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This transcript appears in the March 22, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]

Schiller Institute Weekly Dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Take the Danger of Nuclear War to Heart

This is an edited transcript of the dialogue on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Embedded links have been added. The video is available here.

Harley Schlanger: Hello and welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. Today is Wednesday, March 13, 2024. I’m Harley Schlanger and I’ll be your host. You can send your questions or comments to questions@schillerinstitute.org.

We have a lot to cover today, Helga, because there are all kinds of crazy statements from NATO and EU officials on the proxy war against Russia from Ukraine, and the buildup toward an anticipated IDF assault in Rafah.

But I wanted to give a development in the U.S. following the wrapping up of the nominations for each party, in primaries yesterday, and this is a question from a viewer in Europe, who writes: “With polls showing that few Americans want a rematch between Trump and Biden, it looks like that’s exactly what they’re going to get.” So, he asks, “Is this the best that America’s political system can offer? And is it too late for Diane Sare to enter the race for President as an independent?”

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EIRNS/Yuri Zah
Diane Sare, LaRouche independent candidate for U.S. Senate from New York.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Well, she for sure is the person who would have the caliber to be a presidential candidate and a good President, for sure. If we can do that, I don’t know: It depends on can we mobilize enough support in time. It’s very late already in the race, but I think this happens with not only a presidential system, which is unfortunately not so much of a democratic system any more, but more of a plutocracy, where to run for Congress costs $5 million or more; Senate, you can add a zero, and for President, you need a lot more money than that under normal circumstances.

I think the question is really, can Diane Sare, Jose Vega and a few other independents, rally enough of the population to be an alternative? It’s very difficult, and I think this is all the result of what the American establishment did to my late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, who after all ran eight times for President. And the way they dealt with him—now a lot of people get the “LaRouche treatment”—but you see what the result is: You have a country essentially in downfall. And one can only hope that that is motivating enough people to, indeed, rally around Diane Sare.

Schlanger: We have a question on the Oasis Plan. Someone wrote in: “As important as the endorsement of the Oasis Plan by Mexican Congressman Robles is, have there been any endorsements for it from elected officials in the West, and do you anticipate some?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, we are right now in the middle of organizing for a conference on April 13. I can already say that we have a few important endorsements that we will not reveal before the conference. But I’m actually quite optimistic, that if we only get a few relevant people, preferably congressmen, presidents, former presidents, former elected officials, ambassadors of various kinds; and then hopefully the young people would pick up the demand for the Oasis Plan in the demonstrations for a ceasefire and peace in Southwest Asia, I think it can take off.

So, I don’t have a total answer to your question, other than that I’m asking you to help us find these people and be part of the organizing force to make it happen.

Schlanger: We have a question from Menashe, who’s a frequent contributor. He asks, as an African he would like you to address how the Oasis Plan approach to mutual economic development can be applied to the challenges and opportunities faced by African nations?

Zepp-LaRouche: I think the Oasis Plan is just a template for what can be done everywhere, where there is a lack of development. The most important project we have been pushing now for three decades, is the Transaqua Project: This would be helping half a dozen countries in the heart of Africa, by diverting 3–4% of the water from the Congo River, which now goes unutilized into the Atlantic, and bringing it through a canal and river system to Lake Chad. That would bring irrigation for all the neighboring countries along the way, it would help to irrigate a good deal of the Sahel zone, it would provide power for industrial parks and similar projects. That is, for sure, if you can get the Oasis Plan. Then naturally we have the very important Ibn Sina project for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. And these [projects] can all be integrated into the World Land-Bridge. Because in reality, it is the entire Global South that lacks development, and so hopefully, with the Oasis Plan campaign and with the Ibn Sina project being on a good way, we can really turn this underdevelopment around, and make the southern part of the hemisphere a blooming garden with forests, and good areas for people to live and prosper.

Schlanger: As a follow-up question that just came in, someone asked: “Is the failure to have these kinds of projects, due to racism, neocolonialism, or just plain ignorance?”

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The Osaka Express container ship at the Port of Rotterdam.

