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This transcript appears in the May 17, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]

Schiller Institute Webcast Dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Xi Meets Macron—New Peace Offensive Possible?

The following is an edited transcript of the May 8, 2024, weekly Schiller Institute dialogue with Schiller Institute founder and chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche. The video is available here.

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Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU
Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping meet in France to celebrate the 60th anniversary of French-Chinese relations.

Harley Schlanger: Hello and welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. This is Wednesday, May 8, 2024. I’m Harley Schlanger and I’ll be your host today. You can email your questions and comments to questions@schillerinstitute.org or post them on the chat room page.

Helga, there’s an incredible volume of activity on the forefront, on the diplomatic counterprotests and so on, but we’re going to start with a very simple question, which I received from several different people, which is: What is your assessment of the outcome of the two-day summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron?

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think it is overall quite important, as a matter of fact, very important, because it was the 60th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations. France was actually the first country, under Charles de Gaulle, to recognize the People’s Republic of China, and the Chinese have put a very large importance on that fact and the relationship with France. Similarly, French industry, like the German industry, is absolutely determined not to allow the so-called “de-risking” (which is just another word for “decoupling”), and I think, therefore, this is a very important outcome. I don’t know why Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who visited Macron just in the days before Xi Jinping’s visit, then preferred to go to Lithuania, to the Baltic countries instead. I think the effort was clearly made by Macron to bring in other forces. So he brought in Ursula von der Leyen, which I think was not the best choice, because this woman is clinically anti-Chinese and just expressing the Anglosphere view on China.

But, given the difficulties and the incredibly tense strategic situation, which is beyond belief one of crisis, I think it was important. I think it’s also extremely noteworthy that Macron felt it necessary to emphasize, in the presence of Xi Jinping, that France is not at war with Russia, and does not plan regime-change in Moscow—this statement coming immediately after his announcement, twice, that France would send French troops into Ukraine, should Ukraine lose on the battlefield. He had already said this at the beginning of last month, and then again repeated it in his April 29 interview with The Economist, published in the May 2 issue. So I think it’s quite important. And obviously this reflects also Xi Jinping’s perspective, which is a much larger one than you can get from most European leaders at this point. So I think it was extremely useful and important.

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CC/Simon Dawson/No. 10 Downing Street
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron: We have told Ukraine that it can use British weapons to hit targets in Russia.

Schlanger: Helga, let’s keep going on this. There’s a question that came in from London, and the questioner said: “Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the British government told Ukraine, they can use British weapons to hit targets in Russia. The Anglo-American think tank, the Atlantic Council, applauded this decision, saying Putin has not backed up his threats, and it’s good to call out his bluffs on his red lines.” The questioner writes: “Does Cameron not believe Putin and Lavrov, when they say they will respond harshly to such attacks? Are Cameron and the others that deluded, to think there’ll be no response if the Kerch Bridge, for example, is brought down?” And then he also asks: “What about the Russian tactical nuclear exercises: Are they not paying attention in the West?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, the quick answer is, yes, they are that deluded. And as a matter of fact, I think the clinical definition of insanity is when you have lost a sense of reality and you no longer see any connection between cause and result. I think that is for sure the case for many such provocateurs in the West. I think the fact that Putin answered, by ordering the maneuver of the tactical nuclear weapons in the Southern Military District, is to be seen as a direct answer. It was one of the NATO think tank officials, William Alberque, who stressed the fact that Russia is doing regularly such rehearsals—maneuvers. But it is completely unheard of to announce such maneuvers in response to statements from Western leaders. Alberque said we are in uncharted waters concerning nuclear signaling. And that should be registered, because it was Macron who said he wants to send French troops to Ukraine; it was Cameron saying the Ukrainians can use British missiles to reach deep inside the territory of Russia. Then the Democratic leader in Congress, Hakeem Jeffries, said if Ukraine loses, then not only American money should be sent, but also American servicewomen and servicemen.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at his inauguration: Russia will not back down when faced with western threats.

Then you had a discussion about deployment of the F-16s, to which the Russian response was that they regard the F-16 as dual use, both nuclear-capable but it can also carry conventional weapons. They will assume these aircraft are carrying nuclear weapons, and they will immediately knock them all out. Other commentators like Scott Ritter were very emphatic, saying if such things happen, these soldiers—or probably mercenaries—will be killed on the spot, but there will be a further response. And Ritter thinks—and he was formerly, after all, the UN weapons inspector in Iraq, and has an extremely updated knowledge about weapons systems—that, if this happens, [i.e., the actions threatened by] Macron, Cameron, or Jeffries——that the Russian response will be to use tactical nuclear weapons, not inside Ukraine but against the decision-making centers from which these weapons and people are being deployed. And that would be bases in Romania, Poland, France, Germany. I think this is a very serious possibility.

