be reviewed and rejected. The role of Saudi Arabia in financing ISIS and al-Nusra, the continuous supply of ISIS by Turkey; all of this would come out. And maybe it would cause a big upheaval; but that upheaval is absolutely necessary to stop this present drive into World War III.
I appeal to you that one of the very clear leverages you American citizens have to intervene, is the publication of these 28 pages, which by no means are just a single issue—the question of who did September 11. But given the fact that already in the German media, there was a prime-time TV program called Monitor on June 1 said that when the 28 pages come out, the entire history of 9/11 will have to be rewritten,— getting to one of the keys to the strategic situation, one second before 12:00 midnight,— I hope.
Let me introduce the third subject I want to talk about. The solution to all of this would be a piece of cake. It is already there! A New Silk Road has been launched. We called it in 1989, first, the Productive Triangle; in 1991 we called it the Eurasian Land-Bridge. The New Silk Road was the idea that when the Iron Curtain had fallen, we would integrate the populations of the industrial centers of Europe with those of Asia, through development corridors. This New Silk Road program would have changed the world in the direction of a peace order, already in 1991; but, unfortunately, you had Bush, Sr., you had Margaret Thatcher, you had François Mitterrand, who all had completely different ideas. They wanted to reduce Russia from a superpower to a Third World, raw-materials-producing country, and they imposed the “shock therapy” of the Yeltsin period. They dismantled the Russian potential, and said they had no intention of allowing Germany to have any kind of economic relation with Russia. So it did not happen.
You had the 1990s, the time of genocide against Russia. You had all of the consequences of the Bush period. You had the eight years of Clinton, which were a certain interruption; but then with Bush, Jr. and Obama, you went back to the old project of an American Century doctrine and the idea of a unilateral world.
Fortunately, in 2013, President Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road to be the strategic objective of China. In the almost three years which have passed since, this idea of ending geopolitics, of establishing win-win cooperation among all nations on the planet in the tradition of the ancient Silk Road, is progressing extremely quickly. Remember, the ancient Silk Road was a fantastic cooperation in terms of exchange of culture, goods, paper, technology, porcelain, silk, silk-producing, and many other cultural manifestations. It led to a tremendous benefit for all the countries which participated, from Asia to Europe.
The New Silk Road, obviously, is doing exactly that. The amount of projects which have been concluded between China and ASEAN countries, China and Latin American countries, China and Europe, China and African countries, China and East European countries, and now, in a very clear fashion, the economic integration between the Eurasian Economic Union, headed by Russia, and the New Silk Road, is progressing very well. An alliance has been formed between Russia and China, with India being the third factor in the situation. Many, many other countries have been joining.
Contrary to what you read and hear in the mass media, China is not doing badly. They are shifting their economic orientation from an export orientation, because the export markets in the trans-Atlantic sector are shrinking. They are now going more into infrastructure investment in many countries of the world, and to developing the inner region of China. To raise the consumer to a higher standard in their own population, since they have lifted 600 million people out of poverty, into a decent living standard in China. This is indeed the absolutely correct policy, to say we will uplift the remaining people who are still poor, and also allow them to participate in the Chinese economic miracle.
Xi Jinping has offered to President Obama that the United States join. The United States should also rebuild Southwest Asia, which I think is the moral obligation of the United States, given the fact that they were the key reason why these countries are now in such disarray. It should also participate in the building of Africa, which I think the West has an absolute moral obligation to do: Because the reason why you have millions of people as refugees,— not only risking their lives drowning in the Mediterranean, but also dying in the Sahara, which has even more victims than even the Mediterranean,— is because 50 years of IMF policy has denied economic development to Africa!
And the reason that people are taking the risk of a 50% chance that they will die, to cross the Mediterranean, is because they are running from war, from hunger, from epidemics, and this is the result of Western policy denying this continent economic development!
So we have a moral obligation to join hands to develop southwest Asia, to develop Africa.
Now, the United States also needs a Silk Road. If you look at the figures of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the productivity, which has collapsed for seven years in a row, all the indices are going down. The United States population is in a terrible condition, or at least in the poorer parts, while the rich become richer and Wall Street is having a heyday with cocaine parties and plotting destruction for the rest of the world.
But the United States needs an infrastructure project: the roads are bad, the traffic is ridiculous. People spend hours and hours every day in commuting, taking the risk of disappearing with their cars into a pothole. They have no rail system: China has built a 20,000 km fast train system through the end of last year; they plan to have 50,000 km by the year 2020, uniting every major city in China through a fast train system. And these are fantastic—they’re smooth, they’re fast, they’re quiet. How many kilometers of fast train systems has the United States built? Zero!
So, for the United States to build its own Silk Road, to connect with the global development perspective, is a question of the best action for self-interest. And we have to get the United States off this confrontation course, and simply say, we have to shift from this policy and all the trillion-dollar investment in modernization of nuclear arsenals and the largest military budget in the world, trying to maintain an empire which is collapsing anyway. Rather shift; get rid of Wall Street; impose Glass-Steagall; get back to a policy of Alexander Hamilton, a credit policy; invest in infrastructure and go in the direction of a win-win cooperation with the other nations of the world: With Russia, China, European nations, with India; build up Latin America, build up Africa and Southwest Asia.
