This article appears in the October 6, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Weekly Dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche
NATO War Hawks Move to ‘Plan B’: Let’s End the Insanity!
Harley Schlanger: Hello and welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. I’m Harley Schlanger and I’ll be your host. If you have questions or comments you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helga, there’s been a growing recognition internationally, that the NATO-backed counteroffensive by Ukraine has not gone as planned. And as the casualties increase, there have been calls for a peaceful resolution through diplomacy—more calls for that—as urged by four prominent Germans, for example, in a peace plan published Aug. 28. But there are also calls in the other direction, for an escalation. London’s The Economist magazine called for a “rethink” saying the West has to plan for a “long struggle.” And just yesterday, the British royal think tank Chatham House had a podcast, chiding the West for inadequate support, and called for a “redoubling of efforts.”
Now, some, such as Gilbert Doctorow, are describing this as NATO’s “Plan B,” that is, an escalation, including the targeting of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, which was hit twice over the weekend by missiles from the west. What are your thoughts about the direction this is heading? Are Washington and NATO committed to moving toward a Plan B?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: That is very difficult to be 100% certain about, but unfortunately, all the signs are in the direction that that may be the case. I can only highlight the proposal you mentioned from these four Germans—Horst Teltschik, former head of the Munich Security Conference and top diplomat at the time of the German reunification; Gen. Harald Kujat (ret.), former highest military figure in Germany, and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee; Peter Brandt, the son of [former German Chancellor] Willy Brandt; and Professor Hajo Funke. Their proposal made that choice very clear.
This was published [and is available in full elsewhere in this issue of EIR–ed.] at the end of August. It says that very soon NATO will be faced with a decision of either recognizing the fact that the military operation in Ukraine has failed and the counteroffensive of Ukraine also, and that leaves only two options: One, is immediate negotiations for a diplomatic solution, and secondly, an escalation which quickly may bring the world to the level of a nuclear catastrophe. The proposal is very detailed, very appropriate for how such peace negotiations could actually take place.
Now, I think that that is indeed the choice, and the article you mentioned [by Gilbert Doctorow], who is convinced that such a Plan B is already in motion, namely that the general gossip or line that, “OK, Ukraine has lost, let’s move on to the next confrontation with China over Taiwan,” which apparently is the discussion in Washington and elsewhere, is not what is happening, but that indeed, we are seeing an escalation, where NATO is positioning itself to increasingly make the Black Sea an area of direct confrontation with Russia.
And the decision which is reported about the Biden administration, that they will provide the Ukrainian government with ATACMS missiles, which have a range of 300 km, and following that, the decision would [presumably] be made by the German government to send the Taurus cruise missiles which have a range of 500 km, therefore, both capable of being very far-reaching into Russian territory, Crimea, or whatever other areas behind the front lines.
That is where we seem to be. There were attacks on Sevastopol. And up to now, it seems that [German Chancellor Olof] Scholz is still hesitating to make the absolute commitment, but as things have gone for the last one and half years, the chance that he holds up and does not give permission for deployment of Taurus cruise missiles, I’m not very confident at all. And it is a fact that these cruise missiles would be deployed, not one at a time, but it would probably be a whole group of them, which would mean that a supply line of continuous delivery of these Taurus missiles, which are produced in Bavaria, would be necessary, clearly making Germany a war party in the conflict. If then things escalate to that point, we could very quickly have direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia, involving Germany as a country of departure of these missiles.
So I think people had better wake up! This is going, in my view, completely wrong. I think the degree of mobilization of the population, of an awareness of how dangerously close we are to catastrophe is not there. That’s naturally due to massive propaganda campaigns and disinformation in the mainstream media. But I think we are on that path, and it is absolutely urgent that people really make their desire to be heard, that we absolutely need to have an immediate ceasefire—as the Kujat-Teltschik-Funke-Brandt proposal is suggesting—and that everybody must rally around that proposal, which in my view is the most accurate and most feasible proposal on the table.
Given the tense situation that has developed, especially after the attacks last weekend on the Russian Black Sea Fleet, most of the questions we have are on the Ukraine war. So let me start with one from regular viewer, Menashe, who writes about the Doctorow article on Plan B. He has several questions, but the one I think reflects a number of other questions we’ve gotten, is: “How can the general public discern between reliable and unreliable sources of information?” This was also sent to me by someone who asked, “Can we believe what Seymour Hersh is writing?” Of course, Seymour Hersh seems to be reflecting the same view as Doctorow. So, if you can answer those two questions.
