This transcript appears in the June 22, 2018 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Trump and His Eurasian Allies Outflank the Dying British Empire
This is the edited transcript of the June 14, 2018 Schiller Institute New Paradigm webcast, an interview with the founder of the Schiller Institutes, Helga Zepp-
LaRouche. She was interviewed by Harley Schlanger. A of the webcast is available.
Harley Schlanger: Hello. I’m Harley Schlanger with the Schiller Institute. Welcome to this week’s webcast with our founder, Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
At the end of last year, at the end of 2017, Helga forecast that 2018 would be the year in which the era of geopolitics would end. I think the developments of the last week have been a major step toward that actually coming to fruition, with the extraordinary summit in Singapore between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in China, and then, with the collapse of the old order, the meeting of the G-7—or G-6, or G-whatever—in Canada.
Helga, why don’t we start with the developments that took place in Singapore? This was an earth-shaking event and worthy of being the first topic of our discussion today.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I’m actually quite pleased to tell you, and you may know about it, two Norwegian parliamentarians have nominated President Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Now, I find this very appropriate, in contrast to the Nobel Peace Prize being given to Obama for absolutely nothing, just the contrary. I think this development of North Korea and the United States finding a way to completely transform an old adversarial relationship into one of cooperation and a bright future, is really a fantastic development. I know that all the mainstream media of the West are having apoplectic attacks over this, but if you look at it, I think it is absolutely promising.
First of all, the facts you all know: Trump and Kim agreed on the complete denuclearization of North Korea, in return for the prospect of making North Korea a prosperous and wealthy country.
I find it very interesting that the White House, between Trump and the National Security Council, produced a four-minute video, in Korean and English, portraying the two options for North Korea: One being the old status and war, and the other a complete modernization of the country, with modern railways. The video,— even shows the Chinese maglev running, and people prosperous and productive. I think this was very good, because this video is exactly what will happen, and it goes very far beyond a similar video which was produced by South Korea in the past. Trump showed it to Kim Jong-un in the meetings, and then he also showed it before giving his press conference.
I watched his entire , and I must say, I would advise all of you, our viewers, to do likewise. Because you hear so much about Trump being this and that, and the way he conducted himself in this lengthy press conference, fencing off the most typical, old-fashioned thinking, questions from mainly American journalists—he did not let himself be provoked. Journalists pestered him with, “What will you do, what is your punishment if North Korea does not comply?” But he wouldn’t go into this trap; he just said he was very confident that the process was on a good way.
Very important also was his announcement that the United States would stop what he called “war games,” the U.S.-South Korea military maneuvers. This is obviously very important psychologically for the North Koreans, because having war games on your door step all the time creates permanent psychological terror.
Trump: We Are Captains of Our Fate
People who are still forming their judgment about how to look at this, should consider that the South Korean people are absolutely enthusiastic. They were happy in the streets. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who watched the live stream coming from the conference in Singapore, applauded several times. The unification of Germany took place now almost 29 years ago. Many Germans may still remember the absolute jubilance and happiness of families hugging each other, who hadn’t been together for very many years; friends falling into each other’s arms, and kissing each other. And it was a joy!
That the German unification did not produce only happiness afterwards had to do with the larger geostrategic environment. Bush, and Thatcher and Mitterrand all were extremely hostile to the process of German unification, and therefore the East German states were practically economically dismantled, pretty much. The environment in North Korea is obviously completely different.
I’m very optimistic that the Korean process will succeed, for the very simple reason that this is taking place in a completely different strategic context, namely of the Belt and Road Initiative—the integration of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, and these kinds of economic development plans, that also Russia spoke about. China has said they would contribute, and together with the United States, take over security guarantees for North Korea. These economic plans take place in the context of the intention to develop the Far East of Russia, to integrate it with all of Asia, which was discussed at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok last September and in the inter-Korean dialogue in April between the two presidents of the two Koreas.
So I think the perspective is that North Korea, soon, will be integrated into the Eurasian transport system, the two railways will soon connect to the Trans-Siberian Railway and to the Chinese railway system, and that you will have a complete transformation of this part of the world. And I think Trump is absolutely right in what he said, “The past does not have to define our future.” Real change is possible. I think this is a very good development, and all the nay-sayers they should just go home and think.
A Philosophical Foundation
Schlanger: The point you just made I think was one of the most important: Both presidents talked about overcoming the past. Kim Jong-un said that we need to develop a new friendly attitude between our peoples, as opposed to the animus. And of course, that’s what Trump has displayed in both the lead-up to the summit and in the aftermath of the summit. This is one of the things that is angering the people you mentioned that aren’t happy about this—the fact that he’s saying, look, this is a new period, it’s a new time.
