This transcript appears in the October 8, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Unite the World for the Development of Afghanistan on the New Silk Road
Mike Billington is a Co-Editor and Director of Asia Intelligence of EIR magazine. This is an edited transcript of his prepared opening statement to a virtual conference of the Afghanistan diaspora on September 30, 2021, “The Road from War to Peace,” sponsored by the Grand National Movement of Afghanistan (GNMA) and the Council on Global Relations (CGR).
Several speakers here today have made geopolitical statements implying the impossibility of bringing all the nations in the region together for the economic development of Afghanistan. I stand with Lyndon LaRouche in rejecting these geopolitical assumptions. Central to this is the primary importance of development. In any meeting about Afghanistan’s future—or about any other of the nations destroyed by the “endless wars,” issues like “inclusive governments” and “human rights” are important, but if economic development is not the first item on the agenda, addressing the common interest of all sections of society, then the efforts for achieving other human rights will fail.
The fundamental issue before us, and the world, today is: Did the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan mark the end of the era of colonial “regime change” wars, endless wars, or was it only a plan to reposition U.S. and NATO forces for a military confrontation with China and Russia, as desired by the British, who are attempting to restore their military role in the Empire under the name of “Global Britain.”
Since World War II, the British have sustained the Empire on the basis of what they call “British brains and American brawn.” When the U.S. and NATO pulled out of Afghanistan, [former UK Prime Minister] Tony Blair, the architect of the Iraq war and the idea of “responsibility to protect” as an excuse for colonial wars, complained bitterly that we must not give up on “forever wars” or the Empire will not survive.
Obviously, the solution which would benefit the entire human race would be for the United States to join with China, Russia, Pakistan and the other countries in the region, to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor rail line from Islamabad, through the Khyber Pass to Kabul, and on to Uzbekistan. This would not only allow Afghanistan to begin developing as a modern agro-industrial nation, but also provide all of Central Asia with a rail connection to the Arabian Sea, for the first time. It would also provide a model to restore the war-torn nations destroyed by the Bush and Obama regime-change wars, in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and to restore the other nations currently suffering from Malthusian depopulation, like Haiti and Lebanon.
It is not well known that in 2019, after the Trump Administration began talks with the Taliban to prepare for the pullout, there was established an institution known as the “Extended Troika,” or the “Troika Plus,” comprising the U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan.
Lyndon LaRouche, following the 2008 financial breakdown in the West, insisted that the only solution for the global financial crisis was for what he called the “Four Powers”—Russia, China, the U.S. and India—to come together in a New Bretton Woods Conference to create a new international financial system which would restrain speculation and direct credit into the real economy—the opposite of the current deregulated financial empire, which simply prints trillions of dollars to keep the bankrupt banks afloat, at the expense of humanity. The Extended Troika brings these four powers together, although with Pakistan rather than India, due to the importance of Pakistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for the future of Afghanistan.
This Extended Troika has met nine times over the past three years, with the fully attended last meeting on August 10, just five days before the Taliban moved into Kabul. Although Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for a meeting of the Extended Troika in Kabul as soon as the airport were opened, and the meeting did take place, the United States, unfortunately, did not attend. The Extended Troika, without the U.S., met with both the Taliban and with [former Afghan President] Hamid Karzai and [leader of the High Council for National Reconciliation] Abdullah Abdullah.
The New Silk Road—first proposed by Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, as a means of ending the imperial division of the world into warring blocs, in favor of Peace Through Development—now has 140 member nations in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The big question facing mankind is, Which way will the United States go? The British path of war confrontation with China, as seen in the AUKUS military pact between the U.S., the UK and Australia; or the Peace Through Development path promoted by the Schiller Institute and the LaRouche Organization?
I commend you for organizing this conference, to help humanity make the right choice at this critical turning point in history.