Zepp-LaRouche: I think the present neoliberal economic system which dominates much of the trans-Atlantic sector and which reaches out into the former colonized countries, by determining the terms of trade and export and import and credit facilities and so forth—that [system which] is [only] geared to make the rich richer is now reaching a point of absurdity. Because if the billionaires become so absolutely rich that they cannot possibly spend all the money in their lifetimes, with sports cars and caviar, and all kinds of luxuries, while billions of people are literally condemned to scarcely realize their human potential and die early—this is a system which cannot continue. And it is not continuing. Because you have right now the countries of the Global South, working with the BRICS-Plus and other organizations of the Global South moving to form an alternative economic system. And the problem right now is that the present war danger, which is gigantic and is getting bigger by the day—and we should spend some time on discussing that because it’s extremely urgent that people are aware of it—that the war danger comes from the fact that the present establishments of the Global North, or the collective West, or however you want to call it, they are determined to keep the system which has given them enormous profits, which they are now turning into a full-fledged war economy! Like in Europe, where you have the effort to transform all the European economies into war economies. And if you look at the stock market, the stocks of the military-industrial complex, they are going up tremendously, but at what cost? We are reaching absolutely quickly the point of no return, and the danger of even the escalation of the two regional crises into a global nuclear war.

So, in a certain sense, that is what we have to urgently remedy, and I’m calling upon all of you who are watching this program to join with the Schiller Institute, to really convince the people of the Global North that an alternative is available—that if the United States and European countries would decide to cooperate with the countries of the Global South—the arms would be open. I have heard many, many times, words from Russian and Chinese leaders that they are willing to go with such a cooperation, but all these offers have been rejected by the collective West so far, but it is extremely urgent that we turn this around before it is too late.

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Vladimir Putin, President of Russia: “The ‘golden billion’ must realize that their vampire ball is ending.”

Schlanger: We seem to be getting a number of questions on this topic. There’s one from someone who wrote about Putin’s interview, I think today, with RIA Novosti, where he accused the “golden billion” of parasitizing other peoples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to this question, Putin said, referring to the “golden billion,” “But they must realize that the vampire ball is ending.” The questioner asks: “What does he mean by the ‘golden billion’? And do you think the Global South and the BRICS could end this parasitical system without support to do so from the West?”

Zepp-LaRouche: This interview by Putin with RIA Novosti, I just was reading before this show, and I think it is really a call to wake up. The mainstream media immediately turned it around and said that Putin is threatening the world with nuclear war, but that’s not what he said. He said that Russia is ready, that they’re basically on alert, their nuclear triad system is on alert all the time. And naturally, the Russian nuclear doctrine is that if the Russian leadership thinks the integrity of Russia is at stake, they will use these weapons. And that is, in a certain sense, an alarm bell [sounding almost too late], because with the push on Germany to deliver the Taurus cruise missile to Ukraine, which could reach Moscow from the Ukrainian border—it could destroy the Kremlin, it could destroy the Russian ministries, and with Macron calling for French and other NATO troops to be deployed into Ukraine, we are reaching very, very quickly the point of no return! So, Putin is answering that, and he makes very clear that the West is risking the annihilation of civilization if they keep pushing any further.

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EU/Marc Dossmann
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, is calling for French and other NATO troops to be deployed into Ukraine, as if they weren’t in the country already.

Now, what he means by the “golden billion” is simply the people that I’ve mentioned before, the people who have been, knowingly or not knowingly, the beneficiaries of the neoliberal system. Now, that system has undergone a tremendous transformation. Because even if the Bretton Woods system after the Second World War was not the way it was intended by Franklin D. Roosevelt—because it was organized, due to Roosevelt’s death, by Churchill and by Truman, so it did not fulfill Franklin D. Roosevelt’s demand that the Bretton Woods system should make possible the development of the developing countries—but it did some good for the countries of Global North. It created more or less two decades of stability, and economic growth; it provided the framework for the reconstruction of the countries which had been destroyed by the Second World War; and it created stability—it was a period of prosperity in Europe and in the United States.

But then, that system got chopped off. My late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, was absolutely prophetic when he said on Aug. 15, 1971, when Nixon went from fixed exchange rates to floating exchange rates—LaRouche at that time said, if you continue on that road, it will lead to a new depression and a new fascism, and the danger of a new world war. And what he meant by that, is that if you keep pushing the system in such a way that it only provides for the speculators, for the crazy idea that “money makes money,” to the disadvantage of the machine tool sector, of the middle-level industry—and that successively happened over the following decades—up to the point where now, the real economy is collapsing. Like in Germany, it’s in a free fall. Europe’s infrastructure is in poor condition and United States infrastructure is in terrible condition.

