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This presentation appears in the January 24, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Beyond Iraq:
War Avoidance Through
Sovereign States' Mutual Development

by Jacques Cheminade

This speech was delivered on Jan. 3, 2003 in Doha, Qatar. Subheads have been added.

My deep thanks go first to the government of Qatar, and to the International Centre for Strategic Analysis and in particular to its president, Mr. Khaled Fahd al Khater, who made our trip possible. I am very honored to be with all of you this afternoon, at this moment of history when regional and world peace are at stake.

The title given to my speech is "Beyond Iraq," because for me war is never unavoidable. Hence, linking the issue of peace in the Middle East to the much-needed global world developments, I would rather think in terms of war avoidance through the mutual development of sovereign nation-states and, in the process, define the mission of France as I see it.

Peace among nations and people demands a community of purpose based on mutual economic development. It is such a commitment to a better future, and only such a shared commitment, that is bound to create the conditions for a positive and lasting dialogue among all concerned parties, because to think and act on behalf of generations to come is the natural condition of mankind. The idea of "conflict" as the natural condition of world affairs—conflict among nations, religions, and cultures—has, on the contrary, to be overthrown, because it is a sickness, a degradation of man to bestial instincts. Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" exemplifies such a suicidal degradation.

This is the very principle to start from, a principle of human common sense, if we are really committed to avoid war and face the present systemic and monetary crisis which threatens to plunge the world into a new dark age of chaos.

The Near East and the Middle East, where the risk of war is presently at the highest, is for all of us the immediate challenge to prove our point. Diplomatic arrangements, taking into account the array of forces, may be useful, but lead nowhere without the initial commitment that I am stressing here. The real war is over economic strategy.

It is as a Frenchman, a very close friend of American political leader Lyndon LaRouche and an independent thinker that I feel endowed with a threefold responsibility to address the decisive choice to be made, here and now, for the sake of humanity.

Change the Rules of the Game

If I say heavy words, it is not by personal inclination, but because we have reached a point where only heavy words make sense. Either we continue along the axioms and opinions that have defined our behavior until now, and war becomes unavoidable at some near point in the future, or we change our ways and define the conditions of a vouloir vivre en commun, of a renewed will to live together.

To abide by the rules of the game would mean self-destruction. Until now, the war against Iraq has been stalled. A very useful combination of international forces prevented it from happening: American flag officers, who are, in their overwhelming majority, against this war, especially in the ground forces and people retired from the military service; Lyndon LaRouche, who played a key role among the institutional circles of the American Presidency; German Chancellor Schröder and French President Chirac; the Vatican, Russia, and various heads of Arab states. The issue was put into the United Nations, the threat of a preventive war was temporarily brushed aside, and Resolution 1441 was voted up. Nonetheless, we are still in the middle of murky waters: People behind the war, most conspicuously in Israel, in the United States and in some forces under the British monarchy, are determined to get such a war going by any means possible.

If nothing is done to stop those people now, despite our past diplomatic efforts for peace, war is bound to happen, for lack of a real war avoidance policy. By the beginning of January, American soldiers deployed in the Gulf are going to reach 100,000. While the French, the Russians, and Hans Blix, the head of the UN team of inspectors, have stated that the Iraqi report is "incomplete," but have stressed that until now there is no proven "violation," Colin Powell has instead declared that because of its omissions, it represents a "patent violation" of Resolution 1441. President Bush has, for "international reasons," cancelled his trip to Africa, formerly planned for mid-January.

Two dangerous points are agitated by those in Washington who are trying to push Saddam to make mistakes. The first one is the issue of the "Iraqi scientists," whom the American war-hawks want to bring out of their country for interrogation. If they are under custody of U.S. forces, such interrogations would not be accepted by any honest court anywhere in the world; something which does not bother Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, or their likes, because it is for them only a pretext to provoke war. The second dangerous point is that of the "classified evidence" obtained by U.S. satellites on the biological and chemical military stocks allegedly hidden by the Iraqis. More and more pressure will be put on Hans Blix and his team on this issue....

The key point to understand here is that when you choose the grounds of the enemy to lead your fight, you are doomed, whatever your commitment, shrewdness, or capacity to solve such and such a single issue. If what is discussed is the "logic of war," war is the subject matter, and not peace.

We have now, between the end of this year and the end of January, when the UN disarmament experts will have delivered their report and President Bush his State of the Union address, about a month to change the rules of the game and define the grounds for peace, not war. No more and no less. Nothing is inevitable, but the situation is one of utmost emergency.

