||This transcript appears in the December 21, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
The Time Has Come
To Rebuild With Peace
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
[PDF version of this article]
Here is Lyndon LaRouche's keynote to an EIR conference on "The Strategic Importance of the Eurasian Land-Bridge: Canada and the Coming Eurasian World," held in Ottawa on Dec. 11, 2007. Excerpts of the discussion which followed are included below. The conference was moderated by Rob Ainsworth of the LaRouche Youth Movement.
We're presently at a point of a great world crisis. It's one of the biggestprobably will be unless we can control itthe biggest crisis in modern European history. We had something in the 14th Century, the so-called New Dark Ages, with the collapse of a number of the banks of Italy, the Lombard banks, so-called. We're facing something similar today, but in a different time, with different characteristics.
There are remedies. But the remedies require a certain kind of optimism about the future of mankind. And here we are, in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, which essentially is the hard core of the northern hemisphere of the Americas. We're also at a point that we have an option for close co-development with parts of Asia, particularly the Russian part of Asia, the connection between northern Siberia, and northern Alaska, and Canada is fairly obvious. Here we have areas in the northern part of the hemisphere, on two continents, which are very thinly populated, but rich in mineral resources and other kinds of resources, and also which are capable of supplying improvements in the water management, the fresh-water management of the respective continents, or the northern part of the continents.
And if we can link these, as we can, that is, Siberia to Canada, Alaska, and down into the States and into Mexico, we have the basis for a real renaissance in the economies of these regions of the world, which, in the case of northern Siberia, for example, is largely an area which will be of mineral significance, and transport significance, for some time to come. We have a similar kind of situation in northern Canada and Alaska, areas which are thinly populated because of the climate, but which have rich resources underneath the soil, and which means that this is a great leverage for developing the respective countries, and for participating in the development of the hemisphere as a whole.
We had, recently, of course, this meeting in Russia, in which I was an indirect participant, but an enthusiastic one, for the development of a railway system, a tunnel, from northern Siberia, into Alaska, down into Edmonton and so forth, and into the States, a railway system which would connect, obviously with some additional rail development, through Central America into South America.
This would mean, with this kind of rail development, the larger part of the world, including Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas, would be directly connected by rail lines, which would be a much more efficient way, and cheaper way of transporting valuable goods, at a fairly decent lapse of time, around the world. It means we can make more efficient and cleaner use of our resources. It means a great improvement in the prospects for populations throughout the region.
For example: Take the area of Northern Mexico. Mexico has had for some time, a development project, particularly one for the Pacific Coast, which is most relevant for our concerns here, which runs up into the state of Sonora. Now, here, we have a problem of population migration: We had a great influx of population fleeing Mexico, because of a lack of employment opportunities and so forth, into the United States. And now, there's a reversal of that, of pushing the people who are immigrants into the United States, largely as cheap labor, and pushing them suddenly back1 or 2 million or more Mexicansback to Mexico, where there are no places of employment open for them. They have, however, in that area, one project which is quite accessible, in this water project, which could open up a whole section of the state of Sonora for the kind of production which these families largely were involved in beforehand. This would connect the water system to that of the United States and to Canada and to Alaska, which would mean that we would have a better management of fresh water. We would be able to overcome in large parts of the continent, the fact that we're running out of water in areas where fossil water has been relied upon, that is, water that was deposited there a long time ago, and we're now drawing it down. We have a collapse of the entire central United States, a collapse of the soil, literally, through the collapse of these central water systems. We've had a project for that purpose, standing for a long time. [NAWAPANorth American Water and Power Authorityed.]
Then you look at the other end of the thing: Take the northern, the Arctic regionand the Russians have some excellent ships there, which are nuclear-powered, which means that the entirety of this Arctic region is now opened up for transportation. And considering the kinds of things we have to transport, that's pretty valuable. But it means that the whole region now is opened up as an area of development, at least for mining and related kinds of things.
Cooperation, Based on National Sovereignty
So, this is a chance to open a new era, for this part of the world, for Asia through Siberia, Canada, Alaska, the United States, and Mexico. And from there on, to other parts of the world.
