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This article appears in the June 3, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

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Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Human History’s Most Dangerous Crisis

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Schiller Institute
Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the Schiller Institute’s founder, is the initiating organizer of the Institute’s upcoming June 18-19 international conference to launch a new international security architecture based on economic development, the second such major conference of the Schiller Institute this Spring. She gave the keynote to the Schiller Institute’s May 26 forum of military officers and security experts whose theme was, “The Insanity of Politicians Threatens Nuclear War.” EIR has added subheads to the transcription.

Dennis Speed (moderator): “Start from the world as a whole.” That’s been the approach of the Schiller Institute from its inception in 1984, and specifically, it’s been the distinctive contribution of its founder. We’re now going to hear from the founder of the Schiller Institute, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Helga, good morning.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Good morning. I greet you, and want to invite you for this conference.

Let me start with what is probably the most dangerous crisis in the history of mankind. Obviously, if it comes to a Third World War, which this time would be nuclear, we would face the extinction of the human species, because, not only would there be a nuclear exchange of nuclear missiles, but following it would be a nuclear Winter. And I think it was Kennedy who said, in a nuclear war those who die first are the lucky ones, because what comes in the weeks to follow is so horrible, that people would wish to be dead.

Now, if that would happen—and we are very close to it—everything mankind ever produced would be worthless. All the beautiful compositions of Beethoven—for nothing. The writings of Shakespeare, of Plato, Confucius, Pushkin, the great statecraft of people like Lincoln, Leonardo da Vinci—and I could go on with the list—all would be for nothing. There would not even be a historian left to investigate why this happened. Any policy consideration that does not start with that reflection is obviously insane, and out of it follows that everything has to be done to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war.

On Jan. 3 of this year, the permanent five of the UN Security Council again reiterated the very important sentence: “Nuclear war cannot be won and therefore must never be fought.”

‘Winnable Nuclear War’ Idea Spreads

That’s a noble statement, but unfortunately, the reality is quite different. Because in the recent period, the idea of a winnable nuclear war has become quite widespread, and obviously this idea is absolutely, completely insane. On April 27, the Wall Street Journal had an article with the headline, “The U.S. Should Demonstrate That It Can Win a Nuclear War”; and then it proceeded to quote the former Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy Seth Cropsey, that the U.S. should prepare to win a nuclear war, that the U.S. warships should be equipped with nuclear warheads to destroy Russian nuclear submarines, and in that way to eliminate the Russian second-strike capability.

Now, it is highly questionable that that would be possible—to destroy the second-strike capability; because of the less-capable early warning system and air warning systems of the Russians, they have installed an automatic second-strike capability: For the case [that] the Russian leadership would be eliminated through a first strike by the U.S. or NATO, they have in place a doomsday machine which automatically would send off nuclear weapons to destroy the attacker.

Now, the same idea of a winnable nuclear war was the basis of a [U.S. Strategic Command—ed.] maneuver which took place in January of this year, called “Global Lightning,” which played out the idea of a hybrid nuclear/conventional war; then a nuclear strike occurs by one or the other side; and the assumption would be that the U.S. and NATO would be capable to survive a nuclear first-strike by Russia and China. Then the war continues, using other lethal systems, like a missile defense system, directed-energy weapons, EMP [electromagnetic pulse—ed.] weapons, laser, cyberwar, attacks from space, and go on for weeks and weeks.

This is obviously what would not happen.

Ted Postol, the nuclear specialist, former professor of MIT, developed in various articles which I can only advise people to study, why there is no limited nuclear war, because there is a basic difference between conventional and nuclear war: And it is the character of nuclear war that once one nuclear weapon is used, it is the logic of that war that all will eventually come into use. In a [March 25] Robert Scheer, Ted Postol describes what would be the effects of nuclear bombs:

We’re talking about a wall of fire that encompasses everything around us at the temperature of the center of the sun. That will literally turn us to less than ash, if this thing gets going. I can’t emphasize how powerful these weapons are. When they detonate, they’re actually four or five times hotter than the center of the Sun, which is 20 million degrees Kelvin. They’re 100 million degrees Kelvin at the center of these weapons…. There is no way to imagine, as a human being … the scale is so off anything that human beings have tools to imagine, that it’s impossible…. This is something beyond anything that human beings have been able to imagine. And I don’t know how to emphasize how dangerous this is.

