This transcript appears in the May 15, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Don’t Fall into a Geopolitical Trap: Cooperation Is the Key to Overcoming Pandemic
This is the edited transcript of the Schiller Institute’s May 6 webcast featuring Helga Zepp-LaRouche. The video is available here.
Harley Schlanger: Welcome to our webcast with our founder and President, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Today is May 6, 2020, and we’re in the midst of a very tumultuous period in history—tumultuous and dangerous.
An enormous pressure is being put on governments around the trans-Atlantic region to reopen their economies, to move out of the lockdown stage and social distancing. But there are some complications involved in this. Helga, what’s your view of the situation?
‘Opening Up’ When Unprepared
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: The worldwide pressure to open up—from industry, from firms, from the people who are losing their livelihoods—is, indeed, enormous. And the situation is for sure not helped by the large amount of disinformation being channeled—all the varieties of fake news, ranging from the “China is behind this” and “China created the virus in a Wuhan laboratory,” to “Bill Gates is the originator of this whole pandemic to make a fortune selling vaccines,” to “Covid-19 is only like a seasonal flu.” I could add to this list quite a number of variations, but the reality is that the coronavirus pandemic is really not under control; it is real. And people who don’t look at the totality of how this is affecting the whole world, are for sure not getting the picture right.
Due to pressure, there is the so-called “opening up,” both in the United States and in European countries. This is not a good thing at all because, as a virologist, Prof. Alexander Kekulé from Halle, Germany, pointed out, a pandemic is not a slow-moving catastrophe. It has the dynamics of an explosion. If the wrong steps are taken, and you “open up the economy,” without having protective measures in place, the danger is exceedingly high.
But they are not in place. Such measures include testing and really knowing what we’re dealing with; that has not been accomplished, either in Europe or the United States; full capabilities to isolate and do contact tracing; full protective measures like masks, protective clothing for medical personnel. And still, we don’t know what we’re dealing with! Have the schoolchildren, who are now supposed to go back to school, been tested? I don’t think so! What about the teachers? What about the way the virus is transmitted among children? There are big question marks and contradictory reports are coming out all the time.
Look at the figures, or the picture as a whole. Don’t just go by your wish that now that the weather is getting nice and you want to get out, you want to go to the club, or whatever other modus people have to oppose certain health measures being imposed. Look at the total picture!
The total picture is that in various so-called hotspots, like Lombardy in Italy, like New York/New Jersey, more corpses came from this pandemic than the health institutions could manage. So, this is serious! This is not a “flu.” It’s really a symptom of a society in which the population is so hedonistic that it cannot accept the fact that this is a serious virus and it is a pandemic and it has its origins neither in a Chinese lab nor in the evil thoughts of Bill Gates and such people, but is the result of at least 50 years of wrong economic policies, as we have warned since the early ’70s: That lowering the living standards of large parts of the population, especially in the developing sector, invites pandemics to come, because of the collapsed immune system, because of the malnutrition, all these factors.
So, I really urge people not to go haywire, but to take the time and the patience to really rethink this whole situation through. The bottom line is that unless we change the unjust economic system, which is in the long term responsible for this, there is no solution. A solution is possible, but we need a new credit system; we need large-scale, long-term credit lines for industrialization of the developing countries, and we must increase the living standard of every single person on this planet. And that has to go along with the building of a top-level health system, as it used to be under the Hill-Burton standard in the United States, or the German or French system until the ’70s, in every single country. Unless you are willing to consider those solutions, everything else is too short-sighted.
The Coronavirus Is Not Like a Seasonal Flu
Schlanger: One of the arguments that some people are using is that with the changing estimates of the death totals, including from the various models that are out there, this just shows that there’s corruption and fraud. But the fact is, we still haven’t finally gotten down to understanding exactly what we’re dealing with. Isn’t this one of the great dangers?
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. This is a new virus, and the estimates in the recent period from several medical experts are that it may take one-and-a-half to two years before vaccines are available. All the people who are anti-vaccine are already jumping out of their seats. The point is, there is a science to this matter. Look at what China has been doing, why they were successful in containing the virus in about two months, and why they were able to restart their economy relatively quickly after they contained the virus.
Look at what is going on in Africa, in India, in Russia. If these factors are not considered as a totality, you come up with the wrong solution. What we need is international cooperation, among all the scientists, among of all of these countries, to, indeed, discover the nature of this virus, and the nature of other ongoing pandemics. Because if we don’t remedy the causes, there is no guarantee that there will not be another pandemic following this one, perhaps even more dangerous than coronavirus.
