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This transcript appears in the June 21, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]

Schiller Institute Weekly Dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche

The ‘Sole Superpower’ Heads Towards Bankruptcy and Irrelevance

The following is an edited transcript of the June 13, 2024, weekly Schiller Institute dialogue with Schiller Institute founder and leader Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Embedded links have been added. The video is available here.

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EIRNS/Stuart Lewis
The Schiller Institute’s June 12 emergency press conference at the National Press Club, “The Danger of Nuclear War Is Real, and Must Be Stopped.”

Harley Schlanger: Hello, and welcome to our weekly dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and leader of the Schiller Institute. It’s June 13, 2024. I’m Harley Schlanger and I’ll be your host today. You can send us your questions and comments via email to questions@schillerinstitute.org.

The Schiller Institute sponsored an emergency press conference yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The title was “The Danger of Nuclear War Is Real, and Must Be Stopped.” The link to the video can be found on the Schiller Institute website. The speakers, in addition to you, Helga, were Scott Ritter, who is very well known; Col (ret.) Richard Black; and Col (ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson.. Each speaker conveyed with a certain amount of eloquence and passion that the policies of the Biden administration toward Russia are provocative and highly dangerous.

The first question for you comes from a supporter in Colorado, who writes, “Congratulations for the press conference yesterday! It’s encouraging to see respected figures like your panelists having the courage to appear with you and speak boldly. Do you see this as a change, and will it grow to be big enough to shift the policy of the U.S. government?”

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Well, I think it was an important first step. I think that the competence of the speakers, who all have military or intelligence backgrounds—Col. Wilkerson was the chief of staff for Colin Powell, very outspoken and eloquent, insightful. Naturally, Richard Black has a huge international following. People have enormous respect of his integrity as an American patriot. And Scott Ritter, who is maybe at this point the most outspoken critic of the U.S. policy of confrontation against Russia, in particular, but also against China. So, I think the combination of these speakers together with me was important to get across the urgency. Scott Ritter said it repeatedly: He said that when people tell him he shouldn’t scare people, he said that is exactly what we have to do, because only if people are waking up—I’m now using my own words—in the middle of the night full of sweat, being afraid that they will die soon if the policy is not changed, this is much better than sleepwalking into a catastrophe from which nobody may be left if it occurs.

So, I think this was very, very important. Immediately after we concluded this press conference, I turned on the German TV to watch the news. It was really like a completely different universe. Where people in our press conference were warning of what will happen if it comes to nuclear war and how real it is, the lack of reality in the German public debate, at least as it is transmitted by the mainstream media, is just mind boggling. Here you have Pistorius, the Defense Minister, calling for militarization of the German state, calling for a new draft army, which is fallen out of times completely—this is supposedly not the Cold War.

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U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow
Boris Pistorius, German Defense Minister, has called for the militarization of the German state and a draft.

So, I would really urge you, our viewers, the most important thing you can do, is please watch this press conference if you haven’t done so yet, and then send it around as widely as possible to all possible people: elected officials, social media contacts, institutions, because I think that that is a very important warning message.

Is this enough already now to stop the train which, according to many military experts and leaders of Europe and East European states, has left the station already? I don’t think so. Because just today it was reported that the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Alexander Grushko warned that there are very clear signs that NATO is preparing for a clash with Russia, including the option of involving nuclear weapons, and that the situation is completely dangerous. Therefore, I don’t think we have derailed this policy. I think we have given the people of goodwill a tool with which they can warn elected officials and their friends and associates, but a lot more has to be done.

Schlanger: Let’s stick to the war danger for a minute. There’s a question from a viewer in Australia, who says—and you were just talking about this, basically. He says, “I read that Zelensky was in Berlin on Tuesday [June 11] asking for more money and arms, and more support, and that Scholz promised Germany would support him in Ukraine until Russia is defeated. So, the question is, has Scholz learned nothing from the [European Parliament] vote on Sunday, in which he and his coalition partners lost votes significantly?”