If you listen to Putin’s inauguration speech, I think he is extremely stern, extremely cold, very, very serious. He said: Look, Russia is still prepared for a dialogue with the West, but only on an equal level, not that kind in which Western leaders are trying to talk down to Russia. They have to give up continuously trying to weaken Russia, to contain it, and so forth.

So, we have reached a point where either the Western leaders are being brought to reason or we are entering World War III. I also saw earlier today a statement by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, who said we are sliding into World War III; we are not being told the truth; we are not being told the war-planning or any other such things. I can only agree. It’s either incompetence or delusion, and somehow the idea that you have to destroy Russia, you have to destroy China, for that matter (some of them are thinking likewise)—this has to stop! We need a public response from the population, because these leaders, who are clearly minions and dwarves, have no right to lead the world in this direction which could mean the annihilation of civilization.

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lotz
The U.S. Air Force Falcon, which Russia considers dual-use technology. It can carry conventional weapons or nuclear weapons.

Schlanger: Helga, there was a report earlier today that the U.S. is suspending weapons shipments to Israel—at least two categories of weapons. And a podcaster has asked if this is meant as a follow-up to the warnings to Israel? Is Biden now serious about possibly cutting off weapons to Israel?

Zepp-LaRouche: I would hope so, but I don’t think so. I think this is just a warning shot. The weapons shipments are suspended, not eliminated. And in light of the fact that Netanyahu and his war cabinet said that no matter what Hamas is saying in respect to the possible deal, which was negotiated by Qatar and Egypt, that Israel will go ahead with the IDF attack on Rafah—where more than 1 million Palestinians are in an absolutely desperate situation. I saw some messages from correspondents from the region. They describe how these people are in absolute terror, thinking, back and forth, should they go to another corner of Rafah? Because so far, over 100,000 people have been advised to go to Khan Younis! Can you imagine this? Khan Younis is completely destroyed! It has no services anymore; it was one of the regions where people had been told to leave and where the most massive bombing had taken place.

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IDF X page
Israeli tanks in Gaza.

So it is absolutely cynical, and it is the utmost psychological warfare on top of the massacre taking place. In light of all of that, I think the suspension of these weapons shipments is absolutely not adequate whatsoever.

Schlanger: Here’s a question from someone who describes herself as having been a “depressed cynic,” until she saw the protests on U.S. campuses. So she writes: “My friends tell me these protests are orchestrated by Soros and the FBI, as part of a chaos scenario to divert attention from the killing that continues in Gaza. But I was touched by what Alastair Crooke said to Judge Napolitano, that he’s been impressed by the empathy shown by the protesters for the victims of Israeli aggression.” So she asks, “What is your view of the campus protests? Are they spreading through Europe? Do they have a chance to change the policy from the United States?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, yes—they are spreading to Europe. They have already emerged in the Sorbonne and in other French universities. They appeared in the Free University in Berlin, where students set up an encampment, and police came in as they had in United States. But, then, very importantly, was a statement issued by several university professors defending the right of students to express their opinion. And I think this is very, very important. Likewise you had many professors in the United States defending the students.

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CC/Author unknown
Protesters in support of Palestine are arrested at the University of Texas at Austin. Protests are spreading to Europe and beyond.

I think what’s going on here is that obviously young people—there is something good about young people, they’re in most cases not yet spoiled! They still feel what is just and what is right, and I think the present protest has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. This is a very disgusting effort to discriminate against these students, because there are many Jewish people among them—both inside Israel and also inside the United States—who are equally appalled by what they see coming from Netanyahu. Netanyahu is not equal to “Judaism”; that’s just a complete concoction of the media! What’s going on is the Western establishments, including obviously the Biden administration, are horrified that their whole pro-Israel narrative is falling apart; that they’re losing control.

There were extremely important polls in the United States, where 50% of all young people between 18 and 29 are convinced that what Israel is doing in Gaza is genocide. And they’re very upset about it. And since the U.S. is in an election year, and in the last election the younger generation was an important factor in the election of Biden, he has to fear that [some of his support] is disappearing. This is why they are clamping down with such utmost brutality. And this makes clear to the whole world that the Constitution of the United States is at stake! Because there is one principle which is stronger in the U.S. than almost anywhere else, and that is the First Amendment: The right to free speech; the right to assembly; the right to express your opinion. And if those rights are being squashed, then what about the famous “democracy”? What about the famous “rules-based order”? All of that goes out of the window.

