This article appears in the May 1, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Questions to Zepp-LaRouche, Geraci and Cheminade
Speed: Our next question is from Mauricio Ortiz, the Chief Ambassador from Costa Rica to Canada. Here is his question:
“In the 1940s Costa Rica decided to create a health system with universal coverage, to abolish the army, and invest in education and healthcare. Later, in the 1970s, we created 1,041 rural primary healthcare posts. We also protect, approximately 30% of our biodiversity, and two years ago launched a program to decarbonize our economy. Up to now, we have 675 cases of COVID-19, and 6 deaths, one of the lowest mortality rates in Latin America. Our desire is to exchange experiences with other countries. Will the Schiller Institute encourage the United Nations, the multilateral banks and other organizations to support the governments of undeveloped countries to invest in preventive rural health and health systems for universal coverage? How can this be accomplished with a world system which currently focuses more on trade and profit than on social issues?”
Zepp-LaRouche: We issued a call, about four weeks ago, for a world health system. The reason why we did that—it’s pretty obvious—this is one of the most fundamental human rights you can imagine, and the pandemic underlines exactly the absolute shortage. Costa Rica may be in a relatively better situation, but I think almost all developing countries are very, very far from what is needed.
Given that it was clear that the pandemic unfortunately was becoming worse and worse, I asked for a world health system, with the idea that as the pandemic got worse, the demand would rise for a world health system that would put up functioning health systems in every country on the Hill-Burton standard, of the United States Hill-Burton Act in the postwar period; or the French or German systems which used to be quite good, until the privatizations started—that every country has the right to that kind of a standard.
And the pandemic makes it clear, because even if in the beginning some countries may have thought, well, they only have to take care of themselves, the fact that it’s a pandemic, it’s global, it’s expanding to the South, means that it will come back in a second wave, and possibly even in a third wave. The Spanish flu from 1918-19 came back in a second and a third wave which were even much worse than the first wave.
With that idea in mind, the understanding that we cannot continue as we have done in the past will become a growing, self-evident truth—the idea that everybody has the right for a functioning health system is a protection for everybody! It’s not just for the affected country, but we’re all sitting in one boat, and if we don’t provide that to the developing countries, then it will come back and kill more and destroy more of our economy, and it will just get worse and worse.
So, the idea of now putting forward a world health system—a decent health system in every country—in a certain sense, sooner or later is required. But how should this be financed? The casino economy will never do it, for the same reason we are in this mess, because they have been going for profit maximization for the last decades. That brings the question then, of the urgent need to have a credit system, a New Bretton Woods system:
I ask everybody who is watching, to simply take up this demand, that the idea that every single country must be provided, first with a crash program to fight the virus, but then you need infrastructure, because even if you can take the Corps of Engineers and set up hospitals in the middle of the desert, well, you may be able to maintain that for a few days or whatever, but then the question comes, how can you build up the infrastructure?
So, in a certain sense, the answer to your question is, that we have to have global development totally. This is why in the program the Schiller Institute published after Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road in 2013, we were very happy, because we said, this is what we have been fighting for since the 1970s, so we updated all the programs we were working on—the total development plan for Africa, for Latin America, for Asia, the 50-year development plan for the Pacific Basin, the Oasis Plan for the Middle East, the Eurasian Land-Bridge (which we were already calling the New Silk Road in the 1990s)—and we updated all of these programs in a new study, called The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.
This study, published as a Special Report in 2014 by Executive Intelligence Review, was greeted very much in China, it was translated into Chinese; the Chongyang Financial Institute sent copies to all the major universities and think tanks. It was translated into Arabic. It is now in German and in French. A second volume was produced, this one published in 2017 by the Schiller Institute, an extension of the first, called Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa.