Zepp-LaRouche: It seems not. Yesterday, one of the questions which was asked was, “Why is it that the present so-called elites, the Establishments, the governments, why are they not getting it? Or, why are they in such a bubble?” And I thought about it more, and I think the answer is very simple: It’s that you are dealing with a generation of politicians in Germany, in particular, who have lost a real connection to history. When I grew up, my mother and my uncle and various neighbors and so forth were telling us what happened in the war. How horrible it was to be woken up to go into the bunker or into the basement when there was a bomb alarm. You could tell by the way they were traumatized by this experience, that it was really a very horrible experience. So, I grew up with the idea that this has to be avoided. And also, the circumstances—you had so many relatives either not coming back at all from the war, or coming back with an amputated leg. There was in my immediate neighborhood a man who only had one leg. He had all kinds of pains, so you could hear his yelling, yelling in the whole neighborhood when he had these pain attacks. The pain treatment did not always function well. So, these are experiences, and I think the present crop of politicians somehow have this videogame idea of war, that you reset your game, and you start again. And then you kill so many people, and then you lose or win. It doesn’t make any difference. But there is no connection to the reality of the situation.

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CC/Don O’Brien
Germany near the end of World War II: Older Germans still remember the effects of war.

In Germany, in particular, and I think in all of Europe, you also have the effect of the education reform with the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] reforms in 1970. The Humboldt education system was thrown out and replaced by some more modernist, practical education. My late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, and I would discuss the effect of no longer teaching the Classics in schools; what would be the effect on the pupils? The pupils would not enter the deep issues of the meaning of statecraft, the great issues portrayed in the Classical dramas of, let’s say, Schiller, or Shakespeare, and others. So, the effect is that they are lacking the power of imagination, and they’re very shallow. I do not want to name, now, any names, but I could give you a whole catalogue of politicians, who are so absolutely shallow.

That was a topic of discussion yesterday, where several of the speakers expressed the impression that these politicians do not know what they are playing with. So, they’re bungling our whole future away—the existence of humanity. But they have never thought through, what is a nuclear war? Is it likely that you can limit a nuclear war?

In Germany, people should be aware, if there is a limited nuclear war, it will be in Germany. So, either way, it’s no good for us. But it will not remain limited: It will be a global war. And if that happens, the likelihood is that it will be followed by a nuclear winter of ten or more years, when all life on the planet disappears. That has never been thought through, and I can only advise these so-called elites that they should study the writings of Ted Postol and other experts—Steven Starr, Hans Kristensen. Especially Ted Postol, who has written extremely important writings about the difference between conventional war and nuclear war, and why, in the case of one nuclear weapon being used, the likelihood that they all will be used is almost certain. I think that that is part of the problem that we are dealing with.

Schlanger: We have a question from Vancouver, Canada. The person writes, “You are placing a lot of hope on the BRICS,” referring to your presentation yesterday. “Are there operations being run to undermine the BRICS alliance? And what can the BRICS do to protect themselves from a U.S.-NATO economic warfare plan?”

Zepp-LaRouche: I think that they are doing quite well. There was just in Nizhny Novgorod in Russia the Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the BRICS, with a lot of guests invited. The latest report is that there are 59 countries that have applied for membership; that would be then, plus the 9 already, close to 70 countries. So, the ability of the international financial institutions to run warfare is still obviously very great, as we see in the case of Argentina, which has been locked out of the BRICS altogether by a very dubious President, by bringing him into position; but then also attacks on Egypt, a huge effort to bring Saudi Arabia away from the BRICS into a more U.S.-centered arrangement with Israel. There are enormous attacks on South Africa.

So, all of these things are going on. But I think that there is an historic process underway, which I do not think can be stopped—except if we have world war, then everything stops. But I think that the determination of the countries of the Global South to end colonialism once and for all, is something which cannot be stopped. Since it concerns the vast majority of the human species, 85% or so of the people, I think it will be victorious. I think that there are among the leaders of the Global South, fortunately, a number of extremely qualified and morally high-standard leaders, who, I think, together represent a strategic capability which gives you hope that they can succeed.

Schlanger: Now we have an email from a supporter. He says he’s a supporter of an independent Palestine. He says about Gaza: “The peace deal that Biden says came from Israel, which Israel has not yet said it supports, is the subject of the latest trip to the Mideast by Secretary of State Blinken. Does Blinken believe the Saudis would accept a peace deal without recognition of a viable Palestinian state?”

