This transcript appears in the March 11, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
AN URGENT MESSAGE
Lies and Truth about Ukraine
This is an edited transcript of a special webcast by Helga Zepp-LaRouche recorded on February 28, 2022. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche is the founder and Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. The full video is available here.
I’m speaking to you because I want to give you an extremely important message.
As you know, since a few days, Russian troops are in Ukraine, in a military operation. As a reaction, the West has imposed very, very harsh sanctions on Russia, which are going to have incredible effects, not only on Russia, but also on the whole world. President Putin ordered the military to put the Russian nuclear deterrence forces on high alert. Any further escalation of this situation has the danger of things going completely out of control, and in the worst case, it will lead to a nuclear exchange, and World War III. If that happens, the chances are that nobody will survive; it could be the extinction of the human species.
To understand how we got to this point, one has to look at the recent history of at least the last 30 years. We have been sleepwalking from a point, which was incredibly hopeful, into a worsening of the situation—step by step, step by step—and most people were completely indifferent to what was happening.
You should remember that in 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, (many of today’s young people were not even born then, and don’t have a very good idea of this period), there was a moment of incredible historical potential. A peace order could have been built because the enemy was gone, or about to go. The Soviet Union did not represent a threat anymore. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had agreed to the democratization of the Eastern European countries. This was what we called a “star hour of humanity,” one of those rare moments when you can shape history for the better.
The Soviet Union did not represent a threat then, and therefore, it was quite normal that the U.S. Secretary of State then, James Baker III, on Feb. 9, 1990, in a discussion with Gorbachev, promised that NATO would not expand “one inch to the East.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg now says that such a promise was never given. But that’s not true. Jack Matlock, who was U.S. Ambassador in Moscow at that time, has stated many, many times that, indeed, there was such a promise. There is a video with former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, in which he confirms the same thing. Just a few days ago, the then-French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas gave an interview in which he confirmed this, saying that the promise was made. A new document has also appeared in the British Archives confirming the promises to the Russians.
There is overwhelming evidence that such a promise was made. And therefore, when Putin says, now, that he feels betrayed, there is the actual evidence to back that up. When Putin came to Germany in 2001, and he addressed the German Bundestag, in German, it was full of offers, full of hopes to build a common European house, to have cooperation. He talked about the German people, the people of culture, of Lessing, of Goethe.
There was the potential to really even undo what happened in the 1990s with Yeltsin and the shock therapy.
A Fatal Unipolar Fantasy
At that time, unfortunately, what had happened is that certain circles in Great Britain and in the United States decided to build a unipolar world. Rather than building a peace order, they said that now there is the opportunity to build an empire based on the model of the British Empire, based on the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States, which was then called PNAC, the Project for a New American Century.
Slowly, step by step, they started to go for regime change of everybody who didn’t agree with that—for color revolution, for eventually what they called humanitarian interventionist wars. We got the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which were based on lies; the incredible lying to the UN Security Council in the case of Libya; the attempt to topple President Bashar al-Assad in Syria; wars which have caused millions of people to die, millions of people to become refugees and have a destroyed life.
Ukraine, from the very beginning, was big in the calculation. There were altogether five waves of NATO expansion. In 2008, at the summit in Bucharest, it was promised that Ukraine and Georgia would become part of NATO, which, from the standpoint of Russia is really not acceptable. Rather than having NATO not moving “one inch to the East,” it moved 1,000 km to the East! It’s sitting now in the Baltic countries, at the border of Russia. But, Ukraine becoming part of NATO would mean that offensive weapons systems could reach Moscow in less 5 minutes, and make Russia, de facto, indefensible.
You have to understand that that is the vital security interest of Russia, which, if NATO would include Ukraine, it would violate that interest. That is why all this discussion that the Ukrainians have the right to choose their own alliance is really not true! It’s stated as a principle, in all the official documents, that you cannot have the security of one country at the expense of the security of another country, which would be Russia, in this case.
So what happened was that when the EU tried to include Ukraine in the EU Association Agreement at the end of 2013, Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s President at that time, recognized that that was unacceptable, because it would have opened up Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea to NATO, so he pulled out of the agreement. And then, immediately, the demonstrations in the Maidan began. It is always said these were only democratic people—sure, there were democratic people who wanted to be part of Europe and part of the West. But from the very beginning, there were elements supported by several intelligence services since World War II, including the networks of Stepan Bandera, who had cooperated with the Nazis during World War II. Stepan Bandera actually became an agent of MI6. His networks had offices in Munich and were part of the anti-Bolshevist bloc of nations. They were kept by the intelligence services; the MI6, the CIA, the BND; for use in case of confrontations with the Soviet Union. These networks were mobilized in the Maidan as part of a regime change operation, a color revolution, and then finally the coup. The United States, according to the U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland, had spent $5 billion, including building up NGOs to manipulate the population to think that if they joined the EU, they would be rich like Germany overnight, which was never in the cards.
