This article appears in the November 3, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
August 21, 1990
A Peace Plan in the True Interests of Arab and Israeli
Editor’s Note: These remarks by Lyndon LaRouche were first published in EIR Vol. 17, No. 34, Aug. 31, 1990, pp. 28-32.
For 50 years, Mr. LaRouche called for developing nations around the world to adopt an oil-for-technology policy, exchanging their raw material wealth for infrastructure development and technology. Such was his emphasis here, with the case of Israel and surrounding areas. He had previously developed a proposal for large-scale water and power development for the region called the “Oasis Plan,” which EIR has recently republished.
Given the recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine, and the urgent requirement for a new policy to break the endless cycle of violence, EIR has decided to republish LaRouche’s remarks from 1990. Though much has happened since he made them, and much of the Arab world has since embraced an oil-for-technology policy, Mr. LaRouche’s outlook for the comprehensive development of the whole region, as well as his insistence that such a policy must accompany any true peace, remains the clearest statement on policy for Southwest Asia today.
The text presented below was dictated by Lyndon LaRouche, then a candidate for U.S. Congress from Virginia, while incarcerated at a federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota. LaRouche’s conviction involved, in the words of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, “a broader range of deliberate and systematic misconduct and abuse of power over a longer period of time in an effort to destroy a political movement and leader, than any other federal prosecution in my time or to my knowledge.”
Immediately, the present war in the Middle East is a direct reflection of a British intelligence control over Israel, and orchestration of the situation in the Arab world. The Arab world as a whole was manipulated, together with Israel. [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein, and Iraq as a whole, were put into a corner, where they had no choice but to react in a certain way, and when they reacted in a certain way, they were put into a corner again, and forced to react accordingly.
The essence of the matter, as every patriotic Arab knows, and many such patriotic spokesmen have said, is the British have worked successfully, over decades, to ensure that the Arabs were prevented from using revenues from petroleum, for economic and related development, of the Arab population as a whole.
However, let’s look at another aspect of this. Let’s assume that this British policy were defeated, as it must be, if there’s ever to be peace in the Middle East.
What do we do?
Well, we have to correct some errors which are fairly popular, among, respectively, Arab and Israeli populations in the Middle East. And, we must structure, at the same time, a general policy plan of development which is the foundation for such peace.
For years, our proposals for economic development have been repeatedly brushed aside, with the advice that a political settlement must come first, and then an economic cooperation for general development of the region might become possible.
There Is No Purely ‘Political’ Solution
We have repeatedly said, and rightly so, that that line of argument is wrong, and even dangerously absurd. The simple reason is, that without a policy of economic development, the Arabs and Israelis have no common basis for political agreement: no common interest.
It is only as the Israeli—not as a Zionist, but as an Israeli—finds his or her interest to be the economic development of Israel, as a nation (not as an arms exporter, not as a participant in drug trades, not as an exporter of illegal or black diamonds, but as a producer of vegetables, machine tools, technology, and so forth), and the Arab similarly, that both have a fundamental, common interest in the progressive development of the fertility and fecundity of the land of the entire region. On that basis, for the sake of those respective and common economic interests, a political settlement is possible. Without that element, the idea of political settlement is an old fool’s coughing into the wind.
On the Arab side, we have found [that] the most common and most powerful corrupting ideological influence, supplied by the British, to divert many Arabs away from their true self-interest, is the British indoctrination of Arabs in the physiocratic doctrine: that the exploitation of a natural resource, oil, was the proper present and future destiny of the Arabs forever, that economic development was not necessary; and thus, the British have cultivated certain, shall we call them, physiocratic tendencies among Arabs, and have manipulated Arabs, by virtue of these physiocratic tendencies, which have treated technology as something which is simply imported, at choice and at pleasure, out of the proceeds of petroleum sales abroad.
We must replace these physiocratic ideas with the notion of the exchange of petroleum for technology, technology to uplift the individual Arab, technology to increase the fecundity, and fertility, of every square kilometer of Arab soil, in terms of agricultural and industrial, and hence, also, infrastructural potential. I indicate below some guiding principles, which properly govern any sound economic development plan.