Helga, this probably the most important thing—this idea of entering into a new era. And this is, of course, what you’ve been talking about for years, and we now are on the verge of a new emergence of a Eurasian Century.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I think that spirit is clearly prevalent in Asia. It was also the expressed view of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi after the SCO summit in Qingdao, China. This summit was an extraordinary milestone, where Wang Yi afterwards said, the SCO represents 3.1 billion people, and it is already now a completely new system of international relations, built on mutual trust, on cooperation, on friendship, on common aims, and it is a new model, that leaves behind and transcends the old geopolitical order, Cold War, exclusive clubs, clash of civilizations—all of these are left behind, and a new era of cooperation has been established.
This was very beautiful, because the summit,— the initial banquet was opened by President Xi Jinping with a reference to Confucius. He said Qingdao is in Shandong province, which is the home of Confucius and Confucianism, and that Confucius should guide the future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Xi Jinping is a philosopher. Just contrast that—can you imagine any European leader opening an EU summit with the words, “we should have Plato’s spirit, or Shakespeare’s spirit, or Schiller’s spirit guide the future of the European Union”? Nothing is more impossible to think than that at this moment.
So, I think the future lies in Asia. And the kind of cooperation and determination to create a better world for all people living on this planet is being realized in Asia right now.
And I think it was a very good thing that President Trump is definitely helping the best he can to make this order succeed, despite the trade tensions and despite the remaining problems which are still there. I’m absolutely confident that the spirit and the dynamic of this new phenomenon, these new forces of which Wang Yi spoke—he said there are new forces at work which make this all possible,— and I think that that is the dynamic of our time, the trend of our time. And it’s a good thing. It’s wonderful, and everybody who loves humanity and who loves peace should be absolutely happy.
Schlanger: I knew it wasn’t just the discussions of trade deals or security concerns, that would make you happy, but the fact that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization took place on a philosophical level. And this is spilling over into the talks between President Trump and the North Korean President, for precisely the reason that the other countries are involved in the Korean summit. Trump made a point to thank China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia.
Helga, I think there may be a couple more things you want to bring up on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting. India and Pakistan participated—this really has become something, in big contrast to the morose gathering that took place in Canada, the declining G-7. Why don’t you give us your thoughts on that, the difference between these two summits?
A New Spirit in the World, But in Europe?
Zepp-LaRouche: The SCO summit is the result of a conscious effort to create a more human world, and I really think that the fact that—as we discussed it already on this show—Modi and Xi Jinping have reset the policy between India and China; that Pakistan and India, under the umbrella of the SCO, can now talk about issues, is a wonderful development as well. The whole dynamic is one of cooperation, mutual trust, and how countries should relate to each other; that such relations are normal.
Thirty-four years ago, I created the Schiller Institute, with the idea that we need a new foreign policy; that nations should relate to the best traditions of each other, and not the worst. And that is what I see now. You have a deep discussion about the fundamental principles of each culture. In China, you have Confucius and Mencius, who were both mentioned by Xi Jinping; in India, you have the Vedic tradition, the Gupta period, you have the Indian Renaissance—much of this was referred to by Modi in his previous speech at the June 1-3 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
These leaders understand that you have to look for the most profound image of man in their respective cultures, and politics follows out of that. Out of Confucius, the ideal of eternal learning, of lifelong learning and character improvement comes the harmony in the family. And out of harmonious families comes harmony in the nation, and among nations as well. Similarly in the Indian philosophy, is the idea of a cosmic order, which should guide our behavior on the planet—the idea of ahimsa, that man has to educate himself up to the point that he is incapable of having any harmful thought.
Now, this happens to be the same idea you find in Nicholas of Cusa, or Leibniz or Schiller—Schiller’s conception of the beautiful soul. That kind of thinking is almost completely absent in the Western world right now, certainly absent in the G-7, or Macron’s G-6 against 1, or perhaps better said the G-4. There are only four countries left that are absolutely determined to keep the sanctions against Russia and similar things—Germany, France, Great Britain and Canada: It’s not exactly a strong alliance.
The contrast between the SCO meeting and the really catastrophic failure of the G-7 summit could not be more obvious. The fact that the G-7 countries can only be negative, and are also having huge fights among themselves, is a reflection that this old order is collapsing, and it’s collapsing very fast. One big area where you can see the collapse is the refugee crisis in Europe, which has come back in full force.
Schlanger: How significant is it that Trump brought up bringing Russia back into the G-7 to make it the G-8 again?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, you know, Putin was very funny. He said he would invite the next G-7 to have their next meeting to Moscow. But I don’t think Russia is putting a huge priority on being part of something that is clearly not the most dynamic model in the world. Much more important for Russia at this point is the orientation towards Asia.