The 2014 Coup in Ukraine
So the coup happened, and with the coup in February 2014, networks came to power which were extremely repressive against the use of the Russian language and against the Russian population. That was why the people of Crimea voted to be part of Russia. It was not Putin who annexed Crimea, it was a measure of self-defense of the Russian-speaking people in Crimea to have a vote in a referendum. And the people in East Ukraine decided to declare independent republics for the very same reason.
Now, the Minsk agreement was supposed to be a negotiation to give these independent republics more autonomy within Ukraine, but the Ukraine government never pursued that. Germany and France, which were part of the Normandy discussions with Ukraine and Russia, never put any pressure on the Ukrainian government. So these talks did not go anywhere at all. In the meantime, you had more and more maneuvers around Russia, and this escalated to the point that in November, there were maneuvers even flying planes to test and reheare a nuclear attack on Russia, flying as close as 14 miles from Russia’s border.
Russia’s Proposed Security Guarantees Ignored
Now, it was that feeling of increasing encirclement which is the reason why Putin declared on December 17 of last year, that he wanted written security guarantees for Russia, from the United States and NATO, that they would guarantee, in a legally binding way, the security of Russia, including that NATO would not expand any further to the East, Ukraine would never become a member of NATO for the reasons I mentioned earlier, and offensive weapons would not be put on the border of Russia.
Putin did not get an answer. The United States and NATO responded on secondary issues, like a certain agreement to go back into arms negotiations, but he did not get an answer to the core demands. And that is why, for example, I think Russia and China have now moved into a very close strategic alliance, which happened on February 4, with the signing of a of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on International Relations Entering a New Era. Putin was trying to test out if there would be a willingness of European nations, of Germany and France, whose Chancellor Scholz and President Macron both went to Moscow. But he came to the conclusion that there was no willingness to stand up against the continuous push by NATO and by the United States, to keep up the encirclement of Russia.
Russia Remembers Hitler and Napoleon
War is very bad. It is the most horrible thing which can happen. But you have to understand that if you put the core security interests of Russia into jeopardy, well, that’s what you get! You have to understand the history of Russia.
Russia faced massive foreign invasions twice in relatively modern times. The first time was by Napoleon in 1812, who if you know history, had an enormous army, and executed a large scale, wide-ranging assault of Russia. The plan to defeat Napoleon involved luring his army far into Russia’s vast expanse, forcing him to draw a long supply line, while destroying everything before him on the way in, to basically make it impossible for him to have any requisition of food and other materials. The Russians even allowed the burning down of their capital city, Moscow, to make sure there was nothing with which Napoleon could survive the winter, so he had to make the decision to retreat in the winter through the snow. And when Napoleon’s troops finally crossed back over the Niemen River, there were only a few people from a previously gigantic army. This was a traumatic experience for Russians.
Then, Hitler invaded Russia in 1941. For the Russians this experience is deeply ingrained in their DNA, one can say, because they lost 27 million people! And for them, defending Russia is most important—it’s a life-and-death question.
So, what is happening now, is that when all of this escalated, Russia said, we absolutely draw a red line. When these red lines were not respected, which Putin stated very clearly, he said he would take a “military-technical reaction.” I don’t think Russia has the intention of occupying Ukraine; I think Russia wants to have some neutralization; they want to have a de-Nazification. Frankly, with the present combination—sure, Zelenskyy was democratically elected—but the Azov Brigade is still there as part of the defense forces, you have still in the parliament, a lot of right-wing elements. Zelenskyy has changed from a peace-loving or peace-promising President, into somebody who is completely a tool, not even daring to bring up Minsk II, because he feels under threat that if he goes for Minsk II, he will be toppled or worse.
It is a situation in which we have to accept the fact that de-Nazification is not Russian propaganda, but it has a real element to it. It’s a complete scandal that Western nations with all their talk about so-called freedom-loving Western values: rules-based order, democracy, human rights—will not face the truth. This verbiage has become a little bit stale after all these interventionist wars, and especially what was done, and is being done in Afghanistan. People are being left to die as a conscious policy, because people knew what would happen if there would be such a hasty withdrawal leaving the people of Afghanistan with absolutely nothing.
Germany On a War Footing
So, we are in a very, very dangerous situation.
