This editorial appears in the May 8, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
To Overcome Our Civilizational Crisis,
We Must Improve the Character of Our People
This is an edited excerpt from the transcript of the Schiller Institute’s April 30, 2020 interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, by Harley Schlanger. A video of the full webcast is available. Subheads and embedded links have been added.
Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute. Welcome to our webcast with our founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Today is April 30, 2020, and we’re in the midst of a continued unfolding of a deepening economic crisis, which may have been triggered by the coronavirus, but has a much longer-standing cause, going back to forty years of neo-liberal policy.
A Growing Food Crisis
The most recent development is the emergence of, not only a worldwide food crisis, but also the danger of shortages in the United States due to plant closures in the meat-packing industry. Helga, this brings to mind some warnings that your husband made many years ago about the attacks on the family farm and the cartelization of food production. The President has now stepped in—what do you think is going to happen?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: President Trump invoked the National Defense Production Act to save these meat-packing firms. Now this is an aspect of the corona crisis, but it is also an aspect of the breakdown of the neo-liberal system. What happened was that in some facilities of the largest meat-packing firms, some people got infected with the coronavirus. Actually 20 workers and 2 inspectors have died.
These places are now closed down, creating a serious bottleneck, so that some of the hog producing farmers have been forced to—it’s a terrible word to even use in this context—to euthanize their hogs. You may have seen pictures of piles of dead pigs which are being disposed of. In a certain sense, this is a crime—almost a crime against humanity—at a point when millions of people are suffering from malnutrition in Africa and other places. So I think it’s good that Trump stepped in, but that will not solve the problem.
Some of the agricultural leaders in the United States who attended our online Schiller Institute conference over the weekend made the point that Trump’s action only saves the largest meat-packing plants that are part of the problem. If you had a decentralized system with many meat-packing firms all over the country, you could never be hit in such a way, threatening the entire food supply. So while these farm leaders agree that this immediate action is necessary, they know that a transformation and change of the whole system must occur.
This is one sign that shows how insane it is to have “just-in-time” production, not enough storage capacity, and no facilities to process critical food supplies, when combined with an increasing starvation crisis around the world. This was created by the neo-liberal economic system, and this is what it has led us to.
Call for a World Health System
The Schiller Institute has produced a draft program that we call the “ ‘Apollo Mission’ for a World Health System,” which discusses the practical steps for establishing a world health system, a decent health system in every country on this planet.
We are now in the process of producing a similar paper for protection of the world food supply, to put agriculture in all countries of the world on a decent footing. So you should expect that. You should help us in this mobilization, because if the farmers go bankrupt—and many of them are on the absolute verge of bankruptcy—then this will hit every family, every person, and many people will not make it. We already now see that the food banks for the poor don’t have enough food.
This mobilization is an integral part of our effort to intervene in this crisis with the whole package designed by my late husband, Lyndon LaRouche—A New Bretton Woods, the Four Laws, but it also has sub-features, such as the protection of food production in the world. So you should help us distribute this new paper the moment it’s posted on our website.
Schlanger: While this is happening in the United States, a similar thing is happening to farmers all over Europe, who before the coronavirus hit were out in the streets demonstrating. The cartels bring food cheaply from poorer countries, underpricing European farmers. The “just-in-time” system, the neo-liberal system, affects not just food, but almost every aspect of production.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, it does. The only solution for the farm sector is to go to parity pricing. The idea of cartelization and cheap production is all wrong: cheaper, cheaper, cheaper—where the farmers aren’t getting even the price they need for their production, much less a decent (but not exorbitant) income to reinvest in their farms. That can only be covered by a parity price, not by subsidies. So we really need to go to a standard in farming that provides the food supply for the whole world in a safe way.
Neo-Con China-Bashing for War Escalates
Schlanger: We’re seeing a continued escalation of the anti-China rhetoric coming from the same, usual suspects: From the Henry Jackson Society, which represents the City of London in Britain, but also from a crew of neo-cons on the American side of the Atlantic. What can you tell us about the British role in this, and then we can look at some of the specifics in terms of the United States?
