This transcript appears in the April 15, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Discussion Among Panelists
This is an edited transcript of the discussion following the presentations to the Plenary Session of the April 9, 2022 Schiller Institute Conference, “To Establish a New Security and Development Architecture for All Nations.” Participating were Dennis Speed (moderator), Helga Zepp-LaRouche, H.E. Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, Sam Pitroda, Jay Naidoo, and Alessia Ruggeri.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I first want to thank all the speakers on this panel. The fact that we all come from different parts of the planet and bring our different cultural traditions and experiences is a very encouraging sign. I think what unites us all is the recognition that mankind has reached a point where we do need a change in policies, and that together we have to search for the principles which make it possible to arrive at that New Paradigm.
For me, this starts with the image of man. Once you agree on what you would call, in religious terms, the sacredness of human life, and for those who are not religious, you can call it the inviolability of the human life. Because what makes man unique is the ability—Sam Pitroda alluded to it—the ability of man to develop new science and technology. This is what constitutes humanity as the only creative species which we know of. There may be other species, when we explore the universe, but right now, it is the only species we know. It is that recognition of the creative nature of the human being which gives us hope that we can find a solution.
The great philosopher of the 15th Century, Nicholas of Cusa, who is known in Russia as Nikola Kuzanski, established this idea of the Coincidence of Opposites; that there is a solution for every problem because the One has a higher order than the Many. That is also the principle of the Peace of Westphalia; that the one humanity is of a higher order than all particular national interests or other interests.
So, I would like to thank the panelists again, and would like to give the word to all of you.
Speed: Ambassador Antonov, very happy to see you. It’s a very intense period, as you know. Please, go ahead.
Amb. Anatoly Antonov: Thank you very much. You see that I don’t consider that I waste my time on Saturday. It’s a great pleasure for me to be with my friends and with the new faces whom I don’t know. I would like to confirm my thanks to the Schiller Institute and Helga Zepp-LaRouche for this opportunity to share my view on the very important and pressing issue that we have discussed today.
It’s very interesting to listen to participants from four continents. I see that one denominator is that everybody is consumed by the current situation. Nobody is satisfied with what is going on, and we see so many problems we can’t solve. It’s very important that today I come to the conclusion that nobody outside can give us any solution. Neither the United States, nor Russia. You see that we are just a member of an international community, and it’s very important for us to sit together and to discuss all outstanding issues.
I would like to confirm the importance of your NGO [non-governmental organization] being involved in this process. I am sure that without your assistance, it will be very difficult to find a compromise which fits everybody.
Again, I would like to confirm my readiness to participate in any of your events, and it will be a great honor for me to welcome you in our embassy if and when you find the opportunity to come to Washington. Thank you very much for this opportunity. I wish luck to everybody.
Sam Pitroda: I first want to compliment Helga for her leadership in putting this conference together. I think we should see this as a beginning of a new process, and not just one event.
I am convinced that war must stop; destroying properties, killing of people is not the answer. We must get at the table, to solve the problem; to save lives and bring peace to the area, not only in Europe, but in other parts of the world as well. I believe the key is to focus on redesigning the world. It is not a piece of conversation; we’ve got to get it done. And it has to move away from power and profit, to planet and people. Environmental blunders get less attention today than we need.
We also need to get off this command-and-control architecture. Take advantage of hyper-connectivity and begin new conversations with focus on collaboration, cooperation, co-creation. There is enough for everybody in this world. Why do we need to fight? Can we take humanity to the next level by focussing on hyper-connectivity to create new order? That’s what I would like to see.
I’m 80 years old, and I know I have very little time. I also know that very few people would listen to someone like me, because there is a golden rule in this world: One who has gold makes the rule. That has to change.