Zepp-LaRouche: In a pre-war situation, which in part is already an actual war, but could become a pre-war to a large war situation, the disinformation, black propaganda, gray propaganda, is enormous, and so it is very difficult. I think one has to go by, first of all, the reputation of the source; one has to see if one can verify it, by checking it, seeing if there are other sources confirming the same thing, so it’s a very difficult thing. But since you mention the Seymour Hersh new , I would say, use your own judgment. Because, first of all, just for the audience—Seymour Hersh wrote an article on the first anniversary of the Nord Stream bombing. And he had written an Feb. 8 which created a complete bombshell, because he had attributed the blame for the Nord Stream sabotage squarely on Biden, personally.
And that article was extremely accurate in terms of detail, in terms of probability, and also facts. So naturally, there was a whole effort to counter that with the ridiculous [story] about a Ukrainian yacht Andromeda, which was a sailboat, that according to all military experts was completely incapable of launching such a very difficult sabotage in water 80 meters deep. A sailboat simply does not have the kind of pressure chamber for people to dive that deep, and a whole bunch of other improbable circumstances.
Now, Hersh has written a new article, which has new elements in it, and I must say they’re really hair-raising. He makes two arguments: One, that he has sources in the intelligence community in the United States who told him that it is as good as certain that Chancellor Scholz was told by Biden at the occasion of the Feb. 7, 2022 press conference in Washington, or before that, that they would go ahead with the elimination of the Nord Stream 2. Well, that’s an accusation, but I think it is so severe, in terms of its implication, that if it’s true, then Scholz has completely violated his oath of office to prevent harm to the German people.
This amounts to cooperation with a terrorist attack, which is ruining the German economy to a degree which is only unfolding in this period, when Germany is being halved in terms of industry. As I said, it’s just an accusation, but it is so severe, that I think it does merit an independent investigation. That is what China is demanding, that is what Russia is demanding. Many countries of the Global South insist on it—and it has not yet happened.
The second major new point in Hersh’s statement is the accusation that the threat that Biden delivered at that press conference on Feb. 7, 2022, when he said, if the Russians intervene militarily in Ukraine (this was two weeks before they actually did) then the Nord Stream pipeline would be destroyed.
Now, Hersh cites sources in the intelligence community in the United States who said that the decision to actually go ahead with the sabotage had nothing to do with the effort to prevent the war, because the war started about two weeks later, on Feb. 24, but the decision was not made then to do it. Instead the crew who was in charge of the operation was told that they should be on hold to carry out the sabotage on demand. And that was guided by the effort by the Biden administration to judge the potential blowback of such an operation.
Finally, they decided to do it, on Sept. 26, after everything had been in place already beforehand, in order to make sure that Germany, under pressure of the economic sanctions and the rising energy prices, would have no option to go back to the inexpensive gas deliveries by Russia, implying the danger that Germany would fall under the control of Russia, and that the United States subsequently would lose its dominant position in Europe.
Now, again, this is an accusation. But, think about it: If it was true that it had to be a war deterrence—and he also quotes [then Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs] Victoria Nuland, saying that they had repeated stern and firm discussions with the Germans to tell them not to go ahead with [construction of] the Nord Stream—if it’s true that they were holding this decision for several months, and then decided to follow through with later, it changes the entire character of this conflict.
I remember quite vividly that was at a point when the demonstrations in eastern Germany and elsewhere were picking up on the demand to open Nord Stream 1 and 2, because the gas prices had become so incredibly high. And if that was then the answer to make sure that such demands would disappear from these demonstrations, I find this absolutely incredible. And given the fact that Hersh, in his article also goes to great length to detail the accurate revelations he had made in his career, and were published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other so-called mainstream media, I think it does require an investigation.
The Chinese argument I think is also very valuable, because they say, if such an enormous incident of a terrorist attack on infrastructure is gotten away with, then no infrastructure in the world is safe. So there is a common, international interest to get to the bottom of this (there’s no joke involved), but that that is really a very severe matter, and I really find it absolutely unbelievable that the German government could possibly have done this, and that the German Parliament is too cowardly to even investigate it; and that the German criminal authorities, the state attorney’s office, that they would make themselves available to come up with a cover story.
Since this is the equivalent of 9/11 for Germany, and these are the kinds of developments which determine which way a country goes, this is not a light matter. This is touching upon the fundamental interest of Germany as a nation on the question of sovereignty, on the question of existence as an industrial state, so I can only say, we should really demand an impartial, objective investigation by everybody who has any reason to do so; and that’s practically everybody.
Schlanger: We have a question from Dennis in Russia, which I think is related in part to the push for negotiations. He writes that the idea of a compromise would include concessions from Russia, but Russia is not going to return Crimea or the Donbass, and they’re concerned that there’s been no international recognition of why the special military operation was launched. And so he asks, “Rather than allowing the West to save face, what makes you think such compromise could happen?”
