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This article appears in the April 23, 2010 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

LaRouche's SDI:
The World That Should Have Been

by Jeffrey Steinberg

[PDF version of this article]

April 19—The world, at present, is plunging headlong, recklessly, into a New Dark Age.

The final phase collapse of the present floating-exchange-rate global financial system is well underway, and no initiatives taken by any government, since the 2007-08 explosion of the financial bubble, has done anything to reverse the accelerating, hyperinflationary disintegration. That hyperinflationary collapse, unless reversed immediately by a bankruptcy reorganization, as spelled out by Lyndon LaRouche in his call for a Global Glass-Steagall reform, will reach a break point well before the end of this year.

The physical economic collapse of, particularly, the trans-Atlantic leading economies, is accelerating at an even greater rate, already passing the point where the productive capacity of the planet falls far short of what is required to continue to provide the most basic needs of the Earth's 6.7 billion human inhabitants. Without a U.S.A.-led revival of the physical economies of the leading trans-Atlantic nations, including notably the United States, Germany, France, and Italy, no amount of marginal real economic expansion in the Asia-Pacific region can avert the total physical economic breakdown of the planet as a whole.

This deadly present state of affairs did not have to be. An alternative future was on the verge of coming into being in the early and mid-1980s; one that would have brought about a long period of explosive economic development, global cooperation in ending the sources of war, and a crushing defeat of the power of the British Empire. The crucial issue was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the Reagan initiative which had been crafted by Lyndon LaRouche, and which held the potential for shifting the strategic equation in favor of peace and prosperity. It was the rejection of that SDI which brought us into the current period of extreme danger.

If there is to be any hope of avoiding the current onrushing London-driven New Dark Age, the lessons of that earlier missed opportunity must be understood—and acted upon. Ironically, LaRouche's basic SDI conception, expressed today in the form of his Four Powers proposal, remains the unique policy solution for the current crisis.

The Only Enemy: The British Empire

Were this crisis simply a matter of a failure of leadership, it would be bad enough. But the root of the problem is that, increasingly since the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in April 1945, the dominant force shaping global economic and financial policy has been the British Empire, an empire with global reach, and based on the maritime financier oligarchical model of the Venice that willfully brought on the 14th-Century New Dark Age, which nearly wiped out continental Europe.

Today's British oligarchy, typified by Royal Consort Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is aggressively promoting another Dark Age, centered upon a policy of radical Malthusian population genocide, that could wipe out 80% of the world population in a matter of several generations. It is the power of this British Empire, and that factor alone, that poses the greatest, existential threat to the survival of mankind. Its tentacles stretch from Wall Street and Washington, D.C., to Moscow, New Delhi, Brasilia, and most other world capitals. Its own concentration of monetary power lies offshore, in such drug-money-laundering havens as the Dutch Antilles, the Cayman Islands, and Dubai.

The present British Empire is an even more virulent form of the British East India Company, against which the American Revolution was successfully waged.

U.S. President Barack Obama owes his career to those City of London and Wall Street circles who engineered his election, precisely because of their fear of a revival of the American System policies of FDR, in the face of worse than Great Depression conditions of life for a growing majority of Americans.

Permanent War, Permanent Chaos

The rapidly approaching Doomsday moment for the present global financial system is widely recognized among City of London circles. Occasionally, as in the recent writings of British imperial apologist Niall Ferguson, they share the recognition with some segments of the general public.

In response to this existential crisis, this London-centered oligarchy, and its agents and dupes around the globe, is moving to literally blow up the world, through a new Hundred Years religious war, stretching across much of Eurasia. The presently preferred detonator for such a perpetual asymmetric war, as designed in London and promoted by such figures as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, is an Israeli preemptive military strike on Iran, a strike premised on a U.S. follow-on military intervention in support of Israel, regardless of whether Washington gave its advanced blessing to such an Israeli act of strategic madness.

The fact that such an attack would serve no genuine Israeli or American strategic interests merely underscores the degree to which policymaking is steered by assets controlled from outside, whose behavior is, by its nature, tantamount to treason against their respective nations and peoples.

