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This transcript appears in the March 11, 2005 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

A Strategic Mission:
Make Bush a Lame Duck

by Jeffrey Steinberg

Jeffrey Steinberg, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Caucus of Labor Committees and co-editor of counterintelligence for EIR, addressed these remarks to the Schiller Institute/ICLC conference on Feb. 20.

I want to resume the chronology that Debbie Freeman presented earlier today, picking up on another historic event that Lyndon LaRouche convened in the aftermath of the November elections.

On Jan. 12 and 13, as Helga mentioned yesterday in her opening keynote remarks, Lyn gathered with a group of about 70 leading international figures, from all over Eurasia, Africa, representatives from North America, to discuss the present strategic situation [see transcripts of the Berlin conference presentations]. And there were two aspects of what Lyn put on the table at the meeting:

Number one, he identified very clearly, the character of the situation that we are in right now. Lyn had said, during the Presidential campaign—both during his own campaign for the Democratic nomination, and then afterwards during his campaign in support of John Kerry and John Edwards—that he was backing Kerry and Edwards, because the alternative was unthinkable. And he furthermore said, that if Bush and Cheney were to be re-elected, that there would be more wars. And he specifically talked about the targetting of Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

Well, here we are about 30 days or less into the second Bush Administration, and what are we looking at? With the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon, the issue of Syria, which was always identified by Cheney and the neo-cons in the Administration as the next war-target after Iraq, is fully back on the table. And on the morning of the Inauguration, Dick Cheney had gone on national television, choosing the Don Imus muscular morning news show on MSNBC as his venue, to declare that the world had two choices: Either the United States would take out Iran, or Israel would do it, and then the rest of us would be forced to put the pieces together and pick up the mess.

So, everything that Lyn said about the nature of this administration is absolutely right.

In fact, if you think about Helga's discussion yesterday, about the Thirty Years' War, and Schiller's work in studying the character of the Thirty Years' War, both in its actual history and in its presentation as Classical drama in the Wallenstein trilogy, one thing that struck me very clearly, is that very often, wars are long under way before people actually recognize them. Sometimes, terms like "World War I," "World War II," and certainly the "Thirty Years' War," are historical terms, that are used by historians after the fact. Certainly, in 1618, nobody wrote a newspaper article declaring that the Thirty Years' War had just begun. I mean, who could have known it would last for 30 years, until after it ended?

So, I think it's fair to say, that we are at least a full decade into a period of global, perpetual war. I'm not going to put a predictive number on how many years it's going to last. But the more important thing to recognize is, that it's already happening. Will historians 100 years from now look back, and say, that the war began in 1991 with the Bush Senior invasion of Iraq? I don't know. Or, will they say that the war began in 1994, in the Great Lakes region of Africa, with the genocide that began there as the result of the assassinations of the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi? Could be that.

But the point to understand, is that we already are in that kind of a war period. And what Lyn presented in Berlin, as the urgent need for a new Treaty of Westphalia, based on even more fundamental and universal principles than the original Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, is certainly one absolutely critical bedrock of the solution. He talked about the obvious need, to be prepared now, for the convening of a New Bretton Woods conference, knowing full well that most governments around the world are thoroughly unprepared for such an event—even though the situation right now, is that we are, perhaps, hours or days or weeks away from the final disintegration of the post-Bretton Woods system.

It's not even a big secret any more. People like Bob Rubin, at the forum that preceded the G7 meeting in London just a few weeks ago, openly talked about it. It was discussed frequently, in both public sessions and behind closed doors at Davos. C. Fred Bergsten, not exactly one of our most favored figures within the financial establishment, told the truth, when he said, "It's no longer $2.1 billion a day in net inflows into the U.S. stock and bond market that's required to prevent a precipitous crash of the dollar. It's now up to $5 billion a day." And the government of China, through the official representatives at Davos, made it clear, they're not going to continue to throw good money after bad, for the sake of propping up the dollar.

We are at the point, right now, where the entire global financial situation, the entire post-Bretton Woods system, is about to blow. And at any moment, we're going to be facing the reality that there must be the convening of the kind of New Bretton Woods conference that Lyndon LaRouche has called for—not the kind that's been called for by George Soros, or Paul Volcker, or any of these kind of characters.