So, there was a kind of primitive accumulation against the real economy and that is now where we are at. But in the meantime, it did provide for a lot of people in Europe and the United States for a very high living standard, relatively speaking, and that’s what the Russians generally mean by the “golden billion.” Naturally, if you think about the fact we have 8 billion people, well, maybe there’s another billion in other countries in Asia and elsewhere, who are doing well, but there are billions of people who are either absolutely, horribly poor, or not well to do, meaning that they don’t have enough to eat, to study, to bring up families. So, I think that that discrepancy between the “golden billion,” or the segment of the population who are relatively wealthy, and the vast majority of people who are poor, has to be remedied.

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German-built, high speed intercity express trains (ICE) are one of the surviving symbols of the “road not taken” in the advanced sector. After U.S. President Nixon dumped the fixed exchange-rate system in 1971, the physical economy collapsed by steps and stages. Here, a German ICE train, Leipzig station, 2018.

And I think the countries of the Global South are in the process of doing that, and I think they are quite capable of doing it on their own, without support from the West. Because if the West turns against them and says, we do not want to cooperate with you, but we want to try to suppress your development, the countries of the Global South will be quite capable of doing it themselves, and they are presently in the mindset to do exactly that.

The only problem is that if the North is not cooperating, but remains in a geopolitical confrontation, I’m afraid it will lead to World War III. So, we have to do everything possible to get people to understand that we are sitting in one boat, and that either we all prosper, or none of us will.

Schlanger: I have a question on Middle East policy from someone who identifies himself as a Jewish American. He refers to the report that hundreds of rabbis drafted a letter to Biden, calling on him to push for a ceasefire, but that the best Biden could do would be to say that an invasion of Rafah would be crossing a red line, but he’s going to continue to stand with Israel. So, he asks, “What can be done to stop Israeli genocide, if Biden does nothing?”

Zepp-LaRouche: That’s a very difficult question. I think what these rabbis are doing is exactly the right thing. And one can only hope that we can have more people standing up, because what is happening in Gaza is just a heartbreaking catastrophe, which puts into question the moral fiber of humanity as a whole. If we can’t solve that, then we are failing as a species!

Now, that is why we are pushing so hard the idea of an Oasis Plan. That is, the idea that you have to have more water, more freshwater in this entire region, but especially between Israel, Palestine, and the neighbors, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, other countries. Because if you look at this region, it’s entirely desert. The only areas which are not desert are some countries of the Gulf States: the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, and other Gulf States—what they have done by desalination of ocean water, to make it drinkable and fresh. And you can see that these coastal strips are like oases! They are blooming, they’re incredibly rich in terms of vegetation. This has gone on now for almost 30 or 40 years. So, these are lush gardens, lush fields with all kinds of plants, so that even the birds have changed their winter-summer migrations, because this is a nice place to rest and have food.

So this principle could be applied to Israel, to Gaza, to the West Bank, to Palestine, to Jordan; and we have actualized a proposal made by Lyndon LaRouche already in 1975, which is the idea to connect the Mediterranean via canals to the Dead Sea, thence to the Red Sea, and then use the desalinated water to irrigate, to irrigate for agricultural fields, for forestry, for industrial parks, for infrastructure. So that basically you have to have a vision that in a few years, all of Southwest Asia could look as densely developed as Germany. If you think Germany is a country which has an incredibly well-developed infrastructure (even if it’s falling apart, now, but it’s still very developed), you have integrated waterways, the Rhine, for example, where there are cargo ships that go to the seaports of Holland, so they’re connected to the entire international seaborne trade. But then you have Duisburg, which is an inland seaport, which is connected to railways and highways.

LaRouche’s Oasis Plan for Southwest Asia
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Presented by Lyndon LaRouche in 1975, the Oasis Plan provides a vision for all of Southwest Asia to be as developed as Germany used to be.

