This transcript appears in the August 5, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
[Print version of this transcript]
Helga Zepp-LaRouche on China Radio International
Those Who Are Willing To Learn from Their Mistakes, and Those Who Are Not
This is an edited transcript of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s July 25 interview with China Radio International’s World Today program, with hostess Ge Anna, on the Black Sea grain agreements among Russia, Turkey, the United Nations, and Ukraine. The audio of the podcast is on China Plus, “What to Expect from Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s Visits to China?” Selection No. 2, “Russia and Ukraine have signed a grain exports deal; will it ease global food crisis?” and is available here.
Ge Anna: Russia and Ukraine both have signed identical agreements with Turkey and the United Nations. The landmark grain deal is expected to help ease food prices and pave the way for Ukraine to safely resume grain shipments from its ports. Our reporter has more from Istanbul.
CGTN Radio: The main aim of the deal signed here in Istanbul is to allow Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer to reach global markets safely. Around 22 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine’s Odessa port. UN officials have stated that the stock in Ukraine has become a large component of the global food crisis.
UN Secretary General António Guterres: And let there be no doubt, this is an agreement for the world. It will bring relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine.
CGTN Radio: As part of the agreement, a joint coordination center will be created in Istanbul, under the auspices of the United Nations, and will include representatives of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Ukrainian Representative: About 20 million tons of last year’s grain harvest will be exported. This year’s harvest—and it’s already been harvested—will also be available for sale. These are farmers’ incomes, the entire agricultural sector, and the state budget.
Russian Representative: Russia will continue to be faithful to its obligations in this area. The use of food by the United States and its allies in the interests of geopolitical adventures is unacceptable and inhumane.
CGTN Radio: Ships coming in and out of designated Ukraine ports are to travel through safe corridors and inspections will be carried out onboard vessels for unauthorized cargo or personnel. Russia and Ukraine have also agreed not to attack any vessels or port facilities engaged in the initiative.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed the deal’s economic significance as well.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Ensuring high security in agriculture, in food products, is important in many respects. With this step, possible additional price increases due to the loss of productivity caused by the heat wave and drought will be prevented. We also help to control food inflation which has become a global problem.
CGTN Radio: Guterres and Erdoğan stated that it would take several weeks for the agreement to be implemented. The agreement is set to expire after 120 days and can be renewed if both parties agree. This is CGTN, Istanbul.
Ge: For this and more, joining us on the line is Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany-based political and economic think tank.
Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, what is intriguing about the deal is that the deal wasn’t directly signed by most relevant parties—Russia and Ukraine—but they signed mirror deals separately with Turkey and the United Nations. What do you make of the reason behind this arrangement?
‘Need To Double Food Production’
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: We are faced in the whole world with an unprecedented danger of world famine. The UN spoke of 1.7 billion people who are in danger of dying of hunger, so the pressure was enormous. I think the United Nations and Turkey played a very important role in the background, negotiating this for two months. The cry of the entire developing countries, the poorest of the countries, was backing this pressure to accomplish this deal.
Ge: Secretary-General António Guterres praised the grain deal as a “beacon on the Black Sea” at the signing ceremony. How would you look at the significance of the deal? Can it be considered a step forward to a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis?
Zepp-LaRouche: It is obviously extremely important, because it also proves that you can have diplomatic solutions, including with Russia. Because the entire hawks in the West are saying you can’t negotiate with Russia, diplomacy is out. So, this is the proof that that is not true. However, we should be extremely aware that the hawks in the West will continuously deny that possibility. Fortunately, the tide in the world is shifting, because as you could see with the refusal of many countries belonging to what used to be the Non-Aligned Movement, they refused to go along with the sanctions against Russia. So, we are really looking at a completely different dynamic in the world right now.
Ge: We’ve seen increasing concerns about the food crisis worldwide. To what extent would the world food crisis be averted if this deal could be effectively implemented?
