Time To End the Reign of Geopolitics
Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute. Welcome to this week’s Schiller Institute International Webcast, featuring Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institutes and also the president of the German Schiller Institute.
We have been in the forefront of the very significant developments that took place this week. We will discuss them today to get our audience abreast of these issues and strategic developments, including the continuing evidence of the corrupt and immoral practices of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. There are now Congressmen calling for shutting down the investigation and even putting some of these people in jail. This is occurring just as we are expanding our distribution of the Mueller dossier.
It’s also a moment of very grave danger. There’s a good reason why wars and terrorist events, and false flag attacks often occur at the end of the Summer and during the Christmas season—mainly because people aren’t paying attention. So we have to make sure that people are paying attention as we enter this crucial period at the end of 2017.
Now, I’d like to begin with the national security strategic doctrine that was just released by the President and the administration. Helga, you’ve pointed to the differences between what Trump said and the language of the doctrine. There are some differences, but one of the key problems, as you identified, is that this is part of the “old geopolitics.” So I’d like you to discuss what you mean by that and why that’s a significant problem.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: The paper was written by a woman named Dr. Nadia Schadlow, who is said to be close to H.R. McMaster, and worked earlier in the vicinity of Bush and Cheney. She comes from an army background. This document looks at the world from the standpoint of, as you said, geopolitics,—and if you look at it from that standpoint, then of course China and Russia, but especially China which is rising, are regarded as rivals or enemies. Trump, in a very unusual move, insisted that he present the paper, rather than the National Security Advisor who normally presents such a report. It seems that he did that in order to soften certain formulations. For example: Apart from going through some of the language of the report, he also said that he wants to build a very strong partnership with Russia and China. This had the ridiculous effect with some European newspapers commenting, “he can’t even read the paper,” because he said things which are different than the report. It reflects the fact that the faction fight in the Trump administration is far from being over—that there is still an effort by the neocons and by leftovers of previous administrations, in various parts of this administration, which expressed themselves in this report. And Trump, who after all had a very successful state visit to China a little while ago and who has talked successfully on the telephone with Putin in the last week, defeating a terrorist attack that was planned for St. Petersburg. Trump still has the inclination that he wants to work with Russia and China.
But I think if you look at the extremely sharp reactions coming from the Russian Foreign Ministry, from Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of the Kremlin, from China’s Global Times newspaper, from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and from the Chinese Embassy in Washington—they all say that this doctrine reflects an outmoded kind of thinking. They point to the fact that there is a completely new era shaping especially the West Pacific—one of the six regions discussed in this paper. This is one of the areas which has been changed completely through the Belt and Road Initiative, where all the countries in the region are cooperating with China in “win-win” cooperation to the mutual benefit of each of them. And therefore, since the offer has been made many times to the United States, and to Europe, to cooperate with the Belt and Road Initiative, there is actually no reason to go into such an adversarial position. The Russians called it an “imperial document,” and insist that it still reflects the desire to insist on a unipolar world, which is long gone, so it’s a completely futile effort. And the Chinese were also extremely critical, saying that this is an “outmoded way of thinking” and cannot lead to anything positive.
It shows you that the world is still very far from being out of the danger zones. I normally give credit to Trump, because unlike his predecessors Bush and Obama, he has extended his hand to Russia and China, and he still has the potential to move the world in a different direction. Nevertheless, when he does something which I’m not so happy about, I take the liberty to say so.
It is interesting that of all places, the Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday, “The New Era of Global Stability,” by Arthur Herman, who is still thinking in geopolitical terms. He says that given the fact that you have three men—Trump, Xi Jinping, and Putin—who are all working in what he calls “a balance of power,”—which I don’t think is the right expression—but he says, therefore we have left behind the Wilsonian age of permanent wars which led the world to almost continuous wars, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, in Libya, Syria, and so forth. He says that age is now over because of these three men.
I think there is a completely different quality to that relationship, and the potential of that relationship—namely, what Xi Jinping calls a “community for a shared future of mankind.” What we normally call humanity united for the “common aims of mankind”—that is the potential.
We are in one of these areas, and one of the commentaries in one Chinese paper said that there are many different conceptions about how the future of mankind should be shaped, and that it is not yet a settled question. And I think that that is absolutely true, but that is why it is so absolutely important to overcome the geopolitical view which insists that groups of countries, or one country, have a legitimate interest against the others. That is the kind of thinking which led to two world wars in the Twentieth Century, and I think it should be obvious to anybody that in the age of thermonuclear weapons, that thinking can only lead to the possible annihilation of the human species: We should get rid of it.
