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This article appears in the September 3, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]


Afghanistan Failure Proves the Neoliberal System Has No Concern for People

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CC/Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
Hundreds of Afghans crowd the interior of a U.S. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, desperate to escape to safety after the government collapse. August 15, 2021.

Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger, welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. It’s August 25, 2021. Let me begin by wishing you, Helga, on behalf of myself, our viewers and your fans, a very, very happy birthday today.

Failure of the ‘Endless War’ Policy

Now, we’re in the midst of an incredible situation, where your leadership has been absolutely crucial in trying to cut through the nonsense in the media, finger-pointing and everything else. It was ten days ago that the Taliban marched into Kabul. This has really overturned a lot of what has been accepted as the axioms of the geopolitical world. Let’s just start with the failure of the endless war: This is pretty conclusively demonstrated now, isn’t it?

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I said immediately, when the decision was clear that the U.S. and NATO troops would leave, that this was a change, maybe not quite as significant as the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, but of that type: Namely, that a whole system is coming to an end, namely, the “right to protect,” humanitarian interventions, the endless wars of the last 20 years, because this policy clearly has completely failed. And while the earthquake rumblings are still to be heard in the media and all the politicians’ statements, what is coming out now, is not only was the Iraq War based on lies—that has been discussed in this show many times; but we also discussed the failure of the Afghanistan policy, we published a White Book in 2010 already. And then you had in 2019 the “Afghanistan Papers,” and now it’s coming out, nobody can overlook the evidence that this was a whole fraud all along!

They spent $2 trillion—$2 trillion on what? Basically, on making dirty deals with warlords, not nation-building, not building any infrastructure, or economic development of anything worth talking about. And now, the Taliban was able to basically defeat the Afghanistan army—why? Because they did not believe in the order which was promised to them. And also, it now turns out the Afghanistan Army was badly paid, some of them were hungry, so the motivation was absolutely not there.

The significance of this is, this is a failure of the neoliberal system big time. And I think this is being recognized by everybody. There are tons of articles everywhere, in the Western media, lamenting, but I think if you compare the attitude taken in the Western mainstream media, and most politicians, and compare that to the very, very different attitude coming from Afghanistan’s neighbors, primarily Pakistan, the Central Asian republics, Iran, Russia, China, they have a completely different attitude: Namely, they say the most important thing now is to stabilize the situation. So, we should discuss this because I think that difference is what is really striking, and telling about who is who in this picture.

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Taliban fighters on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 17, 2021.

Military Occupation Ending;
Nation-Building Beginning

Schlanger: To start looking at that, we should take up what happened at the G7 event, where there was an effort from the British in particular to change the terms of what Biden had said about leaving on August 31st, and Biden rejected that, and the British have not stopped gnashing their teeth and complaining about that.

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, first of all, I find it noteworthy that Biden said something, I think in response to some reporters; he said that the Taliban is now confronted with the task of taking care of the wellbeing of the Afghan people, and that is something which for hundreds of years was not attempted by anybody.

I thought that that remark was extremely telling: First of all, it’s true, the Taliban is now confronted with the fact that the only way how they can maintain power, is that they have to address the hungry people. One in three Afghan people is going hungry every day, is food insecure; there is a very poor health system in the middle of a pandemic, so the Taliban must do something to stabilize the situation, which is recognized by, as I said, its neighbors, and Biden addressed that. I thought this was important, because that has not been a consideration by NATO, obviously, because after 20 years they leave the country in an impoverished, terrible condition.

The British, naturally, are completely freaked out. Because they wanted to drag on—Boris Johnson, in his capacity as President of the G7, convened a meeting, but did not succeed in convincing President Biden to prolong the withdrawal date beyond August 31st, which extension has already been rejected by the Taliban. They regard NATO as an occupying force, and they want to stop that. I’m not making judgment on everything the Taliban stands for, but they regard NATO as an occupying force; they regarded their war as a war of independence, rejecting the foreign occupation, and therefore, they did not agree to prolong this deadline.

Now, that is now causing an incredible freakout: [Former UK Prime Minister] Tony Blair, the architect, or probably one of the architects of this entire, unholy, interventionist war policy—who, in an infamous speech in Chicago in 1999, basically said that the Peace of Westphalia order is finished; that we have to protect democracy and human rights, and that was the beginning of giving the theoretical underpinning for the right to go into somebody else’s country, create havoc, millions of deaths, and then leave it under shameful conditions—now has basically called the idea to end the “endless wars” an “imbecilic” policy, attacking Biden.