The time has come, where we've had so many crises up to now, we've been through periods of warstwo wars in the last century, major wars, world wars, so-called; we've also had the long period of the Cold War; we have the recent strife which is destroying the United States. It's being sucked down into the dirt, by the costs and drag of this war in Southwest Asiaand the time has come to rebuild. The time has come to rebuild with peace, to rebuild, not on the basis of globalization as such, but on the basis of sovereign nation-states, in partnership and cooperation in the tradition of the great Treaty of Westphalia, the Peace of Westphalia. The time has come to get out of these wars, and to bring nation-states into modes of cooperation where their sovereignty is assured.
And of course, that's very important for us in North America. And Mexico is very proud of its sovereignty; the United States is proud of its sovereignty; and Canada is proud of its own sovereignty in its own territory. And there should not be any imposition of one nation on another, or dilution of these sovereignties.
But we can cooperate, in the tradition of the Treaty of Westphalia, the Peace of Westphalia. We can consider the advantage of our neighbor, our partner, and find that, by cooperating with them, like the United States assisting the development of Canada, Canada assisting the United States, the United States and Canada assisting Mexico and the reverse, that the principle of Westphalia, "the advantage of the other," the benefit of the other, can be the proper relationship among nation-states, sovereign nation-states. And if we can do that, among ourselves, with a project like the one we're discussing here, today, we can probably inspire other parts of the world to join us, and get out of this mess we're in, and have been in for the past half-century and longer, and finally get to a system of sovereign nation-states, but sovereign nation-states consistent with the Treaty of Westphalia, the Peace of Westphalia, to cooperate, and to benefit one another. And our motives should not be to compete with one another, as such; not to try to beat one another, to take advantage over one another, but rather to see what each of us can do as a nation, to contribute to the benefit of the other.
And that was laid down in the Peace of Westphalia. And if we remember what that time was like, and see certain similarities to that kind of war situation, in the wars of the past century, and in the recent wars in Southwest Asia and the threat of the spread of these wars, the spread of terrorism, now in the Americas as in Southwest Asia, the time has come to bring about peace.
We had a similar situation just recently, with the Annapolis conference held inside the United States, with nations represented from various parts of the world, especially from Southwest Asia. We had Syria, Israel, other states, meeting in Annapolis, and coming to an attitude of cooperationit's not yet home, we're not yet secure on this. But we took a great step forward, not a great accomplishment, not a great treaty, but a change in attitude, a change in attitude which promises an opportunity for bringing to an end this mess in Southwest Asia. And by cooperating to that purpose, in other parts of the world, we can do the same thing.
As I would say: The time has come to make a fundamental shift, in the way in which nations have functioned in recent times. The wars of the last century, the continuation of wars, and threats of wars in this century, the onset of a financial crisis which is one of the worst, certainly the worst in modern history, unless we control it.
So, we're now at the point, we have to control this financial crisis. We can. I won't deal too much with that, here, today: But one step in that, is large-scale projects, of cooperation in building infrastructure, in particular, which involves cooperation among nations, in developing raw materials where we need them, to deal with a very threatening shortage of raw materials, to get into new kinds of power, which are cleaner, and better, and more powerfulthis sort of thing. If we can reach that kind of cooperation now, then there's a chance for humanity as a whole. And what we're doing here, in this hemisphere, in the northern hemisphere of the Americas, what we're proposing to do with Canada, the United States, including Alaska, and Mexico, and in conjunction with the Asians, through what is going to be a new tunnel between Asia and Alaska, and development of a new rail system, modern rail system, is to unite these parts of the world which are among the great, important raw-materials areas of the world, for this kind of project.
That's essentially my intention. That's my mission. And with that, I leave that back to you.
Dialogue With LaRouche
Q: [translated from Spanish] Good evening, Mr. LaRouche. My name is Jesús María Martínez. And my question is around the visit that José López Portillo made to Canada, some time in the late '70s and early '80s. And at that time, he made a proposition, an offering to the government of Canada to support Mexico in its endeavors around nuclear power. López Portillo said to Canada, that it was important that the world collaborated around this kind of nuclear development project. And he suggested that Canada be part of that effort so that Mexico could create at least 20 nuclear power plants at that time. Do you believe that those projects should be revived and put on the table, in the spirit of this collaboration with Canada and the United States and Mexico?
LaRouche: Yes, absolutely. This is required. Canada has a certain capability, in terms of nuclear technology, which means it's integrated into the international nuclear technology community. The water projects are important. The use of nuclear power, as a source of power, is important for the Arctic region of Siberia, and Canada and Alaska. So to deal with that climate, and to deal with handling that ice that comes up there at times, despite the global warming rumors, is important.