Taken together, these studies are a comprehensive blueprint for a global development plan. We have reached the point that we must get the so-called Western countries, that is, the United States and the European nations, to cooperate with the New Silk Road in the development of Southwest Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and that has to be a cooperative effort. And we have to overcome geopolitics. I know that for many people that sounds like a utopian conception, but I’m absolutely certain that the dimension of the crisis will become so absolutely clear—between the financial blowout, the destruction of the physical economy, the pandemic, as it was mentioned earlier by one of the other speakers, potential social unrest, the refugee crisis—that the idea that you need to put on the table a solution which addresses all of these problems, in cooperation will become a more and more convincing idea. And it’s the only winning idea.
So rather than focusing only on a side aspect, I think we have to really move with the idea that the only solution is this concept of a World Land-Bridge to overcome underdevelopment, forever. And development does not mean more quantities. Some of the greenies of the West always think when you say “development,” that you mean more of the same. But we’re not talking about more of the same.
For example, I mentioned earlier that the representatives of the developing countries should all be immediately integrated in the training of this research in the life sciences, any breakthrough must be distributed to everybody; developing countries should do the leapfrogging by immediately training some of their young people to be on the top of the vanguard sciences so that the overcoming of underdevelopment will occur in leaps and big steps, and not just by repeating all the steps made by the industrialized nations.
I think we are at a point when we must reach a completely new era of mankind, and, as I have said in the past, this change must be as big as that between the Middle Ages and modern times, separated by the Italian Renaissance. The change to the future has to be even bigger. We need to put mankind first. It’s OK to be a patriot of your country, it’s absolutely wonderful and a good thing. But the interest of a nation should never again be ahead of the interest of all of humanity, and I think if this crisis teaches us anything, then it is exactly that approach, that we have to be united by the common aims of mankind, first, and then we can settle all the regional, all the national questions after that.
So, I think we have to really fight for this big transformation into a new era of civilization, the World Land-Bridge being the absolute way to go; the New Bretton Woods being the absolute precondition, starting with the world health system, I think we can cause an avalanche of demand in this direction until it is accomplished.
Geraci: Let me comment on what Helga said: I think the emphasis is, yes, on humanity, it’s important. The question then remains for countries like Italy which has a so-called “nationalist” government, in which the belief is that you can help others only if you are first stable on your own feet, a little bit like in airplanes, where you are advised to put your own mask on first, stabilize yourself, and then you’re able to help others. I think we all agree that the goal should be humanity; I think the questions would be then, “What’s the path? What are the first building blocks to reach that goal that we all agree on?”
Cheminade: Yes, we have absolutely to change our way of thinking. If you look at the preceding way of thinking of these last 40 or 50 years, since August 15, 1971, but already before, it was asked, “How much money do we have?” There was never enough money to do things useful for mankind. “We don’t have the money.” That was always the answer.
Speed: I’m going to be combining a few questions, here. And I’ll direct them to the panel; I’ll ask one individual and then ask the other two if they’d like to respond.
The first question is from Her Excellency Mrs. Fatima Braoulé Meité, Ambassador of the Republic of Mali in Canada. She asks:
“COVID-19 has an effect, in particular, on the most vulnerable in society, be it those in Africa, in Europe, in America, or anywhere else in the world. Most of these people have a poor education. They have little access to healthcare, and are often jobless. The result is a higher rate of mortality. So, in fact, COVID-19 exposes all that should have been done—but was not—for all these people. Every state should now re-examine how to better intervene in all the social fields, even it means to nationalize some services, which had gone to the private sector.
“Unfortunately, Africa is little discussed when considering the actions that should be taken in the post-COVID-19 world. The only Western voice with the courage to propose a structural solution for the African countries was that of President Emmanuel Macron, when he proposed the cancellation of the African countries’ debts, in order to allow these countries to fight the COVID-19, while tackling, in-depth, the structural problems. Unfortunately, his call has not been heeded. This opportunity for political dialogue on the post-COVID-19 era, and the change of paradigm which the Schiller Institute offers on what should be our new way of acting, must take care of this question, and support President Macron’s proposal and open the ways and the means necessary for that.”