With President Obama in the White House, such a suicidal American response is virtually assured—despite vigorous opposition from leading circles within the U.S. national security establishment, including advisors to President Obama himself. As one leading retired U.S. military officer put it, "It is President Obama's call. He is the Commander-in-Chief. At the moment of truth, everyone else is merely an advisor."

Israel, one of the principal pawns in the still-ongoing Sykes-Picot neo-colonial Middle East arrangement, would justify such a strike, on the greatly exaggerated grounds that Iran is near to obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. By every indication, a planned Israeli strike upon targets inside Iran is scheduled to take place sometime before the November mid-term Federal elections in the United States, and, perhaps, in the immediate days and weeks ahead.

U.S. intelligence assessments, presented during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings last week, make clear that, under even the most favorable circumstances, Iran is two to five years away from a deployable nuclear weapon. And the reality is that Iran is probably much further from mastering the technologies for a deployable nuclear weapon. Nevertheless, the drumbeat for war is sounding now.

Why? Because a new Hundred Years religious war is being promoted on a British timetable, driven by the global financial disintegration, a disintegration that jeopardizes the power of the City of London. Israel is the mere suicidal pawn. And such a confrontation is virtually certain to destroy the United States, which has been the number one object of British hatred since before the American Revolution and the establishment of the Federal Constitution, going back to the time of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Under conditions of such an Israeli attack on Iran—an attack that would only strengthen the current dominant Revolutionary Guard power structures in Tehran, until American military intervention—London might also choose to unleash an assassination of its own chosen American asset, President Obama. Assassination of Obama would throw the United States into the kind of social turmoil that would create a groundswell of support for dictatorship, thus ripping up the U.S. Constitution forever. The long history of British assassinations of American Presidents should underscore the actual danger to President Obama—ironically, at the hands of his own London sponsors.

Further adding to the perpetual war/perpetual chaos scheme, an imminent Israeli attack on Iran would almost certainly take place during a planned U.S. and NATO major military offensive in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, an offensive that violates all of the most fundamental maxims of strategic warfare.

Compare the folly of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, to the warnings delivered in 1961 to President John F. Kennedy by Gen. Douglas MacArthur (ret.) and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower (ret.), and the issue becomes obvious. MacArthur and Eisenhower warned President Kennedy not to get involved in any land war in Asia. President Kennedy wisely accepted their advice, against the wishes of his own Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor, and cancelled plans for direct American military engagement in Indochina. Had Kennedy not been assassinated by a team of sharpshooters on orders from London, the United States would have avoided the nightmare of Vietnam.

Now, the United States enters a fourth decade of long wars in Afghanistan, wars that have destroyed the foundations of the pre-1979 Afghan economy and society, and replaced it with a narco-economy, which supplies well over 90% of the world's opium and heroin, spreading addiction, death, and menticide around the globe, precisely as the British East India Company's 18th- and 19th-Century Opium Wars did. One of America's potential leading Four Powers allies against this British imperial drive for global chaos, Russia, is among the leading victims of the British Afghan-centered new opium war. Continental Europe and the United States are the other two principal targets of a flood of cheap illegal narcotics.

It Did Not Have To Be

Now, let's look at the crucial turning point of the early 1980s.

On Dec. 31, 1982, Lyndon LaRouche delivered a speech in New York City to a conference of the International Caucus of Labor Committees. He presented an assessment that his proposal for U.S.-Soviet collaboration on a scientific and technological revolution, to develop and deploy a system of strategic ballistic-missile defense, a proposal that he had first presented in 1977, could change the course of history. He insisted that such a radical change in direction of world affairs had to be achieved within the next 100 days. LaRouche told the audience of 1,000 supporters:

If we succeed, if President Reagan does this thing, in the coming weeks, then we shall have administered to that ancient foe of our people and of the human race—the Harrimans, et al., the Malthusians—not a killer blow, but a very deadly defeat; a sharp reduction of the Malthusian power internationally. We shall have cleared the decks, weakened the enemies of humanity, to the point that those who are not the enemies of humanity are given a greater latitude for making decisions without having to submit to the Harrimans and that crowd in the period ahead.

It is in that sense, in that act, which, I believe—in this great tragedy through which we are now living—that choice, is the punctum saliens of our age. Either we can grab it, or I know not what we can do.