People should really understand that this is the moment when international cooperation among scientists in all countries is the only rational way to go.
Famine and the ‘Informal Economy’
Schlanger: You were talking about the economic aspects of it, and the injustice. There are new figures just out from the International Labor Organization (ILO), on the “informal” economy, the numbers of people who live a hand-to-mouth existence. This gets right to the heart of the danger, doesn’t it?
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I think that that is something that I would really urge all the people who are now upset about this or that aspect of what I said, to review. The ILO just published new figures that are extremely relevant in the context of COVID-19; that is, that of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce, 60%, that is, 2 billion, are in the so-called “informal” economy, and of that 2 billion, 86% of them are in Africa. “Informal economy” means that people do not get regular wages, they just get paid for the day, they don’t pay into social insurance, they don’t have healthcare benefits, sick leave, or vacation time.
They just live from hand to mouth. International food production is collapsing because of the insane agriculture policies coming from such places as the EU Commission, but also in the United States, with the result that the entire food processing spectrum—from sowing to harvesting, to processing, to distributing to the markets—is all under the control of about five super-cartels; and their policy has been such that now you have a breakdown of agriculture.
So we are looking at the danger of a famine situation developing. If many of those now kept out of work by the coronavirus pandemic, cannot soon return to work, they will rapidly die of hunger.
The pandemic is now arriving in Latin America, other Asian countries, South Africa, and Africa, where the conditions are already incredibly bad. Africa is already suffering under a locust plague, which could have been resolved a year ago, but nothing was done when there was still time to stop it. Now it’s become a huge problem in large parts of East Africa, on top of widespread HIV infections, tuberculosis, malnutrition. Listen to what the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia is saying, or listen to what was discussed at the conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, which just took place: These are real facts, and you have to consider them!
Schiller Institute April 25-26 Conference
The reality is that unless we change this present, unjust economic system, which denied de facto real economic development to the developing sector, there is no way to stop this coronavirus pandemic, and we will be looking at a catastrophe.
So, please, pay attention to what we discussed at our April 25-26 Schiller Institute conference, in which we brought together forces from all over the planet to form an alliance to fight for a new credit system, a new development perspective for the developing countries. That is the only possible way we can change the conditions of this situation. People who are not thinking this through, come up with the wrong conclusion, and I think that that is contributing to the irrationality which we see now in many places.
Schlanger: One of the most effective parts of the conference was the panel with American agricultural leaders, discussing the problems of American farmers, who are the most advanced in the world, what they’re facing. We see the same thing happening in Europe—the same policies of the cartels destroying farms and taking food from countries that are food insecure!
Helga, you mentioned the Non-Aligned Movement. They just had an Online Summit meeting May 4 where they discussed the kind of cooperation that’s necessary. What went on at this meeting, and what were the results?
Zepp-LaRouche: They concluded that the Non-Aligned Movement, which after all represents more than three-quarters of the human species, will have to take a larger role in defining what the new order following this pandemic must be. And that is a very good thing, because, we, that is, the LaRouche movement, have been working with elements of the Non-Aligned Movement since my late husband developed in 1975 the proposal for an International Development Bank to replace the IMF, and create exactly a credit mechanism for long-term investment in development projects. That was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s intention: He wanted the Bretton Woods system to be exactly that, to overcome poverty. He said that poverty anywhere on the planet, threatens the security of humanity as a whole. He regarded the increase of the living standard of every single nation around the world as the precondition for a stable world order.
Now, as we discussed at our conference, and which was also discussed by Gerry Rose May 2 at the LaRouche PAC Town Hall meeting, that effort was unfortunately abandoned because of the untimely death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. The actual Bretton Woods was determined and influenced by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the idea of providing credit for the development of the developing sector was never introduced. This is why we need a New Bretton Woods system, exactly because it takes up again large-scale, long-term credit for real development.
Should we get through this present crisis without further calamities such as war—which is also becoming a big factor because of insanity of the geopolitical faction—then the post-pandemic order must be one which gives justice to the developing countries. It’s exceptionally good that the Non-Aligned Movement is now coming into play in a big way, and is taking a leading role, and that is exactly where the idea of starting with a world health system really falls on the most fertile ground.
British Manipulating U.S.-China Relations
Schlanger: International cooperation has been at the center of everything that you’ve been talking about, since the beginning of the year, and is crucial in that it has been the relationship between the United States and China. While there was some improvement with the Phase 1 trade agreement at the end of last year, and a particularly good relationship between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping, anti-China attacks now dominate U.S. discussions of both the coronavirus, but also the general strategic situation.
