This transcript appears in the April 1, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Making the Impossible Possible:
The Only Alternative to a Catastrophe for Human Civilization
We present here the edited transcript of Harley Schlanger’s weekly interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche on March 24, 2022. The full video can be watched here .
Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger with our weekly dialogue with Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Today is Thursday, March 24, 2022.
It’s a very busy day as the war hawks are gathering in Europe. Joe Biden just arrived in Europe for a meeting with NATO heads of state and government, with the G7, and the EU. The planning is going on for the escalation of warfare against Russia. Helga, why don’t you give us a summary from your vantage point of where things stand, and what’s the intention of this?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Well, if one sees what these people are saying and what they are actually intending to do, one can have very serious questions about what is going on in their minds. The minimum you can say, and I’m trying to be very friendly, is that their capacity to think things through goes toward zero. Because, they’re putting out statements, which, if they are acted upon to the fullest consequence, can only lead to a catastrophe for human civilization: Let’s start with the statement by the State Department yesterday, where, in preparation obviously for the NATO summit, which said that the evidence exists that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, and that that will require that every tool be implemented including criminal prosecution. And Biden said something similar, including that the nuclear option is a contingency. It was asserted the U.S. nuclear posture has not changed, but it remains a contingency he is talking about with the allies.
Now, these are quite incredible statements. Remember, that it was only on June 16 last year, when Biden and Putin met in Geneva, and they reiterated the absolutely crucial statement that “nuclear war cannot be won and therefore it must never be fought.” And this was then also repeated by the Permanent Five Members of the UN Security Council, reiterating what several decades had been stated between President Reagan and President Gorbachev. And this is sort of an obvious truth. But this, it appears, is no longer the basis of operation of NATO, or at least of Biden.
NATO then came out, absolutely predictably, with a statement, condemning Russia for war crimes, promising more support for Ukraine, saying that NATO will permanently put more troops at the western border of Russia. NATO also warned China—this is a continuation of why this war occurred in the first place. And I really would urge people, rather than going with this completely-in-lockstep Western media, that people should listen to people, such as Professor Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, who is a mainstream established voice, who is now saying that the guilt for what is happening in Ukraine is entirely that of the West and primarily of the United States. And that if one were to look for a possible solution, a resolution to this conflict, one then has to think about the causes. And the causes were—and I made a about that immediately after the war in Ukraine started—the 30-year eastward expansion of NATO, which left Putin in a situation where he said, I have no place to retreat to.
Look at the entire war propaganda which is now coming out about so-called atrocities and war crimes in Ukraine. There is a new in Newsweek from an analyst, William Arkin, who says there is absolutely no evidence of such activities from Russia. Russia did not commit a “shock and awe” operation, but on the contrary, went in in a very measured, targeted way, only targetting military targets, and what they perceived as holdouts of the Azov Battalion, like in Mariupol. And what Arkin then points to is that in the 24 days, since the beginning of the war, and when he wrote this article, Russia made less sorties and deployed less weapons in Ukraine than the United States and its allies did in one day in the Iraq War.
There has to be proportionality in the reporting. This, however, is no longer happening.
Schlanger: Helga, one of the interesting things is that it’s becoming increasingly clear that the NATO policy, the Biden policy, the Boris Johnson policy has nothing to do with protecting people in Ukraine. There’s no encouragement coming from them for de-escalation: Instead, they’re sending in more weapons, more troops, more sanctions. This should be increasingly obvious to people, if it weren’t for the media psychological warfare, wouldn’t it?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think it’s interesting that the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, spoke out truthfully: He said the aim of the sanctions is to topple Putin and to bring in a different regime. The former Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said that people should think about what the result would be if this policy were to succeed. What would happen if you were to have the breakup of the largest nuclear weapons power in the world, if the nation with the most warheads, if Russia were to split into six or seven countries? You would have chaos. If you would then continue that policy toward China, you would have the complete collapse of the world economy internationally. And then you would have the “big nuclear bang.” And he said in essence, I congratulate the strategists in Washington and the White House and Capitol Hill—Congratulations, you’re really doing a great job.
And I would like to say the same thing to all these strategists in Brussels and NATO and the EU and the G7. I must say, what is the aim of it? The idea to replace Putin with unforeseeable events in Russia, to try to smash the rise of China—which I’ve said many times will not function anyway—this is a pure policy of madness and destruction. And I think the more people start to realize that, the better.
Schlanger: As this economic warfare is continued, Putin seems to be developing a counter strategy. In part, the strategy is the continued economic integration with China and the Eurasian Economic Union. But now he’s ordered ruble payments from foreign countries that are buying oil from Russia. This has fairly profound implications for the future, doesn’t it?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, it’s clearly aimed to make the sanctions policy inefficient. The fact is that the Western central banks confiscated more than $300 billion of Russia’s assets abroad. So, if people want to buy gas from Russia, they will have to buy rubles with dollars or euros. We will have to see what the result of this will be. But it’s a smart countermove, for sure.