Schlanger: I’ve received several emails from viewers who have said they agree with a lot of what we say, but they don’t understand why you’re so focussed on this question of geopolitics, because they say, “isn’t geopolitics the natural order?” in international relations. You’ve basically answered that question, but is there anything else you’d like to say on that? Because I think this is the crucial issue, coming up as it does around this national strategic document.
Zepp-LaRouche: The only way to look at it is from the long arc of the evolution of the human species. In the beginning, when you still had tribal formations and little ethnic groupings, people had various ways of settling conflict—either diplomacy or negotiations—and if that didn’t work, conflict and war. That was a characteristic of human development for a very long time. I don’t think that is the true nature of mankind, because if you continue with the idea that if all negotiations and diplomacy fail, you still can resort to war—in the age of thermonuclear weapons this would be the end of civilization. This idea of using war as a means of conflict resolution, corresponds to the age of maybe four-year-old little boys who think it’s all right to kick each other in the knee. I think humanity has the potential of becoming adult, that you can, indeed—through negotiation, and especially through the establishment of a higher order of collaboration in the interest of everybody—that you can establish a way of the human governance worldwide, where war is no longer a method of resolving conflict.
Much of this way of thinking comes from the great thinker of the Fifteenth Century, Nicholas of Cusa, who is the father of modern science, and who is also the father of the idea of the sovereign nation-state. He developed a method of thinking which he called the coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites. He said that because man is capable of creative reason, that you can think on a higher order where conflicts on a lower order disappear. This is the argument that the One has a higher power than the Many. That thinking went into the Peace of Westphalia—the idea that you can overcome conflict by establishing a common interest. And even if perhaps Nicholas of Cusa is not very well known in China, yet still I think that probably because of the Confucian tradition, the idea of the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative of Xi Jinping, reflects exactly that philosophical approach.
So, if mankind were to become adult, we would not waste any more energy on stupid things like chasing money, stock market speculation, and other things which are really a waste of time. People would become creative and relate to the creativity of the other, and that not only between people, but also among nations. So I think that that is the right way to look at things, and not from the standpoint of eternal Aristotelian conflict between A and B, one geopolitical group against another. Instead, the Cusan view of the coincidence of opposites, the one humanity first, is the better way to look at it.
Schlanger: I had some experience recently resolving conflict between three and four year-olds, and I can assure you that adult supervision is absolutely necessary, and that’s what you’ve been talking about in terms of the Cusan approach.
We saw something completely crazy in the last days, from Newsweek magazine and Bildzeitung, again, bringing up the specter of the Russian army overrunning Europe. What’s wrong with these people?
Christmas Surprise for Bob Mueller?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, it is very clear that the Russian maneuvers, Zapad 2017, which the Newsweek article and also the Bildzeitung referred to, was a demonstration on the side of Russia that they intend to defend their country. It is a reaction to the whole NATO policy of encirclement, of moving more and more troops to the Russian border. But the idea that Russia would move to occupy the three Baltic states, bomb Poland with Iskander missiles from Kaliningrad, and bomb infrastructure of Germany, Sweden and Finland—that’s just completely absurd! This would never happen.
It’s just a scare story, among other things to create a motivation for a conventional buildup. These articles also come in the context of the decision of the European Council to create a European defense union, which is a completely ridiculous idea. This will not make the EU more integrated. On the contrary, it will only cause more opposition.
It’s an expression of those people who absolutely oppose the new paradigm, who want to use geopolitics—it’s the old British manipulation, “divide and conquer,” play the weaker against the stronger and vice versa, and in that way keep control. So it’s really a tool of the oligarchists and imperialists to keep to the old order, but I don’t think it has any chance of success.
Schlanger: Speaking of the old order, we’ve seen the continuation of the Mueller investigation. But we now are seeing something different emerge: There were the scandals around Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI; Strzok and his mistress writing text messages to each other about the necessity to prevent Trump from becoming President, or to have an “insurance policy” were he to become President. There’s also Bruce Ohr and his wife who are part of the Fusion GPS crowd.
Now, this led to comments from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who said these scandals demonstrate “unprecedented bias.” Jim Jordan, the Republican Congressman from Ohio, said “Everything points to the fact that there was an orchestrated plan to try to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the President of the United States.” Senate Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley is calling for firing some of these people. What is it going to take to shut down the Mueller investigation, given all these exposes coming out right now?