Zepp-LaRouche: It’s an important step, but not more than that, because much, much more is needed. We need to really have a doubling of food production worldwide to solve the problem of world hunger. For example, the EU and the food cartels are still trying to make a major profit out of this crisis. They should lift the nonsensical restrictions, like set-asides of arable land, the 30-by-30 restriction whereby 20 to 30% of the agricultural land should be put aside. All of these things should be lifted, and credits must be given to all farmers so they can buy all the fertilizer needed, all the pesticides, all the machines.
You can see that there is right now an existential fight by the farmers, who fear that these policies are trying to put them out of business forever. This is why the Dutch farmers are taking to the streets; this is why you have support for the Dutch farmers from the German farmers, from the Italian farmers. So, we have a huge crisis in agriculture. This agreement is an important step, but something much, much more dramatic in terms of change in attitude—providing food to all people living on this planet—is needed.
Ge: Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, it is reported that under the agreement, ships coming in and out of designated Ukraine ports are to travel through safe corridors, including Odessa port, a key Black Sea terminal. But Ukraine said that recently, Russian missiles had struck the port less than one day after the signing of the deal. Russia later denied the attack, according to the Turkish Defense Minister, as Russian officials had told Ankara that Russia had nothing to do with the attacks. What do you make of this? Is Russia trying to jeopardize the deal?
Zepp-LaRouche: No, not at all! Russia made very clear that they did not hit any civilian ships or anything to do with this deal. They hit only a military vessel and a stockpile of Harpoon missiles. This was on the territory of a shipyard, where a Ukrainian warship had docked, and a warehouse which had Harpoon anti-ship missiles which were supplied by the United States. Now, these were destroyed with a sea-based high-precision long-range missile, and that is a military operation. It had nothing to do with the civilian deal. Given the fact that the U.S. is continuously shipping heavy weapons to Ukraine, they make themselves a target—that’s just the logic of war.
The World Does Not Want the Sanctions
Ge: With such developments, it’s not difficult to notice that there are still some difficulties in effectively implementing this agreement. What do you think are the active impacts of those movements, not only from the Russian side, but also as you mentioned from the U.S. side? Could you please tell us more about the main difficulties facing the deal?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think the deal is one thing, and it is good and it should be supported and expanded. But the larger picture is that the geopolitical confrontation, where the West is trying to weaken Russia, as [Annalena] Baerbock the German Foreign Minister said, they want to “ruin Russia”; and U.S. Defense Secretary [Lloyd] Austin said they want to “weaken” Russia, basically annihilate it. As long as that policy exists, you will see more difficulties.
This is why I have called for an ending of all sanctions; not just against Russia, but against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen. Because under conditions of a world famine, a world pandemic, and the present situation, sanctions are killing civilians. It’s always hitting the ordinary people, because the aim of sanctions is to cause the people to be so upset with their governments that they cause a regime change. Sanctions are immoral, and only those sanctions which are allowed by the UN Security Council are legitimate, and all other sanctions should be banned.
More fundamentally, I think we need a new paradigm, exactly what President Xi Jinping has called [for] with the Global Development Initiative, combined with a Global Security Initiative. We need a new security and development architecture, which takes care of the interests of every single country on the planet. Until we have such a fundamental change, we will have a very difficult time. So, all people of good will should work together that we get to this new paradigm.
Ge: Another perspective worth mentioning is that we’ve seen that throughout the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Turkey has been a vital part of this deal. According to the deal, a joint coordination center will also be established immediately in Istanbul, the major city of the country, and include representatives from the three major parties. What’s your assessment on Turkey’s role in this deal and the crisis?
Zepp-LaRouche: That’s highly interesting, because after all, Turkey is a member of NATO, but they are also making these arrangements with Iran and Russia, and therefore, Turkey’s mediation role could become a role model for solving all kinds of problems. I think if more NATO countries would follow the example of Turkey, it would be very beneficial. You know, there is not a unity in NATO at all, and there is no unity in the European Union, because not everybody agrees with the policy of sanctions against Russia.
The majority of the world does not agree with it. Indonesia, India, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil—all these countries do not go along, and that for a very good reason: Because many of these countries recognize that the main fault for the Ukraine crisis is not [with] Russia, but it has been the continuous policy of eastward expansion of NATO. That has to be confessed and admitted, and then you can have a solution.