On Sunday, an epochal shift happened. Germany, which has good reasons to say never again do we want war because we had two world wars on our soil. And in the living memory of almost everybody, especially the older people, we have the stories of our parents and grandparents in our ears of what war does when it is on one’s own soil!
So, on Sunday, there was an earthquake, which is I think an absolute catastrophe. Chancellor Scholz made a government declaration in the parliament, de facto turning the German government into a war cabinet. There is a plan to beef up the Bundeswehr, creating a special fund of €100 billion for this year alone. The government wants to increase military spending and already is sending weapons to Ukraine, which really does go against the principle Germany had held on to. Until now the idea was to never send weapons into crisis areas.
So, all of this is happening. The German population is in a complete state of brainwashing. In France, it’s not very different. But in Germany it’s much worse. And people on the scene, who know both situations, reported that it can only be compared to the shock the American people had after 9/11. I was in the United States at that moment, and I remember, you couldn’t talk to anybody, because people were completely crazy, hyped up, whipped up, and this is now the situation in Germany.
When I heard the speech of Chancellor Scholz yesterday, it reminded me of the horrible speech of Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm, Emperor Wilhelm II, on Aug. 6, 1914, when he announced that Germany was preparing for what became World War I. And we all know that at the beginning of World War I, nobody expected that it would be four years in the trenches, back and forth, back and forth, meaningless killing. And at the end, a whole generation was destroyed. And it ended with the Versailles Treaty, which was an unjust treaty that created the preconditions for World War II.
A New Peace of Westphalia
What do we do now?
Our only chance is to get an immediate international mobilization for an international security architecture which must take into account the security interest of every single nation on the planet, including Russia, including China, the United States, the European nations, and all other nations on the planet. The model for this is the Peace of Westphalia Treaty of 1648. That treaty came about because 150 years of religious war in Europe, the culmination of which was the Thirty Years’ War, had led to the destruction of everything: One-third of all assets of people, of villages, of animals—so that eventually, people came to the conclusion that if they continued the war, there would be absolutely nobody left to enjoy the victory.
For four years, from 1644-1648, people sat together working out a treaty which established very important principles. The most important principle was that peace can only be won if an agreement were to take into account the interest of the other. There were other principles, such as, for the sake of peace, foreign policy must be made on the basis of love. Crimes on either side must be forgotten, because otherwise there would never be an agreement. And the principle had to established that in the reconstruction of the economy after the war, the state must have an important role. That led to cameralism in economics.
This Treaty of Westphalia was the beginning of international law, and it is reflected today in the founding Charter of the United Nations. It is that model which must be taken now for nations to sit together, to define the principles of a just order which will allow the peaceful coexistence of all nations.
The equivalent of the cameralistic principles of the Peace of Westphalia must be that this new security architecture combination, must address the real cause of war, the pending collapse of the Western financial system, which has been about to blow long before this situation with Ukraine developed, but which will be aggravated now by the sanctions and all the consequences.
Development for All Is the Path to Peace
That new security architecture must apply those measures which Lyndon LaRouche defined already many years ago, namely, that there must be an end to the casino economy, because that is what is driving this confrontation. There must be a global Glass-Steagall banking separation agreement. We must have a national bank established in every single country in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton. And there must be a New Bretton Woods system, which establishes a credit system for long-term development to uplift the developing countries through industrial development.
And all of that must focus on the pressing issue of the Covid-19 pandemic. We need a health care system in every nation on the planet. Without a modern health care system in every country, this pandemic and future pandemics will not go away. We need an increase in world food production, because we have a famine of biblical dimensions as David Beasley from the World Food Program is continuously saying. And we need to have an effort to overcome poverty in all countries where poverty threatens people’s lives, in Africa, in many Latin American and Asian countries, even pockets in the United States and in Europe.
The framework to accomplish all of this is the offer by China for the United States and Europe to cooperate with the Belt and Road Initiative, maybe to join the Build Back Better program of the United States and Global Gateway of the European Union. To look at it not as competition but as the chance for cooperation. Because only if the nations of this world work together economically, to the benefit of all, do you have the basis of trust to establish a security architecture which can function.
The Schiller Institute has issued a call for such a conference to bring about a new international security and development architecture. I’m calling on everyone to promote that idea, to get many people to , to get people to write articles, comment about it, create an international debate, that we do need a new paradigm. Because any continuation of geopolitics of the so-called “enemy image” of one or the other, can only lead to a catastrophe, and if it comes to that, there will be nobody left to even comment about it, because it will be the end of humanity.
So, I’m calling on you: Join our mobilization, because it is your life and the future of all of us.