The Drive for a World Empire

The first thing to have in mind is the nature of the enemy of peace and the type of war he wants to unleash. Four points have first of all to be understood:

  1. It is for economic reasons, faced with the collapse of the existing world monetary and financial system, that the war-hawks are in a flight forward toward war. Donald Rumsfeld put it quite clearly, when he said that for him the determining factor in the years to come will not be economic, but military. Military relations based on strength, for those people, should replace economic relations based on strength—at a point where the prevailing economic system does not work any more.

  2. The war against Iraq is therefore for them only a beginning. Like the Roman Empire, their strategy is one of permanent "conflict management" to remain in power.

  3. They promote a "Clash of Civilizations" and a military policy whose aim is to loot or control natural resources, including, of course, oil, without any clear post-war policy except their brutish domination.

  4. If applied, such a policy would not lead to any state of geopolitical "equilibrium" or even domination, but only to social and economic chaos and to the emergence of political monsters. Its deeply rooted weakness, to the our advantage as the friends of peace, is that it aims at starting a world empire at the very moment when its cultural and economic system has entered into its end-phase. The challenge for us is therefore to propose a better system, not based on conflict management, but on common development.

The targetting of the Islamic world, in that context, is the outcome of the "Clash of Civilizations" doctrine crafted by a veteran of British intelligence's Arab Bureau, Bernard Lewis; by former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; and by Samuel P. Huntington. Former National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, a longstanding friend of both Bernard Lewis and Ariel Sharon, is committed to a slightly different language than Brzezinski et al., but shares the same general strategic doctrine.

Their policy is an outgrowth of an imperial doctrine intent on creating an English-language world government through the supremacy of nuclear weapons. In U.S. and related military circles, these people are known as the "utopians," and as opponents of U.S. military traditionalists such as Generals MacArthur and Eisenhower, and of the tradition of political leaders such as Franklin Roosevelt or, earlier, Abraham Lincoln. The present "utopian" strategic exuberance associated with such figures as Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and with their key advisers such as Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby, is an outgrowth of the collapse of Soviet power. The American utopians and a significant portion of their British co-thinkers, reacted to the events of 1989-90 by viewing the collapse of Soviet power as the opportunity to establish a new Roman Empire. Such ideologues as Richard Haas or Michael Ledeen, who coined the explicit term, "universal fascism," have very openly and quasi-officially expressed such views. Their intention is to build the "new" world empire of the utopian faction in the Anglo-Dutch financier-oligarchic tradition. The intent to conduct a kind of "perpetual warfare" against the world's Islamic populations is a conscious adaptation of the ancient Rome's imperial "limes" doctrine: "us" in an endless conflict against "them," the "barbarians." It is also conceived as a geopolitical strategy of imperial, nuclear-armed maritime/air power, to prevent cooperative development within the "Eurasian heartland."

We French have the advantage of understanding what this is all about, because it is the very enemy that Charles de Gaulle had to confront. De Gaulle's conception of national independence, peace among nations through common economic development, and a "Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals," was the opposite policy to that of this utopian faction. So we know what we are speaking about. Even if our present President [Chirac] is not a new de Gaulle, the image of de Gaulle tends to strengthen his actions, in certain crucial moments. Hence his intervention in the United Nations and his very useful organizing at the Beirut conference of the Francophone nations [in October 2002]. The point is to keep the pressure on him as the situation unfolds.

The key difference between de Gaulle's time and today, is the much more immediate nature of the danger, and also the presence in the United States of an exceptional intellectual exponent of the "anti-utopian" U.S. tradition—the tradition of such U.S. foreign policy thinkers as John Quincy Adams or James Blaine, and of the political tradition of Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This leader is Lyndon LaRouche. His importance is not, as such, in "numbers," but in the power of ideas, at a point when those ideas are becoming again a matter of public debate. This tradition, even if in a blurred way, is still present in the institutions of the American Presidency. By that I don't mean the person of the President, but a large array of professionals inside and outside the institutions of government, including many people in government or who have retired from government service. These are referred to, in the United States, as "the institutions." When the President of the United States wishes to do something, he relies on these institutions in order to do it.

