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This article appears in the September 15, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

Helga Zepp-LaRouche

BRICS: A Transformation Bigger Than the End of the Cold War

This is the prepared text, as edited, of the presentation that Helga Zepp-LaRouche delivered to Panel 1, “The Strategic Situation After the Historic BRICS Summit” of the Schiller Institute’s Sept 9, 2023 conference, “Let Us Join Hands with the Global Majority!” Mrs. LaRouche is the founder and leader of the Schiller Institute. Subheads have been added.

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Schiller Institute
Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Hello. I greet you, wherever you may be around the globe. It is most urgent that we make the ordinary citizens of European nations and the U.S.A.—who are bombarded on a daily basis with a barrage of news in the mainstream mass media, which all have generally a spin in such a way, as to create an almost entirely fictitious parallel reality—aware of the tectonic change going on in this historic moment. Because only if they, the ordinary citizens, recognize the choices clearly lying ahead of us, is there hope for a positive way out of the present existential crisis of humanity.

It is high time to review the success and respectively the failure of the official policies of the recent period in order to assess the validity or flaws of one’s own thinking and axioms of thinking. If there is one lesson about how it came to two world wars in the 20th century, then it is the number of miscalculations on the part of the participants in those wars. Having that parallel in mind one can only sound the alarm bells in the shrillest way possible.

The Ukraine War Was Not ‘Unprovoked’

The geopolitical confrontation of U.S.-led NATO over Ukraine, which did not start “unprovoked” on February 24, 2022, but really already with the “Orange Revolution” financed by the NED, the National Endowment for Democracy, in 2004, and which escalated with Victoria Nuland’s Maidan coup in 2014—this is clearly not working the way it was intended. The unprecedented series of sanctions did not “ruin Russia,” as Annalena Baerbock had wished, but caused a far-reaching reorientation of Russia to the East and to the South and it cemented the relationship between Russia and China which clearly could not have been in the intentions of the authors of this war.

But also Russia’s expectation about a short-term nature of the military special operation did not materialize, since the Russian leadership obviously underestimated the effect of NATO operations in Ukraine since the Maidan coup and the subsequent changed attitude of the population, as well as the far-reaching willingness for military engagement in Ukraine by the entire West.

Now a military stalemate has been reached, and the continuation of the military operations can, despite all new weapons delivered, only lead to the complete attrition of the human resources of Ukraine, which already has suffered horrendous casualty figures, and the danger of an escalation to a nuclear level, if either Russia sees its territorial integrity threatened or somebody thinks that a limited nuclear war is feasible.

If the Europeans believed that their giving in to the demands of ever “more weapons” to Ukraine, would lead to a victory of Ukraine on the battlefield, that also did not work out. Instead European nations find themselves completely cut off from any ties with their neighbor Russia, and the “energy-dependency” shifted from Russia to the much more expensive American energy, and in the meantime Germany has lost even the appearance of a remnant of sovereignty and with it respect in the whole world.

Germany: A Doormat for NATO Boots

Germany, the erstwhile economic powerhouse of Europe, is rapidly undergoing a process of deindustrialization caused by exorbitant energy prices provided by the wonderful protective power and ally, the United States, which is not hesitating to lure the battered German industries to resettle in the U.S. with the help of the Inflation Reduction Act—not even to mention the Nord Stream pipelines about which nobody believes the belatedly made-up story about the sailing yacht Andromeda. A popular saying these days is: What do you need enemies for with friends like this?

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Germany’s military commitment to NATO’s war against Russia in Ukraine is wrecking the erstwhile economic powerhouse of Europe. Here, Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks on maneuvers.

Germany has been transformed into a doormat, trampled upon by NATO boots, while the present political leadership with its green Atlanticist ideology, for whom it would be a euphemism to call it “German,” is gambling away about everything all the generations have built up from the rubble fields after the Second World War. Half of the German Mittelstand, the source of the entire social system in the country, is either going bankrupt or leaving to reinvest either in the U.S. or in China.

The overwhelming mood in the country is one of desperation—restaurant owners, farmers, craftsmen, store owners, nurses, all kinds of service industries—all feel that the floor is being pulled away from under them, and those who do not want to move to the Alternative for Germany, a right wing party with some good points, but also unacceptable elements in it, feel that they have no place to turn. “Everything will crash against the wall,” is one of the most often heard expressions in many private discussions. People feel completely betrayed. We should remember that it was that utter feeling of betrayal after the Versailles Treaty that was the death nell for the Weimar Republic and [led to] everything which followed.

