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This transcript appears in the January 20, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]


Who Authorized NATO and the EU To Organize a World War?

This is the edited transcript of the Schiller Institute’s weekly online, live dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche. A video of the webcast is available here .

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Raimond Spekking
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel: either lying then or now about the Minsk accords.

Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger. Welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and leader of the Schiller Institute. This is Wednesday, January 11, 2023.

Helga, this has been a very busy last couple of days for you, with more to come. Starting with the dialogue with Diane Sare on Sunday and then yesterday, the very significant international dialogue focused on former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the lies around the Minsk accords.

Why don’t we start with that, because you presented an extremely compelling chronology of the Minsk situation, and this is something people should watch. It’s up on the Schiller website. What was your impression of the event?

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President of Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine: no negotiations with Russia.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think it brought the debate around the present strategic situation to the point, because my argument was—first of all, we discussed the implication of Merkel’s lying, either lying in the beginning, in the period where they pretended still to try to implement the Minsk agreement; or lying now, saying that she never meant it, and it was all just to give time for Ukraine to rebuild, or go for rearmament. So, we discussed that, and in that context, I made the point that, as a consequence of that and many other aspects, we are now at an extremely dangerous point. The Russians have lost all trust in the West, in the ability to negotiate with these leaders. Zelensky doesn’t want to negotiate, either. It has been reported that there is a law which forbids Ukrainians to negotiate as long as Putin is in office.

In any case, there were many arguments coming also from Scott Ritter, from the French General [Dominique] Delawarde [ret.], from French Colonel [Alain] Corvez [ret.] that basically the time for negotiation is not there and the Russians will force a military solution on the battlefield. And they were of the opinion that Russia will win this battle. I was making the point that, given the fact that NATO is saying Russia can absolutely not win, [that] Ukraine must win, that this implies too many dangers, and that we absolutely have to have an international mobilization to take up the offer of Pope Francis, who offered the venue of the Vatican for unconditional negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. And that we need to have an international pressure in the United States, in Europe, in particular, but also in the Global South, to demand a stop to the war, because it has the danger of going out of control.

Now, that is a very interesting debate, which I think we must have, and I can only again emphasize, everybody should watch the video which was made, now in different forms several times by the nuclear expert Steven Starr, because he makes absolutely clear, if it comes to nuclear war, if only one weapon is used, that is the annihilation of civilization. And most people nowadays, the young generation in particular, have no inkling what a nuclear war would mean. And I can only say, if you study that, and if you actually see that the whole human race would be wiped out, nobody would be left to even investigate why this happened. Then, I think you have to start with that. That must be avoided at all costs. Everything we did in our lives, what you did, your parents, your grandparents, you will have no children, you know—I mean, I think people really have to start with that.

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Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, FDP Bundestag member, wants to train Ukrainian soldiers now on the Leopard II tank.

Because unless you make that crystal clear, then you’re not in the real world, and such politicians, like this absolutely unbelievable [FDP Bundestag member Marie-Agnes] Strack-Zimmermann—I don’t want to use any words, because I think I will lose my self-control—she is now saying, we should train Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard II tank, so that in case the politicians make the agreement that it will be sent, that these Ukrainians are trained already. I mean, it’s that kind of running to more heavy weapons, and even more weapons and more weapons—I mean, this is a spiral, which can absolutely go out of control.

So, I can only suggest that people should watch this program. Ray McGovern said many, many fascinating things, including about the political experiences he had in Germany. Scott Ritter, a person knowledgeable about these matters, and we had these two retired French military officers, who also spoke. It is a debate which must be continued, because what is lacking is a public awareness of where we are at. The debate and discussion need to increase to get at the solution quickly enough.

Schlanger: Public awareness can be enhanced by people going to the Schiller Institute website, watching this, sharing it, and getting the story out. Because every single day there are new developments, that threaten to cause the war to break out internationally. The Global NATO, for example, that we’ve been talking about for some time—there was a very weird event on January 10—I mean strange in the sense that it’s the worst elements of Europe coming together with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, forming an EU-NATO agreement for a Global NATO. What’s that all about, Helga?

Zepp-LaRouche: I hope that you, the watchers, at least if you are living in the United States or Europe, have been asked if you agree with that. Who authorized the EU and NATO to form an alliance? I have not been asked about that. Have the voters in these countries been asked about that?