Zepp-LaRouche: There are rumors circulating that Trump may come out with a “Christmas surprise.” If that were to happen, it would be an interesting thing. It could be the appointment of somebody to investigate this whole complex, in the form of a special investigator. But I think also, already now, these congressmen and senators you mentioned, Nunes, Grassley in the Senate, Gowdy, and Gaetz, and various others—I think they’re quite fired up already about what they’re finding.
Even the European media are not entirely covering it up any more. There was a quite good article in Denmark, in the conservative daily Berlingske Tidende, which said that Obama bureaucrats conspired to prevent the election of Trump, and after that failed they’re trying to topple him; and then they go through the whole story of who the culprits are. So it is coming out. Even the major German daily FAZ could not avoid reporting it, even though, in their typical way, they tried to downplay it and say, all these people who say there is a “Deep State,” are conspiracy theorists, and so on. But the truth is coming out.
We in the United States, that is, our colleagues from LaRouche PAC, have launched a full mobilization with many activists; they distributed the dossier about Mueller to all the Congressional offices. They had many in-depth discussions, amidst increasing interest. It seems that some people in the Congress realize that what’s at stake is the Constitution of the United States. Congress has oversight rights over the intelligence agencies, and if these agencies are loyal to a previous administration which was involved in such incredible schemes, they are aware of the fact that if they don’t act right now, then you can throw the Constitution of the United States in the wastepaper basket.
But I think it will require a continuous effort and mobilization, because the people on the other side are quite desperate. They see that their whole system is coming down. Several people said that what was done by the Department of Justice, or some people in it and in the FBI, were felonies. They are trying to twist the situation to avoid the consequences of their acts. It’s reaching a very, very serious point, the tide is already turning. But it is a fight, so stay tuned with us, and don’t be complacent. Don’t eat too many cookies over Christmas: Stay tuned and stay mobilized.
Schlanger: And I also think it’s important that we provide a certain kind of leadership that’s essential, which is to identify not just the connectos and the names and the corruption, but the intent. This again gets to the thing you were talking about in the beginning, the attempt to stop President Trump from having a strategic-cooperation alliance with Russia and China. James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, stuck his foot in his mouth once again, saying, “Putin knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the President.”
So I think it’s crucial that we get people to understand that this is not just about Trump’s character, or people not liking Trump, but it has to do with the whole shift into a new paradigm, as we’ve been discussing.
Now, on that, you talked a little bit before about the situation in Europe. There’s a whole series of crises brewing, in East Europe, and the banking situation. There’s been a statement from a prominent Italian economist that the euro is “fascist.” What’s going on? What’s the latest on the situation in Europe?
Zepp-LaRouche: This Italian economist is very critical of the euro, for similar reasons to why we have been critical, or for example, the late Professor Hankel who had laid out the argument quite well, that the Eurozone was never an optimal currency zone, because some countries which had a rural character, and you had industrialized countries. And further, Europe is not a country, there is no European people. It’s not like the United States, and it’s not even like Latin America; because you have almost 30 nations, cultures, traditions. People in one country, in Slovenia for example, know absolutely nothing about people in Alsace-Lorraine. There is just no way that you can even know, because you can’t read their newspapers—even if the newspapers don’t report much anyway. So there is no European people.
And what this Italian Professor Bagnai said is that even if the supporters of the euro don’t wear “black shirts,” nevertheless, anybody who plans to implement his goal through violence represents a form of fascism. And what he’s referring to is that everybody knows the euro does not function; he said it’s written in all the textbooks, that it’s only a question of time until this euro construction collapses; and then, that crisis is intended to lead to a further, forced European integration—and he says, that is fascism.
Now, that is not as far-fetched as some people may think. Because for example, Jacques Attali, who was the key advisor and eminence grise of France in the time of Mitterrand, had said many times that the fathers of the euro deliberately created it with a “birth defect,” so that it would come to a crisis, and then that crisis would be used to implement the political union which could not be put through otherwise. That is, there is very clearly a big opposition against the idea of a “United States of Europe,” for the reason that I said earlier—that there is no European people.
So there are these calls right now: French President Macron, European Council President Juncker, German social-democratic leader Martin Schulz, they all have given only slightly different versions of an idea that, now, because of all of these crises—the refugees, the tensions among the different East and West European countries—that one should impose a “United States of Europe.” I think this has as much chance as a snowflake in hell, because all these efforts to impose a supranational construct which eliminates even more sovereignty, will only cause more opposition and more reaction. So I think it will not work.
