This transcript appears in the January 4, 2019 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Trump Drops Brits’ Permanent War Plan:
Neocons and ‘Antiwar’ Leftists Hysterical
This is the edited transcript of the Schiller Institute’s December 27, 2018 New Paradigm interview with the founder of the Schiller Institutes, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, by Harley Schlanger. A video of the webcast is available.
Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute, welcoming you to this week’s international strategic update. It’s Dec. 27, 2018, and I’m here with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and president of the Schiller Institute.
The year is ending with an incredible array of events. On one side, the potential for a new Peace of Westphalia emerging, with the decision of President Trump to pull the U.S. troops out of Syria, Afghanistan, maybe stop the situation in Yemen; on the other, absolute hysteria, as Tulsi Gabbard identified it, coming from the neo-conservatives rallying around General Mattis and anyone else who wants war.
Why don’t we start with the announcement of the U.S. troop pullout from Syria?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think this is indeed a very, very important development, and it is what President Trump promised in the 2016 election campaign, and it’s one of the major reasons why he was elected. Now that he has successfully, at least pushed back, to a certain extent, the whole Russiagate and Mueller illegal investigation, he feels in command enough to actually come through on his promise. So, he announced that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Syria.
There was a huge, hysterical reaction by the neoliberal establishment of the West, but also from the left. The incredible irony is that all the people who historically have claimed to be anti-war, are now saying that the United States should keep illegally occupying Syria, when President Trump is actually involved in a very reasonable and very thoughtful process of pulling out of this situation.
Potential Change for the
Good of All
Yesterday, when asked who would fill the vacuum after the United States pulls out, Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that the natural thing is the territory should be returned to the Syrian government and the Syrian people, and given the fact that there is now a constitutional process under way with the perspective of elections, that would be the best thing that could happen. As to the remaining open issues, like the Kurdish problem, there are ongoing talks between the Trump Administration and Russia on the one side, and Turkey and the Trump Administration on the other. A very high-level Turkish government delegation will be going to Russia on Dec. 29. There have also been discussions between the United States and Turkey, and a U.S. military delegation will go to Turkey in the next days.
So, all of this is up for negotiation and a settlement. This is a very, very important flank, because it means that the United States is bringing to an end—at least that’s Trump’s intention and what he’s acting on—U.S. foreign wars, ending what has already cost the United States $7 trillion over the last 15 or 17 years.
The Veterans for Peace—one of the few U.S. organizations supporting the pullout of troops—released a statement on their website supporting the withdrawal, noting “it is critically important that we, as veterans, continue to be clear and concise that our nation must turn from war to diplomacy and peace. It is high time to unwind all these tragic, failed and unnecessary wars of aggression, domination and plunder. It is time to turn a page in history and to build a new world based on human rights, equality and mutual respect for all. We must build momentum toward real and lasting peace. Nothing less than the survival of human civilization is at stake.”
A number of Republican congressmen also came out in support of Trump. Rep. Jimmy Duncan said that this is absolutely the right thing, because these foreign wars have cost many, many innocent lives, killed Americans, created enemies for the United States, and cost trillions and trillions of dollars—this is exactly what should happen.
I think anybody in their right mind who does not see the benefit of bringing peace back to Syria by ending foreign occupation, and all the arguments that “this will help the Russians,” “this will help the Iranians,”—it’s all not true. Both the Russians and Iranians have so many other things to take care of, that they will withdraw from Syria, having no intention to stay there permanently, contrary to the media line.
U.S. Troop Pull-Out from Afghanistan
Today, Trump sent out a very interesting tweet, basically saying that Saudi Arabia will pay for the reconstruction of Syria. Now, that, we have to see. But there is obviously a much larger scheme being worked on. Because a couple of days ago, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation participated in a conference in the United Arab Emirates, and there announced that the United States will also withdraw completely from Afghanistan, that the United States will not keep permanent bases there, and that the only way to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan is by a political settlement, including negotiations with the Taliban. At the same time, Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, was in Beijing meeting with his counterpart, Wang Yi. China is also encouraging Pakistan to be part of this solution with the Taliban. Similar moves are happening with Iran.