So, if you think of that density of infrastructure which you can see in Germany is, or has been the source of development for Germany—because an integrated, dense, infrastructure is the precondition for a high division of labor, diversified production. If that would be developed in Southwest Asia, there is no reason in the universe why all of the countries of Southwest Asia, could not have a living standard as Germany did when it still was on the way up (right now, it is no longer). But Germany is a model for [a country with] a very well developed middle-class, middle-level industry, and a very well-functioning [economy]. And there is no reason why you cannot apply such a concept to Southwest Asia with the Oasis Plan. And we will have a conference about that on April 13, which you should all register for, and participate in, and tell people about. Because we think if enough people, especially young people, of the region would have the idea that if you moved to a peaceful cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and all the others, there is a future which is bright. And there is a reason to overcome long, long conflicts and that we must put an end to this endless war. Because if you keep doing what is happening now for the last several decades, it is misery for everybody, and it’s not in the interest of any one country at all.

So, we have to instill this idea of hope and a vision for the future, and hopefully we can turn it around.

Schlanger: You can register for the April 13 conference, which will be online and the link to register is on the homepage of the Schiller Institute. Also, you can download the video that was made by The LaRouche Organization, by Jason Ross, on the Oasis Plan and make sure that gets circulated, because it’s material that hasn’t been covered anywhere else but in our publications.

Now, Helga, I want to go back to the Ukraine war for a moment. There’s a question that was sent in. “You, Mrs. LaRouche, have spoken about China’s diplomatic initiatives regarding ending the Ukraine war. What is it that China has proposed?”

Zepp-LaRouche: The Chinese envoy for that region, Li Hui, just made another tour, talking to people in Kiev, in Moscow, in Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Paris. And on the first anniversary of the war, China had made already a 12-point program, which is a very detailed initial proposal for how to go back to a diplomatic settlement of all these conflicts. And obviously, the economic development, in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative would be an extremely important component for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

I think that that is now the most active proposal. China also has made—being extremely concerned about the conflict between NATO and Russia getting out of control—China has made another proposal, which I think needs to be taken very, very seriously. And that is the idea that the two superpowers, the United States and Russia, must go back to arms control and the kind of disarmament approach which used to be there, even in the Cold War period—and now it’s not, because all treaties have been essentially cancelled. So, I think the Chinese proposal is extremely important.

Then the Pope called for Ukraine to raise a white flag and negotiate: This was another example of an unbelievable mass media campaign of distortion. Because what the Pope said was, once one recognizes that one has lost, it is important to have the courage to negotiate, because otherwise a lot of people will die for no good reason. Now, I think this is very, very important, because there is a new article in the French magazine, Marianne. There they describe in great detail, and I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate, because it correlates to other reports we had been getting before, why the situation in Ukraine is such that it cannot be won militarily any more, simply because there is an incredible discrepancy: The Russians have much more manpower, they have much better engineering equipment for fortification, they have ammunition supplies, and basically the Ukrainian position cannot be maintained, and the war is de facto lost. That is the opinion of several military experts, from Switzerland, from France, from Italy, from Germany.

So, in such a situation, to basically say, “let’s end it” and let’s reconstruct a future, is not something to be attacked. And I think such a proposal is extremely urgent at a moment when, if this escalation with the Taurus [cruise missiles] continues, and the ideas of putting Western troops on the ground—there are now more and more reports that there are already NATO troops on the ground, from France, from the British, from the Americans. And I think we are reaching so dangerously close to a red line that I can only say—if people would only think about it—what is at stake here is thermonuclear global war. And if it comes to that there will be absolutely nobody left to even consider why it happened. And given the fact that there are reports from earlier times, where estimates were made for how many millions of deaths can we afford to have in such a war—I mean, such reports can only be made by people from an insane asylum, and I apologize to the people in the insane asylum.

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CC/George Chernilevsky
Two 1980s-era intermediate-range ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads: Above: a Soviet RSD-10 Pioneer, mounted on a mobile launch platform, in service 1976–1988; right: a U.S. Pershing II, in service 1983–1991.

To think this way means you are playing with the existence of humankind! And if it comes to a global thermonuclear war, everything, what your parents, your grandparents, poets from earlier centuries, composers, anything anybody did would all be in vain, because there will be nobody left to enjoy their contributions.

