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This transcript appears in the June 28, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]

Schiller Institute Weekly Dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche

To Address an Existential Crisis, Think Like LaRouche

The following is an edited transcript of the June 19, 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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Zelensky’s Official Website
The non-starter peace conference in Switzerland, to which Russia was not invited, demonstrated NATO’s continued refusal, in its proxy war, to consider Russian interests.

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 June 19, 2024. I’m Harley Schlanger, and I will be your host. You can send your questions and comments to us via email at questions@schillerinstitute.org or post them in the YouTube chat page.

Helga, there have been a number of significant developments in the last week. You’ve been very busy, with the Emergency Press Conference last Wednesday, the International Peace Coalition meeting on Friday, and the Schiller Institute conference Saturday and Sunday. There was also a gathering of the increasingly irrelevant G7 last week; the NATO-Zelensky phony peace conference in Switzerland; and the peace offer from Vladimir Putin. I’d like to begin with your overview of these events.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think there are, indeed, tremendous changes taking place in the strategic landscape, tectonic changes of unprecedented dimensions. I keep saying it, that we’re really experiencing the end of an epoch of 600 years of colonial rule. I think some of the powers-that-be have tremendous difficulty adjusting to this development, and they are absolutely unwilling to recognize that these tectonic changes are the result of their own policy.

The Non-Aligned Movement has been fighting for a new world economic order since 1955, at least with the Bandung Conference, and they had to take many setbacks. It looked for a long time like the countries of the Global South would not succeed in ever shedding the shackles of the colonial system in its modern form of trade conditions, credit conditions. But what is happening now is that indeed the Global South is re-asserting its own right to development. They are forming new associations, new organizations—and they are no longer, for now, snapping to when demanded by those powers.

Most emphatically, this was underlined and demonstrated at the Bürgenstock, Switzerland, so-called peace conference for Ukraine, where I think the significance of the failure of that conference is very remarkable. And I keep thinking about it: because it was very clear that the United States, the European Union, the G7, NATO, they made a tremendous effort to put maximum pressure on the countries of the Global South that they all should appear; that they should send high-level, if not head-of-state delegations. This was like a real measuring of the forces—and it failed. There were only, I think, 78 countries that appeared—78 out of almost 200. The BRICS countries did not show up, especially not China, not Brazil. Even [Brazilian President] Lula was at the G7 meeting in Italy just a few hours away. Then, two more withdrew from signing the final document, after they had signed it already. So, the net result is that the entire pressure of the West could not force the majority of the countries of the world to come to this conference. I think that is a reflection of the change of the times. I think this, from my standpoint, may be the most interesting aspect of the changing situation.

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U.S. Air Force
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (r.) called for the dusting off of nuclear missiles. At left, a conceptual rendering of the U.S. Air Force’s LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile.

Then, naturally, the escalation of the war danger is continuously going on, [NATO Secretary General] Stoltenberg being the worst driver: He says he wants to dust off a lot of nuclear weapons in storage and make them more usable, basically putting them on some form of alert, which, naturally, escalates the war danger.

The proposal by Putin, which was naturally immediately pooh-poohed—Putin made a speech on the 14th of June to the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry. He made a one-hour speech, and only the end of that speech, where he dealt with his suggestion for a peace negotiation concerning Ukraine, was reported in the West. It was immediately rejected by Scholz and others. But this was only the end piece of a much larger presentation, where he again analyzed how it came to this crisis of Ukraine. But then he made a very interesting, and, in my opinion, very far-reaching proposal, to have a Eurasian security architecture which would take into account the interests of all Eurasian countries, and which would be open to NATO members. I think this is very interesting. He used formulations, which in all objectivity are really not very far from what I have been saying for two years, since the special military operation started: Namely that any security arrangement has to take into account the interests of all, or otherwise it does not work, and it has to be based on development. He didn’t use exactly what my Ten Principles were, but the essence was very resonating.