Zepp-LaRouche: The Saudi position, which has been very clear, is to not accept any such agreement without an agreement for a Palestinian state. And in the present Israeli government, various of its ministers have said very clearly that they completely exclude a Palestinian state. So, I do not know how this will play out. All I can say is, that unless there is a very strong economic component, not only the reconstruction of Gaza, which is obvious, but a much more fundamental change in the economic policy for the entire region, as we have developed it with the Oasis Plan, I’m very worried that this will not work out. The responses we have heard so far have been very cautious, to say the least. So, I think we need to mobilize more to put the Oasis Plan on the table and cause a paradigm shift in the entire thinking. Because as long as we remain in the realm of geopolitical back-and-forth and maneuvers, pulling the Saudis into an anti-Iranian scheme, or all these geopolitical schemes which have been the tools of empire for centuries—they have to stop, and we have to go to statecraft. That is, that the common good of the people is the first priority, and that harmonious development for all has to replace geopolitics. I think we are a big step away from that.

The Oasis Plan
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Asuka Saito Burke, April 2024
LaRouche’s “Oasis Plan” for the development of Southwest Asia.

Schlanger: On the question of geopolitics and statecraft, we have something sent in by RJ. And let me say, you can still send your questions in: Send them to questions@schillerinstitute.org. What RJ writes is that “America is stuck in the Thucydides trap.” That is, that when an empire collapses, it almost always ends up in a war. What do you think about that, Helga? How could that be avoided, or can it?

Zepp-LaRouche: If it cannot be avoided, then we are in bad shape. I think that the biggest problem is that the United States should go back to its best foreign policy tradition, and I think John Quincy Adams is a good starting point. He emphatically said that “the United States should not go abroad to chase foreign monsters.” Instead, they should work with an alliance of perfectly sovereign nation-states and republics for the common good of all. I think that was the line of Lincoln; and you had policies coming from [Franklin D.] Roosevelt, and under difficult circumstances, from Kennedy. I think the United States has moved in the direction where [some hold] this idea that they are the indispensable country. I think all countries are indispensable. Why should Luxembourg or Liechtenstein or Mali or Peru, why should they not be indispensable countries? Anytime a country puts itself above all others, it has the seed of racism and apartheid; it has the seed of imperialism and colonialism. I think it’s something Americans should really reflect upon, because the only way out of this trap would be for the United States to reach out to the BRICS, to the countries of the Global South, and say, “Let’s be partners on the same level. We are not looking down on you, and please don’t look down on us. Let’s just have a complete partnership relationship for the common good of what we are trying to accomplish on this planet.”

I think that’s a mental step which sounds so simple, but I’m sure that the idea which erupted after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that there should be a unipolar world where the United States followed the Wolfowitz doctrine that there should never again be a country or a group of countries bypassing the United States in terms of economic, political, social, or military power—that’s just not a workable idea. The United States has something like 330 million—I may be off a couple of million—people. Even the European Union has 500 million. China has 1.4 billion and India has 1.4 billion. Together they have almost 3 billion people. The Global South represents 85% of the human population.

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Public Domain
President John Quincy Adams: “We go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Adams worked toward a collaborative community of principle among sovereign nations.

The idea that the United States should be the only prevailing power and everybody else should somehow adjust to it, become part of an alliance of democracies—it’s just a wrong conception. The Western democratic model is one model. If the Europeans and the Americans think that that’s the model they want, fine, let them have it. You may have other discussions and thoughts about it, but so be it. But to try to impose something which is organically coming from a certain historical background—namely, Western European traditions—to impose that on Africa, on Russia, on China, on Asian countries or Latin American countries is just not working. Especially since the European Western liberal model has, in recent times, undergone such tremendous paradigm shifts in the direction of “wokeness,” in the direction of LBGT genderization and all of these things. These are fundamentally rejected by all of the countries I named before: In Africa, they say, “We don’t want this. This is not African culture.” The Russians say, “This goes against the very fundamentals of our Christian Orthodox tradition.” The Chinese say, “What has this to do with our history and Confucianism?”

So, I think we should learn to respect the other social system, and if we do that, we might even find that we can learn something from these systems, because the beauty of the human family of peoples and nations is that we all have contributed something unique, and taken together, it makes us richer. If you are trying to rule out everything which doesn’t fit our one-size-fits-all, we are just depriving ourselves of the richness of our civilization.