Helga, this has come to a head in the last week or so. Where do things stand right now, between the United States and China?
Zepp-LaRouche: It’s extremely dangerous. It started, literally, with the British secret services, MI5 and MI6. They started the line that China is responsible for the coronavirus. Then the Henry Jackson Society sitting in London made up a bill of damages China supposedly has to compensate the world for. This has now been picked up by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, Senator Ted Cruz—even the previously sometimes rational Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson, who earlier was defending Trump on Russiagate, but is now one of the worst ones. And many, many other people in the United States are really on a rampage, blaming China, that China did not inform the world in time. Which is a lie.
You can go back and look at our previous webcasts. We followed this extremely closely. By December 27, somebody in Wuhan, China had discovered some inexplicable cases of pneumonia. One week later, on January 3, they informed the World Health Organization, the United States, and other countries, that they had a breakout of a new virus. And then they immediately gave the genome code to all scientific laboratories around the world. So there is an undeniable record that China did absolutely nothing wrong. There were maybe a couple of days of confusion about what this new virus was, but—we had a case here in Germany, where somebody came from Wuhan, got pneumonia, was hospitalized, treated, and only weeks afterwards was it found out that he actually had had coronavirus. So the German doctors didn’t know what this was.
So, this is getting ridiculous: If you have a new virus, before it is clearly identified, if there are a couple of days of confusion, it’s absolutely normal. All this accusation that China was “covering up” and that even the Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory was the place where biological warfare was conducted, or experimented with, is all ridiculous!
The reality is: China was able to contain the virus by locking down people for almost two months—60 million people! If you remember, in the beginning, the Western media said, “Oh! This is a violation of human rights! Look at this dictatorial country!” So they were attacking China for taking radical health measures. And then, when they realized that China was not only successful in containing the virus, but were able to restart their economy, relatively quickly after two months, and the West was not able to do so, and you have still now, a complete lockdown and many firms going bankrupt—so to the extent that the Western societies recognized that they were not able to deal with it, the British faction—that is, the Pompeo and his like—started to blame China and say that China was responsible.
Now, this is extremely dangerous. Because if you say that a country which is also a nuclear power is responsible for conducting biological warfare, this is building up an enemy image for a war. Don’t kid yourself! Anybody who repeats that is contributing to what could potentially become World War III.
Now, we are still one step away from this getting completely out of control, because President Trump, while he blames China, has not yet gone all the way to say that this was an act of biological warfare. But it’s awfully close. Mnuchin has said that Trump is preparing to “punish” China. So this is absolute insanity: This is a geopolitical game and you can see the role of the British in the clearest possible fashion.
Reuters just put out a story saying an institute called CICIR, the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, has produced an internal report for Xi Jinping discussing many options, including a “worst-case scenario” which would include a military confrontation between China and the United States. Of course, if you constantly attack a country, and then find that the country is discussing defense options, what would you expect? But then Reuters turns this around and says, “See, China is preparing this …”
This is typical of the way the British always provoke something, and then turn around and play all sides. Their aim is to prevent any possible cooperation between Trump, Xi Jinping, and Putin, the very cooperation we have been pushing for, for a very long time. If Trump were to fall into the trap, then the entire world would be in quite serious trouble.
Schlanger: Well, there have been pushbacks coming from some interesting circles. Niall Ferguson, a leading apologist for the British Empire, wrote a column in the London Sunday Times on April 5th claiming that there was massive international travel out of Wuhan, even after China had, on January 23, shut down all travel, including air flights, in and out of Wuhan to the rest of China. This story was completely debunked by a Prof. Daniel Bell, on his website.
There was also a very strong op-ed in the Washington Post from the Chinese ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai. What did he write?
Zepp-LaRouche: In his op-ed Cui Tiankai goes through the evolution of the last three-four months of this story, showing the record as it was, and in the end appeals for cooperation.
I want to say a little more about Prof. Daniel Bell. When Niall Ferguson put out this lie that China had sent these persons infected with the coronavirus to infect the world, this Prof. Daniel Bell started looking at the records for flights out of Wuhan after January 23. From those records, he discovered very quickly that all the international flights from Wuhan had been cancelled, and so none of the flights claimed by Ferguson actually took place! I think this is especially important and people should not fall for these lies, but really understand that it is really the rise of China that has all of these people now going for “regime change,” including Matt Pottinger!