I find it quite significant that several advisors of Hungarian Prime Minister Orban have said that this discussion about a “United States of Europe” reminds them of Hitler. So the tone has become quite sharp, and I think it’s very far from unity.
And the latest atrocity, so to speak, is the fact that the European Union has decided to apply Article 7 to Poland, taking its voting rights away. Now, first of all, this will also not work, because this could only be implemented if there were unity among the other 26 states, but Hungary already said they will not back the decision of the EU against Poland—and they’re now talking about similar measures against Romania. I think all of this will just lead to more controversy, and more disunity, and if they keep doing this, Poland may even leave the EU, because under no circumstances will they back down.
Schlanger: And just quickly, on the crisis in Europe, anything on the non-government situation in Germany?
Zepp-LaRouche: Oh, that is a terrible situation, because, you know it’s now almost three months since the election, and first, the so-called “Jamaica” [black, gold, green] coalition talks failed. Now, they’re talking about a Grand Coalition between the Christian Democrats and the Social-Democrats of the SPD. Merkel says only that she will only accept a coalition as the outcome, while the SPD says, no, they want to have an open-ended discussion, maybe resulting in support for a minority government—which Merkel has ruled out. All of this is going on and on and on, and I think the biggest problem with this is that none of the participating parties has any vision of what the future of Germany should be—where should Europe be in 10 or 100 years from now? So it’s all about power politics; it’s about position; it’s about little issues, and it just means there’s no government in sight before Easter, they’re now saying.
But naturally, no decision will be made for Europe until you have a German government, so the whole situation in Europe is extremely fragile right now. And you know, many more countries are taking that as a reason to ally more and more with the Silk Road. Austria, Switzerland, the East Europeans, the Balkan countries, Italy, Spain, and Portugal—they are all strengthening their ties with the Belt and Road Initiative, and that is a very good thing. And it means the position of resistance maintained by Brussels and Berlin will not be tenable for very long.
A Meltdown of the System
Schlanger: From the United States, this last couple of days, there was the passage of so-called tax reform bill. I know you have some thoughts on this. This is not going to solve any problems: What do you have to say about it, Helga?
Zepp-LaRouche: This is celebrated as the first big victory of President Trump. I don’t think it will solve anything, if you don’t put it in a package of other measures, including Glass-Steagall, and a credit system like Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation or the National Bank of Alexander Hamilton, and end the speculation in the derivatives sector. If you only lower taxes under these circumstances, without curbing the other factors I just mentioned, what it probably will do, is it will attract some investment in the United States for sure, but people in Germany are already saying, “well, we have to protect ourselves, and take countermeasures against it,” so it will lead to an increased tension internationally. Probably in the United States, today’s big corporations and banks will just use these tax cuts to invest more in the stock market, in buying up their own shares, which they have been doing since the crisis of 2008 with Quantitative Easing and the zero-interest-rate policy. One reason why this is to be feared, is that Jamie Dimon, for example, laughed, and said: This is wonderful, this is Quantitative Easing 4.
I think it just requires a continuation of our mobilization. I know our colleagues in the United States from LaRouche PAC have produced a new pamphlet with the demand implementing the Four Laws of my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, and showing why the United States must join with China in building the New Silk Road, both domestically and internationally. This pamphlet, is out. I would encourage you, our viewers and listeners, to get hold of this document: Read it, because it has all the solutions—the correct economic conceptions for the United States and the rest of the world to get out of this present crisis.
This is all extremely urgent, because we could have a meltdown of the system any minute.
Let me mention briefly, this bitcoin mania which is going on, is really a reminder of the Dutch Tulip Bubble in 1637 before it burst. China has recognized that danger, they’re banning speculation in bitcoins. And all of these mad crazes just make clear, the urgent need to implement Glass-Steagall, and the entire Four Laws of Mr. LaRouche, which include a massive increase in the productivity of the workforce through a crash program in fusion technology, in space cooperation, and in high-tech investments in general, including high-technology infrastructure.
The recent Amtrak accident in Washington State just underlines that this is absolutely necessary. Unless this is all done as a package, I don’t think the world will get out of this crisis.
Schlanger: Helga, I’d like to conclude with a question that again has come up from several viewers: People fall prey to this idea that somehow China is a threat, and one of the things that people have picked up on is this concept of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Now, you’ve written extensively on this, and it’s not fair to ask you to summarize it in a couple of minutes, but that’s what I’m going to do!