Schlanger: What you just described is the basis for diplomacy. You look for common interests and try to find an agreement. This doesn’t appear to be the way the conference coming up in Switzerland, called for essentially by [Ukrainian President Volodymir] Zelensky to support the so-called “Ukrainian peace plan” will happen. We have a question from a writer in Brazil who says, “China and Brazil had initially decided not to attend the Zelensky peace gathering in Switzerland. Now, they seem to be going. Do you know what changed?”

Zepp-LaRouche: No, I’m not on the inside of these discussions, obviously. But I can very well imagine that the Chinese and the Brazilians are looking at this process going on with the Ukraine situation, which is getting more desperate by the day, and the absolute lack of any sense among the West Europeans. There was just this conference in Berlin discussing the reconstruction of Ukraine. The war is still going on, how can you reconstruct something which is still war territory? And unfortunately, what comes out is—a lot of military production is being planned: They want to turn Ukraine into a production site of tank plants, all kinds of ammunition plants. So, I can only imagine that the Chinese and the Brazilians are looking at that, and they say this is a no-win formula. Since the Bürgenstock Swiss conference is taking place on the basis of the Zelensky formula, which is absolutely uncompromising demands which will be rejected by Russia—in any case, Russia has not even been invited, so how can you have a peace conference when one of the war parties is not even invited?

So, my best estimate is that they are going to this conference to present their plan, because Brazil and China have presented their own peace proposal based on the 12 principles of the original Chinese proposal, which is inclusive, which includes inviting Russia as a participant. I can only imagine that they will bring forward their position in the strongest terms, trying to make sense to the other delegates. Because the Chinese proposal is the most realistic one, and if [Brazilian President] Lula and Brazil are supporting it, you can be sure that the Global South in general is supporting it.

So, I welcome their decision and hope they talk some sense into the other participants.

Schlanger: We have a question here from the U.S. It says, “Biden has some plan to raise $50 billion in a loan to Ukraine, backed by the frozen, stolen Russian assets. He is supposedly going to present this at the G7 meeting,” which is opening in Italy June 13-15. The question is, “Can they get away with that? Is that something that they can do without creating turmoil in the world based on the idea that you can steal money and then use it as a basis for a pay-off?”

Zepp-LaRouche: That reminds me of the Malaysian monkey trap. This is the story of how you catch a monkey in Malaysia. You have a cage which has a nut inside and a hole in the wall of the cage so that the monkey can put its paw through this hole and grab the nut. But the hole is only big enough for the hand to go through when not holding that nut. But once the hand grabs onto the nut, the hand is too big. So, when trying to pull the hand back with the nut, it gets stuck and cannot pull the hand out. Now, since the monkey is greedy and wants to have the nut, it doesn’t come to the idea that it should just let go of the nut and rather save itself from being caught.

I think that’s a little bit the image I have when I hear such discussions, because obviously, it’s the most short-sighted and most foolish policy you can imagine. The first time when these confiscations took place, of the $300 billion-plus in Russian assets by the U.S., but mainly by European banks, the fact that that happened on top of the U.S. confiscating $9 billion from Afghanistan, and various other assets from other countries, that had a bigger blow in causing the de-dollarization than anything else. Now people are freaked out that there are so many countries moving out of the dollar; de-dollarizing and moving into their own currency for trade, even thinking about an alternative reserve currency. But they don’t realize that it was their own weaponization of the dollar and the euro and the yen which caused these blowbacks. This will be even worse; even the IMF has warned against it. The European Central Bank has warned against it, by saying that this puts into motion a spiral of escalation which may blow out the entire financial system. Russia recently has already announced that they will do reciprocal countermeasures; that they will seize the assets of European banks, of American banks inside Russia. What the effect of this will be really remains to be seen, but it will not be a good outcome.

So, let go of the Malaysian monkey trap if you want to save your system.

Schlanger: All right. We have a comment, and one more question. I don’t know if there are still more questions coming in. The comment is from ridgerunner52, who writes, “Too many people are still connected in some way to the decaying orbit of this Anglosphere, which prevents conceptualizing the crisis in its entirety.” So, if you have a comment on that.