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Russian President Putin’s new proposal for a new security architecture for Eurasia, open to NATO countries, has been ignored by the West.

In my view I think this should be taken up; I think it should be evaluated. It’s not something which is an ended proposal, but it is the platform for discussion; to go back to diplomacy. And it explicitly says it is open to NATO countries. It did not say it excludes the United States. So, I think the world would be very well-advised to consider this proposal and start to have a dialogue on how to end this Ukraine war before it is too late. And it may soon be too late, as some people are warning: One of them is the President of Serbia Vučić, who gave an interview to the Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche, where he basically said he sees signs that the danger is that it could come to a big war between Europe and Russia within three to five months. Now, I don’t know what additional information he has to narrow the window to such a timeframe of three to five months, but it has to be taken into account, because also the President of Bulgaria has put out similar warnings; Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, and, naturally, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán has been saying things along these lines all the time.

So, we are in a dramatic situation. In less than three weeks there will be the NATO summit, from July 9 to 11. This will be an inflection point, because NATO will have a big problem, because the image loss of NATO is gigantic: of the United States, of Germany, naturally because of what happened in Gaza, but also in respect to the fact that the Ukraine policy clearly is not functioning. So, NATO will have a lot of explanations to make, and if they want to get out of this box, they should accept Putin’s proposal to negotiate. That would be to their advantage.

Otherwise, the time until then will be very tumultuous. There will be the first round of the French parliamentary elections, which [French President] Macron has called, where it is expected that he will have a tremendous loss. So, he will come as a not-so-glorious President to the NATO summit in Washington. Also, the British will have elections, where the Tories are expected to lose massively. So, the defeat of the government parties, which we saw in the [June 6-9] European [Parliamentary] election, will in all likelihood be continued in France and in Great Britain with different national elections. Therefore, the warning cry that the populations do not want the war policy of their governments is clearly a factor in the picture. And if the governments would be wise, they would listen to the sentiment among their people, rather than bulldozing ahead according to their own expected privileges, which they think they will gain if they continue to follow this course—but, obviously, the whole world will suffer.

So, that’s my summary introduction.

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European Union
French President Emmanuel Macron, after major losses, can expect further defeat in the upcoming, snap elections he has called.

Schlanger: Here’s a question from a retired teacher. She says: “Harley, I fully agree with the importance you and the LaRouche movement and Helga are placing on a return to the principles of the Peace of Westphalia. But how can that happen, given the immorality and cowardice of most government leaders? Can Helga use her influence to get the BRICS, the SCO, or a group of leaders from the Global South to endorse the call for a new Peace of Westphalia?”

Zepp-LaRouche: I think we are making big headway in that. I think if you look at the recent Schiller conference which we had this past weekend, we had significant representation of countries from the Global South, from the BRICS. There was a high-ranking delegation from the leading think tank from Belarus. They [Belarus—ed.] have applied to become a BRICS member; they basically came out along the lines fully with this idea of a Peace of Westphalia. We had Prof. Georgy Toloraya, who is an official representative of the BRICS organization. We had people from Latin America, Former President Donald Ramotar of Guyana. Then, in the economics panel, likewise there were several spokesmen and women from the Global South.

I think we are making headway, because the Schiller Institute has emerged—and this was also expressed by several of the conference participants—as a platform promoting this idea of a new dialogue. I think the fact that the recent peace proposal by Putin—it is not quite the same as what I have been saying. I have said that we need a global new security and development architecture, which includes every single country on the planet. What President Putin has said, he has called for an all-Eurasian new security architecture, however, which is open to NATO countries and should take into account the interests of everybody.