I think this is all very significant, because—it’s still in process—but I think what we are witnessing, right before our eyes, is the emergence of a Peace of Westphalia approach for the Middle East. If you remember, the Peace of Westphalia was not immediately a vision for peace to end what was essentially 150 years of religious war in Europe, ending with the Thirty Years’ War, but it was the result of the fact that all the parties involved recognized that the continuation of war would leave nobody alive to enjoy the victory.
And that is about the situation we have today in the Middle East. Years and years, 17 years of war in Afghanistan have not brought peace; Syria is in a state of reconstruction, now, with the Syrian government controlling almost the whole country, Syrian refugees can return, but still what has to be reconstructed is enormous.
We have a situation where the exhaustion factor is a big reason. And do not forget the exhaustion factor of all the American soldiers who have been on multiple rotations in these wars for so many years—to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Syria. I think its altogether three million soldiers who were on these kinds of rotations, with their families affected. Many who have rotated out have post-traumatic stress disorders.
I think the idea of ending this whole, terrible era of foreign wars, of the U.S. playing the role of being the bully for the British Empire is great. If Trump wants to stop that, people should be happy! Don’t be so prejudiced about everything Trump does or does not do: The Western media are characterizing Trump in a way which is absolutely not legitimate, because if this President—and I’ve said this many times—gets the relationship with Russia and China on a good course, he is going to be one of the great Presidents of the United States. I know that many in our international audience are going absolutely hysterical when I say that, but anybody who does not recognize that we must end geopolitics, we must end wars, we must end tension especially between the nuclear powers, obviously is not in his or her right mind.
So, I urge those of you in our audience who think that way: Give it a second thought, think it through. Don’t be prejudiced. Think about a Peace of Westphalia solution, which is the only way to end this terrible series of totally unjust wars, wars based on lies. Please, do not rush to conclusions. Think about it. Become informed. Check the sources, look at what the Chinese are saying, and doing; look at what the Russians are saying and doing, and then you will come to a better understanding of the situation.
Working with, not Against, Russia & China
Schlanger: The hypocrisy of the response is just so astounding. I just want to point to two examples: The New York Times referred to Trump’s troop pull-out order as an “abrupt and dangerous decision.” What about the decisions by Bush to put us into the wars in the first place? And then President Obama’s National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, of all people—on her watch we had the Libyan regime-change and the Ukraine regime-change—said in a New York Times op-ed: Well, we don’t want indefinite wars, but this is a mistake.
I think that one of the most interesting things, Helga, is that in spite of the Russiagate attacks, and people saying that this is Trump giving a Christmas present to Putin, that what we’re seeing is Trump is acting on his own now. He’s not listening to generals; he’s gotten rid of McMaster and Kelly, and now Mattis is on the way out. I guess we’re seeing why it was that Russiagate was launched in the first place, because of the fear that Trump would do this. I’d like your thoughts on that.
Zepp-LaRouche: You may not agree with everything President Trump does, and I think he has some big issues to resolve in terms of the economy, given the fact that there is the immediate pending danger of a new financial crash. As long as he thinks that Wall Street and the stock exchange provides any sound conclusion concerning the condition of the economy, this is his Achilles heel. So, I’m not saying we are in agreement with what Trump is doing in every field.
Why was General Michael Flynn targetted? Because in 2012,as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he wanted to brief President Obama on who was financing al-Qaeda, and what became ISIS. He had the whole story about the Western support for terrorism in the Middle East and he wanted to make it public. I think that that was the real reason why Flynn was targetted: Because as Trump’s National Security that was a combination some people really wanted to destroy.