That is very revealing, and there is a huge freakout ever since, that the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain is destroyed, it’s finished. You have Lord Kim Darroch, the former British Ambassador to Washington, saying this is the end of “Global Britain.” He was the one who said we have to “flood the zone” around Trump to make sure there’s a completely controlled environment around him, and then he had to leave early in 2019.

There are other people in Great Britain absolutely beside themselves. There is a certain Col. Richard Kemp, former British commander of the British troops in Afghanistan, who said, unlike some Republican Congressmen in the United States who demand the resignation of Biden, he said that Biden should be “court-martialed”—I mean, these people are totally off the wall.

And there was one commentary that I thought was quite interesting, that the fact that Biden did not consult with the British on making this decision to not prolong the deadline beyond the end of August means that “‘Global Britain’ is just two empty words.” And I think that is true. The special relationship between the U.S. and Great Britain was really the basis of this war policy. The unipolar world run on the basis of the British Empire, to use British brains and American muscle to subdue the world has now been blown apart. And this I think this is a very, very useful outcome, especially because everybody can see the shameful result of that policy.

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Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced ending “the forever wars” by the U.S. as “imbecilic.”

‘Imbecilic’ All Along

Schlanger: I think it’s important to note that what Blair was saying was not that he disagreed with the way the withdrawal took place; he disagreed with the idea of ending an endless war! That’s what he called “imbecilic.” So, he was attacking Biden, he was also attacking Trump, he was attacking the people of America who are opposed to continuing this war.

Helga, I think it’s important you mentioned the neighbors. We see an effort under way from Pakistan and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and others to provide aid, in the same way that you have been calling for. The opposition to that is the people who still think there’s a military solution, including the neocons, who want to arm a resistance, and so on. I think it’s important that we’ve had now two conferences, where we’ve laid out a strategy for helping the people of Afghanistan, stabilizing the situation, and I’d like you to just contrast that, with these idiots who are saying we need to continue the war.

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, you know, John Bolton and Billy Kristol, the neocon, are touring the United States calling for arming the opposition, and there is a certain opposition in this valley in the northeast of Afghanistan. They want to continue the war by all means! The good thing is that the suffering of the Afghanistan people could come to an end, provided there is now an economic development policy.

A ‘New Dynamic’ to End Geopolitics

We had a conference on this subject on July 31st, about 10 days before the Taliban took over, and this was quite prescient, because we laid out both the historic geopolitical significance, namely, that it has the potential to end geopolitics; and a program for how to integrate Afghanistan into the development projects of the Belt and Road Initiative.

That conference was quite important, because we defined what is the solution, about two weeks before the explosion occurred. And that has been recognized by many publications around the world, which reported about the conference, and I think we are regarded as a very important voice in bringing the forces together who need to work together: And that is emphatically the neighbors—Pakistan, right now is playing a very important role, because they want to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Kabul, into Central Asia.

There has been an agreement already made for these developments, so that can actually go. The Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi just was on a tour to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan; he also went to Iran. There are also massive phone calls and meetings involving Russia, China. And China said very clearly, they are ready to invest in the Belt and Road Initiative in Afghanistan.

Now, this is very clear, the CFR, the Council on Foreign Relations the British, everybody who hates this policy, they say the Chinese will not invest, it’s too insecure—meaning that they want to create so much chaos that they deter China from continuing.

But there is a new dynamic involving Russia, China, the Central Asian republics, Pakistan, Iran; it is still a little bit difficult with India, but many people think India will come around, because it’s just the connectivity of the whole region. It doesn’t matter if you call it the Belt and Road Initiative, or connectivity, as long as it is the same idea that you open up the landlocked areas of the Eurasian continent, through infrastructure projects which give these landlocked areas the same advantage as areas which are otherwise on the seaside or on rivers. So, for the Central Asian republics, this is the way to go, and all of Asia is going in this direction!

