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A Dialogue at 100 Seconds to Midnight

Feb. 8, 2022 (EIRNS)—We begin by providing a short report, otherwise unavailable to Americans, of what went on in the six-hour discussions that occurred several days ago between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emmanuel Macron of France. It should be noted that simultaneously with these discussions, President Joe Biden was meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany. Prior to their respective meetings with the United States and Russia, Scholz and Macron had spoken on the phone, and they also spoke on the phone immediately after those meetings had concluded. Macron then went to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and was to return to Germany to consult with Chancellor Scholz after that meeting.

President Putin:

“I am deeply grateful to Mr. President for discussing these matters in Moscow today. I believe that these security matters concern not only Russia but also Europe and the world as a whole.

“Look, our proposals include not only NATO’s expansion, which we oppose, but also a second point: the non-deployment of offensive systems near our borders. If everyone wants peace, tranquility, well-being and confidence, what is bad about not deploying offensive weapons near our borders? Can anyone tell me what is bad about this?

“If NATO is a peaceful organization, what is bad about returning its infrastructure to the level of 1997, when the NATO-Russia Act was signed? This would create conditions for building up confidence and security. Is this bad?

“We can let the open-door pledge be, even though the issue remains on the agenda. It is a key priority for us, and I have explained why. We talked about this for six hours.

“Tomorrow, President Macron will fly to Kiev. We have agreed that he will at least put forth his action plan regarding this. I am deeply grateful to him for giving so much attention to this and that he is trying to find a solution to this matter of great importance to all of us.”

President Macron:

“I think that it is first of all France’s responsibility to have the strongest possible relationship with Russia. We are two great European nations and great world powers. We are two permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“Bilateral relations are of great importance for us, firstly, to have them develop, and to have common decisions on acute international issues. We are trying to do so on the Iranian issue and attempting to find a point of contact on Libya and other matters. We do have disagreements but we still find compromise. This is obvious to me.

“Secondly, I think that President Putin and I agree that Russia is a European country. Those who can see Europe should be able to work with Russia and find ways to build the future in Europe and with Europeans. Is it easy? No, but Europe was also created through difficult initiatives that had immediate effects. So, yes, we do have difficulties but we must not give up.

“Finally, this is France’s mission, it is its role. During these six months we are presiding in the European Union. Our role is to make the voice of the European Union heard and take into account a variety of complex circumstances in communication with such neighbors as Russia, which plays a decisive role in our security, and listen to all Europeans as well. I have been doing this over the past days. Being here I am trying to be the person who can make a contribution to finding this proper way.

“I have a simple conviction. Do we increase our collective capability for making peace without our contacts with Russia? No, we do not. Who do we leave this role for? For others.

“We do have disagreements. We realize that. Sometimes we fail to move forward and it is the result of such disagreements. However, we are trying to find compromises. I consider it to be my responsibility. Our task is to make sure that these compromises protect the interests of our partners and allies. This is why in the coming days and weeks we must start this difficult work, find new decisions in order to protect these guarantees while still protecting our basic principles and our neighborly relations, because our geography will not change. This is why we carry on.”

Serious negotiations and diplomacy have been underway involving a day-to-day dialogue among the heads of state and government of Germany, France, Russia, and United States, as well as Ukraine, not only to prevent the potential outbreak of war, intended or unintended, but also, in the words of Macron, to “jointly show the will to work on security guarantees and to build a new security and stability order in Europe.” That fact has been suppressed from the consciousness of the American and European citizenry, in favor of media sideshows aptly characterized by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as “psychedelic phobias.”

In that vein, “The Ned Price Experience” was once again called out on Feb. 7 by AP’s diplomatic writer Matt Lee, this time supported by a media colleague. State Department spokesman Ned Price attempted to falsify his exchange on Feb. 3 with reporter Lee, who had simply asked Price for any evidence to corroborate his “State Department-approved” assertion that Russia had manufactured a “false flag” video depicting an attack by Ukraine on Russia, including the use of “crisis actors” à la Alex Jones. In yesterday’s exchange, in which Price again refused to provide any evidence whatsoever, Lee again asked, “Do you have anything more that you can say to back up the claim than you did—than you had to say last week? That’s all.”

Price: “Beyond what we told you last week ...in pretty detailed terms about the Russian plans ... We don’t have anything further to offer on that.” Second reporter: “Then you’re saying the proof that you’re correct is that nothing is actually going to happen? Is that what you’re saying? ... because you putting this out there will have stopped the Russians from doing it, correct?”

While the practice of State Department-Speak (StateSpeak) has been previously satirized over decades by authors like Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut, the Ned Price and other responses on Ukraine are now more like the dialogue in Waiting For Godot—self-assured opaqueness, unassailable by reason, but internally consistent and therefore “obvious” to the speaker alone. Whatever NATO’s objections to reality, however, last week’s Russia-China agreement underscores a reality that was extensively discussed by Lyndon LaRouche exactly 40 years ago in his “A Fifty-Year Development Policy for the Indian-Pacific Oceans Basin” (published as an EIR Special Report): the center of gravity of human civilization has shifted to Africa, Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent, the homes of more than 5 billion of the nearly 8 billion people on the planet.

NATO’s strained “sphere of influence” discussions with respect to China and Russia are the equivalent of using Ptolemy’s discredited epicycles to draw more and more elaborate “revisionings” of an “old, mad, dying imperial world” that is being decisively transcended through investments in advanced power, space, and production systems applied to mining, manufacturing, and agriculture, creating a whole new world platform—and the people who will produce and benefit from this transformation. Those who don’t intend to miss out on Earth’s next fifty years of progress, are “making it clear with their feet” which side of the future they intend to be on.

The State Department’s hapless flailing, while it should be derided, must also be taken seriously; it serves to mask the actual foreign policy practice of the United States, its “Iago-like” controller Great Britain, and that of other equally guilty participants, in the ongoing death-by-starvation- and-depraved-indifference in Afghanistan and Yemen, most spectacularly, and in the use of sanctions against vulnerable states throughout the world. Attention was called to this in the Feb. 7 United Nations Security Council session, in the Open Debate on “General Issues Relating to Sanctions: Preventing Their Humanitarian and Unintended Consequences.” Unlike Cambodia 1975-79, the world cannot pretend to not know what is happening there.

The United States cannot pretend to not be responsible. The individual citizens, armed with social media and other forms of communication, cannot claim that they are powerless or voiceless to stop one of the cruelest forms of murder, starvation. Dante’s Count Ugolino could at least claim that he ate his children out of extreme hunger. Today, we are as Count Ugolino, with respect to our consumption of the lives of perhaps a million or more children in Afghanistan, either because we defend the genocidal policies now under way, or because we fail to overturn them.

The Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Schiller Institute (SI) will be convening a seminar on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 4 p.m. Moscow Standard Time/2 p.m. CET/8 a.m. EST on the topic, “The Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan: Toward a Long-term Solution.” Join us and help implement the Institute’s Operation Ibn Sina, not only to save Afghanistan, but also, by that means, to save the soul of trans-Atlantic civilization.

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