What they did is basically—after the Lisbon Treaty [Dec. 13, 2007], the EU in any case has been interwoven with NATO to a very far-reaching degree. But this is going even a step beyond that, and it basically says that every country which is part of either one or the other alliance, that they will now share their concern about the aggressive Russia and the increasingly aggressive China. And basically, if you look at the 14 points they agreed upon, it means that anything which happens to Global NATO—that’s what NATO wants to become and what NATO is working on; this was discussed at the Madrid summit last summer—it basically means that every citizen will be involved in whatever happens with Global NATO. You know, if there is going to be a new showdown with China over Taiwan, or any other global event, it will affect all of Europe!

And I have not been asked if that is my wish. So, I find this typical, and it’s one more example, why supranational institutions should not have such total power, because it completely eliminates the agreement of the individual. We need to go back to sovereignty, because that is the only way how nations, how individuals can participate in self-government.

This is a very ominous development, especially because Stoltenberg, in a radio show earlier last year, had indicated that he wants to change the Article 5 of NATO. I don’t think they have done it yet, but there are clearly plans to do so. As you know, Article 5, so far, defines the condition that if one member of NATO is being attacked, it’s an attack on all, and all of NATO will respond. Stoltenberg wants to change that to say, that, given the fact that the nature of war has changed and it’s now cyber war and hybrid war, this Article 5 should allow preemptive attacks to counter those threats. Now, that’s a rubber paragraph, you know, that will basically give NATO the same kind of ability to go for preemptive action, that Biden basically agreed to for the United States.

All of these developments are highly dangerous, and highly undemocratic. There has been no public debate. I don’t think any parliaments were consulted and discussed that, so I think it’s very urgent that there is a public awareness of these changes to go in the direction of establishing a Global NATO dictatorship.

Schlanger: And as you know very well, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she doesn’t care what her German voters think, we’re going to fight this war to the end. Now, she just went to Ukraine to promise more weapons. What do you know about that?

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The U.S. and EU have together gifted over $100 billion to the military-industrial complex for weapons for Ukraine. Shown, a German Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Zepp-LaRouche: Again, one of the useful elements of this program which we had yesterday is that Ray McGovern pointed to the fact of the immense cost of all of these weapons. And he, in a very concrete way, described how all these billions could be used for schools, hospitals, urgent repair for infrastructure in the United States, and naturally, the same goes for Europe. I think altogether, the United States has now spent $112 billion on weapons to Ukraine. The EU sum is not quite as high, but going in the same direction. Now, who gets that money? Do the Ukrainians get it? No. It goes all to the military-industrial complex, the people who produce all these missiles and the tanks and other vehicles. So it is actually a tremendous way of filling the pockets of the military-industrial complex and those firms which produce this, plus their corresponding representatives in Wall Street and the City of London and other such places.

I think we have a real crisis of democracy, to use a known term, because it is a fact that the governments no longer care about what the population wants done. One example, in Germany, there are polls now—and polls are problematic, but, since they go in the opposite direction of the public narrative, there seems to be some credibility in these recent polls—namely, that the vast majority of people in Germany are against sending more weapons to Ukraine! Is that being reflected in the policy of this Baerbock? No, obviously not. In the same way, the majority of the population in Germany is in favor of keeping nuclear power, not only to keep those nuclear plants which are still functioning, to keep them running, but also to reopen some of the nuclear plants which have been turned off already, because of the energy crisis and the exploding inflation as a result of it. Does that have any impact on the so-called Economic Minister [Robert] Habeck? No, it doesn’t.

I think it is high time that we have a mobilization of citizens. People, when their country is being dismantled in front of their eyes, have to protest against it and not allow this to happen. This is the existence of Germany as an industrial power [at stake], and Germany is being fully drawn into this. And even Der Spiegel—which is a magazine that got its license from the British, when Germany was still an occupied country and I think it reflects that up to the present day—even Spiegel said that when Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the decision to send the Marder tanks to Ukraine, Germany officially, according to international law, became a war party. Now, what does that mean? It means that if there is any continuous escalation of this conflict, Germany will be a target, and not survive. That’s my view.

Schlanger: And you mentioned polls: There’s another one out, which shows that the current coalition government, with Scholz [SPD], the Greens, and the Free Democrats, have fallen significantly below 50% support from the German population.