At the moment he delivered those words, LaRouche knew that there was a very real possibility that President Ronald Reagan might take up his proposal to bring an end to the Bertrand Russell-engineered era of thermonuclear mutually assured destruction (MAD).

LaRouche first devised his proposal for Soviet-American collaboration on strategic ballistic-missile defense in 1977, in the context of his fight against the Jimmy Carter Presidency, which was being run by the Trilateral Commission of David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and which came into office, by means of massive vote fraud, with an avowed policy of provoking a nuclear confrontation with Moscow. LaRouche had been privy to confidential policy documents from the Trilateral Commission circles, revealing those plans for confrontation, prior to his own 1976 U.S. Labor Party Presidential campaign, and he devoted a half-hour nationwide prime-time television broadcast on Election Eve, to a warning about the dangers of a Carter victory.

As the result of those warnings, the worst threat of a direct provocation against Moscow was defeated, and LaRouche became a hero collaborator among a group of American patriots, including a network of World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) veterans, who were still quite active. One of those individuals, with whom LaRouche associates had frequent interaction during the late 1970s, William Casey, had been designated by President-elect Reagan in late 1980 to be his Director of Central Intelligence.

From the time of the 1977 publication of a report by then-Air Force Intelligence chief Gen. George Keegan, about Soviet advanced work in particle beam lasers, LaRouche crafted his proposal for joint American-Soviet collaboration on the development and deployment of a space-based ballistic-missile defense system, based on new physical principles. LaRouche's concept was to defeat the threat of MAD, through a more scientifically and technologically advanced system of mutually assured survival.

LaRouche knew, from his much earlier groundbreaking work in the science of physical economy, that the advances required for such a ballistic-missile defense system, in many frontier areas of scientific discovery, would have dramatic spillover effects on overall economic productivity.

After all, one of the greatest menaces represented by the Trilateral Commission-owned Carter Administration, was that it had adopted a policy, crafted by Chatham House in London and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, for a decade of "controlled disintegration of the world economy," based on the shutdown of advanced science research, including thermonuclear fusion, and the development of a globalized system of slave labor production. The deindustrialization of the United States was a top priority of the Carter Administration, and LaRouche's plan for Soviet-American collaboration aimed at defeating the Trilateralist plans, and their underlying ideology of Malthusianism and systems analysis.

The LaRouche-Reagan Collaboration

LaRouche played a significant role in the defeat of two Trilateral Commission candidates for the 1980 Presidential nominations of both the Democratic and Republican parties. LaRouche's Presidential campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the New Hampshire primaries, delivered a deadly blow to the candidacy of Republican George H.W. Bush, a blow for which Bush the elder never forgave LaRouche. And LaRouche's campaign, and collaboration with a then-more-serious Kennedy machine, weakened Carter, and helped contribute to Ronald Reagan's landslide victory in the 1980 general election.

During the New Hampshire primaries, LaRouche had the opportunity to sit for several hours with candidate Reagan, during a debate in Manchester, and a personal bond developed between the two men, which would have historic consequences.

During the November-December 1980 transition period, following Reagan's defeat of Carter, LaRouche was frequently called upon to consult with leading figures within the transition team, many of whom would assume top posts in the Reagan Administration. LaRouche played a significant role in facilitating an important border summit meeting between President-elect Reagan and Mexican President José López Portillo, for example.

First and foremost, LaRouche conveyed his grand strategy for an end to MAD and a reversal of the longstanding disintegration of the U.S. physical economy, through his beam defense plan. Despite opposition from utopian factions within the Pentagon and Congress, LaRouche's ballistic-missile defense proposals gained growing institutional traction, between 1981-83.

A Soviet Approach

The Soviet leadership, still under Leonid Brezhnev, was deeply puzzled by the incoming Reagan Administration, and in the early days following the inauguration, a senior Soviet diplomat at the United Nations in New York requested LaRouche's appraisal of the new President and his team.

As you will read below in this author's 1993 account of the SDI back-channel negotiations, LaRouche used the opportunity of the Soviet approach to enter into officially sanctioned talks with Soviet officials on the prospects for a United States-Soviet collaboration on his own beam defense proposal.

