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This transcript appears in the May 31, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]

Schiller Institute Webcast Dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Will ICC Arrest Warrants Against Netanyahu, Gallant End the Siege of Gaza?

The following is an edited transcript of the May 22, 2024, weekly Schiller Institute dialogue with Schiller Institute founder and leader Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Embedded links and subheads have been added. The video is available here.

Harley Schlanger: Hello, and welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche. She’s the founder and leader of the Schiller Institute. Today is Wednesday, May 22, 2024. I’m Harley Schlanger, and I’ll be your host. You can send us your questions and comments via email to questions@schillerinstitute.org, or you can post them in the chat box.

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U.S. Embassy, Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Helga, we’re in an environment where highly significant developments are occurring with lightning speed. We’ll try to get to as many as we can, because we’ve received a number of questions. Let’s start with a development which has clearly rattled the Western liberal democratic establishment, and that’s the decision by the International Criminal Court to request that arrest warrants be issued for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and for three Hamas leaders. There are two questions that came in explicitly on this. The first is, “Why do you think the International Criminal Court acted now, in contrast to their previous practice of not holding Western countries to account?” And secondly, someone wrote, “I think this is not serious; they’ll never try to enforce it. What do you think?”

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think the reason why this is occurring, is because the Chief Prosecutor, [Karim A. A.] Khan, who is a British legal official with a Pakistani background—who I heard an interview with and profile—I think he is an outstanding legal person who is convinced that you have to have a balanced approach to all sides if the law is to be upheld. And that is, I think, reflecting what he said in these interviews, that if you favor one side at the total neglect of the other one, you are destroying any legality of the system.

I think he, therefore, is not bending to the enormous pressure, and that refers to the second question. The U.S. Congress, I think they have launched a bipartisan effort to sanction Khan, to sanction the ICC, which is outrageous. If you really look at it, then the rules-based order, the so-called liberal democracy, they have such a blatant double standard that when it goes against Africans, then it’s OK—this refers to the previous court make-up—then it’s OK. If it goes against Putin, it’s OK. But if it goes against somebody belonging supposedly to the camp of the Western democracies, then it is anti-Semitic and not allowed.

I think there is a whole list of such double standards, and that is becoming a major topic of discussion all by itself, because it’s so absolutely obvious and blatant that you cannot overlook it. So, I would express my justified hope that the Court will stand by its decision and not back down.

The Danger of War

Schlanger: Now we’ll move to the danger of war. This is from a supporter from northern California, who writes, “I never trusted Jeffrey Sachs, but I watched the interview Sachs did with Mike Billington. It was very, very interesting. Sachs seems to be in agreement with The LaRouche Organization that we’re heading to World War III. But then, today, I read about the Russian decision to carry out tactical nuclear exercises near Ukraine, which they say have been provoked by U.S. and NATO statements and actions. And I say, ‘Holy sh—!’ What can be done to stop this rush to war?” That’s his question for you, Helga.

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Russian Ministry of Defense
Russian tactical nuclear exercises.

Zepp-LaRouche: I think it is not only Prof. Jeffrey Sachs who is rightly worried that we are on the edge of a catastrophe. But any thinking person is flabbergasted, absolutely shocked by the fact that the Western establishments are completely unable to recognize the outcome of their policies. I mean, look, if you are a member of the establishment—let’s say in Europe or the United States—and you look at the result of the policies of the last 30 years, what do you see? You see collapsing economies, at least in Europe; in the United States, maybe less obvious, because they still pretend to be a major financial power, but that is a giant on clay feet as well, which can crash, crumble at any moment. You see a collapsing financial system; you see disenchantment of more and more segments of the population from the governments. You see the cultural collapse. In the United States, the suicide rate of youth is going up. You see that the entire NATO policy towards Russia has not functioned; it backfired. Russia is not ruined; the Russian economy is going. The German economy is crashing against the wall.

