This editorial appears in the January 10, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Urgent Call for Summit
These are the edited remarks presented by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and President of the Schiller Institute, by live video connection from Germany, to a LaRouche economics class in New York City on January 4, 2020.
We are in a very dangerous situation and I urge all of you to take personal responsibility to work with us to change the agenda of events now unfolding. On Friday, January 3, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, who is a national hero in Iran, was assassinated, and also assassinated at the same time was a high-ranking Iraqi military officer, who was the Deputy Commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces. They were both hit by a drone attack near the airport in Baghdad.
As a result, the world is very probably on a spiral of retaliation and counter-retaliation, which spiral could be open-ended. Now, there were many international and national reactions to this event. Some hysterical, but also some extremely thoughtful and warning. I would like to mention one of them, which comes from the VIPS—the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. [See https://consortiumnews.com/2020/01/03/vips-memo-doubling-down-into-yet-another-march-of-folly-this-time-on-iran] Nineteen of them—these are former intelligence agents who all became whistleblowers—they basically made the comparison that this evokes the memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I.
Now it has been often said that the world at that time was sleepwalking into World War I. It is very clear that if people would have known what was coming, they never would have started World War I. Because it was four years in which the Germans and the French were fighting each other out of the trenches back and forth, back and forth, leading to a meaningless slaughter. Four years of carnage which destroyed the moral fiber of an entire generation, and that was actually what made Nazism and World War II possible. The VIPS then say that an escalation to World War III is no longer just a remote possibility—and I absolutely agree with that view.
The Sleep of Reason
I also want to quote to you from another extremely important source, namely Scott Ritter, who, apart from having served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, he was on the staff of General Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War, and he was the UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. So he is extremely knowledgeable of this whole region. His comments to RT on January 3 were:
The United States is unprepared for the consequences of its assassination of Qassem Soleimani, if only because it knows nothing about the reality of the man it murdered and can’t gauge the impact of his death on Iran or the Middle East.
Remember that the December 18, 2019 Washington Post documentary on Afghanistan, ‘The Afghanistan Papers’: War Revelations From the Washington Post, just had many interviews of leading military leaders of the U.S. forces who admitted that, several years into the Afghanistan war, they had no inkling of who the enemy was. I think Rumsfeld was one of them. Ritter goes on:
American political leaders of both major parties have been united in their description of Soleimani as an evil man whose death should be celebrated, even while the consequences of his demise remain unknown.
Now just to emphasize it, I think to celebrate the death of anybody is a very barbarous idea. Ritter continues:
The celebration of Soleimani’s death, however, is born of an ignorance regarding the events and actions that shaped the work he directed, and which defined the world in which he operated. While the U.S. has cast Soleimani as a byproduct of Iran’s malign intent in the Middle East, the reality is much starker: Soleimani is the direct result of America’s irresponsibly aggressive policies. . . .
Soleimani’s actions in accomplishing this outcome, however, were not part of a master Iranian plan for regional domination, but rather part and parcel of Iran’s ability to react effectively to the mistakes made by the United States and its allies in implementing policies of aggression in the region.
Now remember that that was exactly the context about which General Flynn tried to brief President Obama in the White House in 2012. Namely, that the United States was backing all the wrong forces in the region. This is why General Flynn was targetted, and why much of the impeachment and Russiagate was pinned on Trump—because of his connection to Flynn.
We should remember that this assassination was not a retaliation, but a pre-planned assassination of a foreign official, a national hero, who together with Khamenei, is the leader, or was the leader of Iran. The significance of this is as big as if the National Security Advisor of the United States, or Vice President Pence, would have been assassinated. And in one sense, for the Iranian people, it’s much bigger than that, because this person was loved and admired.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said:
To condemn attacks on their embassies, states go to the UN Security Council submitting draft statements. Washington did not appeal to the Security Council, which means that it is not interested in the world’s response [and that it is] interested in changing the balance of power in the region. That will not result in anything but escalating tensions in the region, which will be sure to affect millions of people.
Call for an Urgent Four-Power Summit to Develop Southwest Asia
And I will say for myself, that we are now faced with the law of the jungle since international law has been abandoned. There is still time to remedy this situation.
We are calling for an emergency summit among President Trump, President Putin, President Xi Jinping, and if possible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These four leaders should declare a joint plan for the entire Southwest Asia region to develop, to be industrialized, as the only way to establish peace. This has been the policy of the Schiller Institute for a very long time. That only if all the big neighbors of the so-called Middle East—Russia, China, India, Iran, and also all other countries including hopefully the United States and European nations—would agree on a regional development plan, by extending the New Silk Road—which is already going into Iran and Pakistan—just develop that further into Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, and then via Egypt into Africa, and via Turkey into Europe.
Such a plan already existed only five months ago, when Putin had worked very hard to get all the different opponents in the region to one table to work together. He had exerted maximum pressure on Saudi Arabia and Israel; he worked with Syria and Turkey, and it all looked very promising. If Trump would have continued on that course, working with Russia and China in the back channels, he could have become and still can become a hero of peace.
Now China at that time had approved $1 trillion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Xi Jinping, in his New Year’s address just a couple of days ago, again offered that the Belt and Road Initiative is open to all countries to participate in. The only way you can establish world peace at this very late hour and point of escalation, is for the Four Powers—the United States, Russia, China, and India—to cooperate. This is now the most important point on the agenda.
There is, on April 25-26, the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Meeting at the Elbe, where Putin has invited Trump to participate, and also for Trump to participate in the 75th anniversary celebration of the end of World War II and the victory over fascism. Trump has indicated that he would be very interested to go to one or even both of these events.
Now, we may not get to April and May. Therefore, we propose that such an emergency conference of the four Presidents be held immediately, because if we learned anything from two World Wars, it is that world wars are absolutely horrible in terms of the consequences for the people. If we would have a Third World War right now, maybe nobody would survive; because it should be clear to any thinking person that in the age of thermonuclear weapons, war cannot be an option of conflict resolution anymore.
So, I’m appealing to you to get this message out; get it debated, and get the public support for Trump to do exactly that—line up with these three other Presidents and save world peace! That is my appeal to all of you.