But Trump had the correct impulse that the policy shared by Bush and Obama had to be completely reversed, and that the geopolitical targetting of Russia and China had to be ended. And he proceeded to do exactly that. He started an excellent relationship with Xi Jinping, which is still a big factor, despite big worries on the Chinese side about trade war; but there are negotiations under way to potentially remedy that, after the summit between Xi Jinping and Trump in Buenos Aires, on December 1. A good relationship with Russia is also crucial, as Syria became one of the potential trigger points for war between the two large nuclear powers.
I think Trump’s working with Russia, with Turkey, with Iran (with some problems there, obviously), is the absolutely only alternative to a catastrophe that could eliminate civilization.
The British game to bog Trump down with Russiagate is not working, and as you say, Trump’s recent actions show that he is feeling back in control of his Presidency, and he’s doing these things, and people should be happy about it, and not freak out. Naturally, the game of the geopolitical neocon faction of the West just falls to pieces, and that’s why they’re so freaked out. But the left, the so-called liberals who are advertising war instead of a peaceful settlement, are really unmasked in a way which is quite amazing!
Progress on the Korean Peninsula
Schlanger: You mentioned China a couple of times. I want to take a broader look at the question of what potential there is in this Peace of Westphalia scenario: We saw something fairly extraordinary in the Korean Peninsula, with the North and South Koreans getting together in Kaesong, North Korea concerning connecting their rail systems. We also have some things to talk about on Africa and Latin American policy—but let’s start with the Korean policy: This is something that Trump intended as a major effort, which included collaboration with Russia and China, and it seems that it is going ahead, isn’t it?
Zepp-LaRouche: There was just a very great ceremony, between the North and the South Korean delegations, celebrating the plan to completely modernize the rail network of the entire Korean Peninsula. This is going forward, and this is one of the successes. We have talked about the so-called “Singapore Model.” If you remember, it was the June 12 summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore that led to a complete reversal of the situation and was attacked by the media, and all kinds of people watered it down or played it down. This is one of the many peace policies that is working—with Russia and China in the background—in this case involving the United States, North Korea, and South Korea.
That is really one of the great strategic realignments going on, which is part of the establishment of a New Paradigm. In that same focus, I would say that Japan and India are now working on an Asia-Africa growth corridor, not against China, but actually cooperating in these projects. It just shows that many countries of the world are moving towards the New Paradigm of cooperation, settling issues through dialogue and diplomacy, as the way to go toward a safe future.
Schlanger: There was a very significant comment from Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, who talked about the importance of the Chinese intervention, having some fairly harsh things to say about the Europeans.
Africa is Rejecting European Hypocrisy
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. In an interview with Austria’s Die Presse newspaper, he basically said the European hypocrisy is just unbelievable. They preach things they don’t practice themselves; they think so much of themselves that they think the other countries in the world can only learn from them. But then, he said, look at the European model: Is democracy working there? Obviously not; it is falling apart. If the Europeans want to do something, really, about the migration problem, then they should invest, they should treat African nations as equal partners: They should invest in infrastructure, in the education of young people, and not come with sermons.
Kagame, who has a long history, has undertaken a big change for his country. Many African leaders are no longer taking European arrogance. China has successfully changed the character and dynamic in many African countries, such as the Horn of Africa countries, or many other countries that have seen railway building and industrial parks. For example, in Uganda, China has built hydropower dams and 22 new industrial parks. That change has given many of these countries and their leaderships a completely new self-confidence, in which they demand to be treated as equal partners and no longer live, as Kagame says, by accepting the “generosity” of the Europeans, who after all are mostly the former colonialist masters, and who have not yet learned to shed that attitude.
So, I think there is a new spirit in the world, the New Silk Road Spirit. It’s a good time in which to live. The Western media don’t report any of this, so therefore, many don’t know, but there are ways of finding out: First of all, there’s this program and the Schiller Institute website. We in the Schiller Institute, of course, are trying our best to make these developments known. But there are also other sources. You can read the African media, for example. African newspapers are much more interesting than most mainstream Western media—for sure more interesting—and because of the Internet, they are quite accessible. So, make the effort and look at them.