It's extremely important for us in the Americas, especially in North America, to set a precedent, for the world, to, in a sense, admire. Mexico is actually much closer to the United States historically, than most people would believe from the outside. That is, the struggle for independence of Mexico, the struggle for its development in the 19th Century, and into the 20th Century, was an heroic struggle which had the sympathy of the typical American, and the American leader. My grandfather, for example, was very much attached to Mexico in this account. And Canada, the same thing: Canada is a different kind of country, but it has also its own tradition, or a couple of traditions. We have ours.
Now, we are not very strong on oligarchy, on aristocracy. We've had unpleasant experiences with that, and therefore, we are republics in our way of thinking. We think of ourselves as citizens, we think of ourselves as equal, at least in rights. And we prize ourself on our cooperation, we pride ourself on being beneficial to our neighborsat least, most of the people I respect, do that. And so therefore, it's extremely important, that if you can not get this kind of cooperation in North America, I don't think we can get it on the planet anywhere, at this point.
Or, there's a willingness to cooperateChina has a great willingness to cooperate, for the long term. So does Russia, presently. Italy has a desire for that kind of cooperation; France does. I think most of the people in Germany do. You have this from Denmark; we have people in Sweden, and so forth. So there's a desire for this kind of cooperation, but there's a very poor performance in realizing it.
I think there's a natural tendency for an alliance, as neighbors, between Mexico, the United States, and Canada. I think that by saying, "We can be sovereign, we don't have to globalize, we don't have to give up our sovereigntywe can be sovereign. We all can be neighbors, and we can cooperate in a positive way, not to fight each other, but in joint projects of our common interest." It's extremely important to do that.
I've dealt with this: López Portillo was a dear friend of mine, in the time that we were working together, much closer than most people know. And I think it's a very good thing to have a friend like López Portillonow deceasedwho was victimized by people who were oppressing Mexico at the time. And to remember a friend, and this friend, who did something good in his time for his people. He was frustrated in realizing what he was doing for his people. It's a good thing to remember that, to honor that, and make his dream, which is a valid one, come true. It brings us all closer together, by knowing that we are cooperating with one another to a common interest.
There Will Be a Great Change in the U.S.A.
Q: I'm Peter [Margot] from Montreal, and I'd like to address a practical question to you: We're in a year of Presidential campaigning in the United States, and we have problems in Canada as well, with a minority government, which can't really make very large decisions. What do you think the political potential is in realizing some of your visionary hopes, in terms of the present political situation, both in North America and elsewhere?
LaRouche: Well, first of all, let's take the North American area, because, what I say about this area does apply in Europe, and in Africa, for example: That, right now, there's going to be a great change in the United States. It's coming on fast. Objectively, we face the worst depression, the worst economic depression, in the history of European civilization since the 14th-Century New Dark Age. Now, that does not mean that we're necessarily going to go into a new dark age. It means that the present financial crisis, which is hitting us now, unless corrected, will bring us into a new dark age, within a matter of months.
You can not make precise predictions in politics, because you have will, the factor of public will, voluntary decisions. So crises like this are not governed by mechanical principles. They're governed by principles, but not mechanical ones. So we don't know exactly the date, that anything would happen if we left things alone, or just let them go on the way they are now.
But we know we're very near. We're already in the process of a general collapse, around the world. All of Europe is collapsing. The banking and financial systems of Europe are collapsing. The banking and financial systems of the Americas are now collapsing, in general, especially North America. And you have similar problems in other parts of the world, even though you have an Asian factor which is rather deceptively better. But if the markets of Europe and the Americas collapse, China will collapse, Russia will collapse, India will collapse, and the suffering in Africa will become unspeakable.
So therefore, we're now at a point, where people are going to be forced to make some decisions. We'll not be able to go along, the way we're going nowI think that's apparent to you, implicitly in what you're saying: This depression is coming on, it's deep, it is like the 14th Century.
Can we stop it? Yes.
But you look at the situation inside the United States, and it gives you a good idea what's going on. We find, that among the lower 80% of family-income brackets, and in the states and localities, as opposed to the Federal government level, that there is a surge of demand for reform, such as for the defense of housing against foreclosures; the defense of banking institutions, the essential ones that people need to keep their communities functioning; and other measures of that type would come along. So, the will is there in the people, a growing, rapidly expanding will to make a reform, a reform which could save us.