Speed: She then asks for a comment. Let me take the liberty to combine that with something that also came from an African diplomatic mission in Ottawa—a very short question that I think can be done as a corollary to this. That one said:
“We have noted the recommendation for a summit between the huge powers, that is, the United States, China, Russia, and India. In your view, which of these countries do you think will better push for the interests of African countries, especially on economic matters?”
Speed: I think I’ll slightly revise what I said, and ask Jacques to answer first, and then, I’m sure, the other two of you will have something to say. And then we’ll go from there.
Cheminade: Macron sometimes says words that may be useful. He called for this cancellation of the African debt—for all the debt, not only the debt of the poorest countries. And he also issued a declaration with Tunisia, supporting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ call for a world ceasefire.
This is good, but they are things in themselves. What you need is a higher standpoint. This higher standpoint would mean the programs of development needed by Africa, and with whom. And how France could work with other nations to create this combination that is needed for the development of Africa, this international cooperation. This is not done.
And if you look at what is not done in France for the elderly people in the retirement or nursing homes; what was not done for the Yellow Vests; what was not done inside the nation, this cannot be something separate from what’s not done for African countries. You need an overall policy, supported from inside France for an absolute commitment for mankind.
This is not yet there. We’re doing our best to create the spirit for that, but it’s a very difficult situation, because there are all types of influences, including around Macron, like around Trump—there are not good people around both of them, going in a very different direction.
Also, there are provocateurs in the whole country; as you see in the United States, we have the same in France. People are calling for May 4 as a day against the lockdown: “Go out into the streets, be free, be happy!” So, you have all that, but it’s also happening in the United States. It’s used to disrupt our countries.
The only way that our countries could escape this offensive of disruption is to have a real commitment to everything that was talked about today. For example, the French media never covered LaRouche, except once or twice, to slander him; and seldom covered me. They only covered me during the Presidential elections, but after it was finished, full silence against our ideas. That, for me, would be the Rosetta Stone of what is done or not done, and we should judge from that standpoint.
Zepp-LaRouche: There are a lot of good proposals, by Guterres and others. I think the end of sanctions is absolutely a requirement. And the ceasefire is also especially important; the debt moratorium, the Jubilee—all of these things are absolutely crucial. But I think what is lacking, as Jacques was just indicating, is how to remedy—even if you eliminate all the debt. Where do you get the new money from? For that, you need a credit system.
In the aftermath of this conference, we will publish a selection of articles by my husband on the New Bretton Woods system. Because I think this idea of a credit system would be beneficial for everybody. OK, maybe the Fortune 500 would not be as privileged, they would not be the winners in this, but everybody else would—the middle-level industry of the advanced sectors, the countries of Africa.
We published the first comprehensive book about African development in 1976, which started with an integrated infrastructure program for the whole continent. It has ports, highways, fast train systems, industrial parks, industrialization of agriculture. We have large projects, like the Transaqua project to bring water back to Lake Chad. There is an absolute clarity on what needed to be done to immediately start to industrialize the African countries, naturally with their participation and their say-so, on what should be done and what should not be done. But, I think it’s not a question of a lack of clarity of where to start. Many countries in Africa are now committed to having a middle class, and to becoming middle-level-income countries in the near future, and that is absolutely achievable.
I think that is what needs to be put on the table, but it can only be done with a New Bretton Woods system.
Speed: Since Mr. Geraci is an economist, I’d like to ask him what he has to say.
Geraci: On this discussion of debt cancellation, I think there was a proposal by Macron, or maybe by [French Economics Minister] Bruno Le Maire, who probably asked only for a debt repayment delay, not cancellation.
And so, I think, like Jacques said before, sometimes these are announcements that have very little relationship with reality.
I would like to answer Her Excellency from Mali. This is a problem we also have in Italy. We worry a lot about where to get the money from, how to finance it, who should give it to us—but very little attention is paid to what to do with the money.