Flawed Assessments of the U.S.A. From Abroad

So, Lyn put those issues on the table, and discussed very clearly the character of the strategic situation. And he was also very blunt with people. He said, these crises that face every nation of the world, cannot and will not be successfully solved, unless the United States plays an active and positive role in devising and leading the solutions.

And he went through a fairly blunt assessment of the weaknesses of the governments of Western Europe, despite the fact that a number of leading political figures are doing some very useful things. He talked about the limitations of China, of Russia; and talked about the unique historical characteristics of the United States, that made the U.S. unique in this crisis.

Now, I was privileged to be at the Berlin conference. I travelled over with one of our collaborators here in the United States, in Washington. And it was very clear to me, that while virtually nobody in the room disagreed with the fundamental principles that Lyn laid out—certainly nobody had any basic disagreements with Lyn's diagnosis of the strategic crisis—the point where there was an enormous amount of skepticism, was the situation in the United States. People recognized, yes, there was a unique history to this country, and that the American Constitution and the American republican tradition of government was something that was absolutely an historical precedent. But, most people in the room had very serious reservations that there was very much of that legacy left in the United States of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

And so, one of the big things that occurred at that conference, was a very intensive dialogue on exactly that question. We have some friends who were there, who have the gift of enough old age and wisdom, that under these kinds of circumstances they didn't feel the need to just remain silent when they had a disagreement. And almost immediately after Lyn spoke, Professor Menshikov made it very clear [see transcript of his address] that he thinks that the major mission of the rest of the nations of the world, particularly the countries who have leading representatives gathered there in Berlin, was to figure out how to organize a series of defensive agreements to fend off the worst disasters that might be brought about by the fact that the Bush Administration was soon to be reinaugurated for a second term.

There was a mind-set in the room, and clearly reflecting a larger thinking among leading governments around the world, that the best thing to do, is essentially organize defensively against the worst disasters to come out of Washington—and pray that the world survives the next four years. Completely unacceptable.

Understandable, but at the same time, completely unacceptable.

You get the notion of a current unfolding world-historic tragedy in process, by that kind of thinking. Even though, as I say, one could perfectly justify why, looking from outside the United States at the internal political situation in the United States, one could draw those conclusions. "Let's dig deep trenches. Let's say a lot of prayers. And hope we make it through four years, and we get something better in Washington after that."

Lyn wanted to take that on. Lyn understood that part of his mission, was to make sure that there was a different kind of understanding, of the internal political situation in the United States, centered around his own role and the role of our movement, including particularly our youth movement, so that people would be able to understand that there are different flanks and different opportunities on the table.

At one point, Gen. [Vinod] Saighal, from India, made a presentation in which he talked about a number of things. He talked about the fact that we were moving into a period of "discontinuity," in which the rules operating at this moment are not going to operate for very much longer.[1] He also said that he thought there was a limit on what could be expected out of the Russia-China-India alliance, because, he said, he knew that there were factions in the governments of each of those countries who would be more oriented towards the bilateral relationship with the United States, and toward propitiating the Bush-Cheney Administration. And therefore, that this would be an impediment to the kind of strategic partnership for Eurasian development that Lyn has been working on there.

`Discontinuity'—or Opportunity

Now, Lyn responded to that [see transcript]: He saw in the comments of General Saighal and the development of this idea of a discontinuity, an opportunity to intervene into the meeting, and present a different approach to looking at the same set of conditions. Lyn said in his comment shortly after General Saighal, and directly in response to him, "We have before us, in my view, we have a very short fuse, a very short opportunity, in which to move to save civilization. We have people in the United States, enough of them, who could form a government, who could, in fact, be called in to do the job of government. We could deal with the problem. The question is, in my view, are we going to be able to do it? Because, if we fail, if we, in the United States, do not do what I'm determined we shall do, I guarantee you a Dark Age for all the entire planet."