So, what in reality is happening is that the entire narrative about what the West represents is going down the drain with this police suppression. And I think the fact that the students and other young people do not agree with that is the only hope for mankind; the hope that the United States would come back to its reasonable mind.

Schlanger: Now, here’s a question from a political activist in Germany, who’s referring to the upcoming EU Parliament elections in June. He asks: “Do you think something might occur in some of the European countries, like the George Galloway election in the United Kingdom, where there’s a complete breakaway from the mainstream parties?”

Zepp-LaRouche: I think so. It’s very interesting that Galloway has a whole candidates’ movement. I don’t remember the absolute number, but it’s very large, maybe as many as 200 or so. And they all have as the number-one item on their election program, Gaza, and stopping the genocide in Gaza. Given the fact that in Great Britain you had hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating, I can, indeed, very well imagine that this will lead to an earthquake, not only in Great Britain, but also hopefully in some other EU countries.

Schlanger: Let’s hope so! Here’s a question from a retired music teacher, who writes: “Just a note to thank you,” referring to me, “for your suggestion yesterday on your ‘Daily Update,’ that people should listen to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of its premiere in Vienna. She says, “I couldn’t stop crying during the fourth movement. The message of Beethoven and Schiller is so beautiful. In my humble opinion, culture can help bridge the gap between different nations. Helga, I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.”

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, I could not agree more with you. Beethoven and Schiller, they are for me—and not only for me, I’m sure—the towering giants of what I love about Germany; what I love about the Classical culture. And I think both of them are the best in their field. I know that there are people who don’t agree with that, but if you listen to Beethoven a lot, it’s the best you can possibly do for your soul and heart—and Schiller likewise. These two giants of the German Classics, they have a healing power. Because they put the universe back in shape; they make it look beautiful again; and they take you into this realm of the ideal, which is so different from the reality we are presently facing. It helps to uplift you. And that is the mindset you need, to deal with the horrible things happening in the world today.

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Anton Graff
Friedrich Schiller
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Willibrord Joseph Mähler
Ludwig van Beethoven in 1815

I think—the values, the image of man which is expressed by Schiller, who wants man to be a beautiful soul; by Beethoven, who has an absolutely rigorous idea of what genius is—that it is extremely important to bathe yourself in these values every day in order to get through this period, and be inspired to be so creative that you can come up with approaches for how to deal with the problems around us.

So I can full-heartedly agree. And we should really go back to the values of these two giants.

Schlanger: Here’s a comment we just got in from Louisa, who says: “This is a sad time, when the media are complicit with the barbaric, savage genocide,” and she’s asking, “How do you get around this problem of the media?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, I have good news for you, there: Because we, the LaRouche movement, have been publishing for 50 years Executive Intelligence Review. This is a magazine that has a huge reputation in the world; it’s read by parliamentarians from many countries. And we have for six or seven years produced a Daily Alert. This is a unique newsletter, because it’s not just a collection of facts and news and so forth, but it is the digested analysis reflecting the experience of 50 years of our movement that was initiated by my late husband, Lyndon LaRouche. As you may know, he developed a unique and specific scientific method that influenced and inspired the kind of analysis that our editors are doing. And you can get every day this analysis of how the strategic situation has changed from yesterday to today. I would suggest that you get a four-week, free subscription, and you look at it—compare it to other newsletters. I’m pretty sure you will be absolutely impressed by how incredibly unique it is—because it discusses not only facts and events, but it shows tendencies toward solutions; it shows always where the way out is.

So, I think to build up this strategic alert as an alternative to the media is the most efficient thing you can do.

Schlanger: Here’s a question that just came in. The person writes, “I’m not a supporter of the Ukraine war. I consider its continuation to be an act of insanity. But don’t you think it’s reckless for Putin to proceed with tactical nuclear exercises, and to announce it publicly?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, then ask yourself, what reckless actions have caused Putin to say that? Putin, and Russia in general, they have made very clear what is the red line for them to use nuclear weapons. They have said it in writing and in speaking, many, many times, that they will only use nuclear weapons when the physical existence of the territory of Russia is threatened. Now, that is their absolute right, and as long as we’re in the insane realm of [nations] having weapons industries with the potential to kill each other 100 times over, you will have such nuclear doctrines. And if you look at the NATO doctrine, the U.S. doctrine does not even exclude the first use of nuclear weapons! How about that? Why is that not being discussed?

So, when you have this—what I mentioned earlier, the announcement by Putin to rehearse the use of tactical nuclear weapons in response to what Macron said, what Cameron said, what Hakeem Jeffries said, the deployment of F-16s—all of these deployments mean a threat to the physical existence of Russia!