I think we need to have the other side of the question very well developed, because this has been the problem in the past, including Italy—that we have 155% debt-to-GDP ratio, going to 160% very soon—because we really don’t have an industrial plan; we don’t really have a plan to support the economy during this crisis.
If I may advise all our listeners and especially ambassadors and policymakers who are listening: Make a draft, in detail, of an industrial investment plan. Because, when the plan stands on its feet, the money comes. Finance then tends to be a little bit more forgiving, and it reaches to where the good ideas are. I want to balance the focus—this is my takeaway from today—let’s not just focus on where to get the money from, but really each country, county, city, region should have a very well-developed and integrated plan on what to do with it. I’m talking here as a former investment banker, myself. As much as we may not like finance, individual investors’ money flows to where there are good investment opportunities. Now, of course, some of these projects are not there to make money; they are social projects. But, nevertheless, the plan needs to be equally detailed, even if there is no financial return, just to maximize the money.
How vicious it is right now! Because when the world’s so near this collapse of the financial markets, then they issue money, but not for mankind. They issue money to save their own interest and their own financial markets. So we have to absolutely shift our world thinking, thinking in terms of what’s necessary for mankind. It’s because of that, that we produced this “LaRouche’s ‘Apollo Mission’ to Defeat the Global Pandemic.” We started from what is needed globally. And then we established how we would lead credit and the financial means to accomplish this. So it reverses completely the world thinking, to add to what Helga said.
Speed: This is the final question for this panel. It is from Ambassador Samson Itegboje, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations. Here’s the question:
“Her Excellency Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche talks about the need to establish a new world health system, and for the United States, China, Russia and India to be the front-liners in that regard. This is an ideal.
“But the ideal must be put on the same wavelength with reality to determine the practicality of this ideal. The reality today, is what she referred to as ‘casino economy,’ or, ‘neo-liberal systems of the West.’ In her view, the neo-liberal system of the West has inherent flaws, hence its unpreparedness to cope with COVID-19.
“My question is: In the face of the upsurge in nationalism, how can the world achieve the new world health system that you are clamoring for?”
Zepp-LaRouche: Thank you for that question, because I want you to remember what was in the video played by Dennis in the beginning—Mr. LaRouche talking about the U.S. Presidency; that it’s the President, not the Congress, not the Cabinet, but it is the President of the United States who represents the entire country.
Obviously, we also have designed this Schiller Institute conference with an eye on that particular perspective, because I think the problems of this world can only be solved on the level of the leaders. I think President Trump—all the trouble he has, starting with Russiagate, with the efforts to impeach him, all of this—comes from the same circles that are now behind the anti-China campaign: MI5, MI6.
Why do they hate him? And why does the House of Lords say they will do everything to prevent a second term of President Trump? Because he has responded to some of the aspirations of the American people, they have voted him in; he has started to have a good relationship with President Xi Jinping; he wants to have a good relationship with Russia; he has relatively no problems with Prime Minister Modi.
Given the fact that you have such an incredible crisis, the casino economy, or the Wall Street forces, City of London are not all-powerful. They can be overruled. If you ask yourself, “Where should it come from, if not from the top leaders from the most important governments?” And if you look at what President Trump said in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly one-and-a-half years ago, he said that every nation has the right to take its own nation first. America first, but also Philippines first, Mali first, Germany first, France first. That must not be a contradiction, because the very design of the New Silk Road is based on the principle that there should be an absolute respect for the sovereignty of the other country; there should be the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs; respect for the different social systems.
If you take what I said earlier, that you put mankind first, there is absolutely room for an alliance of perfectly sovereign nations. And it happens to be that that is already in the American foreign policy tradition, because that was the approach John Quincy Adams took, who had exactly that idea. Also, that it was not the purpose of the United States to go outside and chase foreign monsters, the idea was to build such an alliance of republics. I think that is what we have to do.