And then, he continued. Lyn said, "You're right about the discontinuity. We're sitting as of now, in the weeks before us, we're sitting on the edge of a discontinuity. And in this discontinuity, will be decided—it could have been decided this past week—but when people stood up in the Congress and said, `We do not support the certification for Bush in the vote for Ohio,' that was a turning point in the politics of the United States."

And then Lyn presented his own assessment, of what they could expect over the next couple of weeks. He said, "Now, the fight will be on two things. The Gonzales issue, the question of Abu Ghraib, that's important. It's not decisive. The Social Security question is decisive. If we lose the Social Security question, if that goes through, then we've lost. And if we've lost, the world's going into a Dark Age. If we win the Social Security issue, then Bush is a lame-duck and the government will now fall back into the hands of the Congress, through a combination of Republicans and Democrats. Under those conditions we have a chance.

"So, I say, I am a revolutionary. You're right, there is a discontinuity, but there is also a revolutionary opportunity."

Now, I was very happy to hear, yesterday, in the course of the daily report from Wiesbaden, the morning tape, that one of the people who attended that Berlin conference has indicated that Lyn's message has registered, and that, rather than writing off the United States and assuming that what's consumed on Fox News, or CNN, is somehow or other an accurate portrayal of the political situation inside the United States, people are beginning to see that Lyn's characterization of the situation inside the United States is right, and it means that there can be a different mode of thinking, a different set of potentially critical flanks opened up for collaboration—transatlantic, global collaboration—to exploit the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the Bush-Cheney team in the United States.

There's apparently some talk about members of Parliament in Germany, from different parties, seeking partnership with members of Congress—House and Senate, in the United States, both Democrats and Republicans—to launch certain international flanks in opposition to a confrontation with Iran, or this now, apparently even more pressing and immediate potential for some kind of confrontation with Syria.

It's a shift. It's not a dramatic shift, but it's characteristic of one of the things that Lyn set out to accomplish in the Berlin meeting, having been achieved. I would really urge everybody to read in the pages of EIR, basically every issue beginning with the Jan. 28 issue up through the current issue has contained excerpts, partial transcripts, of the Berlin conference. And I think it's very critical for people to read it, and get a certain sense of the impact of Lyn and Helga's intervention in this audience of people who are, indeed, critical policy-shapers in their governments around the world. There are many things that can be done, that can greatly enhance what we're doing, here in the United States. And the starting point is that people around the world understand the actual dynamic of the political process in the United States, to introduce levels of freedom into their own activities, to supplement what we're doing here.

And, of course, the events that Lyn forecasted in his comments to General Saighal and those other people gathered in Berlin, are exactly what happened in the days immediately following that conference. The Gonzales vote in the Senate, following intensive days of debate, proved to be a significant signal that the Democratic Party—all factions—were prepared to unite around this idea of not giving an inch to Bush and Cheney. The Social Security fight, as Debbie {Freeman] has already documented, has clearly developed in that direction.

Build a Bipartisan Coalition

So, we're dealing here with an opportunity. There's no guarantee in the situation. But the opportunity is essentially there. The Bush Administration, contrary to what many frightened people inside the Beltway hoped and prayed for after Nov. 2, is not a kinder and gentler version of the first four years of Bush-Cheney. Just look at the actions that have come up in stunning speed since then: the attempt to steal the entire Social Security Trust Fund, which, during his campaign, Bush lied and said he had no intention of doing; the acceleration, immediately, of the confrontation against Iran, against Syria.

But the problem that Bush-Cheney and company are facing, is that they are in a crash confrontation with reality itself. And to the extent that we do our job, Lyn's leadership in concert with reality will bring these guys down very fast.

Now, what happens if we succeed, as we have every intention of succeeding, in bringing the Bush Administration down on this Social Security issue? Well, number one, doing that will mean that we have successfully organized the preconditions for effective bipartisan cooperation within the Congress. Because there are many Republicans, who view the Bush White House, and they say, "Well, Bush is not running for re-election. Cheney's not going to run for President. But, for every member of the House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate, elections are coming up right around the corner." With these multi-multi-million-dollar campaign budget requirements, members of Congress, especially the House, spend virtually all their time campaigning.