So what is the big surprise?

That is what I think people need to reckon with: that cause-and-effect does happen. We are in a rational universe where, if you do one thing, you have to expect that the result will be the next thing. So the way to stop that is not to be upset about Putin, but to be upset about the Western leaders who obviously—have you heard, at any time, these people talking about a diplomatic solution? No! Go back to March 2022. You had a perfectly functioning agreement between Ukraine and Russia to end the war, after about four weeks, which was mediated by Türkiye. In Istanbul, there was a deal ready, ready to be signed to stop this war, which was a limited, special military operation, at that time. And what happens? This other person from Great Britain, Boris Johnson, flew into Kyiv and told Zelenskyy, “Continue the war, we will fully back you.” So all the people who have died in the meantime—for what? For filling the pockets of the military-industrial complex. Now, their survivors can go to Boris Johnson and thank him for that!

There has to be an end! And we have to go back to diplomacy, and we have to negotiate a solution. You have now the Chinese 12-point program, which is very active and on the table, and which does include Russia. If you don’t include Russia, you can forget it; there will be no solution. How can you think you could have a solution without one of the sides involved in the war? This is why the upcoming conference in Switzerland is a useless enterprise, because it does not include Russia. But the Chinese proposal is on the table and should be implemented right away. And the European leaders should be confronted, [and asked] why do they not try to end a war which risks escalating into World War III?

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Courtesy of Ruben Guzzetti
April protest in Buenos Aires, Argentina, against President Javier Milei’s brutal austerity.

Schlanger: I have one more question here. Someone writes: “I haven’t heard anything new about the BRICS expansion. Do you have an update on the new BRICS members? Are they being fully integrated into the BRICS? Are they now full-fledged members?”

Zepp-LaRouche: There is a lot of diplomatic activity going on. Obviously, there is a huge assault on some countries, that want, or wanted to be part of the BRICS. For example, Argentina is being absolutely dismantled right now, with this very strange President Javier Milei. But big opposition against him is also developing. Then, Egypt is under tremendous attack by the IMF. Ethiopia, likewise. In South Africa, they will have an election, and there is great worry as to what will come out of that. So, it’s not an easy process.

On the other side, if you listen to statements coming from other countries, like Nigeria, or Western African nations, or Indonesia, or many, many others, they all want to be part of the BRICS-Plus. There are altogether 40 more countries that are applying to become members. So I expect this process will accelerate over the year, and by the next BRICS summit on Oct. 22–24 in Kazan, Russia, I expect there will be a much larger list of countries having joined.

Schlanger: Actually, we just got another question for you, Helga, from someone responding to what you said earlier. “What was the point of Ursula von der Leyen”—who she calls “von der Crazy”—“being at these meetings?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Given the fact that Ursula von der Leyen’s position is—this woman was extremely bad as Germany’s Defense Minister; she almost ruined the German military single-handedly. Then she became EU Commission President. She just doesn’t know how to do any job well. She’s not acting in the interest of European member states—and there are now major motions to get her out of this position, which I can only hope will succeed. However, the likely successor would be Mario Draghi. And that way, you get, as you say in German, “vom Regen in die Traufe” [from bad to worse, from the frying pan into the fire—ed.]; it’s not going to get better.

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European Union
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made a mess of every job she’s had.

I think Macron seems to have something useful—I don’t know if it was his idea, given that he had initiated the idea for von der Leyen to become President of the EU Commission in the first place. But, Macron is not always very coherent in what he is doing. On the one side, he does want to have relations with China, but then he probably had her in there as a counterweight. I think it’s just stupid games.

I think the European nations should go back to the tradition of de Gaulle; they should claim their independence; they should not be drawn into World War III by the Anglosphere; and the more the European countries start to assert their independence and their sovereignty, the better. And Mrs. von der Leyen, unfortunately, is not useful, if you want to go in that direction.

Schlanger: Well, Helga, those are all the questions I have. I hope people will take seriously your proposal that they sign up for the free Daily Alert subscription. Any closing words from you?

Zepp-LaRouche: We are in an incredibly dangerous moment, and I would like people to really think, where are we in terms of the danger of World War III? Because only if you recognize that this could happen, and it would eliminate everything that humankind has produced so far—I mean, we are talking about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. That beautiful symphony and all other things produced by human creativity would vanish! There would not even be an historian left to investigate why did this happen. And for me, that idea, that everything humankind has produced is threatened by reckless people, who just continue to play their geopolitical games for power, for money, for control, for privilege—that has to be stopped. And we have to have a dramatic change in the strategic orientation, which is why I’m proposing this international security and development architecture to be put on the table as quickly as possible.

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