What Is More Important?
So this is really the choice before the United States. And I know it is very difficult for you to grasp how this should be done, but, you know, think about Kennedy; think about the kind of optimistic country the United States used to be. Think about the idea that America was built to be “a beacon of hope and a temple of liberty,” where people from the whole world would go and try to be free. The U.S. sings in the National Anthem, “the land of the free” — is the United States “the land of the free” today? I don’t think anybody who is in their right mind would say that today.
So, go back to the values of the American Republic, as it was founded by people like Benjamin Franklin, or George Washington; go back to the policies of Alexander Hamilton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Kennedy, Martin Luther King. And I think if the United States could mobilize itself to bring back that nation, the whole would world would love to be friends of the United States again. Right now, I can tell you, the rest of the world has almost given up on the United States, and then they look at the election process, the choice between a very, very irrational Trump and unfortunately a very, very predictable Hillary Clinton, given her statements about confrontation against Russia and China,— I think you have to really mobilize now. And I think the 28 pages, Glass-Steagall, these are flanks which can derail the situation long before this election takes place.
So we have to have a completely new world. In a certain sense, remember, mankind is not a beast, and mankind is not bound to do what seems to be inevitable, but mankind is the only species capable of reason, capable of free will, of defining and designing a beautiful future, and going to implement that which the last time with Kennedy, was the Apollo Project,— and I think we can absolutely do it again! I think you have a great possibility in front of you, and I would encourage you: Be American. Be true Americans again, and the whole world will be most happy and embrace you. [applause]
Question: Helga, my name is K— from Silicon Valley, and the question I have is how do we deal with the fear that I feel exists in our culture, about really having the courage to speak out about the kinds of things you’re discussing? I think really down deep, I think all of us truly want peace in the world; and yet we feel that those of us who speak out, against, if you will, “the club” you mentioned earlier, we seem to get chastised and labeled as radicals. I happen to tend to be on the right side of the political world, and when I attend LaRouche events, I’m chastised by some of my colleagues who say, “What in the hell are you doing?” And how do we deal with that?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think it’s the question of, can you look into the mirror in the morning—you know, what is more important? Is it more important to be accepted by your stupid neighbors, and your colleagues when they’re thinking stupidly? Or is it more important that you are truthful, that you uphold principles which are the important principles of the Universe and of mankind?
I think it’s very important that you make a distinction: Do you want to be a shallow-minded opportunist, going with public opinion just to be in the flow? Or do you want to be a truthful person? And I think the only people who are worth anything, are those people who are searching for the truth, no matter if it’s science, culture, or political truth. And I always tell people, if you think through where we are at, it’s okay to have fear. Fear is actually a good thing. If children didn’t have fear,— and some children have to be taught what are the dangers, because they would jump out of a window, they would put their hand into the oven, they would take matches and burn down the house; because they don’t yet have the sense of real danger.
So fear, per se, is not a bad thing. Fear is actually something which is part of the survival instinct. Without fear you cannot survive. But, fear has to be located in the right thing, and not an irrational fear. Fear of the stupid opinion of your neighbor is really nothing compared to the fear of the possibility of the annihilation of mankind in a nuclear war. Or, for that matter, in a financial system breaking down in chaos, because we are equally close to a collapse of the trans-Atlantic financial system, which if it happened, would lead to chaos, and out of the chaos would come, for sure, also war.
So if you think about what could happen with these maneuvers, with this confrontation policy toward Russia and China, you could have a situation where nuclear war happens: And what would that mean? Have you ever thought about what that would mean? It would mean that everything you did, your family, your ancestors, all the great minds of the past, of Abraham Lincoln, of Beethoven, of Einstein, all of this would have been for nothing! Because there would be absolutely nobody to even remember that they existed. There would be no museum to keep the record, it would all vanish.
Now, for me, that is a real fear, because I think that mankind has produced so many beautiful things, like the great Classical compositions, or the great dramas, all the many beautiful cultures which have developed around the world; I think that that is the fear you should have, really. And in a certain sense, you must become free, your inner self has to become free. And Friedrich Schiller developed this conception in two very beautiful writings of his, which are called, On the Sublime. And there, he describes this and says, when man is only a physical beast, a physical creature, then fear can take over very easily, because even a bear is stronger, a tiger can eat a man, and therefore, as long as you are only a physical person, fear dominates you. But man is not just that: Man has the ability to connect his or her identity to universal principles which are more immortal than your physical existence, and of a higher value than you as a person.
Now, Schiller says, if you do that, and you locate your identity in the universal history of all of mankind, or other great principles, then you may not be physically safe because a lion can still eat you for breakfast, but your inner person is free. You are morally free. And then you are not afraid of things which you should not be afraid of. And I think the whole struggle of all us, is to continuously work on this idea of inner freedom, because if you don’t think, if you can be intimidated, then you are nothing but a slave. And I think that that is a condition which we should all absolutely abhor, and reject as not being in cohesion with human dignity.
So be courageous and develop your inner freedom, and then you will be funny and laugh at your stupid neighbors, and be ironic, make polemics, and then, very, very soon, they will realize you are the wise man, and they are the children who have to learn from you.
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