But what most citizens of the West have no inkling about, is that there is a much bigger, much more consequential development taking place elsewhere, in those parts of the world that are affected by what is going on between NATO and Russia, where the so-called “collateral damage,” such as high energy and food prices in these countries was considered “negligible.” And now, that oversight is turning out to be the biggest misjudgment of all.

The unilateral (and therefore illegal) sanctions against Russia and a whole series of other countries, the confiscation of state assets, and the weaponization of the dollar—on top of the longstanding experience of unfair trade and credit conditions—have led to a gigantic blowback in the countries of the Global South which since have emerged as the Global Majority, representing more than 85% of the world population.

The ‘Spirit of Bandung’ Comes Back to Life

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Some of the leaders attending the Bandung Conference in Indonesia, left to right: Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt), Yilma Deressa (Ethiopia), Kojo Botsio (Ghana), and Jawaharlal Nehru (India). At right: Sukarno (Indonesia). April 1955.

The massive attempts by NATO countries to pressure countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa to take the side of the “democracies” of the “rules-based order,” against the supposed “autocracies” and “dictatorships” in the Ukraine conflict, backfired thoroughly. The identity of these countries as being part of the Non-Aligned Movement and the “Spirit of Bandung,” the major alliance between Asian and African countries of the 1955 conference, came back to life, and with it the memory that it was the Soviet Union which had helped many of the developing countries in their struggles for independence against the colonial powers.

When Lyndon LaRouche, my late husband, had first proposed the alternative to the IMF in the form of the IDB [International Development Bank]—which would not have the conditionalities of the IMF—which was intended to issue $400 billion in credit lines per year for industrial development projects, this proposal was full-heartedly endorsed by the Non-Aligned Movement then, which incorporated it in its final resolution [in 1976] in Colombo, Sri Lanka, representing already then 75% of the world population. The reactions of the financial powers were brutal: Indira Gandhi and Mrs. Bandaranaike were ousted from power, President Ali Bhutto and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi several years later were murdered. The Non-Aligned Movement played a subdued role for many years to come as a result of these attacks.

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India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
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Government of Mexico
Mexico’s President José López Portillo

Lyndon LaRouche, whose 101st birthday we were celebrating yesterday, and his international movement, kept writing development plans relentlessly, a comprehensive infrastructure plan for the entire African continent, presented in 1976 in a conference in Paris, Operacion Juárez for Latin America in cooperation with Mexican President López Portillo, a 50-year development plan for the Pacific Basin in light of the expected increase in population density in that part of the world, a 40-year development plan for India, which Mrs. Gandhi started to implement, the Oasis Plan for Southwest Asia, and in 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, the Eurasian Land-Bridge, the New Silk Road—all of these programs were presented at literally hundreds of conferences and seminars on five continents.

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Campaigner Publications
Lyndon LaRouche’s 1975 strategic policy proposal.

After President Xi Jinping presented the concept of the New Silk Road in Kazakhstan, exactly 10 years and 2 days ago, Western governments, think tanks and media amazingly ignored this program, which was clearly the largest infrastructure program in history ever, easily an order of magnitude larger than the Marshall Plan for Europe after the Second World War.

China’s BRI and the Global South

But for the countries of the Global South the BRI became the game changer, allowing many of them for the first time to seriously launch infrastructure programs, industrial parks, advanced science projects, etc. From the end of 2017, the attitude in the West towards the BRI suddenly shifted from indifference to hostility, in the security papers of the Pentagon first, and then synchronized in all Western media and think tanks. China’s rise was characterized as “systemic rival” and “opponent,” culminating in the recent “decoupling” and “derisking” frenzy.

With the recent enlargement of the BRICS into BRICS-11 and the expressed interest of around 40 more countries to join likewise, the idea of a complete decoupling from Russia and China is more than absurd: it is suicidal. The perspective of creating two more or less separate blocs in reality is not feasible and can be only seen as the futile effort to economically weaken an adversary before a planned military attack which, given the existence of several thousands of nuclear missiles would mean the annihilation of the human species and with it all life on earth.

It is time for a fundamental strategic re-evaluation. Is it not now more in the interest of the U.S. and European nations to take the initiative to cooperate with all the countries of the Global South and build a prosperous world for all nations, rather than taking the risk of pursuing a policy which may lead to the “end of history,” albeit in a different way than Francis Fukuyama, the father of all political misjudgments, fantasized?