Zepp-LaRouche: Right now the anti-China hysteria is escalating to a very, very dangerous form, and one can only say that if you paint a country with such black colors, and you spread unrestrained lies, that has only one purpose: preparing an enemy image for the possibility of war, and that is what is at stake here. So people should not be foolish and repeat what has originated with MI5, with MI6, and with the high-level UK official, Tobias Ellwood, formerly the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, who is currently the chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee. He came out on April 26 with an unbelievable statement in the Mail on Sunday, asserting that now is the time to go for a head-on confrontation with China, because they are taking over, that only Great Britain can do it, and that now is the time to do exactly that.
Those sentiments unfortunately are being echoed by a lot of people in the United States who, on the one hand, are trying to deflect from the fact that China did a very decent job in fighting the coronavirus and also seems to be to managing the economic consequences much better than the West, by carrying out the successful lockdown of Wuhan, and then reopening China’s economy, which is getting going again; but on the other hand, blaming China for everything that went wrong, instead of admitting their own mistakes and correcting them. They really are on a rampage against China.
The top of it is really is an April 17 strategy memorandum distributed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee that blames China for the coronavirus crisis and instructs Republican candidates who are running for seats not to defend Trump, but instead orient their campaigns entirely against China.
Geopolitical Thinking Leads to War
This is really very bad. The same thing is occurring on the Democratic Party side: Joe Biden is blaming Trump for being “too soft” on China. Trump put out a statement attacking the GOP memo, but unfortunately not so much because of what it says about China, but for its advice not to defend Trump. Trump is being bombarded by this anti-China propaganda. He’s not quite as bad as some, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, who basically says that we will make the Chinese pay.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the top hawk, but Trump himself is already making rhetoric that is not being received well in China, as evidenced by statements from China that the collaboration between the United States and China is of utmost importance. That sentiment was expressed by China’s Consul General in New York, Ambassador Huang Ping, who addressed our Schiller Institute conference on April 25. But naturally, when you have this kind of barrage coming from the United States, articles are appearing in Chinese papers saying that Pompeo is right now a direct threat to world peace.
So this is extremely dangerous, as I said, and it also takes insane forms. People are losing their marbles, like for example, Congressman Tom Cotton, who said there should not be a single Chinese student allowed in the United States to study science, because all they do is steal the secrets and bring them back to China and use them for weapons against the United States! This is just raving nonsense. And this, rather than sending U.S. students to China to cooperate, and to learn something. The Chinese in the meantime have quite on their own developed expertise in some areas where they are becoming, or already are, world leaders.
So this geopolitical thinking is really extremely dangerous! It is exactly the stuff of which world wars were made. We in the Schiller Institute are doing everything possible to overcome that and say that we need a different paradigm, a new paradigm of cooperation among the major countries. That is really what absolutely should be clear to everybody: This anti-China bashing is just a continuation of the Russia-bashing! What else was three years of Russiagate but a big “nothingburger”? Now, it’s China, and it comes from exactly the same sources: The people who are the war party and the people who are doing the coup attempt against Trump.
China-Bashing Targets Trump
Schlanger: I would like you to comment on something that was said to me by a leading Republican: that the anti-China hysteria is actually targetting Trump, because of what Trump represented when he was a candidate; and the targetting is also intended to confuse his base. To what extent do you think that is working? It seems to me that there are a lot of people who are falling for it right now.
Zepp-LaRouche: That was the reason, or one of the major reasons, why this coup attempt against Trump started, to begin with: In 2016, Trump clearly stated that he wanted to rectify U.S. relations with Russia, and at the beginning of his Presidency, he changed from his earlier anti-China campaign rhetoric of 2016, had some very important meetings with President Xi Jinping, and came out of them very positive on China, its history, and his friendship with President Xi Jinping.
The British and Anglo-American geopolitical faction that wants to run the world as a unipolar dictatorship—these people who thought that the end of history had arrived when the Soviet Union collapsed—
they hated that. A lot of what is happening now is really the effort to decouple the United States from China, which would be an economic catastrophe for both, but it is the war party which is targetting that relationship between the United States and China.
Schlanger: Thanks for joining us today Helga, and I’ll see you again next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: I hope so; next week!