Now, Helga, you mentioned Stoltenberg talking about the Global NATO having a capability for preemptive strikes. I want to talk about the U.K.-Japan agreement, but it’s worth noting that Lt. Gen. James Bierman, who’s the commander of the Marine forces in Japan, talked about the Ukraine war as a model for what must be done to contain China. And he said, you have to have training and prepositioning to determine the victory, because whoever initiates hostilities will win. So now we see the U.K. and Japan, an infamous past relationship: What is going on with this?

Zepp-LaRouche: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was in London, and agreed on a Reciprocal Access Agreement, “allow[ing] the UK and Japan to deploy forces in one another’s countries.”

The United States, which had war plans to combat both the Japanese and British imperial powers in the early 20th Century, is now part of it, because of the AUKUS [Australia, UK, U.S.] plan. All of these military alliances being interwoven: the Japanese-British, Japanese-Australian, U.S. with the AUKUS plan; then NATO, which is supposed to become Global NATO to extend into the Indo Pacific. What is all of this supposed to be?

Is it really true that China is increasingly “assertive”? It’s not true! As a matter of fact, the opposite is happening. China had a leadership meeting in December, in which they said they will open China for foreign investment, they will give guarantees to foreign investors. They are sending out all signals that they want to cooperate, and they have no interest—they have never said anything, or done anything in the history of China which would give credibility to the idea that China wants to become an imperial power. That is not what they are doing. They are working for a different economic system which will allow developing countries to overcome poverty, and they have extended the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to that extent. They are economically rising. But this does not constitute a threat! I think that is really the focus story, which serves as a pretext.

The United States and Europe should cooperate, and I know this is not popular when you say this these days, but this geopolitical confrontation is just economically suicide, and potentially military and security suicide.

Schlanger: You mentioned suicide: There were some interesting comments made this week, one by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, and then another by the Ukrainian ambassador to Britain, both of whom said: “We’re dying for NATO. We’re shedding our blood for NATO. You have to give us more.” Perhaps the people in Japan and Taiwan should think about those comments, before they get too involved with Global NATO.

Now, the other thing, Helga, we talked about before, is that it looks like the U.S. is moving ahead with more weapons, Patriot missile systems; and now, they’re going to bring Ukrainians to the United States to train them on using these. So this makes the United States even more a party to the war, doesn’t it?

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I think as the French journalist Georges Malbrunot had already written in Le Figaro some months ago, after he visited Ukraine, and he said when he was investigating what the Ukrainian army was doing, that he realized that the Americans were fully in charge of the Ukrainian army. That’s a French journalist of one of the leading newspapers in France.

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Dmitry Medvedev, the former President and now Prime Minister of Russia: Zircon hypersonic missiles are now off the coasts of all NATO members.

This is not something between Ukraine and Russia; it is between NATO and Russia, and the implications of that cannot be ignored. What does it mean when the two largest nuclear powers are in such a confrontation? Both of them have between 1,000 and 1,500 ICBMs and similar weapons in launch-on-warning. And if this goes wrong, within minutes—. [Dmitry] Medvedev, the Prime Minister and former President of Russia, released a statement indicating that since the beginning of this year, hypersonic missiles, the Zircon missile which goes at a Mach 9 speed, which is highly maneuverable, that that is now off all the coasts of NATO members. Now, I have not seen any more discussion of that, but the implication of that is that we are minutes away from a potential Armageddon, and people are not discussing it! I think this is something which urgently has to occur.

Schlanger: Going back to China, the Chinese are definitely discussing this: There was a Chinese spokesman who ridiculed the idea of China as a threat. What’s the general sense coming from the Chinese leadership in the midst of this situation? You mentioned the openness to collaborate with [foreign investors], more than happy to have an inclusive relationship. But what’s the response to the threat from Japan, AUKUS, and so on?

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, the undeniable fact, which was reiterated over the holiday period, again, by Xi Jinping and Putin, is that the strategic alliance, including the military alliance between Russia and China is absolutely cemented, and that is a factor which anybody in the West better take into account, because that unites the economic power of China, which, by the way, is, under these circumstances, also building up its own military very rapidly; however, that unites the economic power of China with the military power of Russia.

Then think about the fact that the Global South, for the most part, has already moved to be allied with the BRICS, that there are 17 countries that want to be BRICS members. The BRICS already has a GDP which is higher than that of the G7. If you add those 17 countries, which includes large countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Argentina—I mean, we are now in a showdown, and we must find a way to get into a different domain. Because as long as we stay in this geopolitical confrontation, the fate of humanity hangs by the famous thread.

