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This transcript appears in the July 23, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Geopolitics Always Was, and Still Is, Anti-American

[Print version of this transcript]

Mr. Schlanger produces the live daily TLO news and analysis report available here. He was a national spokesperson for the late Lyndon H. LaRouche. The following is an edited transcript of his presentation to The LaRouche Organization’s July 10, 2021 webinar, “Will Afghanistan, the Graveyard of Empires Become the Cradle of Peace Through Development?” Subheads and hyperlinks have been added. The full meeting is available here.

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Both photos: Schiller Institute
Left: Harley Schlanger; right: Ray McGovern

If you’ve been following the coverage in the mainstream media, there’s something quite odd. All of a sudden, the discussion is about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. We now face civil war, possible takeover by the Taliban, terrorist safe havens being set up, and drug trafficking coming out of Afghanistan. Story after story to promote fear, from the warhawks who have profited quite handsomely both in terms of increasing power and money, from the 20 years of war in Afghanistan.

My question for the reporters who are covering this is: “Where the hell have you been for the last 20 years, or even 30 years? When there was a civil war underway, when there was drug trafficking, when there was a terrorist haven that was there. Why the sudden discussion of this now, when it’s clear that the 20-30 years of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has been an abject failure? Or was it a failure?”

The civil war has been underway, and what the U.S. now is saying is, we’ll remove our troops, NATO will leave. But we’ll maintain an “over-the-horizon presence” in the Gulf states, so that the U.S. will still be able to play a role to prevent a total takeover by Taliban or some such formulation. And we’ll bring in NATO member Turkey to provide a certain amount of stability.

Now, none of this changes the overall direction of what would best be called the Anglo-American policy, or the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank complex) as Ray McGovern, one of the founders of the VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) refers to it. The idea that we have to have a “rules-based order” based on the unilateral power of the Western military to impose the global financial control that has been the dominant force in the world, especially since the death of John F. Kennedy. So, there’s no end to geopolitics; there may be a shift of emphasis or the arena in which the geopolitics is carried out. One of the arguments is that we’re not leaving Afghanistan because we lost the war, but we need to free up American troops for the Pivot to Asia; the deployment into the Indo-China arena, as well as into NATO with Ukraine and the confrontation with Russia.

The Problem is Geopolitics

The important point that needs to be stressed here, which we’ll be making today, is that, as Helga Zepp-LaRouche has emphasized, the problem is geopolitics. It’s the degree to which the United States has served as the dumb giant on a British leash. The speakers who speak after me will be talking about how we move away from this unilateralist approach to one of collaboration and cooperation among sovereign nation-states. They’ll be developing that, especially around the role of the Belt and Road Initiative, which of course the unilateralists say is a threat to the rules-based order.

Now what I want to do is give you somewhat of an arc of history to locate this battle. Because the problem with most Americans is that the war that we’re in is the war that we’re fighting and has very little to do with anything except what the media says.

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EIRNS/Stuart Lewis, 1999
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

But we’ve been lied to about every war we’ve been in since the end of World War II. The war on terror was a fraud from the beginning. The whole question of what actually happened on 9/11 has still not been answered: the role of the United States in supporting terrorists and arming them as in the case of Syria, and the use of these terrorists for regime-change operations. What we saw with the period of the war on terror, was a new phase of geopolitics in the era of globalization. This got its start with Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Carter administration, which was a Trilateral Commission administration. It was an administration run by the global banks in the United States—the Rockefellers and their allies in Europe, who were committed to a new world order: A globalized free trade system, with the United States military imposing the rules.

Brzezinski was the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Last week, Dennis Speed gave you some interesting quotes from Brzezinski’s interview in 1998 with Le Nouvel Observateur, where he openly bragged that the deployment of jihadists in Afghanistan against the Soviets was a design. That is, that he lured the Soviets into an invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 as a way of getting them caught up in a quagmire. He said this was a good policy; when he was asked if he regretted it, he said, no, absolutely not. Look at what we did. We brought down the Soviet Union. What he pointed out in that interview is that the U.S. aid to the jihadists, which became the Taliban, or the mujahideen as they were called at the time, began in July 1979, several months before the Soviets invaded.

The ‘War on Terror’ Is Modern Imperialism

Now, what was the issue then and the issue in the war on terror? It was, and is, geopolitics. It’s the modern imperial strategy. It’s how the great powers impose their will and manipulate not only weaker nations—manipulate nations into wars, into regime change, into submission to the rules-based order—but also how they can manipulate the population in the United States, in western Europe, to accept these policies, this geopolitics, as though there was some innate value in it, and some goodness for their own sovereign nation.