Foreign Minister Lavrov made an important point after the Singapore meeting, saying that to guarantee that this process succeeds, the six power talks have to be restarted. That would involve the two Koreas, Japan, China, the United States, and Russia. I think that that is absolutely to the point.
I think that the whole situation will change because you have now complete disunity in Europe. There are now two new governments that are absolutely in favor of restoring relations with Russia. One is Austria, which just hosted a very important summit for President Putin; and the other is the new Italian government, where Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini just called for an alliance with Russia to fight terrorism, saying that you cannot deal with extremism in all its forms unless you cooperate with Russia.
This is all changing very rapidly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if things get much more turbulent in Europe and more changes occur. One can only hope that they go in the direction of cooperating with the New Silk Road and not in the direction of chaos, which is also an imminent possibility.
Change the Policy Towards Africa
Schlanger: You mentioned the refugee crisis, which is back on the front burner, even though it’s not at the same numbers as it was a couple of years ago. What’s happening with this? How has this become an issue once again?
Zepp-LaRouche: First of all, there are many refugees now, because the weather had been bad for some time; now that it’s better, a great number of refugees are lining up, waiting to be put in boats by human traffickers. One ship, the Aquarius, and its 600 passengers, was just refused entry at a port in Italy; then there was a huge brawl, because Macron attacked the Italian government because of it. And then the Italians referred to the high horse Macron was sitting on, given that they, the French, had had terrible treatment of tens of thousands of refugees over the years. Finally, Macron and Italian Prime Minister Conte talked on the telephone, and a state visit was scheduled for Friday, June 15. We’ll have to see how that goes. The 600 refugees were finally accepted by the new Spanish government of Prime Minister Sánchez.
But, what happens when the next ship arrives? The refugee crisis has now led to a huge crisis in the coalition government in Germany. Horst Seehofer, Germany’s Interior Minister, who had been the Bavarian Minister President, wanted to present his master plan. Merkel basically forbid him to, whereupon Seehofer and Chancellor Kurz from Austria, and Italian Deputy Prime Minister Salvini, all got on the telephone. Kurz talked about a “coalition of the willing” to agree to turn refugees back at the border if they’re already registered in any one European country. German Chancellor Merkel, on the other hand, together with the Social Democratic Party (SPD), wants to find a Europe-wide solution.
This has created complete turmoil, because only three members of parliament of Merkel’s own CDU party are backing her. The SPD, on the other hand, says, if Merkel capitulates to Seehofer, they may call for a vote of confidence and new elections. So this is highly unstable. I cannot see how either of these solutions could function. If you close the external EU borders—that’s what they want, to make a “Fortress Europe,” to increase the coast guard, to make sure that no refugees can come in, it can’t function. And if you close the internal borders, there goes the Schengen Agreement, and that was the basis on which the euro actually was possible, because if you don’t have open borders within Europe, a common currency doesn’t make sense.
So I think this thing could explode at any moment. All of these ideas are unworkable, and are a reflection of the fact that these establishments just don’t understand that the only way to solve the refugee crisis in a human way, is via the large-scale infrastructure and industrial development of all of Africa. China has already begun doing that. So, were the European governments intelligent, they would just say: We’ll accept China’s offer to cooperate in large-scale infrastructure and other development plans for Africa—to create an incentive for all the young people in Africa, who will then decide to stay home and build their countries, rather than risk their lives crossing the Sahara and dying of thirst, or crossing the Mediterranean and drowning.
We have to change the policy towards Africa if we want to solve this problem.
They Must Humble Themselves and Reconsider
Schlanger: And Helga, on that note, it does appear there are people in the Italian government who are making that point. One of the new ministers, Prof. Michele Geraci has a document out in which he talks about this idea of Italy, and other European countries, working with China to provide the infrastructure and create the means by which people can stay in their homes and actually have a future.
What else do you see as far as a positive part of the transformation of Europe in the emergence of this new Italian government?
Zepp-LaRouche: There was first the appointment of ministers, several of whom have very decent positions on Glass-Steagall, on the creation of a national bank, on renegotiating the Maastricht Treaty conditions, rejecting austerity in favor of an investment program. So there are many interesting points. This new coalition government is not completely unproblematic, because there are also many greenie ideas in it.
The second round of people have now been appointed to the undersecretary minister positions, and there you have—I don’t know the total number—but about 6 or 10 of them have signed an appeal by Movisol (our sister organization in Italy) to President Trump, asking him to implement Glass-Steagall.
I expect, given that the financial system is in a very precarious condition, once this new Italian government consolidates, which it is in the process of doing right now, that you will see a lot more motion towards Glass-Steagall.