He then further describes that a single nuclear weapon would wipe out an urban area with the radius of 5 miles, or an area of about 75 square miles, and that it would only take 20% of the American ICBMs available to destroy all of Russia’s land-based ICBMs, maybe 1,000, and thus 80% of the warheads could be used for other purposes, for example, against targets in Russia, China, or Germany, for that matter.

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Malcolm Chalmers: Russia could be forced into a nuclear confrontation with NATO and its allies by providing Ukraine with ever more sophisticated weapons.

Now, that reality does not prevent Global Britain from playing the nuclear chicken game. There was recently an article by Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and they describe themselves as the world’s oldest and leading UK defense and security think tank, and they’re closely associated with the British military and Royal Household.

Brits Want To ‘Boil the Russian Frog’

They’re proposing a “Cuban Missile Crisis on steroids”—that’s how they call it—which could result from the Ukrainian attempt to retake Crimea, which would make it easier, in their view, to settle the Ukraine-Russia war. The headline of the article is “This War Still Presents Nuclear Risks—Especially in Relation to Crimea,” and it was published on May 20. Chalmers discusses how Russia could be forced into a nuclear confrontation by [NATO and its allies —ed.] sending ever more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine to “boil the Russian frog.” Now, you all know the story, at least so the story goes, if you throw a frog into boiling water, the frog would jump out. But if you put the frog into cold water, and then slowly turn up the heat, the frog gets cooked.

Now, they think that “boiling the Russian frog” you can arrive at by “progressively [increasing] the size and sophistication of the weapons they have been prepared to supply to Ukraine.” Because of those weapons, Ukraine would then be able, “reversing most of Russia’s recent territorial gains, including Kherson and even Mariupol.” Also those weapons and territorial gains could be used “to destroy bridges, railheads, storage sites and air bases” inside Russia. Then they would move to retake Crimea, strike a “tempting target” like the Kerch Bridge, for example, and now this would lead to Crimea Missile Crisis, Chalmers argues:

A specific threat to use nuclear weapons in relation to Crimea … might be viewed by Putin as a way to restore some of his coercive power, even if he (and the U.S.) doubted whether he would deliver on such a threat.…

If a red line were not accepted by Ukraine, Russia might then feel that it had to consider a series of further escalatory options, such as putting its nuclear forces on higher alert.

They are already on alert. Chalmers adds:

Faced with the alternative of the likely loss of Crimea, Putin might believe that Ukraine (with U.S. encouragement) would be likely to blink first. It would be a moment of extreme peril, with all the parties seeking to understand the intent of each other even as they looked to pursue their national interests.

Precisely because of the peril inherent in such a situation, a nuclear crisis of this sort could make it easier for leaders to make difficult compromises. Provided that the war was ended and the blockade of Odesa [sic] lifted, Ukraine’s leaders might be willing to postpone a settlement of the Crimea question. For Putin, the failure of the invasion, and the subsequent success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, would have been a massive humiliation. But he would at least be able to argue that the might of the Russian strategic arsenal had, at a moment of great national weakness, successfully deterred NATO’s designs for dismembering Russia. This could be enough for both sides to avoid the worst outcome of all.

This is absolute, complete insanity! What [Chalmers] calls a “Crimean Cuban missile crisis on steroids” would mean that the two largest nuclear powers would basically go to the absolute brink of nuclear war! Obviously, this RUSI is only a think-tank, but it is one which informs British policy. And therefore, the question is, is this not a violation of Article 2, No. 4 of the UN Charter? Because this is not just some form of incitement to war, but an incitement for nuclear war. And if there is no international legal definition of that, yet, it would be very urgent to make one.

Nuclear Retaliation

If this nuclear chicken game goes wrong, for starters, all nuclear weapons depots in Europe would be a target, and be reached in a few minutes, and there would be no more Germany. Ever since Putin announced the existence of the new Russian nuclear systems, on March 1, 2018, like the hypersonic missile Avangard, which is an intercontinental missile with Mach 20 speed, highly maneuverable; then the hypersonic cruise missile Kinzhal [“Dagger”], nuclear-powered cruise missiles, fast underwater drones, laser weapons, the possibility exists therefore, that Russia could position its sea-based nuclear hypersonic cruise missile Tsirkon off the coast of Washington, D.C., of which Russian military experts have said that they can reach Washington so fast, that the United States President has no time to escape on Air Force One.