So, while there are still margins of difference, I think we are moving very quickly towards that possibility. If you want to do something for peace, and you agree with the Peace of Westphalia approach, take both the Putin speech—which is a long speech, but it’s full of interesting ideas. I think it’s one of the major speeches Putin ever made. And take my Ten Principles, and take these two items as a package, and send it to everybody—all Congressmen, all parliamentarians of your countries, elected officials on all levels, other institutions which should be part of this debate—and get it in the discussion; that the alternative to a Third World War is to have such negotiations, like they occurred in Münster and Osnabrück between 1644 and 1648, leading to the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia Treaty, which was really the establishment and the beginning of what we call international law today. I think it is extremely important to go back to that, because only if you take into account the interests of everybody, can you have peace. If you leave someone out, it does not work. The best example of that is Versailles. The Versailles Treaty did not take into account the interests of Germany, nor the interests of China, and therefore it was the prelude to the Second World War. If we have learned anything from history, we should review that and recognize that the principle of the interest of the other is the key to peace.

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Contemporary painter Gerard Terborch portrayed the 1648 signing of the Treaty of Westphalia, ending 150 years of “Christian” warfare in Europe, which destroyed a third of Europe.

Schlanger: You’re listening to Helga Zepp-LaRouche of the Schiller Institute. You can still send us your questions; send them to questions@schillerinstitute.org.

I have a question here from someone who signed it “Frustrated in Scotland.” He writes, “While everyone says the European elections shocked the governments, they also say the European Union won’t change. With the elections coming up in the United Kingdom and France, do you think voters are unhappy enough to send a clearer message that a drastic change must occur?”

Zepp-LaRouche: I think that is the potential, and it is the hope. We have, as I mentioned already, the French election is coming up, which I think, as every indication says, will be a complete devastation of Macron and therefore his French-troops-to-Ukraine policy and similar things. The British Tory Party will suffer a setback. And then we will have, in September, more elections coming up in Germany, in East Germany, in three states, Saxony, Thüringen, and Brandenburg. And there, the AfD was the strongest party in the European Parliament election, and the [Sahra] Wagenknecht party (BSW) is almost number one in Thüringen—it’s going back and forth between AfD and the BSW, as they are called. They both have in the polls right now 49%. That is not so far from being the majority, if they get one more percent. That could tilt, because the war danger is increasingly in the minds of people, and freaking people out. So, you could have a change in three of the German states, which would be a change in the Federal system, the Bundesrat, the Council, and that could derail the German war policy.

Then, I think a big factor in the situation is that it turns out that the young voters—they let people from 16 years old vote—and a lot of people who voted for the first time in an overwhelming way went to the AfD, and that is clearly related to the war policy! So, the more the elites and governments are pushing on the war policy, the more they are about to lose the youth. And that’s the future.

Anyway, I’m not taking the risk lightly, and I’m saying a lot more mobilization, to warn of the danger and to give people a sense of the alternative, has to occur. But even if the electoral process is tedious and not very democratic, to say the least, because it clearly is hampered by many factors, nevertheless, I do not give up hope that the concern in the population is so great, that there is a hope that that factor may be enough to change the situation.

Schlanger: Well, this question of concern with war and the danger of an expanded war is on the minds of a lot of people. I have two emails here. One is from Denver. A woman writes, “As a mother, I’m horrified to hear there’s consideration in the Congress to restore the military draft. I don’t want my tax dollars or my children to be sent off to a war that helps no one. But I feel so helpless. What can we do?”

And then from Han in Australia, “I couldn’t agree more about all that you’re talking about on the global situation. I’d like to do something to let more people know. Let me know what I can do to be a part of it.” I think your proposal before, Helga, was quite good about Putin’s statement and your fundamental principles, but maybe you want to say more about that.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. I fully agree that, as in previous times, a draft army was more advantageous than an all-volunteer army, because the all-volunteer army is really the imperial model. If you read the book by Samuel Huntington, The Soldier and the State, which is a horrible book, but I read it once, because I wanted to find out what is the thinking of these neo-cons: They have this idea of an imperial army modeled on the Roman Empire, where there is no connection between the population and the army, and therefore the real issue is to get the efficiency of the soldiers increased. In modern times this is quite a horrible idea, because it involves all kinds of modern weapons. It’s just a horrible idea.