It is those professional institutions which, in a way, working with French and Russian institutions, created the conditions so far to stop the war drive, against the will of the utopians. It is that same combination of forces that we have to upgrade significantly in order to provoke a systemic economic and cultural change. In normal circumstances, the task would be almost impossible. But we are not under "normal" circumstances. The collapse of the world monetary and financial system, whose epicenter is in the United States, creates a favorable situation for fundamental change. The Chinese call that, to "ride the dragon," so to speak.

How To 'Ride the Dragon'

To accomplish that, three things are needed. A clear design for the future, an efficient combination of strategic forces, and the means to put pressure on the present governments of the world to raise up to the level of the circumstances.

A clear design: the only way to firmly root a lasting peace under the present circumstances of world financial, monetary, and political crisis, is, beyond fighting "against" war, to organize a system of mutual development among nation-states. To stay at the level of merely saying "no" is not enough, it is to abandon the ground to the pro-war, utopian faction. What is important now is to define a "yes," a community of principle to base a pro-peace policy, to eradicate the war system. It means to replace the unjust, self-destructive, and usurious order of the International Monetary Fund by a new, more just new world order, based on great projects financed through long-term "deferred payments." "Deferred payments" means that the money advanced to finance the projects is going to be reimbursed by the outcome of the projects, as it was done after World War II under the Marshall Plan reconstruction policy, through the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, or the French Fond National de Modernisation et d'Equipement.

Mutual development means great infrastructure projects bringing economic and social development to the poorest regions, considered as "reservoirs of resources." It also means a system which rejects the law of the jungle and the free trade of the World Trade Organization, and upholds, on the contrary, regulated exchanges and fair trade. This program has, of course, to be tuned with broad investment in the sectors of education, public health, and research and development, to raise the welfare and knowledge of the population to the level required to participate in those projects.

To accomplish this, you need, of course, money. There is a lot of money issued today, but only to maintain the financial and real estate bubbles, and related forms of speculation. Today, there is money everywhere, except where it is physically and humanly needed. That is why the states should regain the control of credit issuance, against the monetarist bankers, such as those controlling the American Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank. National banks should control the issuance of credit for great projects, to make the physical economy prevail over the speculative economy, the presently dominant usurious economy.

To clear the way for such initiatives, you need to prevent the money or/and credit issued from flowing into speculation. The present accumulated world debt cannot be paid, because it amounts to more than $400 trillion, whereas the total yearly world production is no more than $42 trillion. You have therefore the choice between putting the states into bankruptcy liquidation and looting the people and the nation's resources on behalf of financial interests, as it is presently done in Argentina; or putting the usurious financial interests which promote war, into bankruptcy reorganization instead, and restablishing the rights of labor and production. The second choice is obviously ours, and there are not three. It means a shift in world axioms and principles.

Historical Precedents

This could and should be put in practice under a New Bretton Woods, a new monetary and financial world order inspired by the best of the Bretton Woods system before it was definitely dismantled at the beginning of the '70s, after the Aug. 15, 1971 decision taken by the Nixon Administration to decouple the dollar from gold, opening the way for the "law of the jungle" which has created the conditions for the looting and military conflicts of today. This demands regulation: a system of stable exchanges, based on a common reference, a gold-reserve system (and not a gold standard system), gold being used among states to settle their accounts, but not as a basis for credit. Altogether, capital controls and exchange controls should be enforced when need be, the idea being that an organized and fair system is the best way to secure an economy oriented both by the state for infrastructure, and by entrepreneurs for productive investment.

This is the "new" system that Lyndon LaRouche, his wife, German political leader Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and myself are forcefully bringing to the attention of the world heads of states. It may seem a bit of wishful thinking to some of you. Well, we have already the Italian Chamber of Deputies, which voted for such a New Bretton Woods type of system. We have signatures from many parliamentarians from many other countries, such as Russia, Poland, Hungary, France, and Brazil. More than anything else, we have in Europe—in Germany and France in particular—the shock of history on our side.

The present economic crisis is such in Germany that the austerity policy of Chancellor Schröder has been severely criticized by French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, in unusually undiplomatic terms: "Germany is following a policy that may threaten European growth." This declaration intersects a debate in Germany itself, where Schröder's policies are compared to those of Chancellor Brüning of 1931-32, which paved the way to the rise of Hitler. This comparison was made by former Social Democratic Party head Oskar Lafontaine, but also even more interestingly by Herbert Giersch, former head of the World Economic Institute in Kiehl, and a neo-liberal of the right-wing Mont Pelerin stripe. Giersch stressed that there was an alternative, in the Germany of the '30s, that could have prevented the rise of Hitler. Indeed, it was a policy proposed under different forms by both Wladimir Woytinsky, a Social Democrat and head of the Statistical Department of the General German Trade Union Alliance (ADGB), and Wilhelm Lautenbach, then a high official in the Economics Ministry.