At the same time, you have a great reluctance at the top, especially in the Presidential pre-candidates. None of them has presently done anything that has any indication that they're going to be competent if they were elected.
But I'm more optimistic: Because I know that they're going to be forced to change their way of thinking, during the coming weeks and months. So therefore, the opportunity exists, for a fundamental change in political policy, now, in North America, in particular.
But the key thing here, is the subjective factor: The important thing in a crisis like this, is not to sit back and whine and complain, but is to present something which is concrete, which is feasible, and which will reverse public morale from fear and desperation, to one of optimism. As Franklin Roosevelt said, "There is nothing so much to fear, as fear itself." But you have to do something to eliminate the cause for the fear. And the elimination of the cause of the fear, is positive actions, which respond to the needs of the people, when the people are ready to respond, because they realize the problem, and that these actions are competent.
So, it's the best we can do. I think there are no guarantees in historythere are no mechanical guarantees, one way or the other. But we do have, as you indicate, a great crisisat least that's implicitly what you saidand this crisis, the way it's going on now, is no good for humanity, no good for us, no good for humanity.
Therefore, we need a factor of optimism: It has to be concrete, it has to be valid. It has to have a base in the general population, a base of support. And you have to have the resistance to this, coming from the top.
Let me give one example of this: One of the problems we have, is that we have lost our farmers in the United States; we have lost our industries, we just lost the auto industry essentiallywe haven't seen the bottom of it yet, but that's what's going on. And we've been taken over, largely by financial interests typified by the hedge funds, and these various kinds of things like that. Which are parasites. The parasites, the hedge funds, have bought up most of the candidates. Look at the campaigns in the United States: Most of the candidates are bought and paid for by the hedge funds! And they're not prepared to do anything, to make the kind of reforms which are obvious reforms, which are necessary and will work, though you have the people who want these reforms, or want reforms like them.
So therefore, you have a typical situation, in which we have to use the fact, that there is going to be a general revolt, against the financial predators who have taken over politics, and have bought up most of the candidates. And so, the time has come when, if we give a clear set of alternatives to people in general, who are now rising, in fear, in revolt against what's happening, and these are practical ones, and they involve international cooperation: I think we can win. I can't guarantee it, but it's worth a shot. And it's better than sitting back and doing nothing.
A Long Downward Trend
Q: [translated from Spanish] Mr. LaRouche, I'm Antonio Valdez Villanueva, and I'd like to thank you for everything that you're saying, and I'm here representing some of the biggest labor unions in all of Mexico, and I think what you're doing is extremely important for all of our nations. My question is very specific: I want to know why our nations, specifically, have abandoned these great infrastructure projects over the years?
LaRouche: Well, it's a result of globalization, it's called. You see that in the Americas, in particular, over the period since about the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; that we went into, very quickly, a war in Indo-China, which there was no legitimate reason to go into. This war, which was dragged out from 1964 to 1975, really weakened us. We had a similar development in England, under the government of that time, in the United Kingdom, which also did something similar, to begin to destroy the industry, the technologies of the country.
We have been declining as economies, in agriculture, industry, and infrastructure, since about 1967-68, since about the time of the Harold Wilson government's collapse of sterling in England, and since the 1968 crisis in the United States, the result of the sterling collapse, and then the '71-'72 change: We have been collapsing.
What's happened is that political institutions and financial institutions have "gone with," so to speak, these trends, to destroy industry, to destroy agriculture, to destroy infrastructure. And to rely upon going to areas where there's cheap labor, and looting these areas of their cheap labor, while sinking, collapsing the industry and agriculture in the more developed areas. This was a big mistake.
As a result of that, the actual per-capita productivity, physical productivity of labor internationally, has generally declined, despite a significant improvement in part of the population, about 300 million people, out of 1.1 billion in India; and a significant improvement in a minority of the population in China, and similar effects. Despite these improvements in countries like parts of China and parts of India, and other countries, the net per-capita physical productivity of the planet has been collapsing. This is particularly conspicuous in basic economic infrastructure, in industry, and in agriculture, the development of land, and all these kinds of things.
So we have been in a long trend. We have now come to the point, that this trend has brought us to the point of a collapse, a collapse which resembles what happened in the middle of the 14th Century in Europe, in the plunge into a New Dark Age.