But the present system has been so much changed in the direction of an imperial military system, that it’s no longer like the Prussian reformers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, or Lazare Carnot in France, where the officer was supposed to be a model in society. That has been completely eliminated. Therefore, I think the idea to now call for a draft is really not something one should consider in any case. You should just voice your opposition, wherever you can.

Having said all of this, I would suggest that the two listeners, the two people who asked questions, should join—and many of our viewers, namely you—join our upcoming International Peace Coalition (IPC) meeting this coming Friday. We have been holding Zoom conferences every single Friday for more than a year now, continuously without interruption. This coming Friday will be focused on this proposal by President Putin. There is a German organization called OKV (Ostdeutsches Kuratorium von Verbänden), an umbrella organization of East German organizations, that has issued a call on all people to endorse and discuss this proposal by Putin. So, while it is not so well known, we have made it the topic to be discussed at this upcoming Friday meeting. It’s an occasion for people to get familiar with it, to get expert views on it. If there is a discussion going in the direction that it should be endorsed, we will do so, or consider whatever arguments should be heard against it.

But I think that is definitely something which could become the rallying point, because if in all countries there would be a significant number of organizations endorsing this, we would create an environment in which the governments would have a hard time to ignore it. So, that’s my immediate suggestion for what you should do.

Schlanger: Here’s a question that just came in. Someone asks, “It looks like Saudi Arabia is breaking with the dollar order, ending the petrodollar deal and accepting the yuan for oil purchases. But I keep hearing that they have not accepted membership in the BRICS, yet. Are they holding back for fear of provoking a regime-change from the United States?”

Zepp-LaRouche: That could be; I don’t know. I know that there has been tremendous pressure coming from the United States on Saudi Arabia not to join the BRICS. I think various American State Department officials recently visited Saudi Arabia, pushing the idea of having a Saudi-Israel pact instead, which was already promoted once during the Presidency of Trump. It led to the Abraham Accords, and that was actually a big contributing factor to trigger the present Gaza crisis, because it left out the Palestinians completely, and hardened the conditions for people in Gaza, so that this attack on October 7th was the end result of this exclusion. Concerning that, by the way, in the Israeli press, there was just a report that came out that the [then] upcoming Hamas attack which then occurred on the 7th of October, was already known to the IDF on the 19th of September. They completely dismissed it, for reasons one has to find out, but it was known, it was dismissed. So therefore, I think this will have a follow-up investigation, because it will dawn on people that the people who lost relatives among the hostages or who were killed in the attack—it may contribute to the future political fate of Netanyahu in a significant way. People will say, “Who is responsible for this in the end?”

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Kobi Gideon / Government Press Office of Israel
A scene of destruction in Kibbutz Bari left by Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023 attack on Israel.

I do not know exactly why Saudi Arabia has not joined the BRICS, but the fact that they are now moving to a petro-yuan, for sure, is a sign of the times, that the de-dollarization is moving ahead full speed. It just is one more reason for people to reflect that maybe a change in policy would be advisable.

Schlanger: Helga, the next question I have for you is from the United States. There was just an action taken by the Los Angeles Unified School District to ban cell phones from schools, including during breaks and lunch. They say it’s to protect the mental health of young people. The person who sent this says, “I’ve heard you talk about the damaging effects of social media. I assume you would support this move from the Los Angeles School District?”

Zepp-LaRouche: I think the decision of the Los Angeles School District—I think this is excellent. I think the dangers to young people, to children coming from the unrestricted access to all kinds of things—I started to look into Pokémon many years ago, and this is damaging! I came across that many years ago, because we had visitors with two children, six and eight years old, and they said, “Pokémon is so great!” I said, “What is it?” I had no idea what it was. They said, “You are outdated; you don’t know what Pokémon is.” So, that caused me to go to some of these malls where they had Pokémon competitions. I lined myself up in the line to see what actually happens. There were all these four-year-olds and five-year-olds, and I asked, “Why do you like Pokémon?” They said, “Ah, fighting! Fighting!” I said, “Don’t you think it’s much nicer to be friends with people?” “No, no, fighting, fighting!” Anyway, that’s just a little glimpse into how I started. Then I looked into computer games and did some more serious studies.