The war would not be regional, it would involve U.S. and British targets as well. [Former U.S. Representative] Tulsi Gabbard has made a video, where she shows how all the U.S. cities would be hit by these nuclear weapons. That reality would be clear to the population. They would immediately try to get rid of the political leadership who say, “Heavy weapons to Ukraine, even if that involves the risk of nuclear war,” and you can fill who of these politicians have said that in the recent period.

It’s terrible that we have a war in the middle of Europe! Putin did start it, but Nikolay Patrushev, the head of the Russian Security Council, said that this occurred at a moment when the statehood of Russia was in danger, and that it was a preemptive “technical military action”; that they had proof of a pending, major Ukrainian attack on the Donbass; and this, following after eight years of what Putin has called “genocide,” in which 14,000 civilians have been killed. It is clear that the West never responded to the Russian complaints about that, and many of these charges have, indeed, been confirmed by the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe—ed.].

Origin of This World War Crisis

Now, what is at play here is a basic assumption that the U.S., the European Union, Global Britain, NATO, all are the “good guys,” and that Russia and China are the “bad guys.” Therefore, only the rules-based order is good, with the Western values, and those who don’t have “our values,” are bad; and therefore NATO’s east expansion is not a threat to anybody, because NATO is good, it’s not a threat to Russia, nor is Global NATO a threat to China.

That is the narrative, but it is not the truth.

The policy of what the British call “boiling the Russian frog” has been there since the end of the Soviet Union: Step by step, go for the encirclement. James Baker III on Feb. 9, 1990 told Gorbachev several times, that NATO would not move “one inch to the East.” There are many times witnesses who have confirmed that: [then German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich] Genscher is on a video, seen saying that.

In reality, when the Warsaw Pact dissolved, NATO lost its raison d’être, and it would have been absolutely possible to make a peace order. There was an historical chance, of the sort that comes only once in a century. We called it at that time, the Sternstunde der Menschheit, the “star hour of humanity.” We proposed as a peace order, first, the Productive Triangle Paris-Berlin-Vienna, which was supposed to beef up the economies of the Comecon; when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, we extended that to become the Eurasian Land-Bridge, and we called it already then, the New Silk Road. But almost at the same time, there was a CIA study in 1991, saying that Russia has more raw materials and better skilled labor power than the United States, and therefore, economic development of Russia would not be desirable, because otherwise, there would develop a competitor on the world market.

And as a consequence of that kind of thinking, Jeffrey Sachs, the professor, implemented—in not only Russia but in all of Eastern Europe—the “shock therapy,” which in the case of Russia led to a demographic collapse, which resulted in 1 million fewer Russians every year, because the death rate was so much higher than the birth rate. Boris Yeltsin was the darling of the West, and only when Putin came in and started to reverse the decline of Russia, did the demonization of Russia get started: It had nothing to do with what Putin did, because Putin was very open for cooperation, with NATO, with the West, to work on the “Common European House” as Gorbachev had put it; but [Putin] did not agree with putting Russia into the status of a third world country only exporting its raw materials, but he started to reindustrialize—or he tried, at least, to reindustrialize Russia and give it some status as a global player.

The demonization of China occurred, when China—which was first regarded to be some country which could be integrated into the liberal order by letting it join the WTO—but when China succeeded with its economic miracle, and not submitting to the Washington Consensus, and not accepting a liberal democracy, the attitude changed very quickly. China was able to lift 850 million people out of poverty, but especially when the Belt and Road Initiative was put on the table, giving the developing countries for the first time the chance to overcome poverty and underdevelopment, the systematic demonization of China happened.

And now it is an irony that the combined campaigns against Russia and China accelerate them to go for an alternative system. Especially together with the weaponization of the dollar and the euro, they have no other choice, than to create a new financial system.

Now, let’s take a look at the situation in Germany, because that is a key factor, that Germany is not a sovereign country; and that has to change quickly if Germans want to survive. Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz on April 22 said, “No heavy weapons to Ukraine”; that he would do everything to prevent an escalation which could lead to World War III. It took exactly three days, for him to announce that Germany would send Gepard tanks, when U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin conducted a big meeting at the airbase at Ramstein. Scholz also went for €100 billion armament program for the Bundeswehr and is now pushing a 2% increase in the military budget to be put into the Grundgesetz [the Basic Law, or Constitution—ed.] in Germany. That means that Germany is doing at this point exactly what the U.S. and the British want them to do—as a faithful vassal.