All of these negative factors are the result of neo-liberal policies of the last 30 years. But you do not see any sign of recognition or reflection, where any of the main protagonists pushing these policies would say that “OK, this was a mistake. The Green Deal was a mistake. The energy change in Germany [shutting down all nuclear plants in favor of “renewable” energy production—ed.] was a mistake.” No, you don’t see any of that, but you see more of the same. If people are so detached from reality, as we see it right now, you really start to worry about their mental health. And it was Albert Einstein who famously said, “If you do again and again the same thing and you expect a different result, this is the definition of insanity.” So, I think what needs to be done is that we need a mobilization of the population. I think this decision which was announced by Putin a little while ago, that they would for the first time have maneuvers with tactical nuclear weapons in response to Western provocations—not a routine exercise, but explicitly in response to what Macron had said about Western troops in Ukraine; Cameron saying that the Ukrainians are free to use Storm Shadow cruise missiles to reach the territory of Russia—which was reiterated again by Blinken in the clearest form, even after the announcement of Putin that they would hold such maneuvers. So, they are doubling down. It’s an unwinnable situation, and I think we are getting, indeed, extremely close to the edge of a catastrophe.

In that sense, I welcome that Jeffrey Sachs is saying this, and I can only suggest that there is an excellent video made by the Swiss internet TV, Weltwoche (World Week, it’s called). This was done by the editor-in-chief, Roger Köppel, with Oliver Stone, who is, after all, a decorated filmmaker; he received three Oscars, he was nominated 12 times for Oscars. He, in the most stern warning, says the same thing that Sachs was saying. He very laudably goes into the prehistory of the Ukraine war; the NATO expansions and all of this which you are not allowed to say anymore in parts of Europe—in Germany, for example, you’re not allowed to say that there is a history before February 24, 2022. So, I’m thankful to Köppel and Stone for producing this video. I would really urge it to get around, because people have to wake up. This is just seconds before midnight and World War III.

The Need for Statecraft

Schlanger: You’re listening to Helga Zepp-LaRouche. We’ll take your questions; you can send them to us at questions@schillerinstitute.org.

Helga, there are questions going back to the Southwest Asia situation and the war danger there. Here’s one that came from two different people, the same question: “Why is Biden not being investigated, since the U.S. is complicit as the largest contributor in arms and money and political support to the genocide being carried out in Gaza?”

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Flickr/U.S. Secretary of Defense
Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant.

Zepp-LaRouche: I don’t know. It may come, because now the Chief Prosecutor has made this recommendation about the arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant. It is now up to the ICC to make a decision on that request. That is still pending. If they make a decision and stick to what the Chief Prosecutor has requested, then the next step could be that those governments which have aided this genocide could be on the line as well. I think we should wait and see what happens, because the difference between this and any similar comparable situation, like the Holocaust in Germany 80 years ago, is that everybody has seen it. There is no way—you had the TV stations, Al-Jazeera and many others, broadcasting into your living room day by day. Therefore, there is no way to cover it up. Too many people, too many countries know about it. I would not exclude anything at this point.

Schlanger: Here’s a question that came in from a contact in Ireland, referring to Ireland joining with Spain and Norway, announcing their recognition of a Palestinian State. This is after the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine, but the United States voted against it. This person writes, “Ukraine is lost. Governments in Europe are unpopular. Why is there no move in Europe to break from the Anglo-American control? Is it money? Is it NATO? Why? Why? Why?”

Zepp-LaRouche: That is obviously the $64 million question. Because, in a certain sense, the whole world can see what is happening. If you are talking to people in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, they all ask that same question. Why is it that Germany, for example, or the European countries in general, why are they not defending their own self-interest? Why are they giving away everything? Germany right now is falling apart at a speed which is absolutely breathtaking. Is the German government acting in the German interest, which would be basically to go as quickly as possible for a diplomatic solution in Southwest Asia, support the Oasis Plan, support a peace plan for Ukraine? There are several excellent proposals on the table. For example, there is the 12-point peace plan by China; then, there is a new, very simple proposal by a former UN official, Alfred de Zayas, which is very simple and obvious: always including, naturally, the participation of all war parties, as compared to this completely useless PR affair which will be conducted in Switzerland in the middle of June, where they have invited everybody except Russia, which means this event will be a failure from the very minute it starts. Naturally, the BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa have already announced that they will not come. [Indian President Narendra] Modi announced that India will send a representative to make the voice of the Global South heard. That may not be a bad thing, because the Global South for sure is not in favor of the NATO narrative; they have made that very, very clear. So, maybe it will be useful to hear from an Indian voice the view of the Global Majority on this matter.