Why do you think it is (the youth movement knows this very well), Congressmen arrive Monday night or Tuesday morning back in Washington, to race through three days of complete, manic activity up on The Hill, and most of them leave by Thursday afternoon to get back to their districts? There's a lot of Republicans out there who recognize that it's not necessarily in their immediate best interest, for purely opportunistic reasons, to go along with Bush on this Social Security privatization, knowing that they stand a damned good chance of being defeated for re-election in 2006 if they go along with that.

This one Congresswoman from Florida is sort of the poster-child of this situation. First, she discovered that AARP or some organization had done these robo-calls (not to be confused with one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies, "Robo-Cop" or something)—robo-calls to everybody in her district saying that she supported Social Security privatization. She completely freaked out, and put a large-character poster on the home page of her website, "I Do Not Support Privatization." She felt the heat and responded. And when Bush came down to see her last week, she came out of a little pressure session with Bush, and told the press, "The President's not happy with me, because I told him I can't drink that Kool-Aid."

And we're going to make life particularly miserable for people like Rick Santorum, who's been delegated by Bush to be the point-man for the Social Security fight in the Senate. Santorum is up for re-election in 2006. So this is a perfect opportunity for us.

What Makes the United States Unique?

Now, what's unique about the United States and our Constitution? Our Founding Fathers, in their great wisdom, understood the unique character of human beings, that each and every human being is created in the living image of God as a cognitive human being, as a cognitive being with certain unique and inalienable rights, as they were spelled out in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. The idea that each and every individual is guaranteed "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And the concept of happiness, does not mean the right to rub yourself in chocolate syrup. It was a concept that was thoroughly developed by Leibniz and was fully understood by the Founding Fathers: as creating the circumstances to allow every individual human being, currently living and future generations, to fully exploit their God-given capacities for creative discovery.

At the same time, the Founding Fathers also recognized that human beings do have the capacity to fall short of that potential. The potential is not a guarantee, as we've see with many people, that choose not to live up to their full potential as human beings. So, in the Constitution, the Founding Fathers created checks and balances. They didn't want Jacobin terrorism; and they didn't want a President of the United States becoming the equivalent of an absolute monarch.

So, in the Constitution, the very first section after the Preamble, which sets out the general mission of government, takes up the responsibilities of Congress. Because the Presidency, the Executive branch, is given an enormous amount of power, particularly during periods of crisis. The drafters of the Constitution put the role of the Legislative branch first, to make it clear that there are checks and balances on excessive Presidential power.

And now we have a psychopath and a sociopath manning the Executive branch, committed to the idea that the President should be something between an absolute monarch and an infallible Pope.

So, there are enormous responsibilities that go to the Legislative branch. There are responsibilities that go the Supreme Court, to the Judicial branch. And it's interesting, to me, that even though we have perhaps one of the most hideous combinations of individuals currently sitting on the Supreme Court—Scalia, Rehnquist, Thomas, in particular—when the Presidency asserted that there were certain categories of American citizens who were outside of the jurisdiction of the courts, who could be called "enemy combatants" and arrested and shipped down to Guantanamo Bay; and held without charges, and without the right to lawyers, and without the right to due process before the courts, even this wacky Supreme Court issued a series of rulings, some of which were unanimous, striking down elements of the Patriot Act, and striking down this idea of this category of American citizens as "enemy combatants." So, as an institution, evening this bunch of dubious Supreme Court judges responded to the excesses of Presidential power.

And we're in a situation right now, where a victory on the Social Security issue, which I'm extremely confident—as we all are—can be achieved in the very next days and weeks ahead, opens up the opportunities for the Congress, as Lyn said in Berlin, to become a centerpiece of power.

Now, we've got to bring this Administration down, and there's a lot of different ways that that can happen. And I don't think we should fixate on any particular one of them. For one thing, if we do our job right, win the Social Security fight, and continue the process that Lyn has been leading, of bringing the Democratic Party back to the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then under those circumstances the Democrats are going to sweep control over both Houses of the Congress in November 2006. And at that point, the first order of business, is going to be impeachment.