Matthew Pottinger, the Deputy National Security Adviser, has come out attacking the Communist Party of China, saying we have to have “people to people” discussion, and calling for regime change in all but name. This dangerous nonsense has to be countered. People must not to fall into the geopolitical trap.
75th Anniversary of VE Day
This coming Saturday, May 9, is VE (Victory in Europe) day. We will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and the victory over fascism. People should really have in mind that two world wars in the 20th century were caused by geopolitics. And if you go in this same geopolitical direction, now, we could have a Third World War, including with thermonuclear weapons. I don’t think anyone would want to be one of those left alive after such a war. Many who have studied thermonuclear war, say that the people dying in the first hours are the lucky ones, compared to those who make it for a few weeks longer.
I really want to shake up people to stop this China-bashing! And come to reason and work together as the only option.
Court Rules for German Sovereignty Over the ECB
Schlanger: We now come to our conclusion for today, with a very interesting story coming out of the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, where there was a ruling against the bail-out policies of the European Central Bank. This could have very profound implications, not just for the European Union, but also by extension for the United States, where the Federal Reserve is going completely “ape,” with one of the most massive bailouts ever.
What did the court in Karlsruhe say, Helga, and why is this significant?
Zepp-LaRouche: This is really an unprecedented move, because the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe [Bundesverfassungsgericht] ruled that the European Central Bank, in the context of the Public Sector Purchase Program, that allows the ECB to buy bonds—is actually a bail-out program for the banks, and therefore ultra vires [Latin for “beyond the powers”—in this case, outside the ECB’s jurisdiction]; that the European court ruling in an earlier case that such purchases were legitimate, was outside the laws of even the Maastricht Treaty; and that it violates national sovereignty because neither the German government nor the parliament checked into the ECB buying bonds, and that since the ECB is not elected, and is not accountable to the citizens, its actions constitute a violation of Germany’s Basic Law.
There was complete hysteria over this ruling by the extreme liberals, including the former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who wanted to have the bail-out mechanism in place for Italy.
Of course, I think this ruling is exceptionally good! It’s only a step, but it’s the first time in a very long time that there has been a legitimate assertion of sovereignty by an important German institution, in this case, the German Constitutional Court. I think that this ruling may be a step in the reestablishment of sovereignty in the post-pandemic world, where the question of who creates credit will be decided: Will it be by some private interest, like the European Central Bank for the interest of the banks and the speculators? Or, will the power to create credit come back to the sovereign power of the nation-state, which is naturally what Hamiltonian economics would require?
The measures of the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche, such as Glass-Steagall style banking separation, and the establishment of a national bank, gives the power of credit generation back to the sovereign state, and creates the required platform for a New Bretton Woods system that would connect national banks of all participating sovereign countries to an international credit-generating system.
The court’s ruling is one step, and an important one in the right direction. It is a hopeful sign. This casino economy, in which the central banks just endlessly print money at the expense of the people has to stop. That’s actually what the Karlsruhe court ruling also says: that the bank bailouts lacked proportionality, that the ECB did not consider the side-effects on, for example, the people who have savings, the people who have real estate, the people who have investments, but especially the savers; and that therefore it’s in large part anti-constitutional.
This is an important development. Hopefully, it is the first step in the direction of reasserting full national sovereignty and redirecting the economy toward the common good, which has been abandoned for so very long.
We’re Dealing with the British Empire
I would say we are in a very fast-moving situation, and I really urge people not to go off on all kinds of strange theories, but to take the time to study what we have been publishing for the last 50 years! We have made many analyses of pandemics, of the injustice of the IMF and World Bank, of—yes, Bill Gates, we’ve published a lot of articles about him; but he’s not the only one. He’s part of a system. And if you reduce an extraordinarily complex world to one name, or a simple explanation, then you are not catching reality.
The problem is that we are dealing with the British Empire, an empire that has kept the population of the world deliberately in backwardness, and that system has to be replaced, it has to be eliminated. Oligarchism in all of its forms has to be finished and Bill Gates is just one element of that system that has to be replaced.
So, I urge people to go into our archives, look at the presentations of the April 25-26 Schiller Institute conference and then get into action to help us to bring through the solutions, because if you don’t discuss solutions, everything that you may have figured out is pretty useless. Now is the time to change the system, not only to “analyze” it.
Schlanger: Well, Helga, thank you for a very fascinating and hopeful overview of the situation. Again, on Sunday, May 9, people should go online to the Schiller Institute website, to watch our conference commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory over fascism in Europe.
Helga, thank you very much, and we’ll see you again next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, till next week.