Portugal, Yes; Macron, No
Schlanger: And here’s something else you won’t hear about in the mainstream media: In an opinion column in Jornal de Negocios on Dec. 19, Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva gave a very strong scolding to the European Union for the EU’s meddling against Portugal’s involvement with China. Last week, Helga, you talked about the importance of Portugal as a seafaring nation that’s looking in many directions—south and west—and this is right inside the EU. Again, we see an intervention of the New Silk Road Spirit.
I want to bring up one other EU matter. You talk about the old imperial model. What is French President Emmanuel Macron’s policy right now? It seems he’s saying France will keep troops in Syria.
Zepp-LaRouche: That certainly is a bit ridiculous. Without the United States being on the ground, I don’t think the French, despite their colonial tradition, have any basis to remain there, considering that Macron’s popularity in France is approaching the lowest possible point, perhaps it could go lower, but it’s quite low right now. Also, keeping French troops in Syria does not fit the new dynamic in the Middle East. We have learned from well-informed sources in the region that there is an effort under way to reintegrate Syria into the Arab community.
When the Bush/Obama Administrations decided on regime change against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, those administrations worked with all kinds of other countries, such as Saudi Arabia to finance the different terrorist movements in those regime-change operations. Some of the Europeans are still saying they do not want to participate in the reconstruction of Syria as long as Assad is President. But it is the legitimate decision of the Syrian people to choose their own leaders.
If the rest of the Arab countries say they want to reintegrate Syria into the Arab community, well, it just shows that Macron is really in a losing pose with his policies, and I don’t think it will last very long.
The inability of these establishment figures to recognize the mistakes of their policy is quite amazing. Let’s be hopeful that the Yellow Vests will teach Macron some economic lessons.
A Very Bad Idea
Schlanger: In Germany, the neo-conservatives are saying that in order to protect Europe from the Russians, new nuclear missiles and other nuclear forces must be brought in. Responding to the proposed deployment of U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe in the aftermath of the U.S. decision to pull out of the INF Treaty, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, in an interview with the DPA news agency, came out with a fairly strong statement that this should not take place.
She said, “Europe should not turn into a platform for discussions on arms buildup under any circumstances. Nuclear weapons buildup would be a totally erroneous response. The policy of the 1980s will not help answer modern-day questions.”
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, I think there is a line not to be crossed, where even such people as Maas recognize that the only thing that could result from a new nuclear buildup in the center of Europe, is that Germany would become a battleground for World War III.
But otherwise, if you look at Europe right now, the prospect for 2019, without the intervention of the Schiller Institute, does really look very grim. Brexit is pending. Germany is chaotic. A new poll suggests that only 17% of Germans are looking optimistically into the next year. Interestingly, 26% of young people reportedly think it will get better, but only 10% of those 65 and older polled have any hope at all for the future. That means 90% think the opposite. German overall policy reflects a total lack of vision; EU25 billion is now sitting in some state accounts which, because of bureaucracy, because of lack of industrial capacity, are not being invested in infrastructure, despite the fact that the money is available. Germany is just not what it used to be at all!
Which Way Will We Go?
So, I think it really needs a complete change, and therefore, I ask you to join the Schiller Institute, because we are trying to show the people of Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world that there is a New Paradigm developing, which is creating the option of a completely new vision, a new epoch for mankind, in which relations among nations are completely changed, based on sovereignty, respect for the other civilization, and where the beauty of the many cultures we have in the world is explored and appreciated through dialogue and peaceful cooperation.
I think we are at an absolute crossroads: On the one side, we still sit on the very dangerous powder keg of a financial blowout; on the other, the potential to end all wars, to go for reconstruction, to build up the economies of the developing countries—this is a very, very exciting period, and we should not sit on the fence; you should get active with us. Join the Schiller Institute and help us to get history going in a better direction.