Now, the history of the last 30 years of Presidential politics, has been that every time a President has been elected for a second term, bad things have happened. Nixon got Watergated, and of course, a very useful precedent was set there, because the Vice President went first. Ronald Reagan had to deal with the Iran-Contra scandals. People were indicted and prosecuted, and a few went to jail—most people were pardoned by Bush "41" when he came into office. And of course, from the instant that Bill Clinton entered office, for reasons unrelated to Monica Lewinsky, there was a targetting of Bill Clinton, and eventually Clinton was Watergated.

But, if you compile the crimes, real and alleged, of the Nixon Presidency, the Reagan Presidency, and the Clinton Presidency, and stacked them all up, it's nothing—it's nothing—compared to the bill of indictment that's awaiting Bush and Cheney—for crimes that go far beyond issues of personal indiscretion; or Nixon's paranoid obsessions with cheating to win.

These are crimes against humanity, the kinds of crimes that will be tried at a future Nuremberg Tribunal. Now, there's no reason to presume that these events have to wait until 2006. There are many other things that can happen. There are criminal investigations under way. A bipartisan combination in the Congress can bring these guys down. We have the experience in 1968, when Lyndon Johnson was enmired in the Vietnam War, when a group of senior figures from the political establishment, principally Democrats, went to Johnson and said, "Throw in the towel. You're out of here, because the country and the world can't afford a continuation of what's going on." And Johnson was, of course, a far greater President than the psycho-sociopath combination we've got in the White House right now.

Now there was a critical moment during the debates, that I think goes to another aspect of the flanks that are available to us. At a certain point, in the first nationally televised Presidential debate between Kerry and Bush, there was a moment where Kerry had absolutely caused Bush to have a psychotic episode on national television. And the thing that triggered it, interestingly, was when Kerry made a favorable reference to George W. Bush's father. It kicked off the Oedipal complex in Georgie. And unfortunately, what happened at that moment, is, that faced with a psychotic—Kerry backed down. You may remember in the interview with Dr. Justin Frank, that we published in January in EIR, he commented on that. He said, right there, at that moment, the outcome of the Presidential elections was on the table. Had Kerry pressed the issue, had Kerry done what Lyn said repeatedly had to be done—the way you win this campaign, is you tell the truth: "This guy is a psychotic!" and you drive that point home. You don't dally around about this or that issue, and differing opinions. You drive this man crazy!

The reason we have a 25th Amendment to the Constitution, is because it was recognized that we needed to have an orderly process for dealing with the eventuality of a President becoming either physically or mentally incapable of serving. And that's the moment we're at now.

So, the other aspect of this campaign, this Social Security flank, is, we're going to drive these guys nuts. Now, people know that when you're dealing with a psychotic, as we are in the case of George Bush, and a sociopath, as in the case of Dick Cheney, there is a temptation to propitiate, for people to be frightened; and to not want to stare someone in the middle of a psychotic state, right in the face. Well, in the political realm, there are a lot of people out there who are scared to do that.

But we're not. And what we do, in the immediate days and weeks ahead, to Bush, to Cheney, to Schwarzenegger, is going to be politically decisive. We're at a moment, right now, where we can, in fact, bring these guys down, by relentlessly pursuing them. Social Security is a key issue, because it represents a strategic flank for bringing the administration down. And there's an increasing number of people inside the Democratic Party who are coming around to Lyn's point of view, and who understand that Social Security, as important an issue as it is in and of itself, is also an issue that has a broader meaning, because it brings Bush down.

And we've got to do this: Because, at some point in the very near future, we're going to be facing the urgent requirement to convene a meeting of heads of state and leading government officials, to put this post-Bretton Woods, floating-exchange-rate, bankrupt system out of its misery. And to move on from there, on the basis of the kind of bankruptcy reorganization that Lyn uniquely understands can and must be done, to put the world back together, and to launch the kind of 50-year process of ending poverty, and transforming the nature of science as we know it.

So, this is the mission. And by the efforts of those of us here in this room, those gathered in the West Coast, and those all around the country and around the world, who are looking to Lyndon LaRouche for leadership in this fight, this is our moment.

[1] See EIR, Feb. 11, 2005.

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