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EIRNS/Stuart Lewis
Youngsters playing Pokémon, a “gateway” video game to inculcate aggression. Zepp-LaRouche has denounced its emotional damage to young minds.

Once a person has a cell phone with internet connectivity, that person, that child, has access to the whole thing. It’s so absolutely damaging to young minds. Plato didn’t want the children of Athens to go to the place of the tragedians, because he thought that, since their personality and soul is not yet developed, they could not digest the cruelty of these plays. Now, that was high culture as compared to what people can see on the internet these days. Plato’s argument is 100 times more valid today, because it’s not only the horrible content, but children do not yet have judgment. They are extremely impressionable. When you have a clear idea of what the positive is, you may be able to look at something horrible and reject it, because you already have a positive established point of view. But children are helpless, and therefore I think the decision by this school needs to be replicated everywhere.

Schlanger: I have one final question for you. It’s one we’ve had before, but it still is a problem of people who are stuck in, I guess you would just say, an old way of thinking. From Amanda: She asks, “Is it time to replace the United Nations?”

Zepp-LaRouche: No. I think the need to have a representative system where each nation is represented, like in the UN General Assembly, absolutely must remain. The UN Charter absolutely must remain. Should the UN Security Council be reformed? Should other subsections of the United Nations be reformed? I think, yes. I think that the representation of countries must be more proportionate. The fact that the Global South has total underrepresentation urgently needs to be rejected and improved. I know of many former diplomats and authors and so forth, who are working on books of reform plans. There is a huge discussion going on, on how to reform the United Nations in such a way that it would be a more fitting instrument: For example, not allowing the UN Security Council to be blocked by the veto of one country. This is definitely a problem, which is preventing progress from moving forward on many fronts.

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UN Photo/Milton Grant
The United Nations building in Manhattan. The UN, in need of reform, is still necessary for the dialogue of nations.

I think the United Nations should be reorganized, but the very idea that you need a forum where everybody is represented and that you can have a dialogue based on the sovereignty of all countries is most important. I think the UN Charter is very, very good: It should remain. It should be acted on more, and I think it should be made more fitting for all the other aspects, like the UN organizations which many times have been falling short of what they should accomplish. That should be fixed. But we need a dialogue of civilizations. There is no replacement. There is no replacement to diplomacy, to having an equal setting of sharing your concerns, but also then to accomplish a higher level.

My main point would be in relationship to the three last principles I have in my Ten Principles for a New Security and Development Architecture: They would apply for the United Nations reform equally, because I think what is lacking, even in the UN Charter, is this idea that you need to put the United Nations on a more, I would almost say, metaphysical basis—something which is more founded in the lawfulness of the creation and the lawfulness of the physical Universe—so that it’s anchored in something which goes beyond just manmade legislation or proposals. I have referred to natural law in the European civilizational tradition, or the cosmology in India, or the [Chinese] Mandate of Heaven. Things like that which refer to a deeper lawfulness of the Universe I think would be extremely important. And naturally the image of man, as well: The true nature of the human species as fundamentally good, and that all evil is a lack of development, and therefore it can be overcome.

These are ideas which I think need to be added to make it more strong.

Schlanger: Well, I think the opportunity is there for people to study your fundamental Ten Principles. They can find that on the Schiller Institute website. As you said, that’s going to be part of the focus with the organizing, along with getting out what Putin actually said. So, with that Helga, do you have any final comments?

Zepp-LaRouche: Just come to the IPC meeting on Friday, and get active with us. The next three, four, five, six months will be—in my view—absolutely decisive if we go into World War III, or if we can go to a New Paradigm. So, don’t sit on the fence: Become active with us.

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