But, I think, the fact [is] that European governments are so spun in their own webs of illusions of their own narrative that they may even start to believe it right now. That makes it all the more important why you should join the efforts of the Schiller Institute and the International Peace Coalition. With the Schiller Institute, we are conducting conferences all the time. We just had two major conferences for the Oasis Plan; we soon will have another conference, which you should look out for, and the moment it’s announced you should register and participate. We have the IPC discussion every Friday; you can register for it if you contact us.

So, I think it is money, it is privilege, it’s belonging to the club, being blind to the actual—I hate to say it, but if I look at some of these figures who represent the governments these days, they are such a mediocre bunch. That is probably flattering them for no good reason. If I compare them to the older politicians like Adenauer, de Gaulle, Indira Gandhi, Herbert Wehner, and, even if you don’t like him, Franz-Josef Strauss: These were people who had knowledge, they had caliber, they had stature. If you have the present crop of politicians who are gambling away the fate of humanity, without knowledge and without knowing what they are doing, it urgently requires a mobilization of the population, because it is the lack of such state citizens which makes these figures possible.

Implications of Iranian Incident

Schlanger: Let’s go to a different subject for a moment, which are the events which occurred in Iran over the weekend: The helicopter crash that killed the President of Iran and seven other people with him. Today they had a state funeral. But here’s the question that came in from several different people: “It seems obvious that the Mossad or the United States brought down President Raisi’s helicopter. Why is this not being discussed?” That’s the question.

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, because it’s not clearly identified. I think we should wait for the investigation, which I’m sure will be done very thoroughly. You have to consider that to make such an accusation is not a light thing. It could really bring us one step closer to World War III. So, I think the more responsible thing is to wait for the investigation. After all, the weather conditions were extremely bad: It was an incredibly thick fog which you could see in the pictures and videos. And naturally, the question is, why did the crew fly under these conditions? I don’t know the answer to that. One can also assume that the helicopter was pretty ancient; because of the sanctions, the entire air force of Iran—including helicopters—is known to be extremely old, over-aged, and therefore such things could happen.

I do not want to cast a judgment when we don’t have enough information to really be sure, because of the importance of not contributing to the rumor mill at a moment when there is fake news and already enough disturbance in the world strategic situation. And so, we have to be prudent.

Schlanger: We have from Menashe, who is a regular contributor to the weekly dialogue, he says: “The death of Iran’s President and Foreign Minister could change the conflict in the region. Do you think Iran will continue the same policy?” And another question was, “Is Iran still planning to join the BRICS?”

Zepp-LaRouche: I think, from all the reports I saw and briefings I received, that the present government will continue the policy of the Raisi government. First of all, the Supreme Leader of Iran is not the President, but it’s the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He’s old; Raisi was regarded as one of his potential successors. Mokhber is the interim President until the elections in 45 or so days.

So, I do not expect a change from the side of the government. If there is an attempt to have demonstrations and interfere in the elections process, which cannot be excluded, then the situation could become more tumultuous. But I think the danger, if something happens with Iran, we should be aware that they are part of the BRICS, they are part of the SCO, and therefore the danger of an escalation into World War III would exist; once you have an escalation of the Middle East conflict involving Iran, we are again on one more front on the edge of World War III. That all underlines the fragility of the world situation and the absolute necessity to not only have the Oasis Plan, as a sign of hope for a new paradigm, but have the Oasis Plan put on the agenda as a beginning of a completely new paradigm internationally. Because I believe—that’s one of my deepest convictions for a very long time, and it has become stronger as time goes by, that unless we succeed to do exactly what the Peace of Westphalia did, to overcome all conflicts—I mean, the Peace of Westphalia overcame 150 years of religious warfare in Europe, and they were able to give themselves principles for ending the war and laying the foundation for the development of international law. Most importantly, that for the sake of peace, you have to take into account the interests of the other; for the sake of peace, you have to forgive the crimes committed by one or the other side; because, if you don’t have an amnesty, you are not ending the cycle of violence.

