World War III, or a Worldwide Renaissance? Why the 'West' Must Collaborate with BRICS for the Common Aims of Mankind
Craig Isherwood, National Secretary, Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
These remarks were delivered at the Civil BRICS Forum, held June 29-July 1, 2015 in Moscow. Mr. Isherwood was the only announced speaker from a non-BRICS country at the Civil BRICS Forum. He spoke at a June 30 panel discussion under the Peace and Security Section of the Forum, "Modern Global Challenges and the Role of the BRICS Union in Ensuring Peace and Security."
Under the Russian BRICS Presidency of 2015, the Civil BRICS Forum was held for the first time, as one of the preparatory meetings making recommendations to the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, for their summit in Ufa, Russia on July 8-9. Other consultative pre-meetings have been held by BRICS parliamentarians, academics, and youth.
Professor Georgy Toloraya, executive director of the Russian National Committee for BRICS Research, Russian coordinator of both the VII BRICS Think Tanks Forum (held in May) and the inaugural Civil BRICS Forum, introduced Mr. Isherwood during the panel. He noted that Craig Isherwood, as a guest of the conference from Australia, had arrived in Moscow from Paris, where he had attended the Schiller Institute's conference "Rebuilding the World in the BRICS Era." Prof. Toloraya himself had been a guest speaker of the March 28-29 conference of the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia, where he presented the BRICS "outreach" process, called to overcome "the notion that BRICS is anti-Western." (Prof. Toloraya's speech is available at the CEC website.)
I am Craig Isherwood from the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia, an independent movement and federally registered political party for the past 27 years. I am grateful to the organizing committee, and to Professor Toloraya personally, for inviting me to attend the Civil BRICS Forum and to address you.
Australia is hardly, of course, a candidate for immediate membership in BRICS. Although our country occupies a whole continent, with a land area greater than that of India or South Africa (though smaller than Russia, China or Brazil), it is inhabited by less than 24 million people. Our head of state is still the British monarch, a situation which India overcame in 1950 and South Africa in 1961. In recent decades, Australia has been used as a laboratory for destructive financial experiments, such as the privatisation of public infrastructure. In the political sphere, my government has joined the sanctions (economic warfare) against BRICS member Russia, while, in the military area, some American and British strategists treat Australia as an unsinkable aircraft carrier for confrontation against another BRICS member, China.
Yet, I am here to greet you on behalf of thousands of my fellow Australians, who welcome BRICS as a crucial institution for overcoming the grave dangers now facing all mankind—above all, what this Working Group's draft paper mentions as "the growing level of tensions in international relations" and the prospect of "a 'big war', involving major powers"—and as a crucial institution for, instead, building a new, just world order.
On March 28-29 of this year, our Citizens Electoral Council of Australia held an international conference titled "The World Land-Bridge: Peace on Earth, Good Will towards All Men". Professor Toloraya, speaking on "The Power of the BRICS Process", called for finding ways to overcome the "notion that BRICS is anti-Western", and to cooperate with the West. I endorse that aspiration, realising that it implies drastic changes in U.S., European, and also Australian policies.
Therefore I am very happy, as well, to greet you on behalf of the international Schiller Institute movement, with which my organisation is affiliated, and its founders, Helga Zepp-LaRouche of Germany and her husband Lyndon LaRouche, the American economist known to many in the BRICS nations for his pioneering work in the science of physical economy.
In October 2012, Helga Zepp-LaRouche launched a series of conferences around the world on the need for a New Paradigm, to rescue humanity from the twin dangers of war and economic collapse. Citing NATO's eastward expansion, U.S. military provocations in the Pacific, and the continuous policy of "regime change" in the Near and Middle East, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and Central Asia, she warned that "the unthinkable could occur, a war in which thermonuclear weapons are deployed, leading to the extinction of the human race."
In the three years since then, the war danger has worsened, thanks to U.S.-NATO provocations around the coup in Ukraine. Military experts have termed the current showdown more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, because so many East-West diplomatic channels have broken down. On the positive side, BRICS has rapidly taken shape as a magnetic pole for a completely different policy—peace through economic development.
Beginning in November 2014, the Schiller Institute issued a petition titled "The United States and Europe Must Have the Courage to Reject Geopolitics and Collaborate with the BRICS".