The Tactics of Economic Geography
First, let’s look broadly at the tactics, which we might call the tactics of economic geography.
One could define the proper approach to development of the Middle East, if no persons lived there presently, as if, for example, we were planning the settling of Mars: an uninhabited planet, by aid of artificial environment, and so forth. We could define the future cities, the future topography of Mars, from the standpoint of its geography, and a few principles of topology.
The primary considerations, which we would bear in mind for the Middle East, presuming nobody lived there, but we were going to settle people there, would be water, power, transportation, and the location of urban centers.
Now, it doesn’t mean you have to have the water there. You simply have to know you need the water. And, you have to decide on the proper courses by which the water will be transported, or distributed, one might say (we’re talking about fresh water, of course), such as to make the average square kilometer of land most fertile, or most fecund. That doesn’t mean a uniform distribution of water; that means what we might call the equivalent of a least-action distribution of water, to get the highest average value of land, not the highest uniform value of land.
We also know that we require a certain amount of power per square kilometer, to develop that square kilometer to a certain level of productivity for various kinds of land-use, such as reserve land, wilderness land (those are two different kinds of land uses); pastureland, as opposed to agricultural land in agriculture; forest land; land use for private habitation; land use for commercial functions; or land use for heavy or light industrial functions. In each of these cases, we require a somewhat different density of power supplied, per hectare or per square kilometer, and per capita.
Then, transportation: We require a least-action pathway of transportation, in terms of ton-miles per hour, essentially, or as one parameter, to be used. And, we generally find that transportation will tend to follow the course of water, because water transport, rail transport, highway transport, and air transport, are all interrelated, in terms of their relative functions, within an economy. Also, the transportation of materials, whether by pipelines, or transportation of power, or transmission of power, all tend to follow most conveniently, a least-action pathway, which tends to bring these various modes of movement into a convergence, along certain lines of movement, just as water is moved along certain lines of movement. And, these two, and water, tend to converge.
Now, the network of water flows and transport flows, and the network of required energy flows, defines certain nodal points in the entire landscape, which are the proper sites of present or future urban centers. Urban centers are characterized as nodes of transportation, and also, nodes of distribution of power, that’s the way a healthy physical economy functions.
Bringing the Dead Sea to Life
I’ll just give one example of what this leads to, in the Middle East.
It has been long discussed, that there should be a canal cut from the Mediterranean, to the Dead Sea, and that the water flow from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, would improve that area, particularly if we lined the canal with a number of nuclear plants. And, the nuclear plants do not merely use distilled water, distilled or processed from the salt water flowing in, for their own functions, but they are generally producers of water.
Now, in some parts, we have a very high cost, in the Middle East, for water. And, we can produce water, with the aid of high temperature gas cooled nuclear reactors (HTGRs), much, much cheaper, at a fraction of what it costs to deliver presently. And, since water is the main bottleneck for development in the region, the supply of water by the optimal method, that is, taking advantage of high temperature nuclear reactors, is the best means of supplying this.
So, we have a course. This water course, from the Mediterranean and Dead Sea, becomes an industrial pathway; it becomes, for purposes of economy, also an area of urban development—of industries, and some agriculture in the area close to the water—more efficient—and so forth and so on. And, that is the sort of thing one has in mind.
Now, let’s go to a second topic, under the same thing.
The Natural European Triangle
Let’s take the example of the Triangle in Europe, the Triangle defined by sort of a spherical Triangle, from Paris to Berlin: Paris to Vienna, and up from Vienna, by way of Prague and Dresden, to Berlin.
This is an area of the greatest concentration of productive population density, industrial energy density, and so forth, in Europe. But, that’s not accidental. This was all laid out, more than 1,200 years ago, from the time of Charlemagne, the development of Europe, along its natural course, defined then in terms partly of waterways, and canal systems linking these waterways, which gave an impetus to this sort of direction. Naturally, the Ostmark, Vienna, became a center: a center of development, on the Danube. Similarly, Prague, eventually, became a center. Similarly, Brandenburg, and Berlin, as part of that Mark, became a center. And so, over the course of centuries, geography, and the process of development, pivoted upon Paris, or Charlemagne’s Paris, to be more precise, has determined the economic history of Europe, or the economic outlines, with which the economic history of Europe would flow.