Jay Naidoo: Thank you very much to Helga and the Schiller Institute for convening this conversation. I take heed of the fact that we are all conscious of the multiple crises we are facing in the world. A billion people will go to bed hungry today; there are countries across Africa and the world, including the Middle East, where millions of people are starving, have been living in countries embroiled in civil war, often stoked by interests that come from beyond their countries. We are living in a situation where we have recreated the scenario of the Second World War, with practically 60 million people either refugees or displaced because of internal conflicts, because of interstate conflicts. That’s something we should leave behind. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is more than enough in this world to meet all our needs, but not enough to meet our greed.”
We do need a new architecture, not just of security, but a new architecture of development, of understanding that as a humanity we have no dominion over this world. We live by the grace and the blessings of Mother Earth, therefore we need to respect her and put the environment at the center of all our debates and discussions; whether that’s political, economic, or social.
I come from a point of view which is [held by] most people in the world, that everything is sacred; all life is sacred. One life is not more important than another life. One part of our world is not more important than another part of the world. And therefore, I reiterate and endorse the fact of what Sam and many of you have said, to move from a situation of power, of greed, of arrogance, to a situation where we regard ourselves as part of an international community, as part of nature, not apart from her. Where we live in harmony, where we live with tolerance, and where we deal with the devastating impact of war on our countries.
I really would like to appeal that we’re not constructing one big forum. In fact, the approach to global peace, transformative peace is building a network of networks, where everyone has a right to have a say, including Mother Earth. That there are such things as the rights of our planet, and that we cannot construct a world any longer where the only rights that are respected are the rights of human beings.
I embrace the idea that there needs to be a bottom-up process that galvanizes the 7.5 billion people in our world toward a new narrative, where there is no master, where there is no policeman, where there is no attempt of domination by one over the other. Coming out of South Africa, which has been a pariah for many hundreds of years, I would argue that the time for an evolution of a consciousness of a new civilization that recognizes the importance of all. And that as Africa, we want to come out of the shadow of the past 500 years of slavery, of colonization, and of a brutal form of exploitation, and take our rightful place in the community of nations. We are the cradle of humanity; we have many things to say, as the people and the continent that produced the earliest tools that led us to where we are. Music; education; language; agriculture.
We think that we need to create the opportunity in a context where young people do not trust political institutions; they do not even trust governments, or big business, or even established civil society. We are talking about a grassroots conversation that allows the burgeoning, the unfurling of a new way in which we learn to live together, in love, in tolerance, and in harmony.
That’s the prayer I have as a grandfather, as an elder. I recognize what I’ve gone through, and I stand alongside people saying the time has come for a New Paradigm of development that brings us together as a humanity in relation and in intelligent collaboration with all the other species we share Mother Earth with.
Alessia Ruggeri: [via interpreter] I welcome the invitation which Ambassador Antonov made to some of the speakers to come to the Russian Embassy in Washington, and I would like to do that as an Italian and as a European to express my solidarity. Italy and Europe, in the recent years, have policies which do not at all reflect the will of the people, and we are taking this stance as a trade union and as entrepreneurs from such policies. In particular, we do recognize Russia is a friend and an ally for Italy.
I agree also with the speaker from South Africa that every part of the world, and every person has the same importance in this new security and development architecture. And that the key question is the development in this case of Africa.
I thank Helga Zepp-LaRouche for this opportunity. As an Italian, I will be an active part of the movement to move towards this new architecture. And I hope that we can, as soon as possible, reach the first aim of the proposal, which is the cooperation among nations.
Speed: We’re getting many questions. Of course, we’re going to keep to a kind of discussion process because there are so many, so, I’ll just indicate the character of what we’re getting, much of which of course is also for the ambassador:
People are asking about this point that was made a few times, particularly by Sam Pitroda, about the post-World War II world—post-Franklin Delano Roosevelt world we call it in America—and the institutions that were created then, but have not been created since.
There were remarks and reflections about the Bandung Conference of 1955 and its importance, and whether there’s anything that several of the speakers might have to say about that.
And then there’s sort of a very specific area of questions which have to do with what Helga has called before the lost chance of 1989; what happened at the time when it looked like the Cold War was over, and there was going to be a collaboration among people.