My point, and our point has been from the very beginning, that this is a moment to reflect on the fact that this policy was wrong. It was defined wrongly—I mean, this is clear. We are approaching the 20th anniversary of 9/11—this war was defined wrongly from the beginning. Bin Laden was one thing, but what does Afghanistan have to do with it? They could have looked at Saudi Arabia. The evidence that the Saudis played a role in that is much, much bigger. So, the war was clearly poorly defined from the beginning, and it should not have lasted for 20 years. There are many, many soldiers who are suffering enormously. Many have suffered damage to their psychological wellbeing, experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and their families are in havoc.

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There is a new dynamic involving Russia, China, the Central Asian republics, Pakistan, Iran—and, hopefully soon, Afghanistan and India—promoting connectivity of the entire region. Shown is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) railway network.

So, I think this is now a time to reflect, and the best thing which could happen is that the Europeans and the United States would cooperate! Michele Geraci, a former part of the Italian government, has said that the Silk Road is so much more attractive than the tank road. And that is a recognition which is being understood by many forces in the world. I don’t see it happening yet, because the Europeans are still behaving quite idiotically in my view. The best thing which could happen, and the only thing which will give a way out of this, is that people in Germany, in other European countries, in the United States, say: “OK, we have to make this thing work, and we have to cooperate with Russia and China, and the neighbors to build up Afghanistan as a functioning, well-integrated economy.” The development of infrastructure always has an incredible impact on the people who are doing it. So, if you want to have an improved situation with the Taliban, then cooperate with them in the economic construction of the country. And I think that that is what’s going to happen, at least concerning the big neighbors and the small neighbors. So, I think there is a completely new dynamic.

On August 21st we had a second conference where we reflected on that, with people such as [former CIA analyst] Ray McGovern, who has a lot of insights into the situation; also Pino Arlacchi, the former UN representative in the fight against drugs. And he actually brought a lot of interesting elements into the discussion, like, reporting on a deal he made with the Taliban in 2000, before 9/11, basically where the Taliban completely agreed to give up opium production, and then the opium production exploded after the U.S.—and British in particular, in Helmand Province—moved in. There are ways to solve this problem and that’s what we’re trying to fight for.

Kamala Harris a ‘Laughingstock’

Schlanger: It’s also clear that you can’t airlift 30 million people from Afghanistan out of the country, so you have to deal with the problems there. Now, in this context, I wonder if you have any thoughts on this Asian tour being undertaken by Vice President [Kamala] Harris, who was in Singapore on August 24th, where she lectured the Chinese about the “rules-based order.” Any thoughts on that?

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Vice President Kamala Harris made a laughingstock of herself in Singapore on August 23, 2021, by lecturing China on the “rules-based order.”

Zepp-LaRouche: It’s almost a subject for laughter, because after this so-called “rules-based order” just collapsed in shambles, this woman has the nerve to go and lecture the Chinese on the so-called “rules-based order,” and you should read some of the absolutely sarcastic comments in the Chinese press, where they basically ask, “What is this ‘rules-based order’? You go into a country, outside of the UN international law, you create havoc, you create mountains of corpses and millions of refugees; then you leave in a hurry, you don’t even coordinate with your allies, and then you call this a ‘rules-based order’?” There are tons of articles saying that the West, which is still clinging to this idea that there is such a thing as a rules-based order outside of the United Nations, which is generally recognized as the only body representing international law, is just out of synch with time, out of reality. It’s a reactionary mindset totally incapable of understanding the dynamic of the time.

That is how people look at it. I think people like Kamala Harris just make themselves ridiculous and a laughingstock.

Ukraine and Crimea

Schlanger: Another situation that is emerging is the effort to use Crimea and Ukraine as a stumbling block between changing relations between especially the U.S. and Russia, and Europe and Russia. There’s this conference in Kiev, the Crimea Platform Summit, which obviously was trying to stir this thing up. The Russians had a very strong reaction to that, didn’t they?

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. [Ukrainian President] Zelensky. I don’t know what happened to this person, because when he made the election campaign, he sounded quite different, and somehow, something or somebody got to him, and he now is on the forefront of this effort to get Ukraine into NATO, to have as many maneuvers, and now this “Platform,” which is supposed to put together an international coalition to undo the referendum in Crimea [that reunited it with Russia in 2014].

Remember, there was never an annexation of Crimea by Russia. It was the Crimean population which reacted to the coup in Kiev, which involved a lot of Nazi elements in the Stepan Bandera tradition, and then people in Crimea said, “Absolutely no!” to that. And that has been distorted many times. So, the idea to “undo” that is just a recipe for disaster.

The Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has said people should look at what happened to the allies in Afghanistan, and they should watch out that the United States obviously is not very reliable, and it could happen to them, what just happened in Afghanistan.

NATO Should be Replaced

So, I think this is part of an effort—I mean, NATO is discredited and NATO should have dissolved when the Warsaw Pact dissolved. They have lost their raison d’ètre 30 years ago, and that was stated also by the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, who said that the Czech Republic should stop wasting money on NATO and spend the money on national defense instead.

NATO is no longer a defensive alliance; it’s not limited to the North Atlantic. They have now global ambition. They want to go into the Indo-Pacific, “Global NATO,” as [NATO Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg calls it.

NATO should be dissolved and should be replaced by an international security architecture which takes care of the security interests of every single nation. If we have learned anything from international treaties and alliances, it is that if they don’t take care of the interest of everybody, they are the seed for disaster. So, I would say, dissolve NATO; look at for example, the idea of a Eurasian integration from the Belt and Road Initiative, the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union, and then, include the United States and make a new international security architecture, involving everybody. That is a reasonable solution, and I think everything else is going to lead to a catastrophe.

“It is a moral stain on the character of the West, if we cannot solve a problem like [Haiti]”—Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Shown: a member of the American Disaster Response Team (DART) inspecting rubble in Haiti after the August 14 earthquake that was followed by a tropical storm.

The Moral Imperative of Haiti

Schlanger: Another absolutely urgent situation which has somewhat been lost in all the coverage of Afghanistan, is what’s happening in Haiti right now. You’ve had an earthquake; you had a tropical storm. A country where many parts of it are inaccessible to aid, this would be another area where we should have international cooperation to address, not just the current crisis, but the endemic poverty, the danger from the pandemic, and so on.

Zepp-LaRouche: Haiti is a small country and when the earthquake happened in 2010, nothing was really done. Therefore, now after the earthquake on August 14, the population is devastated. There are already now, 2,200 people dead for sure, many more missing; many more living in absolutely horrendous conditions. And I think this is the moral stain on the character of the West, if we cannot solve a problem like that. Spending trillions and trillions on making the rich richer by having more stimulus packages, more quantitative easing, more craziness. Also our military budgets. But when it comes to saving a small country, which clearly has not the means to save itself, we are failing.

So, I would really call on people to rethink that, because I think, in the final analysis, which system will survive is going to be a question of which system has the moral fitness to survive. And I think the value of life clearly right now is not protected by the West.

China just managed to go back to zero COVID infections, by isolating the new outbreaks, very efficiently, very quickly. And it shows you an attitude towards life! I would call on people to really rethink that, because we have called for the creation of a modern health system in every single country as an answer to the pandemic, and that remains the number-one priority in my agenda.

Central Bankers’ Coven at Jackson Hole

Schlanger: One other thing we should take up, is a virtual conference that’s going to take place this Friday, the annual Jackson Hole retreat of the Federal Reserve. Two years ago, this is where [then Bank of England Governor] Mark Carney, Larry Fink from BlackRock, and their whole team of former central bank officials, called for a financial regime change. They’re still intent on this. They’re still continuing the same policy. What do you think is going to come out of this, and what are the implications, given what you just talked about, that we have a situation where the most wealthy people are still trying to rig control of governments for their own benefit, as opposed to the interests of the people.

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, you know, we have a big concern coming out publicly everywhere about hyperinflation. The latest figures for Germany are 5%. There are big articles that this will eat up the savings of the pensioners, and poorer parts of the population. That is true, it’s eating up savings, and it’s becoming a big factor, because it makes people who have very little, already, even poorer.

Look at what happened in 1923, with the Reichsbank printing money and how quickly this hyperinflation exploded. I think there is the possibility that there may be a discussion in Jackson Hole about the so-called “tapering,” meaning to go into an interest rate increase. There is big pressure to go in this direction, but that could trigger a complete crash immediately because it would make the debt bubble so much more expensive.