While many aspects of the Soviet deliberations on the LaRouche proposal remain secret, what is certain, from the direct interactions, is that, through to the death of Brezhnev and his replacement by Yuri Andropov in November 1982, good faith discussions, at a very senior level, were taking place between Washington and Moscow, through LaRouche.

Within the Reagan White House, and key segments of the Pentagon and the CIA, a growing faction had come to support the LaRouche proposal for what represented a complete overhaul of the global strategic alignment. The prospects of a science-driven revival of a dying American agro-industrial economy, was understood by many to be part of LaRouche's unique capacities as a grand strategist.

Among the Henry Kissinger faction Republicans and a corrupt Democratic Party faction, now grouped around another Trilateral Commission asset, former Vice President Walter Mondale, LaRouche was hated, precisely because he was threatening to single-handedly overturn their policies and powers. As early as August 1982, Kissinger was writing personal letters to then-FBI director William Webster, demanding that LaRouche be silenced.

This was the backdrop to LaRouche's Dec. 31, 1982 punctum saliens speech.

Reagan Delivers

On March 23, 1983, Ronald Reagan delivered a nationwide television address from the Oval Office, in which he formally announced what he called the Strategic Defense Initiative. For leading political circles in Washington, Moscow, and in the capitals of all leading Western European and Asian nations, it was clear that President Reagan had adopted LaRouche's mutually assured survival policy. Through follow-on statements and private communiqués, the message was delivered directly to top circles in Moscow: The United States was prepared to enter into strategic collaboration with the Soviet Union to end the decades of threatened thermonuclear Armageddon.

But, in Moscow, a significant change had occurred, with the accession to power of Yuri Andropov. Andropov was, in effect, a hardcore British agent, who had been among the earliest of the Soviet officials to strike a deal with Britain's Lord Bertrand Russell, around the establishment of a Malthusian world government arrangement between Eastern and Western imperial powers. Andropov had been profoundly impacted by his experience as Soviet ambassador to Hungary during the 1956 revolt. As KGB head beginning in 1967, Andropov played a central role in the establishment of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria, which institutionalized the earlier Bertrand Russell agreements with the late Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchov.

Despite the fact that he was fully informed of the two years of back-channel negotiations in Washington, conducted by LaRouche under the sponsorship of the Reagan National Security Council, Andropov rejected Reagan's SDI offer of collaboration.

With that treasonous decision, Andropov assured the near-term disintegration of the Soviet Union. An exhausted and drained Warsaw Pact and Comecon could not sustain a competitive defensive arms race, particularly given that the Soviet Union, with its compartmentalized military-industrial sector, was incapable of rapidly absorbing new scientific and technological discoveries into the overall economy.

Throughout the two years of back-channel talks that preceded Reagan's March 23, 1983 announcement of the SDI, LaRouche had repeatedly emphasized the tremendous economic benefits—to the Soviet Union and to the West—of his science-driver policy. He had offered a candid assessment of the inherent weaknesses in the Soviet economic system, during his frequent face-to-face talks with his Soviet interlocutor, and had commissioned and written dozens of policy papers, elaborating how the Soviet-American collaboration on breakthroughs in science based on new physical principles would transform the world economy—as well as ending the horrors of thermonuclear blackmail.

Both preceding and following the Reagan speech, LaRouche and associates had also organized an international movement in support of his mutually assured survival policy. Leading military and political circles in France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, Argentina, and India had embraced the LaRouche vision for a world freed from the threat of nuclear war, and the prospects of a global economic renaissance, driven by unprecedented advances in new technology.

While no one claimed that a global system of space-based particle beam laser defense against thermonuclear warheads would be immediately achieved, the shift from mutually assured destruction to mutually assured survival would have redefined global affairs, in effect establishing a new, reinvigorated Westphalian system of collaboration among sovereign nation-states that had been pitted against one another, during the British-engineered Cold War.

The Collapse

LaRouche did not give up on the SDI, even after Andropov's rejection of it and the launching of a vicious campaign by British agent Henry Kissinger and others, to eliminate "the LaRouche factor" by assassination or railroad frame-up prosecutions.