What the Social Democracy is doing to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder right now is a complete disgrace! Schröder has done one thing very good, which is that he did not allow Germany to participate in the war [on Iraq] in 2003. But he is being made into a pariah right now by the SPD. The SPD is now undertaking a complete revision of the détente policy of Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr—namely, the policy of change by approach, which was the reason why it was possible to have a peaceful reunification of Germany, which was not self-evident given the role of the Germans, with the Nazi war against the Soviet Union in the Second World War.

Now, the new head of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, announced that he would make a complete review of the relation to Russia—which, in parenthesis, the Foreign Minister Baerbock wants to “ruin,” like other people in the United States and even French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, want to absolutely, “crush,” “ruin,” “smash” Russia, all words that were used. Klingbeil also said that he wants to start the relations with the East European countries.

Now, that thinking, to denounce the tradition of the détente of Willy Brandt, of the East Policy of the SPD, is completely oblivious to the history: As I said, the German reunification would not have been possible, without these stepping stones. So they behave as complete brave vassals.

Figure 1
With its more than two trillion galaxies, the vast universe beckons us to work and reason together as one human species to explore, inhabit, and understand its laws. Above: a composite image of the M81 spiral galaxy from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes and NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer. Below: a Hubble image of a small galaxy silhouetted in front of a larger one.
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NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

The Basis for Peace

That is why we need, urgently, a new security and development architecture in the tradition of the Peace of Westphalia, and that can only occur if it comes from a combination of international countries, which then outflank such stupid policies as that of the German government right now. What this Peace of Westphalia conference, that we are pushing to be convoked, must start with: It must establish the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the so-called Panchsheel which was established in 1954 by India and China, and which is still, to the present day, the only formula which can be the basis for peace.

First, there must be mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Second, there must be mutual non-aggression.

Third, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Fourth, equality and mutual benefit;

And peaceful coexistence.

Then, I would add to that: There must be—in light of what I said about the destructive power and danger to humanity of nuclear weapons—there must be a mutual elimination of all nuclear weapons, based on the principles defined by Lyndon LaRouche in his famous—what was then the Strategic Defense Initiative, which is the idea that all nuclear weapons powers should work together to make nuclear weapons technologically obsolete, through the development of new weapons based on new physical principles.

There must be a reorganization of the hopelessly bankrupt neoliberal financial system, because that is the drive for war. The reason for the immediacy of the war danger is that the trans-Atlantic financial system is about to blow out in a hyperinflationary collapse, and that is why they are so desperate, not to allow a different system to emerge.

The first step has to be the implementation of a global Glass-Steagall banking separation, to end the casino economy for good.

Then, in every country, there must be a National Bank, in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton and the First National Bank of the United States.

Third, there must be a new credit system, providing low-interest, long-term credit to overcome the underdevelopment of the developing sector.

Then, because we have right now, 1.7 billion people facing starvation, 2 billion people without access to clean water, which is a reflection of the fact that the present productive capabilities are not enough to maintain the present population 8 billion people: Therefore, we must increase the productivity of the economy by an order of magnitude, which means we have to have a crash program for fusion development. We are very close to breakthroughs, and commercial fusion is absolutely in reach if we now go for a crash program.

And we need international cooperation in space, internationally we have to build together a village on the Moon, a city on Mars, and eventually interstellar space travel (See Figure 1) because there are, according to the Hubble Telescope—and now we will hear more from the James Webb Space Telescope—there are at least 2 trillion galaxies. And one human species is barely enough to investigate the laws of our gigantically big, common universe.

Then: With the reorganization of the financial system, we absolutely have to build what we produced already in 2014, a blueprint for global development, the name of which is the “New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.” (See Figure 2.)

Then, the lesson to be learned out of the present, incredibly Russophobia, Sinophobia, hatred against other people: We have to have a dialogue of the best traditions of all cultures. Because if all people would know the beauty of the Chinese, the Russian, the Indian, the African, the Persian culture, and many other cultures, well, it would mean you would start to love these cultures! Because knowledge of these other cultures means you all of a sudden see that you become so much richer by knowing them.

So, the most important element to overcome the present existential crisis is something which is right now absent from politics, but it is in the nature of human beings, and therefore we can mobilize it: And that is, love of humanity.

Thank you.

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