We find in the history of mankind, as we know it, particularly since about 700 B.C., that we have a fairly good track on these kinds of things: that throughout our knowledge of Eurasian civilization and so forth, extended into the Americas, we find that these patterns exist, of rise and fall, rise and fall. We have now been in a long period of decline, actually since about the time of the Kennedy assassination, in a decline in the economy. And habits have come into play which are not the best.
So, we've reached the point for a renaissance. And in my view, we should look back in European experience to the fact that we had religious wars which dominated Europe from 1492, with the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, through 1648, until the Treaty of Westphalia. There were periods of lesser conflict; but throughout the entire period, 1492-1648, Europe was being destroyed; at the same time it was struggling to bring out modern society, it was being destroyed by this religious warfare and similar kinds of things. We're going through something comparable to that now.
And what we have to do, is two things: First of all, the immediate thing, is to solve the problem before us, to get a renaissance in economy, a renaissance in social outlook. But then, we have to think beyond that. We have to think to the long term: Do we want to succeed in saving society from what's coming on now, and ignore the dangers down in the future? Or shall we use this as an occasion, not only to solve the immediate problem, but also to think ahead to the future? And therefore, that's why I put the emphasis on 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia. When people generally, in politics, think about how they can "get the better" of competing countries, for the benefit of their own, in the Peace of Westphalia, we didn't do that: The Peace of Westphalia, which made possible the peace in European civilization and its progress, as much as it did progress, was on the basis of "the advantage of the other." When we think about what we can do in our country, for the people of another country, or when we think in similar ways about social relations in general, then we bring out the best in ourselves. And that's the best chance for surviving.
I could tell you that during my lifetimeI'm 85 years of agein my lifetime, I've gone through wars and a few things like that, I've seen this: We have turned away from the Peace of Westphalia, we've turned away from recognizing the important thing, which is, we're human beings, we're not animals. Animals die. Human beings don't really die. They die, yes, physically. But they can contribute something while they were alive, which will benefit generations to come. Or help to do things that will benefit generations to come. It's when we commit ourselves to help one another, as nations, without taking away our sovereignty, or the sovereignty of our neighbor, that the best comes out in us. My view is, that the best hope for us, is to recognize that: The advantage of the other, as laid down as the opening principle of the Treaty of Westphalia. And when you think about the thirty years of religious warfare, tearing apart central Europe, and suddenly, people who had been practically eating each other, came to a moment and said, "No more! No more. We're now going to realize, the important thing, is to think of the advantage of the other, rather than ourselves. And when we're united on that basis, then peace is durable, and prosperity is durable."
And my view is, we've got to get back to that.
The 'Advantage of the Other'
Ainsworth: Do you have any concluding thoughts to transmit to the people here?
LaRouche: Yes, sure: Simply, as I said: I think that we should look at this prospect we're discussing, in terms of cooperation among Canada, Alaska, and Mexico, and the implications of that for cooperation with other parts of the world, such as Siberia and so forth: We have to look at that asit has its own merits, intrinsic merits, particularly in a time of crisis now, when we need a recovery program, so to speak, to compensate for the collapse of the world economy. But more important, is to look at this as the reality of the advantage of the other: The reality that each of us, in each of our nations, should think about what we can do that's going to be beneficial for other nations. And saying that the benefit we do for other nations, with what we're doing, means that our children and grandchildren will benefit from the good that we're doing for the world at large. And that, I think, is the principle of Westphalia, which is also the ancient Greek term agape, which is an essential element of Christian belief, of agape, or what's called "charity," or what's called "love": That this is the essential principle.
If we love mankind, and can love the benefit given to the other nation, what are we doing that's good for them? If we can think in those terms, then we will get away from the dog-eat-dog tendency which we've seen again, lately, and get back to the idea that we are not animals; we do not breed progeny. We develop human beings, and we hope that the next generation will have a life better than ours, because we've made that improvement possible. And we see progress of this type, induced by our love of mankind, as being the motive for the way we do things, as well as what we do.
If we can get that back, that conception of agape, that principle of the Treaty of Westphalia; if we can get that back, I think we not only can recover from this crisis which is coming down on us now, but we can also assure ourselves, that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will benefit from what we're doing. And perhaps in this way, we'll avoid more of the kinds of Hell we've had, particularly over the past hundred years.