More fundamentally, as the Russian economist Sergei Glazyev has pointed out in a variety of statements, there is already a different financial system emerging. Many countries, including Russia and China, are having trade in their national currencies. Under the conditions of the sanctions, Russia has in essence implemented capital controls, basically changing the economy to a war economy. Glazyev has stated that he is quite optimistic that even under these conditions, Russia can have an economic growth of 10% this year, and 10% on a steady basis in the future.
I think the attempt to blackmail countries into choosing sides, to come into the alliance of the so-called “democratic states” against the so-called “autocratic states,” is not functioning. It’s not functioning with the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation]. They just had a big conference in Islamabad, where the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan made a passionate speech that Pakistan does not want to be pulled into a decision, and that he suggests that the OIC and China should work to mediate between Ukraine and Russia. And India is also not taking sides; India did not vote against Russia in the UN General Assembly, and neither did half of the African states. All these nations recognize the advantage in working with China and Russia and other countries of the Belt and Road Initiative for their real economic development, and that the West is not offering that.
Schlanger: One of the interesting commentaries on this came from Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov, who brought up the Brzezinski doctrine. And of course, this fits in with the geopolitical bloc politics, the war in Afghanistan and the attempt to divide countries against each other. I’m sure this was very resonant with you, because you’ve been very critical over the years of this plan, the “Clash of Civilizations” plan, and so on. But it’s clear that Lavrov sees this quite clearly, and I think that’s why a lot of countries are moving against the so-called “Western bloc.”
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, there is also a Chinese economist, whose name is Liu Zhiqin, from the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, who pointed to the fact, which I think is really underneath all of this, that with the COVID pandemic, 200 million people are already threatened with famine. Now, with the sanctions and the effect that has on wheat exports, on fertilizer, on all kinds of raw materials, now, 1 billion people are threatened with famine in the immediate future, as a result of the sanctions policy.
That is why many of the developing countries are thinking twice. This is now becoming an existential crisis for one billion people. And I think that is also a question of who is committing human rights violations, and who not? The sanctions are causing one billion people to be in danger of starvation. Contrast that with China having lifted 850 million out of extreme poverty—that is exactly the opposite direction. And I think that directionality of these very different policies is what is starting to become known worldwide.
Schlanger: This gets to one of your initiatives, the initiative for Operation Ibn Sina, which, while it’s specifically related to Afghanistan, and the importance of addressing the deliberate imposition of famine on Afghanistan, it does spill over into the broader question of the necessity for modern healthcare systems, financial and economic aid, food aid, and so on.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I think that the West has completely abandoned Afghanistan: That’s another one of these great human-rights “victories” of the West. The famine, the horrible conditions being experienced now by the people of Afghanistan, is the result of the U.S. and its NATO allies leaving Afghanistan without a budget, without donor money. This was a big subject at the OIC foreign ministers’ meeting that I just mentioned. The OIC created an Afghan humanitarian fund. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi immediately afterward went to Kabul. There will be a big meeting in Beijing, I think in a week or so on Afghanistan.
We are still pushing the idea of Operation Ibn Sina, the idea that you need a renaissance around a beautiful historic reference: Ibn Sina was one of the great physicians of world history, and he was a remarkable philosopher who inspired not only the Islamic world, but all of Europe. He influenced Albertus Magnus, Nicholas of Cusa, Dante and many others. And this is still being promoted by many forces in the region, so we will pursue that.
So, the West is not looking good! I think it’s important to reflect on that.
Schlanger: It’s also a notable irony that on the day of the 39th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s endorsement of the Strategic Defense Initiative and the announcement that that was U.S. policy of developing anti-ballistic missile systems of energy beams and new physical principles, which was largely the outline that your husband Lyndon LaRouche gave him, that on the day of that anniversary we have all this talk about nuclear war. But I think it’s also important to note that what Lyndon LaRouche had as his conception, was not just a defensive or a weapons capability, but also one that addresses the need for bringing online new technologies for an economic renaissance.
Zepp-LaRouche: The SDI was the closest we got to establishing a world peace order. The media naturally characterized it, idiotically, as “Star Wars.” It had nothing to do with that. Just to remind people, at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, when we had the intermediate-range missile crisis, a lot of people were acutely aware that we were close to nuclear war. Helmut Schmidt, who was the German Chancellor then, said that then. He especially blamed Zbigniew Brzezinski for being one of the authors of that war policy. The Pershing 2 and the SS-20 between the two had either a very short distance or a warning time, which was just a few minutes. As a result, these two systems of NATO and the Warsaw Pact were on a permanent launch-on-warning condition, which meant that the danger of an accidental launch was extremely high—as it is now. Because if one side would only see one missile on their screens, they would have no time left to think about it, it would go practically into an automatic reaction pattern, which is what we are at now. The only difference is that the peace movement right now—even if it has awakened a little bit—is quite confused about what is actually going on.