To understand geopolitics, you have to understand that it was a reaction to what? To the most important revolutionary event, probably, in world history, namely, the American Revolution. This became the starting point of a panic for the forces of the British Empire—at the time, the British East India Company, the nexus of bankers and philosophers which included people like Jeremy Bentham, who had to come up with a strategy to combat the United States. In the first part of the 19th century, it was war; the War of 1812, and later the operation to support the Confederacy in the Civil War. But that had to change.

Let me just give you a little bit of a sense of what was going on in the 1850s when something was launched which we know today as the “Great Game,” the contest between the British Empire and the Russian Empire in Afghanistan. Hussein Askary’s presentation adds much important material on this matter.

What was going on by the 1850s? The British had a whole series of operations underway. The Crimean War in 1853 was Britain and France and Turkey against Russia. This is interesting because we’re seeing Crimea again; the Black Sea is again an arena of so-called superpower confrontation. But the Crimean War was part of the Great Game. You had the second Opium War, where the British moved troops, and naval forces in particular, to defeat the Chinese and force them to accept British opium shipped from India. Then, you had the Civil War in the U.S.

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Francis Cruikshank, 1855
British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston.

Twice UK Prime Minister in the mid-19th century, Lord Palmerston, who once famously said “We have no permanent friends, only permanent interests,” was a key figure in shaping British policy. On January 1, 1861, Palmerston wrote a letter to Queen Victoria, in which he said, “There are decisive events for the future of the British Empire.” He named three: The capture of Peking in China as part of the Opium War; secondly, the move toward unifying Italy under a monarch, which was part of the Young Europe operation launched by the British Empire; and third, and here’s his quote: “The approaching and virtually accomplished dissolution in America of the great northern confederation,” with the election of Lincoln.

This all fell apart with the victory of the North, and Lincoln’s transcontinental rail project which created not just a continental power, but an economic force based on transportation, based on infrastructure, based on the idea that you can cover great distances by rail. This victory of the North and the industrialization that was a part of it, became a model for what happened in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, starting really with Bismarck in Germany. It included the Meiji Restoration in Japan; it included Sergei Witte in Russia with the Trans-Siberian Railroad; Hanotaux in France. What was beginning to occur was a shifting away from the power resting in the British Navy to the possibility of an alliance of sovereign nations engaging in trade using rail and development of ports and canals that threatened this British domination.

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RIA Novosti/Yuri Somov
Soviet forces in Afghanistan, October 20, 1986.

Who Controls the Heartland, Controls the World

Geopolitics starts with this idea that there must never be an alliance between central and eastern European nations and Eurasian nations, including Russia and China. This was the doctrine that paved the way for World War I and World War II. That’s a longer story I won’t go into now, but in the postwar period, the battle that FDR had with Churchill during the war—that is, that the United States was committed to ending colonialism after the war, whereas the British intended to continue a world of colonialism.

The battle continued with Eisenhower when he turned against the British plan to capture the Suez Canal in 1956. John F. Kennedy, when he began to consider, instead of going to war with Russia, or having a constant arms race, instead, what about détente? Kennedy was seen as such an existential threat to the British Empire that he was assassinated. After the Kennedy period, you have the emergence of two geopoliticians—Henry Kissinger, and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Brzezinski’s idea was that there’s an “arc of crisis,” which the West can exploit to bring down the Soviet Union. In his initial writings, he talked about it as the area of the Indian Ocean; he later refined that to the Transcaucasus and Central Asia. But the idea was, that you could use an Islamic uprising—that is, of the Islamic peoples in the Transcaucasus, in Afghanistan, in Iran—against the Soviet Union, because some of these populations lived within what at the time was the Soviet Union. In his memoirs, he writes that he began to press the “arc of crisis” thesis to reassert U.S. power in the region, something which he admitted would be a new version of the British imperial Great Game.

Now Brzezinski was taking a lot of this from the studies he’d done on the work of Bernard Lewis, who was one of the pioneers of this idea of the arc of crisis. In 1997, Brzezinski published a book called The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. In it, he admits his predecessor was Halford Mackinder, who is credited with creating the British school of geopolitics. He said, for him as for Mackinder, the prize is Eurasia. He explicitly refers in this book to the extension of the arc of crisis into Central Asia. He says, “This is a repeat of the Great Game.”