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Russian Defense Ministry
Test firing of a Mach 9 Zircon missile from the Admiral Kasatonov guided missile frigate.

Schlanger: In addition to the proposal from the Vatican to serve as a venue for talks, there’s been talk now of the new President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, as a possible mediator; also, Turkish President Erdogan continues to play a role. How realistic is it, Helga—I know this was the center of the debate in these events over the last couple of days—but how realistic is it, that the Western countries could be induced, or forced by their populations, to engage in negotiations?

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, if you were to look at it as a commentator, you would say that the chances are very slim, if not tending toward zero. However, if you proceed the way I have suggested, that you really start absolutely without cheating your own opinions, without making illusions; if you look at where we are at in terms of the possible extinction of civilization, you start with that, and then you come to the conclusion that you’d better change the attitude in the Western countries, or else we may go down the road to absolute extinction. We have issued an Open Letter to Pope Francis, from the parliamentarians from Latin America calling not only on all parliamentarians around the world, but also to their constituencies, to ask support for the offer of the Pope that the Vatican be the venue of such negotiations.

So, the aim is not to convince the Pope; the Pope already offered it. He met over the last days with the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy, and also Cardinal [Matteo Maria] Zuppi, who heads the Italian Bishops’ Conference, and reiterated the urgent call for dialogue.

You don’t have to convince them; that’s not the aim of this initiative. We have to make clear that the majority of the people, when we would ask them, “Do you want to go down that road of confrontation?” they would say “No!” And that is what we have to catalyze, and we have to have a discussion about the danger. When we had the intermediate-range missile crisis in the beginning of the 1980s, there were hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, warning of World War III. This time is so much more dangerous, and there is no public debate, or very little public debate, and I think that that is the aim of this initiative.

And therefore, I would ask you, sign this letter to the Pope, get it around to other people concerned about the issue of war and peace, and let’s have a discussion of how to get out of this. The first thing is, we have to have an end to the war. I know neither Russia nor the other side right now, is willing to do it, but that can only be changed if there is a popular demand big enough to force it. And then we have to move very quickly, to a new international security and development architecture, which takes into account the interest of every country on the planet.

Either we make that jump, that shift, or, the fate of humanity is dubious.

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An Open Letter to Pope Francis from Ibero-American parliamentarians is intended to catalyze support from other legislators and prominent persons to support his offer of the Vatican as the venue for peace negotiations.

Schlanger: I think it’s clear also that the populations in the Western countries are not doing very well economically. We have a strike wave in the United Kingdom, nurses walking out in New York City, inflation continues at record levels, so there’s a lot of ferment. And now is the time to not just get people stirred up—they’re already stirred up—give them solutions! And Helga, I think that’s the intention you have with the events that just took place, and the events coming up, including a conference on Jan. 14, and a Schiller conference in early February.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. Actually, you should put these on your calendar already, that we will have an international Schiller conference probably either on Feb. 4 or 5, so we are trying to assemble forces across the globe who discuss, and what could be a more important issue than to get well-meaning people, intellectuals of different countries, to actually discuss and map out what should be the order, how mankind orders its affairs? When this was the subject of the Federalist Papers in the early time of the American Republic, where people discuss, what does it mean to be self-governing? That is a very urgent issue for the world, not just within a country, but among countries. And as I said, 150 countries are right now working with the Belt and Road Initiative, and they’re insisting that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and non-interference should be the basis, [along with] the UN Charter. I think we absolutely have to get this kind of discussion.

Because, again, coming back to this EU-NATO agreement, I think if you were not asked if you agree with that, it’s high time that this is being expressed. These governments—or better, these bureaucrats—have no right to make decisions which lead the world into a disaster. We need an urgent public debate. Join us, and sign the letter to the Pope, get in contact with us, and let’s build an alliance of people fighting for world peace.

Schlanger: And this brings to mind the famous statement attributed to Ben Franklin, who said: “We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.” The question of public awareness or citizen involvement, with your mobilizing internationally, that’s the only way to really keep peace and have a development perspective.

Helga, thanks for joining us. Thank you for what you’ve been doing with these conferences. I would urge everyone to go to the Schiller Institute website to look at the conference of Jan. 10.

And with that said, we’ll see you next week.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, let’s talk next week.

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