There are those people who say, “No, but first justice has to be done.” Well, that may sound reasonable, but it will not lead to the end of war. You have to have a period of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of a new beginning, building trust, and starting all over on a higher plane. That is what we urgently need to do today, because in the age of thermonuclear weapons, we are not just talking about large numbers of casualties; we are talking about the potential end of civilization. I think the more people forget that, the more dangerous the situation is.

The LaRouche Solution

Schlanger: We have a few more questions, but I want to take a moment to just encourage people to sign up for the Executive Intelligence Review online Daily Alert. We have a special offer: If you sign up now, you can get a free subscription for a month. If people have been listening to some of the questions on a day-to-day basis, these are the things that our intelligence team is taking up. This is what Helga and the rest of the Schiller Institute are addressing day by day. I think it’s absolutely urgent that people—instead of just speculating or going with whatever rumors are put out, or the lies in the mainstream media—get an opportunity to reflect on the actual processes and dynamics of history. In that way, it makes you more effective as an organizer with us. So, if you go to EIR.News, you can find the offer for the introductory subscription to the Daily Alert.

Now, three questions that are coming up here, Helga: The first one from Australia, asks, “Is there any update on the organizing for the Oasis Plan? Do you have any news of endorsements, and what can you tell us about where it stands?”

Zepp-LaRouche: We had the follow-up conference in Copenhagen; I think you probably know about that already. Since then, several of us have had excellent, top-level discussions with diplomats and institutional people from several countries, who all agree that this is the way out of the crisis. They have promised that they will further this discussion and bring it to the attention of their governments. The aim of all of this is that we have to get one, or, better, a handful, or whatever number of governments to actually endorse it and start doing it.

I think at this point the whole conception is to develop the entire region from India to the Mediterranean, from the Caucasus to the Gulf States. Now, obviously that is a gigantic project. But I think if there would be anywhere an effort to produce fresh water through desalination, different methods have been mentioned—it’s like with Nehru: The Green Revolution, which was not an ecological revolution, it was actually an agricultural revolution by increasing the food production in India by an order of magnitude, which Nehru managed to do. He did that by working with those farmers who agreed to do it (because not everybody wanted to do it, some people wanted to stick to their old ways). But once they saw what success these farmers who did go along with the change had [accomplished], it became a widely attractive change in agricultural production. I think something like that should be done.

So, if there is any government, like Jordan, or any government which is convinced that this is the right way to go—start a project anywhere, rather than just waiting. Naturally, the actual Oasis Plan needs a decision, not only by the participating governments, but I think it does require an actual decision by all the major neighbors, which are Russia, China, Iran, India, Egypt. These are countries which are not directly affected, but they are sort of the guarantors of such a project. Then it would fit in nicely in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is already being extended in various forms with the CPEC—China-Pakistan Economic Corridor—in Pakistan, with other projects in several countries. I can only say we are organizing to the limit of our ability to try to put it on the table. So, whatever you, the viewers, can do to help; if you know diplomats, discuss it with them. Give them the conference proceedings. If you know nuclear physicists, get them excited. We are in discussion with several nuclear physicists, water management experts, and others, because you need to organize a whole community of scientists, engineers, diplomats to actually further this. So, I’m actually quite optimistic that it can be done, if there is not a big war preventing it all from happening. That’s why it is all the more urgent that you help.

Schlanger: As you’ve just been discussing the role of the BRICS in the region, a question came in, asking: “Is the BRICS group accepting new members, and what are the criteria to join?”