There’s a specific idea that was for Ambassador Antonov which is, we recall, the collaboration of the American and Russian people in defeating Nazism and world fascism during World War II; what was called the spirit of the Elba. We recall the joint Apollo-Soyuz space mission in the midst of the Cold War. What steps can be taken to revive that spirit even in the midst of this terrible crisis?
That’s the character of what we’re getting. Helga, I’m going to ask you first to respond as a whole, and then of course everyone will be able to do the same.
Zepp-LaRouche: I agree with Sam and also Alessia, who said that we need a movement. That this conference is very important because it brings together people from five continents, and there were many people who registered, and I know that we have live streams going on of different media. There are commitments of people who have promised that they will distribute the proceedings of this conference afterward to as many people as possible. So, I foresee that we will have a process of such building of a movement, which will be extremely important, because of what we touched upon in these brief presentations. Unfortunately, we are in a period where everything will get worse in the short term. Hopefully we can contribute to bring negotiations back on the table in respect to the Ukraine situation, but even beyond that, we are in a breakdown crisis of a financial system.
The danger to 1 billion people is intolerable. When the pandemic broke out, my immediate response was to say that this must be the beginning of building a world health system; a modern health system in every single country. That has not happened, because the institutions which have the power did what they did; but they did not go to the roots of the problem, namely, that it is the under-development of the developing countries, and therefore the lack of a health system which makes pandemics possible. I think China has demonstrated very efficiently that once you have a modern health system, you can contain even a pandemic. The need to build a health system in every country is still there, but I think we also have the urgent need to prevent that 1 billion people are dying of starvation. This is completely intolerable.
I would hope that out of this conference comes a commitment that everything is done to prevent the starvation of so many people; because that would say something about ourselves. If we cannot mobilize to save 1 billion people of less than 8 billion, then we are morally not fit. So, I think the idea of the sacredness of every life, and that there is no difference in the value of life, let it be in Europe or in Africa or in China or in the United States or wherever. All lives should be regarded as equally sacred; and therefore, to combat the famine, to combat the pandemic must be the starting point of overcoming the under-development of all.
That is what I think must be an ongoing theme of hopefully a large, growing movement of people who demand a New Paradigm.
Amb. Antonov: I have so many thoughts that I am scared to keep you listening to me for the whole day. Of course, first of all, as you said, in one month and a half all of us will celebrate the Great Victory in the Second World War. We will never forget the 25th of April when the Soviet and American soldiers met at the Elbe River. We will never forget how we fought together; you cannot imagine how many lives we lost. I know that the United States lost about half a million. Today, I already mentioned that the Soviet Union lost 27 million. Should we give anybody any opportunity to forget about those days? About disasters where we survived together? It seems to me that we shouldn’t give any right to anybody to give another history how Nazis came into power and how we destroyed the Nazis together with the United States, U.K., and other nations. We have excellent experience out of the Second World War, especially on the strategic stability area. We have created so many important legally binding documents that met the interests of the United States and the Russian people. We already had a strategic dialogue with the current administration, but due to some problems, it is frozen now.
I would like to draw your attention to—we have some legally binding documents that the United States and Russia are in favor of, such as the NPT and START Treaty. We shouldn’t give any opportunity to undercut those treaties. And more important, I am sure that we are doomed with the United States to cooperate on all strategic issues, not just some of them. Fighting against the coronavirus; climate change; we have a lot of common regarding activities in the Arctic. Cyber security is a huge challenge to the security of the United States and Russia, and we started fruitful dialogue on this issue. I hope that the time will come when Russian and American experts will sit together, and they will restart fruitful cooperation. Even under such difficult circumstances, we continue space cooperation between the United States and Russia. I hope that maybe it will be a little breach of that will permit us to foster our cooperation in the future.