Zepp-LaRouche: The only reason I’m saying it is because there is no third option: Either you escalate the war, and that is what we are in the middle of, or you come to negotiations. It is the nature of diplomacy and negotiations that you have to find a compromise. The idea that history started on Feb. 24, 2022—only a complete moron is sticking to it, and there are some in the mainstream media working as journalists, that’s for sure.
It is an established fact that the entire history after the collapse of the Soviet Union has to be taken into account! The fact that Russia granted sovereignty to Ukraine in 1991 was based on the fact that Ukraine would remain a neutral country: That’s a fact which is completely neglected. It’s not just the promises given to [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev, that NATO would move “not one inch to the east” of the German border. That has been dismissed by some, but there are also contemporary witnesses who have confirmed those promises. I think the 1991 decision by Russia to allow Ukraine to become a sovereign state was linked with the idea of neutrality! And that is also among the verifiable facts.
So I think there needs to be a review of the entire history, and it has to be objective. And then, I think the Minsk 2 formula is at least a reference point to which one should go back, because finally, the solution has to be one which takes care of the interests of everybody and that includes, emphatically, the population in Russia, the population in Ukraine, the population in Donbass, the population in Crimea; and I think referenda down the way will definitely have to be a part.
But I think the key thing is that if you realize we are really on the verge—that this is spinning out of control, which threatens to be the end of humanity: a ceasefire, unconditional negotiations, and then, the recognition on both sides that the alternative is that there will be nobody left to judge who was guilty and who was not guilty, should be a motivation to enter into diplomacy.
Now some people may think a military solution is the only way. I think such people exist on both sides. But this is like the door with a hinge that does not work! And this time, the outcome would be not anything for anybody, because nobody would be alive.
So the only idea how I think how we can get out of this, is there has to be a public demand. Germany unfortunately is sleepwalking into their own destruction. The people in the United States are too indifferent: They don’t get what’s going on, not anywhere sufficiently, and that’s why I think the only possible voice which can make itself heard is the countries of the Global South, because if it comes to a nuclear war, they will be as dead as everybody else. And they are the big, new factor: They represent the absolutely vast majority of the human species, and I think we have to get a debate and pressure coming, not from the United States to the Global South, but the other way around.
Schlanger: Speaking of a view of history, the other big story—I’ve received many emails from Canadian supporters about the event which took place at the Canadian Parliament, where, in front of President Zelensky and Prime Minister Trudeau, a standing ovation, in fact, two standing ovations, were given to someone, described as a Canadian and Ukrainian war hero, who turned out to be a veteran of Ukraine’s 14th Division of the Galician Waffen SS: That is, a Nazi unit of Ukrainian volunteers who engaged in genocide against especially people from Poland.
Now, some wrote of their embarrassment that this could happen in Canada. Others said it showed a level of ignorance, not knowing who someone introduced as a “Ukrainian fighting Russia in World War II,” actually is. Who was fighting against Russia in World War II? It was the Nazis! And then, Trudeau today sort of issued an apology, not really, but he warned Canadians to be on the lookout for “Russian disinformation.”
Helga, what are your thoughts on this affair?
Zepp-LaRouche: It’s very revealing, and in one sense, it’s good, because it shows very clearly that the demonization of Russia and the Russophobia, which has turned into an unbelievable hatred against everything Russian, is blinding a lot of people to such a degree, that just because somebody is anti-Russia, he is regarded as a hero!
Now, in this case, it turns out that it was a verifiable SS member, whom the Polish government is accusing of having been involved in killing of massive numbers of Polish people. There were also questions to the German government from a parliamentarian of The Left [party] on similar things in Ukraine, and the German government position was, “We have no knowledge of.... We do not take these arguments that there is anti-Semitism or racism....” So they’re completely denying it!
Now, if Canada has a blind eye, if the German government has a blind eye, and the United States government has a blind eye, the British, for sure—the question arises: what is it in the structure and in the make-up of these Western governments which makes it so easy, convenient for them to ignore these facts? Well, the answer is not so pleasant for these Western governments, because maybe there is an affinity between their goals and what these Nazi elements represent.
I think we are looking at the danger of fascism in the West, and I think anybody who is not falling for the propaganda will see that very clearly: That if we are not changing quickly, we are in absolute danger not only of repeating the mistake of World War I, by sleepwalking into a catastrophe, but also the horrors of the Second World War and a new fascism. It will not be the fascism as it was in Germany 80 or so years ago, but if you look at what the West is doing under the pretext of “democracy” and “human rights,” if you make an honest account of what these policies are, well, maybe this question of the Canadian incident will start a review of Western policy—and that would be the best possible outcome.