So, I can only say, look, let’s go in a different mode: Cooperate with the Global South. There is a solution for this situation, but I can only say, I’m becoming really, extremely concerned that the present political class—Simon Jenkins in The Guardian said that the entire political class of the West is so inept that they’re not able to recognize that all their policies of the last decades have been a failure, and that is the biggest problem. So I can only say that we have to have an alternative discussion and basically say, we need to have a new security and development architecture, which takes into account the interest of every person on the planet. I’m quite pleased to hear that Congressman Benjamín Robles from Mexico has issued a call to all congressmen and parliamentarians around the world to help him to put such an international conference on the agenda. (See article elsewhere in this issue.) And I would also ask you not only to circulate the Oasis Plan, but also to take this letter by Congressman Robles, and get it to all congressmen and mayors, state legislators and other elected officials, and have them join the effort to put a different architecture on the table.

Schlanger: I have one more question for you from someone who asks for your expertise on China. He writes that Steve Bannon and others in the anti-China lobby are cheerleading what they call the “crash” of the Chinese economy, the real estate problems, the slowdown. But then our viewer writes, “There are now reports that China’s exports rose by over 10% year-on-year and especially with sales to India, Brazil, and other nations of the Global South.” And he asks, “What is your view on this?” And this anti-China lobby “is that why they’re now trying to push through a House bill to ban TikTok?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, these people are just incompetent. They have predicted the downfall of the Chinese economy so many times, and they were equally many times wrong. And they don’t get it, that China is not pursuing speculation as the purpose of economy, but they are putting entirely their emphasis on innovation, innovation, innovation. And that’s how they have been able to avoid the typical cyclical developments of economies. In other words, you don’t have a Leontief curve, or you don’t have cyclical developments, because they continuously inject the most advanced discoveries in science and technology into the economy, and that way they have avoided exactly any such collapses.

On the other side, they are building now, as a response to this geopolitical “decoupling” or “de-risking” as they call it, from the West. China is turning around and says: OK, then we build up markets in the South, we invest in the long-term—which is not so long term, but not daily profit—but we will invest in building up markets in the Global South by providing these countries with ports, and airports, railways, and bridges; and that way they make the developing countries richer and they thereby develop a market for Chinese goods, and basically increasing the export/import with the entire Global South. So, that’s a winning strategy.

So, I think the doomsday sayers concerning the Chinese economy are just completely ideologues, and ideologues very seldom have scientific knowledge. And I think in the case of Mr. Bannon, it’s a fair description to characterize him that way.

Schlanger: Helga, I have one more quick question for you, from another longtime viewer: “What do you think is the reason behind Macron’s hardline position against Russia in Ukraine, in his calling for NATO boots on the ground there?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Macron is described by some people as a chameleon who can turn colors very quickly. He has made in his political career some extremely nice speeches, and if you believe him, you would think the world is turning into a paradise. But there is always a big discrepancy between words and deeds. And I think Macron is panicked, because he has the same reports that I mentioned before, concerning this article in Marianne and the French military, who have a very sober assessment about where the Ukraine war stands. And since Macron connected so much of his political fate with the idea of “winning in Ukraine,” that this is actually a move of desperation. And I think it has caused the rift between France and Germany to escalate even more, so the European Union is not so unified at all; and I think Macron is doing that, not in the least for domestic reasons, for the upcoming elections, and so forth. But it’s not very wise on his part, at all.

Schlanger: Judging from what’s being written about him in the French press, the word “chameleon” may be the nicest term that’s applied to him.

So, Helga, I think we’re out of time now. Thank you for joining us this week. Do you have any closing words?

Zepp-LaRouche: I would just like people to take what I said about the danger of thermonuclear war really to heart, because I wouldn’t say this if it would not be extremely serious. And contrary to the 1980s, when we had the middle-range missile crisis, between the SS-20 and the Pershing II, you had hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in many countries, and they were talking about the danger of World War III. Helmut Schmidt for example was talking about it every other day.

And now, where the situation is really much, much more dangerous, because all the back channels no longer exist which even in the height of the Cold War in the Cuban Missile Crisis existed between Khrushchev and Kennedy, people are not in the streets; or they are in the streets for all kinds of reasons, but not for the real reason, which is the danger of thermonuclear war. So, please make yourself familiar with the topic, and work with the Schiller Institute.

Schlanger: Helga, thank you very much, and we’ll see you hopefully again next week.

Zepp-LaRouche: Till next week.

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