The EU is useless! It does not represent the interests of its members, and it keeps doing things which further dissolution and disarray. So, is that a problem for Europe? I don’t think so, if we go back to the idea of Charles de Gaulle, of a “Europe of the Fatherlands.” Charles de Gaulle also said, the French people are not cows who eat grass, but the French people should have a mission. Everybody should have a mission! And, if that mission of every country is in the direction of the one humanity, you can solve this problem, and you can overcome these contradictions. In a certain sense, it does require the method of thinking of Lyn—of LaRouche, but also of Nicholas of Cusa’s “coincidence of opposites.” Because there can be absolutely the interest of every nation presented by patriots, without their becoming chauvinists. You can have the interest of the patriots of the different nations relating to each other, and furthering their interest in a win-win cooperation, where everybody works for themselves, but at the same time, for the interest of the other.
That was the principle of the Peace of Westphalia. The Peace of Westphalia, the beginning of international law, resulted from the fact that if people would have continued 150 years of religious war of which the Thirty Years’ War was only the final, concluding part, there would have been almost nobody left to enjoy the victory. So, then, for four years, people sat down and worked out principles which started with “the interest of the other.” That is really the principle we have to have.
We have to have worldwide development: A World Land-Bridge, the New Silk Road extending to all continents, including the rebuilding of the United States. Anybody who has recently been in the United States, can see that the infrastructure is in a terrible condition! You need to build new cities; you need a modern transport system. You need a transport system in Latin America, in Africa. What we’re really talking about is a global system of building infrastructure, starting with the health system, but extending into all other areas of infrastructure. And then, once you have established such a common economic interest, which will be in the interest of every country, because even the United States would gain a lot more by participating in all of these projects, than by following the present policies of the military-industrial complex. They think they have to preserve raw materials, and so forth. But that’s not the source of wealth! Read LaRouche, and you will find out why this is the case.
Once you have established the common economic interest, you can build a common security architecture. NATO is obsolete. NATO should have been dissolved at the end of the Soviet Union.
We need an economic basis for a new security infrastructure which serves the security interests of every single nation on this planet. It can be done!
That is the kind of change we have to think about. The strategic defense of the Earth, the idea that we are unprotected against the danger of comets, of meteors, of asteroids—that should be a common aim. Early warning against volcanic eruptions, against tsunamis; a common defense against viruses and other diseases. All of these things are so pressing, that if we put our efforts all together, I think we can change the agenda. And in a certain sense, it’s not an option, it is the absolute necessity in order to get out of this crisis.
So, that is why I’m optimistic. Because sometimes, when there is not enough reason that you can appeal to, then the policy of the burning shirt may help to get people’s asses out of their chairs.
Speed: [laughter] All right. So, I want to thank everybody for participating today. I think that was a heartfelt sentiment that was expressed there a moment ago, with which we all agree.
I want to thank His Excellency Mr. Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations; His Excellency Ambassador Huang Ping, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in New York; and Counsellor Zhou Guolin, head of the Science and Technology Section of the Consulate.
I want to thank, of course, Jacques Cheminade, Chairman of Solidarité et Progrès; Professor Michele Geraci, from Italy, who was very important in bringing about the Memorandum of Understanding between China and Italy, and very important in our understanding today of how Americans should think about the people of China, as opposed to simply seeing them as “the Chinese,” as a kind of abstraction.
And, of course, Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
I want to thank all of you for being with us. We are going to be continuing our conference. This is just the first panel. Panel 2 starts in just under an hour. It’s called “For a Better Understanding of How Our Universe Functions.”
I also want to say that this [holds up the newly released, printed book] is the first volume of Lyndon LaRouche: Collected Works. You can purchase it online at the conference page, where you’ll see a link for it.
I want to welcome all of you to your first experience with Lyndon LaRouche, if it is your first, but I also want to encourage everyone to get everyone else that you know is thinking about how our civilization has to be rebuilt, to tune in to the rest of this conference. You can, of course, do that, as I said, beginning just about an hour from now.