Schlanger: Helga, here’s a question from someone who describes herself as a “concerned patriot.” She asks:
“How can singing Classical pieces in a chorus stop insane war-hawks from making war?”
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, I don’t think it will do that, because these war-hawks are war-hawks, and they have made their decision to be what they are.
The purpose of Classical music is to uplift the general population. We are right now in a situation where, the West as an entity, meaning the United States and Europe in particular, is in the biggest cultural crisis I can think of. It’s a plunge into decadence, which makes the end of the Roman Empire pale by comparison. If you look at what is allowed under the flag of democracy and freedom and whatnot: the violence—I think there were 500 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, an unbelievably high number of deaths from these shootings. The suicide rate, the drug addiction, the violence of the drug gangs in the cities, the decay of infrastructure, the barbarism, portrayed in the way migrants are treated, both in the United States and in Europe around the Mediterranean: This is the downfall of the West! Don’t kid yourself.
My late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, always used to say that a society which is not capable of Classical thinking any more, will not make it. Because with Classical music, you are appealing to that in the inner soul of the human being which is human, which is beautiful, which is creative, which is uplifting, which is lofty, which has all the ideas of humanity. And therefore, I think the only way how we can have any hope to get back on a track of peace and decency in the world order, is that we have to revive the Classical traditions in Western culture: Classical music is the absolute key, because it is the international language which is understood by everybody. I think that the lifting up of the human spirit is the absolutely unavoidable precondition for us to get out of this.
So it’s not the war-hawks, it’s the rest of the population which needs to be uplifted.
Schlanger: Well, with that, I have a final question for you, which you can use as a summary. It’s from A.J.:
“Can you see the end of this global conflict? What can ordinary people do to bring peace? I’ve been sharing the truth, but it’s difficult to say if I’m making friends or losing friends.”
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, those you lose, under these circumstances, it’s better not to have them. And you will gain new ones.
Despite the extreme danger, we should not for one second forget it and downplay it, I think there is hope! For example, the Chinese government has just published yesterday a White Paper on their conception of a “A Global Community of Shared Future: China’s Proposals and Actions.”
This conception, which has been used by Xi Jinping, going back to 2013, and which has been elaborated in various speeches and so forth, is now reflected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has produced an almost 40-page paper, which I have not yet totally read, but from what I have read, I can say, it is really very, very hopeful. It states emphatically that the idea of the new system consisting of such organizations as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Belt and Road Initiative, the new economic system, is open to everybody—emphatically. It is not meant to replace the West, or to be in competition to the West, but is an invitation to all countries to work together for a shared future of humanity.
I think that this document is very important, as it comes out so strongly from the Chinese at this moment of grave danger, because it makes geopolitics obviously a lie. Because geopolitics is based on the idea that you always will have to defend your interests against the interests of somebody else, and that’s a bestial condition! Already several years ago, I made my New Year’s resolution, the calling for the absolute overcoming of geopolitics as a great evil.
What we have to do, is move to a new paradigm, where international relations will be among equal, sovereign states, where each state respects the sovereignty of the other, does not interfere in the internal affairs of the other country; and respects their different pathways—different cultures have different ideas of how they want to organize their state, and they should be permitted to do so.
The idea to bring democracy with cannons and aircraft carriers just has clearly not worked! Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya. The tragedy of Libya, now suffering from this so-called “natural catastrophe” which was not a natural catastrophe. If NATO would not have bombed the dams, which were brought into good shape by [Libya’s leader Muammar al-] Qaddafi and which were supposed to be restored and repaired, but on which work completely stopped since the killing of Qaddafi in 2011. I could go on for a very long time. The idea of interventionist wars has not worked!
We have to move to a system of respecting the sovereignty of each and all. And the idea of the dominance of one country? That’s over! That has been the big issue at the United Nations General Assembly, where many leaders from countries which are not that strong, nevertheless are saying that the idea that one country can push others around is over. They are demanding a new system of equal relations, of international relations based on the UN Charter, based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. I have my own ideas: I have written Ten Principles for a New International Security and Development Architecture, which I really urge everybody to read and distribute and to talk about it, because we are at a branching point of human history, where either we can make that jump or we will not make it. So: Be happy and work with us.
Schlanger: Helga, I know I’m speaking for many of our viewers in thanking you for joining us, again. In fact, there’s an email from one of them, who said, to tell Helga, “Thank you for your optimism. Hearing you each week lifts me off the floor and inspires me to try again to talk to my dead-headed friends.” So with that, Helga, see you again next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: Till next week—and get active with us in the meantime!