Here’s the other question, though. It’s from a correspondent in Texas, who says, “There’s a Texas saying that someone with a big ego often bites off more than they can chew.” He says, that’s his view of Macron, presenting himself as the new de Gaulle. He asks if you have any comments on what’s going on with that?

Zepp-LaRouche: I think on the first question, the Anglosphere narrative, it is amazing that people in this Establishment of the United States, but especially also Europe, have a narrative which they defend with just everything. They have a whole apparatus built into NATO, into the European Union, to not only debunk so-called disinformation, to have fact-checkers, and to correct any views which are not the fitting ones, but they now have moved into “pre-bunking”: In other words, they want to inoculate children from basically early baby age on, but especially in the school, that they pre-bunk the option of ever, ever taking into account a different view than the official narrative.

There is a word for that: It’s called brainwashing, and it’s called lack of free speech. If you want to educate children to be free and democratic citizens, you have to educate them so that they think for themselves; that they learn the method of learning so that they have lifelong learning and improvement for their whole lives, and that you are not dictating a narrative which is like a fixed thing. This is just a completely wrong way, and it’s tragic. Because you can see these politicians who repeat the most idiotic sentences, no matter what happens, like most of the politicians did after the rather significant losses in the [most recent] European election. And Macron got smashed; the Le Pen party got twice as many votes as his party. There are big splits now underway, because there is a lot of infighting about how to deal with this. So, Macron is playing a gamble. He dissolved the lower house of the Parliament on June 9, calling “snap” elections that will take place on June 30 and July 7. Not enough time to really prepare. He thinks the opposition may win, and then he will have an opposition government which will discredit itself, according to his estimate, so that when it comes to the next Presidential election, he will look like the big winner and reincarnation of de Gaulle.

The party of French President Emmanuel Macron was smashed in the recent elections for the European Parliament, leading him to call a snap election for the French National Assembly, throwing the country into political turbulence.

I once met in France a politician; I can say it was the son of a very famous politician in France. The older politician, the father, had an excellent stature of personality, of competence, and so forth. So, I participated in a meeting where the son of this person, who was relatively small in height, said, “Look! My suit here,” and he pointed to his vest, “this is made from just one-tenth of the suit of my father, and it fits me perfectly well.” So, I think that is the problem: People nowadays have somehow become accustomed to not thinking big, and even if they pretend to be a big ego, you can look through it. So, I think the present crop of politicians is way, way far from what used to be an Adenauer, a de Gaulle, an Indira Gandhi, or a Nehru, or a Zhou Enlai, or many others of the older crop. They are trying to imitate this, but they don’t quite make it.

So, I can only ask you to study every day, become qualified that you can become a good candidate. You could be the Economics Minister, the Culture Minister. It takes work, because you have to be sure that you are doing a better job than the present crop of politicians. But I think we need a better-educated citizenry to have a better future.

Schlanger: I think what partly would help that, would be for people to study the video from yesterday from the press conference, and listen to the discussion of the military veterans on why this war doctrine is so dangerous.

Then I would add also, they should study your fundamental principles Helga, which were written I would say, in a sense to overcome the rot of the Anglosphere; to return to the idea that there are higher principles that should govern statecraft and relations between nations. That was a point that you made as part of your presentation at the event yesterday.

Helga, do you have some final comments?

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, emphatically. Tomorrow, Friday, we have the weekly IPC, International Peace Coalition, meeting. I can imagine that there will be a lot of new people because of the very high number of participants at the press conference yesterday. We have not counted it altogether, but this morning even the Schiller site had more than 30,000 viewers. But that was just the English site; we had also German, French, and Spanish. We had other institutions co-streaming, so I think this had a very large audience yesterday, and I can imagine that there will be a very good discussion tomorrow. Then on the June 15-16 weekend, we have a Schiller Institute conference discussing all of these topics. We have four panels: the strategic situation, the role of the Global South, the scientific breakthroughs, the need to have a cultural dialogue. So, please look at the program on the Schiller site, and just register and participate, because we need more intelligent discussion and dialogue for as many people as possible to get the inner strength to overcome this existential crisis of humanity.

Schlanger: Helga, thank you for joining us today, and thank you for giving us a kick to make the cognitive leap which you’ve insisted is the basis of making a change. So, until next week, we’ll see you then.

Zepp-LaRouche: I hope on Friday and Saturday and Sunday.

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