In The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski writes, “The specter of a potential conflict with the Islamic states along Russia’s entire southern flank has to be a source of serious concern.” He knew that riling it up in Afghanistan would bring in the Soviets. What the U.S. did in Afghanistan was, provide weapons, training, but especially weapons, to the mujahideen, which later became the Taliban and also al-Qaeda, the Osama bin Laden network.

What Kind of Lunatics?

When you understand this, you have to ask yourself, “What kind of lunatics were they, that they would make this alliance? And would treat the Muslim populations in this region as though they were all insane jihadists?” Because that’s the underlying reality here, the argument that many Americans believe: that you can’t have peace in the Middle East because the Muslims are crazy. Therefore, we have to have a military option.

This is the whole basis of the War on Terror. Ignoring the fact that the people who are most likely morally responsible for 9/11 were coordinating in one way or another with CIA and U.S. and British intelligence networks. The War on Terror also brought us the security state in the United States, the surveillance state. And the total destabilization of Southwest Asia with regime changes—in 2011 in Libya.

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USMC/Joseph R. Chenelly
U.S. Marines after seizing a Taliban forward operating base, November 25, 2001.

What was Libya’s crime? They were breaking away from the idea of being part of a confrontation with the West; they were concentrating on using their oil wealth to build their nation. What’s wrong with that? That goes against the British control. We had the civil war in Syria started in the same year. You had the regime change in Ukraine in 2014. In 2017, with the inauguration of Donald Trump, with his commitment, as he said at the time, to be friends with Russia and China, a regime change operation was launched in the United States by the very same networks, to bring down Donald Trump.

Where do we stand today with the retreat or the withdrawal from Afghanistan? The Republicans are now saying that this is an example of Biden’s weakness. Well, these are the same Republicans who say they want to bring back Trump. But Trump had said, and continues to say, we should be friends with Russia. The China issue is a little more complex, because he used that to try to cover for the problems in the United States with the COVID crisis. But again, the geopolitics of this is, are we going to have collaborative relations with Russia and China? Or are we going to have confrontation and provocations as we have going on today in the Black Sea and in the South China Sea?

The Physical Economy Is Being Collapsed

What’s behind the geopolitics? It’s the collapse of the financial system; it’s the effort by the Davos billionaires, by Wall Street and the City of London, to push through something called the Great Reset, which is to take away the sovereignty of every nation, and give those powers control over economic policy, control over monetary policy, hand that to international bankers and financial institutions and the shadow banking system so that they can run bail-outs for themselves, while imposing austerity on every nation on the planet without people in those nations having an ability to fight back. Because their elected representatives no longer have the power of the budget. The biggest problems for this Great Reset, and the Green New Deal which is a part of it, is what will Russia and China do? And that’s why the regime-change forces are targetting Russia and China.

Now, I could tell you there are problems in Europe as well with the Great Reset and the Green New Deal. We’re seeing a collapse in popularity for the Greens in Germany; we had the referendum in Switzerland against the European Union carbon policy, and so on. What it shows is, the potential to defeat this global central bankers’ dictatorship—and with it, to end geopolitics—is a real possibility. But it depends on what the American people do. Will we reclaim our anti-colonial tradition? Will we reclaim our republican Constitutional tradition? Or will we be manipulated by narratives that tell us that our greatest threat is coming from Russian aggression and Chinese bullying and Islamic terrorism?

That’s the whole point of the Schiller conferences we’ve had, and these weekly meetings on Saturdays. To give you access to the ideas of Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche; to give you a sense of what the real fight for the American System is; as opposed to some form of jingoism or America First unilateralism—which, interestingly, the unilateralism of Mike Pompeo is the same unilateralism, so far, of the Biden administration. So, it’s the geopolitical doctrine, the domination of the world of confrontation, of a struggle for survival of each against all. The Hobbesian worldview; the Darwinian worldview. That’s what we’re fighting, and that’s why, when we reassert the Constitutional principles of the American System, that’s the way out of this and into a new era and cooperation.

For further reading, we recommend “Zbigniew Brzezinski and 9/11,” written by Lyndon LaRouche in December 2001, and the 1972 document, “The Hostile Fantasy World of Zbigniew Brzezinski,” also by Lyndon LaRouche, published by Campaigner Publications in 1972.

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