What they presented was going exactly in the same direction as what I am proposing today, and of the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the United States! Lautenbach blasted the austerity policy of Brüning, and called for an investment and credit policy to mobilize the resources of the nation instead of limiting them: "The natural way to overcome economic and financial emergency," he wrote, "is not to limit economic activity, but to increase it, because the market, in the current conditions of simultaneous depression and world monetary crisis, no longer intervenes." The Woytinsky, Tarnow, and Baade economic plan included the idea of issuing long-term credits with low interest and amortization; those credits would then be cashed in by Reichskredit AG, and they would be discountable at the Reichsbank.

(Unfortunately, the Laval government of France, in 1935 followed similar policies to those of Brüning before him, with the same unfortunate consequences: social chaos, economic regression, and ultimately, fascism.)

So Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche and myself are saying to the Germans and the Frenchmen of today: Look what was missed in the '30s, with such terrible consequences for Europe and the whole humanity. Today, the stakes are much higher because the world is globalized, and therefore the risks are even greater. Do something different this time; if in Germany and France during the '30s, people had been able to follow the same policy as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the United States, in all foreseeable probability, World War II would have never happened.

Concretely, for many years we have been stressing that the economic survival of Western and Central Europe lies in the major export markets of Asia, under the framework of regional and international monetary arrangements as described before. Mr. LaRouche called it a policy of a "Eurasian Land-Bridge," which extends the concept of de Gaulle's Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. Why Eurasia? Because it is the most populated part of the world, associating technologies from the West and manpower and know-how from the East. The idea is to make a "whole," a "one" powerful enough to represent an alternative to the present, bankrupt order, and to drag into it a United States pulled away from the "utopian" grip, for the benefit of all parties involved.

The Strategic Triangle

Our second condition to succeed is to assemble a strong enough combination of strategic forces behind such a vision.

A very important aspect of this is emerging: It is the Strategic Triangle among Russia, China, and India. Mr. LaRouche had first proposed this in August of 1998, in the context of the so-called GKO crisis, the Russian financial crisis under Yeltsin. Then Primakov, later Prime Minister of Russia, presented such a proposal in New Delhi, in November 1998. Primakov was soon ousted from his position, under pressure from the United States and others, precisely for having defined such an alternative. However, in the course of events, the present Putin Presidency in Russia, with India and China, have been nonetheless moving in a direction of cooperation with other nations of Asia.

The results of such cooperation are now emerging. Japan has no possibility of continued existence, other than returning to its former role as an industrial producer, cooperating chiefly with markets in Asia. Korea cannot survive without cooperation of this type. Russia and China need it. Japan, Korea, and China met with the nations of Southeast Asia, at the recent Phnom Penh conference dealing, among other things, with the multilateral Mekong development project, a summit also attended by the Prime Minister of India. Since then, you had the visit of President Putin to outgoing President Jiang Zemin of China, and then to Delhi, for extended meetings with the Indian government. Statements coming out of that show that the Strategic Triangle works, defining both an area of economic cooperation and of political security and stability.

Personally, I see my task as linking up what LaRouche represents in the United States and at a world level, with what should potentially come from Western Europe, to define a pro-peace, pro-development, war-avoidance system. At this point, two things are crucial for our European nations: first, to understand the dynamics of American policies, and second, to hook up with the Strategic Triangle of Asian countries—China, Russia, and India. In that, I see myself as an accelerator and catalyzer, not an observer describing a scene. In the world we have entered, there is no room for "useful" observers. My most difficult task in my country, although understood by some, is to explain that it is as irrelevant to be "pro-American" as to be "anti-American"—opposite expressions of a similar impotence. Our purpose should be to define a world for the "cause of humanity," as de Gaulle said in a beautiful speech given in 1964, before the students of the University of Mexico, shaped around what Roosevelt defined, shortly before his death, as a "Global New Deal."

As Chancellor Schröder indicated, during a recent televised address to the German population, long-term cooperation in technology-sharing between Germany and Asia is the only economic program in sight which can lift Western and Central Europe out of its present plunge into a depression.