But at that time, my husband, Lyndon LaRouche developed a conception which was the basis for his back-channel discussions, for one full year, with representatives of the Soviet Union, a discussion pursued with the agreement and encouragement of the Reagan administration, to explore the possibility of changing the system. And that would have meant the potential dissolution of NATO, and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. After one year of back and forth—making clear that it would mean using modern physical principles for defensive systems, to make nuclear weapons obsolete. The idea was developing an anti-ballistic missile system, which would have worked, and would have made the defense against nuclear weapons less expensive than the offensive weapons. It would have really worked.
This was what President Reagan declared on March 23, 1983. He made it official policy, announcing that policy in a five-minute TV address, and offering that to the Soviet Union. However, the Soviet Union at that time declined, with the argument that it would bring the West more advantages than it would the Soviets—which was not true. President Reagan twice offered publicly that the United States would help the Soviet Union overcome their bottlenecks in infrastructure and in other areas by helping them to apply the technologies of these new principles in the civilian economy, and in that way get a tremendous increase in productivity.
This would have worked. The idea then was to boost the economy of the Soviet Union, boost the economy of the West, but importantly to then use it for a gigantic technology transfer for the developing countries, by trying to overcome the underdevelopment together. It was a revolutionary plan. My husband also wrote a platform for the superpowers, in which he laid out the conception of such a cooperation.
The first, most important principle was to overcome the underdevelopment of the developing countries through such a cooperation. That was repeated by President Reagan again after eight months in a letter to the Soviet Union, offering such a cooperation—because at that time, the Ogarkov Plan and similar policies were what were holding the Soviet leadership back at that time from taking up this offer.
And then, my husband made the forecast in which he said that if the Soviet Union held to its then-existing policies, the nation would collapse in five years. And that’s exactly what happened.
And therefore, to equate now Russia with that Soviet policy then is just a complete blunder! The end-phase of the Soviet Union was not a threat to the West. That was absolutely known. It was known by Secretary of State James Baker at that time in 1989; that’s why he promised NATO will not move one inch to the East.
And if the West wants to get out of this situation, there has to be a very serious review of all of these policies. People have to really go back to these ideas and say: we need a new security architecture today, which takes into account the security interests of every single country on the planet. And that is what the Schiller Institute is trying to put on the agenda right now: We have a . I’m urging all of you to look at it, to sign it if you agree. And we are conducting a major international conference on April 9, about this subject, which is being discussed now in many, many circles around the world. Because contrary to the Gleichschaltung, the lock-step reporting of the Western politics and media, there are a lot of people who realize we are about to crash into the wall and that we need a completely different approach and a new paradigm.
So, I want you to look at this petition, and to register for the , and help us to organize for it, because we cannot continue on the course of confrontation. If we continue on this course, the danger of a terrible catastrophe could happen at any moment.
Schlanger: Just to reiterate the fundamental point you just made: What your husband always insisted, is that economic development is the real basis for peace. And if you look at what’s going on right now with the Belt and Road Initiative, with the Eurasian-China potential integration of economic policy, China’s role in developing Africa, what you see is that this is what is threatening the Great Reset and the economic policies laid out by the City of London, to subordinate all countries, including Russia and China, to a form of imperial or colonialist existence under a new, post-Cold War order. So, I think the point of the strategic and economic architecture having to change, which you’ve emphasized about this conference, is probably the most significant change that could happen.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I want to once again remind people of the Peace of Westphalia conference, which ended 150 years of religious war. People nowadays are so hardened and so ideologically fixated that it’s hard to imagine, but one of the principles of the Peace of Westphalia, was not only the interest of the other, but that foreign policy from then on had to be based on agapē, on love. Now, that—can you imagine some of these NATO generals and other such people—the idea that you could have love as the basis of your relationship to other countries and other cultures, seems to be so completely alien. Remember, Churchill was famous for saying that countries don’t have friends, they only have interests. And then they pursue these interests with geopolitical means, coups, subversion, regime-change, and modern color revolution, which is obviously the opposite of love.
But I think that’s not the nature of human beings. That’s the nature of oligarchism, of imperialism, of colonialism, of the intent of a small elite to defend their privileges at the expense of the interest of the majority of people. But I think that we are now at a moment of historic change, a time of change, but not of the type which Biden is talking about or some of these other so-called leaders. We are at a time of change, in which the rightful demand of all people on the planet to have a happy life, happiness in the sense of Leibniz, in the same sense of a fulfilled life, I think that is the present trend in history. And therefore, even if some people think it’s hopeless to expect a change, I’m absolutely certain that we will see, unless we destroy ourselves in a nuclear war, that we will see a new order based on the aspiration of all people on this planet, and that this British system of empire, is coming to an end.
Schlanger: for the April 9 conference “To Establish a New Security and Development Architecture for All Nations.” Discuss it with people. Get your friends and coworkers and others to register. This is a moment when an outpouring of public recognition of what Helga just said about the necessity for change, becomes a force for change in itself. Helga, thank you for joining us today. All things working out well, we’ll see you again next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes! I hope so. Be good.