Optimistic China Forges Ahead in Science
Schlanger: In the last few minutes of our program, it would be very useful for you to give our viewers and readers a little bit more of a perspective on the panic of the supporters and defenders of the old system, as we move into the New Year. For example, Foreign Affairs magazine’s April cover story, “The End of the Democratic Century.” What they really mean by that is that the “liberal democratic” or the British imperial century is what’s coming to an end, and they think that’s a bad thing. There are new developments in technology in China, with its Moon mission, for example, that’s under way with the Chang’e-4 launch; and China’s new magnetic levitation train development. So, Helga, please convey to our views and readers the optimism they should be embracing as we enter a new year.
Zepp-LaRouche: You mentioned the maglev; that’s a typical example: The leading engineer of China’s Maglev Systems Institute has just announced that China has a new generation of slow maglevs which can run up to 160 kph [100 mph], compared with the first generation’s top speed of 100 kph [62 mph]. These new maglevs are suitable for inner city transportation and also between main cities and their satellites. Now, just imagine having a subway or a local transport system that takes only seconds to reach 160 kph, then travel time becomes very, very efficient.
The beauty of the maglev is that it accelerates very rapidly, in a very short time, and it does not have the usual kind of pushback you feel when you accelerate a car, because the technology is such that it goes more smoothly. China is revolutionizing inner-city transport in this way.
The Chang’e-4 mission is scheduled to land on the far side of the Moon in the first week of January, just a few days from now. According to a study in the journal Science Advances, a team of Chinese scientists has discovered a way of turning copper into a new material “almost identical” to gold—obviously not entirely—but they were able to transform the structure of copper in such a way that it fulfills the same functions as precious metals in the industrial process, reducing the use of rare, expensive metals in factories. So, a revolution in new materials.
Maglev could have been developed and deployed by Germany! Germany developed the technology, but was too stupid to use it—and now the Chinese are doing it.
The West should seriously think about it: The whole post-industrial, Club of Rome, ecological paradigm was really a mistake. The best way to maintain a healthy environment is through high technology, through new, scientific breakthroughs, and that is happening, fortunately, in China, which has long ceased the practice of merely copying technologies from the West. China is now creating its own breakthroughs at an ever-increasing rate.
I think the perspective for the future should really be that the Western people, those who are not the hard-core neocons like Kissinger, for example—I think he’s a lost case. He advocated for years that a Peace of Westphalia approach for the Middle East is not possible. Now, I think he’s just in the process of being proven completely wrong. So there are some hard-core neocon, neoliberal people, who I think will never reconsider that their model was wrong, but there are many people who were just swimming along, going along to get along, or being victimized by this neoliberal model, and they should think that there is obviously, right now, a recognition that the old, neoliberal model is failing.
Foreign Affairs: a Humoresque
The Foreign Affairs article you mentioned, is actually funny. The two authors say that they there had been a universal desire for the liberal democracy model. But now, things are so bad in the liberal democracies that it’s no longer the case. There are populists arising everywhere in what the authors call “autocratic regimes.” I must say that in most of these so-called “autocratic regimes,” they are acting for the common good of their people. That is why you have these populists, or other types of governments that are really taking care of the common good much more than the neoliberals.
The old system is disintegrating. Everyone can see a new system is emerging, but the exact nature of this New Paradigm is not yet decided. And I think it requires the active participation of a lot of thoughtful, well-meaning people, to find those principles that cohere with the lawfulness of the physical universe. I think the future order of humanity can only be successful if it adheres to true physical, universal principles, in science and in great art.
And that is the very idea of the Schiller Institute, and that is what you can find in the Aesthetical Letters of Friedrich Schiller, which I would emphasize that you should read over the next few days: Between now and New Year’s, you still have some time to engage your mind in more profound ideas, and the Aesthetical Letters of Schiller, for sure, is excellent food for thought, very relevant for the solutions to our present-day problems.
So, with that, I wish you a Happy New Year with good changes, and let’s talk soon.
Schlanger: OK, Helga. As they say, “We’ll see you next year.”
Zepp-LaRouche: OK, till next year.