Outlining several proposals by BRICS countries, not just for themselves, but for the benefit of the people of all nations, the Schiller Institute petition concludes, "We therefore call upon the U.S. and Europe to abandon the suicidal geopolitical policies of the past, which led to the two previous World Wars and are leading to a third, and to build a future for all humanity by readopting the principle of the Treaty of Westphalia by basing foreign policy on the principle of 'the benefit of the other', which ended the Thirty Years War in Europe... That is the only course coherent with the true nature of man as the only creative species. ... As patriots of our own nations, and as citizens of the world, we call on our fellow citizens and the leaders of our nations to have the courage to break the current cycle of escalating bestiality, by accepting the generous offer to collaborate with BRICS."
Hundreds of prominent people, including from the USA, the UK and Europe, have signed the petition.
The war danger is driven by the continuing, and accelerating collapse of the trans-Atlantic financial system, in which the crisis of the Greek debt is only one incident. Even the City of London financial centre mouthpiece, The Economist, admits that a far bigger crash than the 2008 crisis lies just ahead. For more than 50 years, and especially since the end of the Bretton Woods system and introduction of floating currency exchange rates in 1971, Lyndon LaRouche has warned that a global financial oligarchy, basing its power on monetary speculation and the looting of national economies, would ultimately pursue policies of mass killing—whether by overt warfare, "liberal imperialism", or population-reduction through limiting nations' access to technology and higher living standards. "The present monetary-financial system cannot be reformed", LaRouche has often said, "it must be replaced".
At the same time, LaRouche and the Schiller Institute have a 40-year record of promoting that replacement—starting with what must be done in science and the physical economy, for all countries' national interests and the common aims of mankind. In the early 1990s, when the Berlin Wall coming down should have meant the end of the Cold War, the Schiller Institute proposed to replace confrontation with collaboration. Its "European Productive Triangle" plan for industrial recovery and its subsequent "Eurasian Land-Bridge" proposal became well-known internationally. In 1996, Helga Zepp-LaRouche spoke at the 1996 "Continental Bridge" conference in China. Our Land-Bridge map appeared in the Russian press.
I and my organisation mobilised support in Australia for the Land-Bridge concept, as reported in our newspaper in 1997.
In 1998 the Schiller Institute welcomed the bold call made in New Delhi by then-Prime Minister of Russia Yevgeni Primakov, for a Eurasian "Strategic Triangle Russia-India-China", the core of what was to become BRICS; and we mourn Academician Primakov's passing last Friday [June 26].
In December 2014, my American and European friends published an updated Special Report—"The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge".
These projects are venues for cooperation among nations in their shared interests. My movement sees extraordinary coherence between the Westphalian principle of seeking "the benefit of the other," and what President Xi Jinping of China calls a "win-win" policy.
It means real changes in thinking. For example, if the Schiller Institute's 2012 program for the development of the Mediterranean Basin Great Infrastructure Projects, extending the New Silk Road to all of southern Europe, were to be implemented, then Greece is not a "basket case", but can become the bridge between Europe and BRICS, in the tradition of the ancient historical ties between great cultures such as Greece and China. I hope that the BRICS leaders at Ufa will voice such bold ideas. I hope, and perhaps this will come from other Working Groups of this Forum, that they will commit to greatly stepped-up international efforts to achieve controlled thermonuclear fusion power. As is expressed in the optimistic ideas of several BRICS nations about mining helium-3 on the Moon for use as a fuel on Earth, fusion power can bring an end to resource shortages and resource wars, and enable mankind to solve its fresh-water shortage and green the deserts. In that way, I believe that the 21st century can be what Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky anticipated, the era in which the biosphere becomes the noösphere, and human creativity is the most powerful geological force.
I strongly support paragraph 13 in section III of your draft recommendations, calling for a Planetary Defence System. As Russian experts have noted, it is urgent to install elements of a system against the comet and asteroid danger also in the Southern Hemisphere, so I think that BRICS member South Africa, and BRICS outreach country Argentina, and my country, Australia, all have an important role to play in that.
The Strategic Defence of Earth is a task through which minds can be changed also in the West, as we know from the visits by American nuclear weapons scientist Edward Teller to his counterparts at the Russian Chelyabinsk lab in the 1990s, where they discussed planetary defence.
My movement is committed to inspiring people to change their minds in similarly profound ways, regarding the positive potential of BRICS. The late former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser, who was a friend of the Citizens Electoral Council up until his death in March of this year, had been known as a military hardliner during the Vietnam War. Last year, in a message to the Schiller Institute's 30th anniversary conference in Germany, Mr Fraser gave his evaluation that the economic and strategic policies of the U.S. and NATO had failed. He wrote about a different option: " and that is for the most powerful Western nations to realise that there have been great changes in the world, that the strategic context has altered, that other powers such as the BRICS are emerging and that the West should collaborate with them as partners to establish a more equal and a more just world."