Pitroda: I am convinced that the problems of the world cannot be solved in the existing global organization architecture. We have been talking about eliminating hunger for 50 years. The World Bank has had many programs. We haven’t been able to do that. We’ve been talking about eliminating poverty; improving the environment. Look at the track record, and you will realize that very few have become very rich, and lots of people have suffered in this world. The inequality has increased in spite of democratization of knowledge and technology becoming pervasive. We need a new architecture. I think if we have a single-minded focus for the next 5-10 years that we want to redesign the world. Nothing short of that will solve the problem. Helga talked about the health system; it is part of the problem. Education; food; environment; water. These are all global challenges, and it cannot be handled on a piecemeal basis.
So, if we collectively decide to focus on one basic challenge, and that is to redesign the world’s architecture; relook at the UN. Do we need the World Bank? Do we need the IMF? What does it mean to have the financial system that we have today? Do we need a new financial system? How do we use hyper-connectivity to change all this? I think we are just underestimating the power of hyper-connectivity. The opportunity to innovate. What is going on in Silicon Valley and other parts of the world in technology is going to have huge impacts on humanity. And that requires new organization of architecture. I wrote this book because I felt that without addressing larger issues, micro-management is not possible. I hope that we can make this a movement globally, to redesign the world. Then, something will happen in maybe 5-10 years.
Naidoo: For the last two and a half decades I have collaborated with Sam Pitroda: I was then the Minister of Telecommunications in the Mandela government, and we saw this technological revolution as a tremendous advance towards a new humanity. In fact, it was the levelling of the playing field, the basic need of all other basic needs. We could deliver telemedicine, we could deliver information, we could deliver government services, all seamlessly.
The internet was one of the greatest discoveries and innovations of humanity. But today, we know this internet is controlled, by gigantic companies that have wrenched away our right to access information, to access knowledge, to access the true news, not just fake news. We are now being censored across social media. One of the greatest inventions of human intelligence, has now been captured. And so, we have to ask ourselves the question, “Why?”
Many of the institutions that we created after the Second World War, were created with the intention to stop war, to build global peace. And global development was the flip side of conflict. So how is it that 70 years later, we have a billion people going to bed hungry; we have close to 60 million people displaced? We have in the COVID pandemic, in the way it was managed, it ended up as a control-and-command system, where our rights were taken away from us?
And so, the question one really wants to ask is, is what’s happened? For 70 years, these institutions today do not have the trust of the majority of people, institutions at a micro level, in every sector of society, in the global architecture. So, they are not fit for purpose.
The one thing we know about the technological-digital revolution, is things are changing at a dramatic pace. The world has changed in the last two years, given how we’ve approached the issue of the COVID pandemic, how it’s entrenched the power, particularly of Big Pharma in our world.
And so, what we are to talk about is, yes, a redesign of the global architecture, of everything. And how do we construct the bridge between the old and the new? What are the principles of that? Where do we look for what we’ve done in the past?
And that’s where I do want to go back to the issue of the Bandung Conference: Because in 1955, it met to promote the notion of Afro-Asian solidarity, economic and cultural cooperation, the idea that we can create a new world, away from colonialism or neo-colonialism. We met again, in 2005. But I think today, there needs to be a new Bandung, of all of us, so that we can all have an input into what is the design of the new world we all want to see; we have all argued in this conference.
At the same time, you know, the Non-Aligned Movement was created in 1961, the idea that we didn’t want to be pulled into proxy wars between global powers. Of course, the Non-Aligned Movement lost its momentum, in the context of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union and what’s happened since then. So, in a sense, I think for countries that do not hold that global power, we do want to see a new Non-Aligned Movement, we do want an opinion. Because the majority of people live in countries that have historically been part of the Non-Aligned Movement.
And lastly I would say the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on nuclear weapons and all the agreements we’ve had from the time that the Cold War formally ended in 1990, need to be put back on the board, and to be put back in the center of our conversations, so that we can remove the root causes of why we are at this moment, back where we hoped that we would never be: with the threat of conventional war, of a new arms race, of a potential nuclear winter.
They say democracy is when governments and those in power are afraid of the people; and totalitarianism is where people are afraid of the governments. We, as the people, need to reclaim our power, away from politicians, many who have been captured by vested interests of a military-industrial complex.