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, they are accepting new members. I think I just heard today that Algeria is now requesting to be a member, and it is being accepted. There were several requests even after the last Johannesburg summit last year in South Africa. There were between 30 to 40 countries that had expressed interest. The BRICS is not a centralized body like NATO; it’s a voluntary partnership of sovereign countries. All nations remain sovereign and loyal to their own traditions. There are different negotiations and discussions for countries to become members. I would expect that this is going to accelerate throughout this year, given the fact that the next BRICS summit will be in Russia. Last I heard, the June [summit] sherpas and the Foreign Ministers will meet in Nizhny Novgorod, and the summit will be in Kazan, but it will be under the chairmanship of Russia. Given the recent extensive strategic discussions between Putin and Xi Jinping when Putin visited China, I’m pretty sure they discussed the question of the expansion of the BRICS extensively.

Schlanger: We have a final question here from a correspondent in Madison, Wisconsin, who said she was extremely moved by watching the students’ demonstrations in support of Palestine. But, she said, as you were talking about the freaked-out reaction to the International Criminal Court decision against Netanyahu and others, it’s clear that there was a freak-out about the students. She writes, “Has the violence against the students stopped them? Will demonstrations continue?” That’s the question we have.

Zepp-LaRouche: The latest information I have, especially from the U.S., but also from some European capitals and cities, is that it [the demonstrations—ed.] will continue. Naturally, in the summer pause, who knows if it can remain in the same form, but given the fact that these students have woken up to reality—and I know that from my own younger years. Once you start as a young person to really understand how absolutely unjust this world system is—I had that experience very emphatically, especially on my trip to China, which was during the Cultural Revolution. I went to Africa and also got to see some Asian countries. I came back from that trip with the absolute conviction that the underdevelopment of these countries was unjust, depriving people of the potential of realizing their full lives. Especially when you are a young person, and not yet morally corrupted, you can’t get that out of your system. Only those people who let themselves be corrupted, tend to forget that moral impulse. They get adjusted to whatever the status quo is.

It’s very clear that the experience of what is happening in Gaza, for many, many, hundreds of thousands of young people, has caused that change. Given the fact that we are in such a tumultuous, tectonic change—We are experiencing right now the collapse of the liberal order, the emergence of a new system of countries that want to have a partnership of equals, of respect for the other country, the sovereignty, non-interference into the internal affairs. This is a huge change! It’s like 600 years of history of colonialism are coming to an end. And I think there is zero chance the genie can be put back in the bottle, because this is a world revolution taking place. Therefore, I don’t think this will calm down.

I think it will impact all countries, including Germany for that matter, because Germany is now caught in a real paradox. On the one side, they are signers of the ICC, unlike the United States, so they say we have to stick to whatever the ICC is saying. But then they have this total loyalty to Israel, no matter what the government is, which doesn’t make sense at all, because if they would have learned anything from history, they would take the side of the ICJ and, now, the ICC. But it will not go away, that’s what I’m saying.

So, in the next period, we will undergo a process in which the contradictions, the double standard, the paradoxes will become more and more obvious. I think that is giving us the chance to convince more people that if we join the New Paradigm, if you get the Europeans and the American people to just say, “Let’s just cooperate with the Global Majority,” then every conflict can be solved. I think it might sound impossible if you listen to some of hawks and warmongers, but I think the interest of the people is that we join with the Global Majority. So, you should help us to do that.

Schlanger: Is there anything further you want to say in conclusion?

Zepp-LaRouche: I think you should really understand that this is an absolutely outstanding moment in history, which never, never existed before. We were never confronted with the danger of nuclear war in the same way. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought us close to it, but compared to what we have now, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a children’s birthday party. I can only emphasize this in the strongest terms.

On the other side, I think, if we get out of this present dynamic into a world where nations work together, we have the chance to overcome poverty. We have enough science and technology to make the life of every person on the planet livable and beautiful and full of chances to realize all potentials which are inside people’s existence.

So, it is the time to become political, and to become political, preferably with the Schiller Institute. Then the chance that we come out of this in a positive way increase by your actions: So do it!

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