News is coming this morning that Prime Minister Modi announced in a long overdue step at the ongoing G20 summit in New Delhi, that the African Union has been admitted to the G20, making it the G21. That is positive, but completely insufficient. In order to eliminate the danger of a third, this time thermonuclear war, we need to create a totally new international security and development architecture that takes into account the security and economic interest of all nations on the planet. And that is only possible if it is based on the development of all, on the interest of the other, and the creation of a common future, which is promising and uplifting for all of humanity.

‘The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge’

World Land-Bridge
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Connecting the continents with rail will allow for new levels of material and mental development.
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This EIR Special Report provides concrete plans for economic buildup of all parts of the planet. Nov. 2014.

The comprehensive study the Schiller Institute published in 2014 in response to President Xi’s announcement from Kazakhstan in 2013, “The New Silk Road becomes the World Land Bridge,” can be the basis for such a peace order for the 21st century. It gives a clear orientation for the economic buildup of all parts of the planet, concrete plans for overcoming underdevelopment in the Global South as well as concrete guidelines for the reconstruction of the decaying economies of the Global North. Together with the Ten Principles I suggested for such a new architecture, these proposals could be the basis for any serious attempt to find a solution to the present crisis. Why not conduct a special session of the UN General Assembly to discuss such a new international architecture, when clearly so many people around the world are concerned about the threat to world peace?

The idea of a World Land-Bridge, connecting all infrastructurally developed continents through tunnels and bridges, so that one can travel soon with a maglev train from the southern tip of Argentina or Chile northward through the Americas, via the Bering Strait all the way along the Trans-Siberian railway to Gibraltar, and on through Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. This will be the realization of the vision of the German economist Friedrich List and his “space and time economy,” where he outlined how an advanced transport and communication system with a high-speed, dense regularity and cost efficiency of infrastructure would allow for new levels of the mental and material productive powers.

A ‘Republic of the Planet’

This development would then lead to a “republic of the planet” based on the “economy of humanity,” which would make it possible that all talents would exchange their ideas and work together in all areas in science, art and all areas of knowledge, which in turn would increase the efficiency of all powers of humanity, obviously the exact opposite of “decoupling” and “derisking.”

A similar idea about the future development of humanity to become a great community of the entire world, a “datong shijie,” one can also find with Cai Yuanpei, the first education minister of the Republic of China and President of the Peking University, who introduced Schiller’s conception of aesthetic education into China. Obviously the same evolutionary innate idea governed Nicholas of Cusa’s idea about harmony in the macrocosm based on the best mutual development of all microcosms. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’ idea of a pre-established harmony in the universe represents the same idea—Vernadsky’s notion of the increasing dominance of the noösphere over the biosphere, as well. And I remember very well how Lyndon LaRouche stunned his associates, when he talked about how, despite the present importance of the sovereignty of the nation state, that would not be the last stage in the evolution of the development of humanity.

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A computer-generated image of China’s self-developed Huanliu-3 tokamak fusion reactor, which on August 26 achieved a breakthrough—a high-confinement mode of operation with a plasma current of one million amperes, for the first time.

Look at this latest breakthrough China has made in controllable nuclear fusion technology for a new generation of an “artificial sun,” the Huanliu-3, a week ago. They realized high-confinement mode operation with a plasma current of one million amperes for the first time, according to the China National Nuclear Corporation, (CNNC). The high-confinement mode is also used as the standard mode for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Cadarache, France, which is run by seven member parties, China, the EU, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the U.S. This inherently safe form of nuclear energy, once it is fully realized, is one of the technologies which will remove the basis for geopolitical rivalry, because it will make energy so plentiful and cheap, that it will be cheaper than the continuation of military conflict.

The perspective for a completely new paradigm in international relations is on the horizon, and this could come much faster than most can imagine. A change in the U.S. with the next presidential election could return the U.S. on the path of a republic. As Sergey Glazyev indicated, a new BRICS currency will likely materialize in 2024 during Russia’s chairmanship of the BRICS, which could turn out to be the lifeboat for the global financial system.

So, there is all the reason for a culturally optimistic view for the future of mankind, provided we replace hatred, envy, and resentment with love, generosity, and curiosity for the potential of the other cultures. We still have time to reset the axioms of our thinking.

Thank you.

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