In the ensuing months and years, LaRouche warned, through a series of "Global Showdown" reports, that Andropov's rejection of the Reagan SDI offer had doomed the Soviet Union to an early disintegration—before the end of the decade. When Andropov's hand-picked successor, Mikhail Gorbachov, took power in March 1985, he reinforced the Andropov policy. In October 1986, as 400 U.S. Federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel, backed up by U.S. military units, staged a raid on LaRouche's publishing offices in Leesburg, Virginia, Gorbachov met with President Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland, and attempted to get the American President to abandon the SDI. Despite the best efforts of Reagan's own Secretary of State, George Shultz, and others, to break Reagan's commitment to strategic defense, and buy into Gorbachov's offer to trade off SDI for nuclear arms reductions—thus keeping the world under the tyranny of MAD—Reagan stuck to his principles.

By this time, however, the actual SDI program had been substantially defeated, and the Reagan Presidency was already, in effect, destroyed.

A moment of great opportunity was, for the time being, lost. The Soviet Union did collapse, on precisely the timetable, and for precisely the reasons that LaRouche had forecast. What's more, the rejection of LaRouche's concept of a science-driven U.S. and global economic reversal of the "controlled disintegration" policies of London and Wall Street, meant that the trans-Atlantic nations were also doomed to the process of economic and monetary disintegration that has now entered the endgame phase.

LaRouche Reflects on Reagan

On June 6, 2004, former President Ronald Reagan died. In a brief personal reflection, LaRouche offered a summary of his own collaboration with Reagan, which is of great relevance to the present moment of profound global crisis and challenge:

This morning's press brought me stunning news: the death of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Although we actually met on but one occasion, at Concord, New Hampshire for a candidates' night, in January 1980, that meeting between us changed world history in ironical ways which are reverberating still today.

The continuing significance of that encounter is that it led to meetings with the incoming Reagan Presidential team, in Washington, D.C., later that year, and with new meetings with key representatives of the new Presidency over the interval into 1984. The most important product of those meetings was my 1982-83 role in conducting back-channel talks with the Soviet government, on behalf of that Presidency. The leading topic of those talks, coordinated through the National Security Council, was my proposal for what President Reagan was to name his 'Strategic Defense Initiative' (SDI). That proposal changed the world.

In reflection on that and related experience, over the following years, I was often bemused in reflecting on the paradoxical features of that relationship to the President during that period. In part, the affirmative aspects of the relationship were rooted in our sharing the experience of our generation, despite the decade's difference in our age: the common experience of President Franklin Roosevelt's leadership of the U.S. economic recovery and the defeat of fascism. In all my dealings with the Reagan Administration during that time, this area of agreement was clearly, repeatedly demonstrated, whereas, on economic policy otherwise—such as the subject of Professor Milton Friedman—we were almost at opposite poles.

Stunning Intervention in History

One point about those matters needs to be cleared up; and it is my special, personal obligation to do so. It is true that Soviet General Secretaries', Andropov's and Gorbachov's, repeatedly hysterical rejection of President Reagan's offer of March 23, 1983—not military threats from the U.S.A. and its allies—led to the fall of the Soviet system six years later. It was the folly of the Soviet government, not threats by the administration of President Reagan, which led to the end of the Soviet system in the way that occurred. On March 23, 1983, the President had made a public offer, which he renewed later, to find a way to escape the system of 'revenge weapons.' It was the Soviet rejection of the President's offer which brought down the Soviet economy and caused the break-up of the Soviet Union. Had the President's offer been accepted then, during the years which followed, the history of the world would have made a better turn than it did then, better for both the U.S.A. and Russia, a better way toward a better world today.

Had we reacted to the break-up of the Comecon/Warsaw Pact bloc as I proposed publicly in October 1988, the worst of the miseries experienced during the 1989-2004 interval to date, on all sides, would have been avoided. Those 1989-2004 failures of U.S. and European policies on this latter account, do not detract from the indelible achievement of President Reagan's most stunning intervention in history, as first announced on March 23, 1983. Such is his enduring personal landmark in all truthful future accounts of U.S.A. and world history.

Ironically, the U.S. Democratic Party's leadership never understood any of this, to the present day; that makes it all the more important that President Reagan's achievement on this account, be commonly acknowledged by his survivors, Republican, Democratic, and others, today.

Such is the nature of the institution of the U.S. Presidency. That is not past history. It is a lesson in statecraft which the new generations of this world must still learn today.

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