The new Transrapid maglev, a magnetically levitated train "flying" on an air cushion some centimeters above the ground, which was inaugurated on Dec. 31 between Shanghai and its airport, typifies the kind of large-scale, new forms of economic and technological cooperation needed between Europe and Asia. The same is true for France, in matters of nuclear energy, in which we are among the most advanced countries.

Transformation of Governments

Our last point is how to raise the present institutions and heads of world governments to the level of the circumstances, as de Gaulle once said. We have three key cards for that.

The first one, as I hinted before, is the explosion of the systemic crisis, which compels us to make unexpected decisions for the simple matter of survival. If we do what we have to do, for example, the victory of [Labor Party Chairman] Amram Mitzna becomes possible in the Israeli elections. If [the Likud party's] Sharon and Netanyahu are ousted, then the possibility of a Middle East peace is greatly increased, both in the form of a renewal of Rabin's "peace of the brave," or of an agreement to have two separate states, and then negotiate from there on. Either approach—both have been proposed by Mitzna—would work, in my opinion. The European Union should fight for it, making clear that it will no longer accept the destruction by the Israelis of European-financed infrastructure and food assistance.

The ousting of Sharon is key to shift the balance of power within the American administration, because he represents the wild card of the Perles, Wolfowitzes, Feiths, or Rumsfelds. To some, a Mitzna victory may seem undesirable; to others, impossible. My answer to the first ones, is that working for "the lesser of two evils," is always worse than a crime, a mistake. To the others, I say: "Look, the world is changing faster than you think. Roh Moo-hyun has fortunately won the South Korean Presidential election, and it is a victory for the Eurasian Land-Bridge and world peace. The Likud Central Committee scandal, at the same time, has badly impaired Sharon's ability to win, all the more so because his own son Omri is heavily involved with such notorious financial gangsters as Shlomi Oz and Moussa Alperon, nicknamed the Al Capone of Israel. The heavy-handed intervention of the American utopians against Roh in the South Korean electoral process backfired; it may backfire against Sharon as well, if people don't lose their nerve.

My second card in France is something that has not really existed as such, except for a few years under de Gaulle, but remains strongly in the minds and words of French institutions: the Arab policy of France. My bet is to bring it back into existence in the new context that I have defined, not against the Israeli people—even if surely against the fascist Sharon proto-military regime—but in the common interest of all people in the region. In that sense, the Near East and the Middle East should be seen as vital for the Eurasian Land-Bridge, and a strategic crossroads, a key component of the whole world strategy. This means to establish the basis for three interconnected assets: water, power, and transportation.

The aim should be, as you have started to accomplish here, the greening of the desert for the benefit of all. This demands, as you know, power. Our experience in the domain of the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be put at your disposal, expanding in a different context what Eisenhower called "Atoms for Peace." Nuclear energy could be then associated with the desalination of seawater to organize modern forms of irrigation, a human ecology as opposed to an ecology based on the cult of nature. Transportation should be adapted to the conditions of heat and desert, with special projects including access to our most developed technologies, the German maglev and the French high-speed rail. Why so, if the population density is now very low, and the land so dried up? Because to truly make peace, one should think in terms of the future, and transportation as ways to open corridors of development, to foster development around them, not merely to bring people from one place to another.

France, because of its experience and tradition, has a particular responsibility to bring forth that community of principle internationally and in your region. Not as a thing in itself, but as part of a renascent great design, as a mission.

My third card is the organization by the LaRouche movement, on a world scale, of a youth movement, not defined biologically, but by a commitment to those ideas. The youth of today feel deprived of their future, and rightly so, by the powers that be; our task is to empower them with a sense of that better future, and provide leadership in that way. We need, in each of our countries, a new generation of patriots and world citizens to sustain and further expand those absolutely necessary projects.

I am totally convinced that we have reached, for the first time in human history, a moment when we are all sitting in one boat. We have therefore no other choice than to create a political order worthy of human dignity, a just, new world economic order which allows not only the survival of all people, but an accelerated increase in their population-density—which measures, in human history the potential for progress.

Challenged with a great evil, man has the absolute capacity to respond with a greater good. But he should never compromise on the crucial issues. There is today no alternative to the community of purpose, the New Bretton Woods that we have defined.

To try to find a "second-best choice" would be to act like the man who cannot breathe, because there is no air, and desperately tries to breathe "something else." There is no "something else" which could be a pathway for the future, a pathway for peace.

Let me end, even if I am not a Muslim, by saying, "There is no other God than God," a God whom we see in the face of our fellow human beings when we do something good for them.