Speed: Alessia, in addition to your general remarks, we have a particular question which I’m going to pose to you, which came from the Italian blog Database Italia. The question is:
“The Schiller Institute promotes an international debate for humanitarian aid, a new peace security architecture that can replace the failed NATO political and military regime. Do you think that we will finally see this new paradigm which can guarantee international aid and a mutual support society?”
Ruggeri: [via interpreter] I believe that NATO is based on an economic and social paradigm which is totally obsolete. And there is a psychological need for this new architecture, which is made of inclusion and a bridge between different worlds, as represented by one of the speakers today, and then creates, allows, a dialogue between competent people instead of people who have preference to rule.
And in conclusion, as far as I’m concerned, as a trade unionist representing thousands of small entrepreneurs in Italy, I am committing myself in this conference to do my best to create this new architecture, and also to give a voice to those Italians and [other] Europeans who are no longer represented by the European Union.
Speed: We’re now going to ask for each speaker to give a one-minute summary of anything they’d like to say before we conclude ’’
Ruggeri: [via interpreter] I want to thank Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who is courageously giving a voice to all those Europeans and Italians who want peace, and a peace based on the concept of the Peace of Westphalia, which put an end to 30 years of war. We want a Europe which is contributing to peace and not to war.
Naidoo: Thank you very much to the Schiller Institute and to Helga and Sam in convening this conference, and your moderation.
I’m reminded what Mandela often said to us: that at the end of every war, you will have to sit around the table, and talk about peace. And when he was asked, when he left the prison after 27 years of being on Robben Island and Victor Verster Prison, if he had any revenge in his heart. And his reply was very profound. And he said: If I leave this prison with revenge in my heart, then I will still be a prisoner.
And so, I hope that through this conversation that we’re having, that we agree that every voice counts, and that in the conversations we are having to get us out of this crossroads, because the jury is out on whether we as humanity have earned the right to be on this Mother Earth, then I hope that every voice will count, and we will ask who’s not in the room? Whose voice are we not hearing?
Often, we will find, it is the voice of ordinary people, of unemployed youth in Africa, of small-holder farmers at the epicenter of hunger in Africa, which still has two-thirds of the cultivatable, arable land in the world, that has now been taken away from us by other governments, other companies from outside of Africa; I hope that we will include young people, that we will include the gay and LGBTQ communities; that will include smaller countries that are facing the crisis of climate change, and whether they will continue to exist as small island states; of people that live in areas that are bordering on seas that are below sea-level.
I hope that we can bring ourselves to a consensus that the most important thing now is not war, is not another arms race, it’s not another nuclear threats against each other: That we can step down from the arrogance of big men, find an intelligent cooperation between a feminine and the masculine, and build a cooperation across these divisions we call states, and understand that we are, like someone said, in one boat, not in 190 boats. And I hope that this will be what we will take away from this conference.
Pitroda: I agree with Jay. Jay has said it in a very forceful way.
I would like to use this conference to plant seeds to redesign the world. I would like to use this conference, not just to have a conversation on NATO, Russia, Ukraine, U.S., military, security; I would use this to plant seeds for taking humanity to the next level, and that would require totally new thinking. In that thinking, people and planet will have to be at the center, and hyperconnectivity and technology would offer us the hope and opportunities that mankind never had before.
I am very bullish on innovations, creativity, possible today, to solve the problems of humanity. I believe we can produce anything today. We need to decide what it is we want to produce, and for whom do we want to produce? I believe we can eliminate hunger. I believe we can reduce and completely eliminate poverty. I believe we can attain peace, but that will require a completely different mindset. I’m worried about the mindset of the people. I’m worried about hypocrisy. I’m worried about power-hungry politicians. I’m worried about profit-hungry industrialists, corporations. And I’m worried about the fact that we have lost empathy, values, character.
We want to steal from others. We want to fight to gain more. We really need a new mindset. We need a guardian mindset. At the end of the day, truth, trust, love, inclusion, diversity, environment, respect, dignity, education, health, food, matter. How do we get people to focus on this? Truth today is converted into lies. Trust is converted into mistrust. Love is converted into hate. We cannot go on like this!