What does Xi Jinping mean by “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think you also find right now, a growing self-confidence among the Chinese, who point to the fact that nobody can debate the incredible success of the Chinese model of economy. And they point to the fact that their model is clearly very, very much superior and more successful than the Western model, which they refuse to follow.
Now, there is such a thing as the determinative value of facts. And people should ask themselves, why is the Chinese model more successful? Well, the answer is very simple—that it is primarily devoted to the common good. This is always criticized by the West, with claims that China is suppressing freedom and human rights, and so forth. But in reality, if you ask yourself, is this complete mega-individualistic hedonism of the West—is that really a value which is so desirable? Values which have reached a point, where everything goes, everything is allowed. There are no more criteria for truth, or for the acceptance of the common good, everything is the survival of the fittest, and those who are rich become richer, and those who have the misfortune to be poor become poorer—is that really so desirable?
In China, I’m convinced that while there is debate about Marx, and there is a debate about socialism with Chinese characteristics, yet I’m absolutely convinced—and I have looked at it for a long time and from many aspects—that what is meant by “Chinese characteristics,” refers to the two and half thousand years of Confucian tradition in China. I have written an article at the beginning of this year, actually, pointing to the affinity of the ideas of the German poet Friedrich Schiller and Confucius, who both have an image of man, that man has the moral obligation to self-perfect his entire life or her entire life, in order to serve the common good better and more efficiently.
Obviously, sometimes that means that individual rights are curtailed a little bit for the common good. One very good example was the building of the Three Gorges Dam, where people in the West were completely hysterical and said, “oh, these poor peasants, who have to be moved so this dam could be built, this is trampling on freedom and human rights.” Well, but what if you take the view that with this dam you had an enormous gain of hydropower, and that thousands and thousands of people would not drown every time the river flooded? Maybe it is better to act in the common good, and indeed these very peasants got other living quarters that were much more modern and much better. So this is a typical example of what can be done if you put the common good first. That is what China has very clearly done, and they have lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty. They also have a very clear plan to move the remaining 42 million poor people out of poverty by 2020, and they’re acting very effectively to do that. We may have mentioned that already, but I’ll say it again: They locate where the poor people are, which regions they live in, and then they ask what are the reasons for the poverty—what has to be done to address it, to get them out of it? They use e-commerce, for instance, to allow the farmers in far distant rural areas to market their products. They’re moving very, very efficiently to uplift the entire population out of poverty.
Now, how many poor people are there in the United States, how many homeless? We heard figures in the last period, the unbelievable figure that 10% of all schoolchildren in New York come from homeless backgrounds. That doesn’t mean they live on the streets, but they don’t have their own home. In Europe there are 90 million poor, and nobody is talking about lifting them out of poverty. The rate of poverty in Greece, just increased, whereby I think two-thirds of the whole population is below the poverty line and have incomes of below 1,000 euros; and a very high percentage of that, again, have only part-time jobs, earning something like 450 euros per month. And there is no plan to change that—on the contrary, the EU is implementing more vicious austerity all the time.
I think that people should not look at this China question with prejudice. The Chinese model is completely different: It’s based on 2,500 years of tradition, and there is something to this Chinese way of approaching things through peaceful approaches, through a “win-win” offer which is really a better model of governance. And people shouldn’t be so prejudiced. I have found that most people know nothing about China. You have a few, a handful of people who have been there, who do business there, and they are completely excited about the options which the New Silk Road is offering to the world. They are really transformed and totally excited.
Because of the negative media, there are many people who still believe in the Chinese threat, who believe in the “yellow peril,” and other decades-old propaganda campaigns. I think it’s a shame: Because if you look at China without prejudice, it is an incredibly interesting culture—it’s rich, it’s 5,000 old, it has produced beautiful things in music, in poetry, and in philosophy. It’s already one of the vanguard countries in science—it’s an innovative country. So I would suggest that people, rather than simply believing what I’m saying—start to investigate China and look for yourself. And you will find that it is completely different from what the Western media or some of the geopolitical think-tanks are trying to tell you. And you will discover beautiful things, I promise.
Schlanger: On that uplifting note, Helga, on behalf of the Schiller Institute, I’d like to wish people a Merry Christmas, but with your suggestion: Don’t just eat cookies and drink rum punch. Use your holiday as an opportunity to reflect on the great opportunities for mankind today, and what it means to have the Christmas Spirit, and in that sense the Christmas Spirit and the Silk Road Spirit should be one and the same.
So Helga, we’ll see you next week! Thanks a lot.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, Merry Christmas.