So, they’re between a rock and a hard place, which is why what my late husband has advertised for a long time: You need a complete reorganization of the banking system. You have to implement Glass-Steagall banking separation globally; create a National Bank in every country; and then have a New Bretton Woods system connecting these national banks in a credit system, essentially like Franklin D. Roosevelt had intended it with the original Bretton Woods system. And that is the way to go. I don’t think in Jackson Hole this will be on agenda, because this is all the hard-core monetarist, neoliberal, geopolitical, imperial colonialist faction, supported by what Ray McGovern calls the MICIMATT, which I find a very useful notion—it means, military, industrial, congressional, intelligence, media, academic, and think tank complex, MICIMATT.

And that is really what is trying to manipulate public opinion, but I think their ability to do so becomes less and less. Because there is a fundamental recognition that the neoliberal system does not take care of people. This was clearly the case in Afghanistan. It was not done during 20 years of the war; it was for sure not done in evacuating in time, it was not done for the workforce in Afghanistan who were helping the foreign troops, and they’re left now in disarray. But also, the same neglect was clearly in dealing with the flood catastrophe in Germany, where now several weeks afterward, there is still no real coordination. The population gets really desperate, there are suicides now rising; and again, people feel that there is no concern about the general welfare and the common good, and I think this is a sign of the times.

This is what needs to be remedied, if this system is not supposed to disintegrate in disarray.

The Idea of a Development Perspective

Schlanger: Helga, what you just described is what you’ve often referred to as a punctum saliens, a point at which everything seems to have been lost, but you have an opportunity for something new. What advice can you give our viewers and listeners about their personal state of mind, how they have to look at this, so they’re not paralyzed but can actually take actions that will make a difference?

Zepp-LaRouche: First of all, one has to have a conception of how the world should look like and a clear idea of what could be done. For example, overcome poverty, not only in Africa, Latin America, Asia, but also in Europe! I think there are 90 million people who are on the verge of poverty, but not doing well. I haven’t seen the EU doing any program to overcome poverty. There are pockets of third world-like conditions in the United States.

We need the positive ideas to counter and end this insane green ideology. That ideology, and its associated policies will impoverish the people in the industrial countries and depopulate massively the people in the developing countries, that all must be put aside, and we have to have the idea of a development perspective. The immediate idea is the Belt and Road initiative, which is nothing but what Lyndon LaRouche and our movement has been working for, for the last almost 50 years—maybe 40 or 45 years: The idea that you have to have a global development. The Special Report we published in 2014, The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge, is a blueprint for what can be done—and it could be done very, very easily—to overcome poverty; then get rid of this entire degenerate culture which is right now befallen over most of the West, and go back to the Classical traditions of Dante. We have the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death on September 13th. He was a universal thinker, not just for Italy. We have the beautiful Classical music tradition; the image of man associated with Nikolaus of Cusa, Leibniz, Lessing, Schiller, Humboldt.

There are so many ideas where you could give dignity and a beautiful image of man back to our civilization: The Asians are doing that! the Asians are both thinking about building a future—they think the 21st century will be the century of Asia—but they are also reaching back into, in part, [their] 5,000-year-old history and reviving the best elements of that, and that gives them power.

We in the West are not doing that. We accept all kinds of Hollywood degeneracy, perversions, pornography, violence, meaningless games. Think how much attention is being paid to the young people—I mean young people need a mission. Fortunately, we see that right now in these flood-destroyed areas of Germany, where a lot of young people come and help. If that would be more organized around the world—what we try to do with the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites: giving young people a mission to help to remedy the problems we have, overcoming the famine, overcoming pandemic, helping people—it would be so easy to fix this world. If this unfortunate greed of the super-rich, the Wall Street types, the City of London types, if that would just be replaced. I think it’s indecent if people who are already two-digit billionaires and they want to become three-digit billionaires! I think this should not be allowed.

So anyway: Look at the life’s work of Lyndon LaRouche. We had a beautiful event on August 14th, sponsored by the LaRouche Legacy Foundation. You should watch that, and can do so here. At that seminar were speakers from around the world discussing the life’s work of my late husband, and there you will find almost an answer to every single problem which is confronting us today. So, there is reason for optimism, because the solutions are there, provided you have the courage and nerve to realize them.

Schlanger: Well, Helga, thank you for joining us today, and thank you for continuing to show the courage and optimism that you’re calling for other people to demonstrate. I think you represent a good model for that. Again, have a happy birthday, and we’ll see you again next week.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, thank you. Till next week.

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