We’ve got to redesign the world. And I’m looking to work on this, for whatever little time I have left. I am very bullish; I am very hopeful, and I hope we can use today’s event to plant the right seeds to redesign the world.
Antonov: First, thank you very much, again, for such an opportunity to deal with these very important issues. For me, I pay special attention on everybody’s statement today, because everybody has a right to flag an issue that he is interested in. And of course, I cannot disagree with an idea to do our utmost to take humanity to our next step of development. For me I see so many issues we have to tackle together, and my dear colleagues have mentioned them.
As an ambassador, of course, I would like to emphasize a necessity for political balance between nations. I am sure that without compromise on this issue, it would be not possible for us to make any step ahead.
At the end of my remarks today, I would like to draw again, and again, to the Russian idea that we have to restore principle of indivisible security for everybody. It seems to me that each man and woman has a right to be equally treated as well as each nation, each national interest of any country has to be taken into account. Without such understanding, it will be very difficult to think about a new system of international security. So, you see that.
Again, thank you very much for this opportunity to explain where we are, what kind of problems we face, and I’m ready to cooperate with you, with great interest. Thank you.
Zepp-LaRouche: I think the idea that we need new institutions because the old ones have become either obsolete, like NATO, or the IMF, because it did not solve the poverty issue, I think that is one outcome of this discussion.
We already have had the experience of working with the Non-Aligned Movement. When my late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, came back from a trip in Iraq in 1975, he recognized that the IMF was obsolete then, and he proposed the (IDB), which was the idea to create a credit institution which would facilitate technology transfer to the developing countries on a grand scale. And for one full year, the LaRouche movement of that time, we with all the governments of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the IDB was almost word by word in the final resolution of Colombo conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Sri Lanka in 1976.
So what happened was, that despite the fact that three-quarters of the human species had demanded a just new world economic order in this Colombo resolution, there was an onslaught whereby many of the leaders got either assassinated, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, or destabilized, like Mrs. Gandhi and Mrs. Bandaranaike from Sri Lanka. So we have a long experience of what you are up against, when you are trying to change the world order.
But I think right now, we are at a new point, because there is no way how this international financial system will last very long. We are in a hyperinflationary blowout, whereby you will not get this inflation under control, and any effort to pump more liquidity, to make more quantitative easing, to pull more trillions into the system—I mean, we have now, in the trans-Atlantic system, a situation like what we had in Germany in 1923, when the hyperinflation exploded within a few months, and the system came to an end.
So that will demand that the question of new credit system is being put on the agenda, and that must be in a cooperation, because governments finally have to do it. But it also is a question of individuals, of social forces demanding a just world economic order, which allows for the development of all people on this planet.
So I think the issues which we touch upon today are becoming very clear. We do need an international security architecture which takes into account the interest of every single country on the planet, because security is indivisible, and we will not have peace if you leave out any part of the world.
This approach will require, most of all, not only empathy. Friedrich Schiller, after whom the Schiller Institute is named, said Empfindungsvermögen—which is sort of empathy, but love is really the better word—Schiller said the development of the Empfindungsvermögen, of love, of compassion, is the most important requirement of our time. And I think that that is also what must come out of it.
This is why, in the Peace of Westphalia, the idea that foreign policy from now on had to be based on love, was a very practical issue, and not a utopian idea at all: Because if we do not come to the point that we love mankind, we will not solve anything. And Confucius, and also [Gotthold Ephraim] Lessing said that if you decide to feel love, you can switch your feeling to do that; and this is the subject of a whole other discussion, but you can force yourself to love, instead of hate. Because once you relate to the other person that you want the best for the other person, and the other nation, which is the principle of the Peace of Westphalia, then it changes your emotions. You can switch from hate to love by doing something for the other.
And so, I think that we are on a good track, and I think this will have a very important function to shape history in the next period.