Glass-Steagall and the laws of the European Union are, at this current moment, legally incompatible. But it’s a very promising development. One reflection that good things are going on, is that the EU representative for the negotiation of the Brexit, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, just came out with a huge attack on several leading European political figures. He said that the following people are stooges of Russian President Putin: UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen in France, Salvini, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He also launched vicious attacks against Trump. There are already some people now suing him, and you cannot just claim that somebody is a stooge and paid agent, when they are not.
You can see the freakout level is really quite big. I think the potential is also there, given the fact that there is now a motion towards cooperation with Russia coming from several places in Europe. There is also some softening. Some people are reviewing the situation and saying: Look, there is the biggest infrastructure development in history. The rules are already being rewritten. The new WTO will be written by the New Silk Road. Why not join it and profit from all of these developments? The hidden champions in the European Mittelstand and others, have so much to contribute to solve the problems of this world. Rather than retreating into a Fortress Europe and trying to keep every foreigner out, we should change the policy.
The time has come to realize that all the arrogant people, who claim to be the best and the brightest, really aren’t not so smart at all. They don’t want to acknowledge that their neo-liberal, neo-con, geopolitical system is going under. It’s going under because it favors only the elite, a financial elite—an establishment. It is harmful to the majority of the people. The new models, the New Silk Road, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization model, and the BRICS model, all of these are more attractive, especially to the people of the developing countries. The West would do much better to say, “OK, we have to rethink what we are doing. Maybe we can reinvent ourselves if we cooperate with this new dynamic.”
The breakthrough of Singapore has created an example that this can be done! You can change history if you want to, and if you have the will, and if you have good intentions. People should follow this example.
Grant Us Peace
Schlanger: There’s one other place where change is needed, and that is the continuing war on the people of Yemen coming from the Saudi Arabian government and the United Arab Emirates—with some support from the United States and the United Kingdom. There’s a battle underway right now for the port city of Hodeidah, where there was a bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital. This is the port where most of the food comes into the country, and it’s already a country where 60% of the people are food insecure.
Helga, what can be done? Some Congressmen have signed a letter calling for an immediate move for an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” (AUMF) with the idea being that the United States would not participate in this, but would move to stop it.
This is something that also needs to be brought before the people of the world, isn’t it?
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. Before this bombing of Hodeidah started, Yemen was characterized by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet. The Russian Foreign Ministry has just commented on the fact that the bombing of this port has started, saying that this will make a political solution that much harder.
There is one country right now which really could stop it: That is the United States. If the United States would just make sure Saudi Arabia does not have the means to continue this, it would stop. I find it promising that two members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, commented on the Singapore summit, saying that this could be a model to solve the Middle East crisis, including the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
That is the right way to go; military solutions just don’t function. At the beginning of the year I said that geopolitics must be overcome, because geopolitics is the basis of war. In the last century, it was the basis of two world wars. I think we have to come to a situation in which—given that nuclear weapons exist, which could lead to the annihilation of civilization—we have to move to a world where war is absolutely outlawed as a means of conflict resolution.
This is why I think now, with this changed dynamic, a summit between President Trump and President Putin is of absolute urgency. I know that a spokesman for the State Department said that both sides are looking at it, and looking at preparations—but I think it’s very urgent. I think this idea that the Middle East must find an approach similar to that used in the Korea situation, is absolutely to the point.
Schlanger: Well, on that point, I’d like to finish by asking you to say something about this wonderful conference this past weekend in New York City sponsored by the Schiller Institute, on the theme, “Dona Nobis Pacem.” You participated in it. What are your thoughts about how this kind of event points the way to this change of the New Silk Road Spirit taking over?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think it was a quite successful conference. There was a student meeting on Friday, with U.S. students for the New Silk Road. On Saturday, we had a very important conference where we had the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations as one of the speakers. I think it was very important for people to see and hear him—to see that Russians are not the creatures portrayed by the New York Times. They are human beings who have a good sense of humor and have a lot to give. We had a lot of strategic discussion over the day.
On Sunday, we were treated to a beautiful concert, with African-American Spirituals and Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, performed by the Schiller Institute Chorus. The church in which the concert took place was completely full. Everyone was really inspired with the understanding that Classical culture is needed to elevate people to bring out the most noble aspects of humanity. In that spirit, you can solve any problem.
So I will ask you, once again: Join the Schiller Institute, become part of the Renaissance movement, and help us to bring forward the Silk Road Spirit; or as they said in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting, the “Shanghai Spirit.” This spirit is really the spirit of Confucius, and Mencius, and Schiller, and Leibniz. Help us bring forward this spirit in the Western world. We will all profit from it.
Schlanger: With that, I think we’ll conclude. Thank you very much, Helga, and we’ll see you next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, till next week.