So, what we have, in the Triangle today, is not some accidental phenomenon, or an arbitrary one; but, a very natural one. Similarly, we find that when we define what we’ve called the spiral arms, radiating from the Triangle, we find that these spiral arms are defined in a natural and historical way; and, so forth and so on.
And, what we are doing, is taking advantage of that fact, to recognize, as I said before, that if we were dealing with the settling of Mars, the geography of Mars, and the kind of considerations which I’ve just indicated above, would tell us where to plan the future cities of Mars, even before the first person had landed on that planet.
The Essential Principle
Third, the essential principle, underlying this, is the relationship of man to nature. Man is unlike any other creature, in that man’s relationship to nature is defined by the potential for creative reason in man.
By “creative reason” we mean specifically, the powers of the discovery, which are associated with the discovery of valid, new scientific principles—valid, new principles of natural science. We also mean principles of discovery, creativity, as they’re associated with the classical forms of art. But it’s sufficient, for our purposes here, to identify, essentially, the notion of scientific and technological progress.
Man’s history—essentially, his successful history of survival—is determined by the exercise of this power of scientific creative reason: the ability of man to generate, to transmit, and to assimilate efficiently, advances, or lessening of imperfection, in man’s knowledge of the principles of nature.
The result of this, is an increase in population density, or potential population density, which means, that in terms of production of the material means of survival, and development of man’s condition, that is, we might call it an improving standard of living, that the productive power of the average individual has increased, in physical terms, in terms of technology, and physical production. So, we have an increase, per capita, in man’s power over nature. At the same time, this per-capita power is reflected in man’s power per hectare, per square kilometer, over nature. The power to produce, is correlated with the consumption of power, in the way the form of which power expresses itself, per production and life.
And thus we see that the relations we describe, the geographical relations, water, power, transportation, and the location of urban centers, and so forth, reflect a deeper principle, the principle of man’s relationship to nature, a relationship which is determined by the essential distinction which sets man apart from, and above, all the beasts: the powers of creative reason.
One must be informed in this proceeding, in constructing a proper plan of development, by reference to the method which I’ve employed in my own work, such as, for example, I reference construction on the basis of the Lagos Plan of Action, which I did some years back, and other plans of development, or as we have done in terms of plans for the development of Argentina, or the Ibero-American Common Market as a whole: partial, but indicative of the method to be used, or what I’ve done in defining the development plan for the Pacific-Indian Ocean Basin, as a whole.
This method is a method which I have learned from Leibniz. And it’s rather important to emphasize, as a matter of practical consideration, that I learned this method first between the ages of 14 and 16, in choosing Leibniz over all other leading philosophers of France, and Germany, and England, of the period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
This relationship to Leibniz was deepened from the age of 16 on, by my undertaking to defend Leibniz against the principles of the anti-Leibnizian, Immanuel Kant. My work in economic geography, and physical economy, began essentially at the age of 25 on, in recognizing the essential fallacy, the bestialization of man, inherent in Professor Norbert Wiener’s notion of information theory. That the attempt to apply that notion of information theory, to man, as somehow corresponding to the nature of human intelligence, or intelligent behavior, was bestiality, and I recognized that as being coherent with the fallacy of Kant, in Kant’s attack on Leibniz.
And thus, I have mastered the Leibnizian-Socratic method, in these ways, mastered it from a very early age in adolescence, the age of the secondary years, where the formative development of the intellect occurs, rather than in university; it occurs in the so-called secondary school age years. And therefore, I had mastered this method at the time most propitious for any person who wishes to master it; and thus, I have a certain excellence, a rather unique excellence, by virtue of others neglecting to do the same thing. And thus, one must say, that in undertaking this kind of approach which I’ve indicated above, one must reference my work.
I would especially recommend a study of the elementary considerations of my method, which is available now in a short book, In Defense of Common Sense, 1989, and [with] reference also to a series of studies complementing that, and treating some more advanced problems relevant to economics, among other things, called Project A.