Go to home page

Schiller Institute Conference Discusses Alternatives to Armageddon

Feb. 4, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Today’s international online Schiller Institute conference, “The Age of Reason or the Annihilation of Humanity?” opened with moderator Dennis Speed remarking that Feb. 2 was the 80th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazism at Stalingrad, which was the largest battle in world history. He followed his introduction with a video of Lyndon LaRouche addressing a September 1997 conference, in which he presented the reasoning behind his proposal for a new doctrine to be jointly shared by the U.S. and Soviet Union for a nuclear weapons doctrine of Mutually Assured Survival based on new physical principles, which was adopted by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Because LaRouche’s proposal was rejected in 1983 by the Soviet leadership, and undermined by the Anglophile faction in the U.S., the danger of nuclear war persists, and as one speaker at the Feb. 4th conference noted, it is now at an all-time high. Numerous speakers reminded the audience that the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists now reads 90 seconds to midnight.

The conference heard 25 speakers, representing 17 nations, with two panels moderated by Dennis Speed and Dennis Small of the Schiller Institute. It proceeded for eight hours of intense discussion, with live Q&A periods involving participants from the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa. Several participants previewed the Feb. 19 “Rage against the War Machine” rally against the Ukraine war in Washington, D.C. and demonstrations in other cities and nations, which the international audience was asked to multiply in any way they can.

Panel 1: How Nuclear World War III Can Be Avoided

The opening presentation was made by Schiller Institute founder and chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche. She incisively demolished every component of the official, neocon-inspired “narrative” regarding the history of the Ukraine war, and mocked the “legions of mentally disturbed journalists” who obsessively repeat it. She noted that Russia gave up hope for a diplomatic solution in June. However, she expressed her satisfaction that newly elected Brazilian President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is forming a “peace club” which will strengthen the Pope’s initiative. She characterized the Anglo-American faction’s intransigence and bellicosity as “attempts to reconquer control over a unipolar world.”

She concluded with a reference to her Ten Principles of a New International Security and Development Architecture, and remarked that the most controversial is #10, “The basic assumption for the new paradigm is that man is fundamentally good and capable to infinitely perfect the creativity of his mind and the beauty of his soul.” She said that the Tenth Principle goes to the essence of our ability to solve the crisis. Only the various forms of oligarchism insist on the intrinsic evil of man, and therefore we must “rid the world of oligarchism once and for all.”

Donald Ramotar, former President of Guyana, decried the complete colonization of Europe by the U.S. through the EU. Ramotar said that the U.S. attitude toward Europe was succinctly expressed by State Department operative Victoria Nuland, in an oblique reference to her notorious “F— the EU” statement. He went on to discuss the growing movement to find replacements for the dollar as the basis for the global financial system, including a possible role for China’s yen, or the possibility of a new currency taking shape. This is necessary because financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. are like a Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of nations across the globe. The debt of the U.S. is 1.5 times larger than its GDP (which would be a major crisis in any other country. The U.S. survives it because of dominance of dollar). If the dollar becomes less important in international trade it will be a major, major challenge to the dominance of the U.S.

Ramotar went on to say that many of the masks of democracy and human rights are being ripped off the face of the so-called democracies. The “peace club” initiative of President Lula da Silva gives the Global South a place at the table. He added that Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s initiative linking peace to development is essentially correct and needs to be fine-tuned and placed on the agenda. He urged support for the peace initiative of the Pope.

Ray McGovern, former senior analyst, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and a founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), titled his presentation, “Know Where You Stand, and Stand There!” This is drawn from a commencement address given by McGovern’s mentor, Daniel Berrigan. McGovern wryly asked the viewers to “remember that anger is a virtue. None other than Thomas Aquinas said that.” He cautioned that it should be just the right amount of anger, and went on to describe some of his numerous interventions at public events where public officials were engaged in lying or other objectionable activity. For his trouble, he was rewarded with beatings and incarceration even in his old age, but he reminded the viewers that “good things happen in jail. You get to feel what other people feel, being all closed up and un-free.” He showed photos of himself protesting Hillary Clinton’s speech on repression in Iran, and the Senate confirmation of torturer-in-chief Gina Haspel as CIA director. He cited the young American volunteer Rachel Corrie’s death, who stood in front an Israeli bulldozer about to destroy another Palestinian home. The bulldozer driver did not stop, and crushed her spine, killing her at 23 years old. McGovern discussed her courage as a holy act.

McGovern went on to show a two-minute video of himself confronting California’s wretched Congressman and serial liar Adam Schiff on the mythical relationship between Russia and WikiLeaks, and Schiff’s patented evasive response. McGovern remarked upon “the one thing Schiff said that was true—he couldn’t share that information with me, because it didn’t exist.”

Jack Gilroy, who is an organizer for Pax Christi, New York State/ Pax Christi International and a board member of New York Veterans for Peace, urged support for the peace initiatives of Pope Francis and President Lula. He observed that sending more weapons to Ukraine means putting gasoline on an existing fire.

Ambassador Chas Freeman is former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and former Deputy Chief of Mission to China. In a lengthy interview, segments of which were shown, he commented on recent developments in the Ukraine war, saying that tanks are offensive weapons, allowing infantry to break through enemy lines. German tanks on Russia’s border evoke “nasty memories” on the Russian side, and among other nations, given Germany’s past. We are on the eve of what appears to be a major Russian push that will take place long before Ukrainians can be trained to operate and repair these tanks. Looking to the broader strategic picture, he said that China’s policy resembles that of the original U.S. during the 19th century. China is non-interventionist and open for business. Freeman said that he thinks democracy is a good system, but if other countries disagree, that is their prerogative.

Dr. Jur. Wolfgang Bittner is a German jurist and author. He reviewed the history of the Ukraine conflict, pointing out that when Obama admonished Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, the U.S.-staged coup in Ukraine, in defiance of its sovereignty, had already taken place. Kiev ignored the Minsk Agreement. Putin’s offers to negotiate with Ukraine were dismissed as propaganda. The U.S., for more than 100 years, has aimed to prevent cooperation between Germany and Russia. He said, “The U.S. wants to assert with all its power its claim to global domination,” and “this hubris emanates from the neoconservatives in Washington with the financial and economic elites there and their figurehead Joseph Biden, who has shared responsibility for almost all the conflicts and wars of recent decades.” According to Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko, war against Russia was the intention of the Minsk Accord negotiations from the beginning. Apparently General Milley and other senior military men are beginning to feel the incompetence of the political officials. More than half of humanity no longer wants to put up with the impositions and oppression of the U.S.

Diane Sare, candidate for U.S. Senate from New York, then held a colloquy with the People’s Party national chairman Nick Brana and the Libertarian Party National Committee chairwoman Angela McArdle. Brana and McArdle are the principal organizers for the upcoming “Rage Against the War Machine” event to be held Feb. 19 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Sare reminded the viewers that we were the first nation to defeat the biggest empire in history, the British, and we did not do so only to replicate their crimes. “We very much lost our way,” she said. Brana characterized the U.S. as an “empire that is falling apart in militaristic fury, like so many empires before it.” Brana and McArdle eloquently made the case for people of different ideological stripes to put aside their differences and join forces to oppose the military-industrial complex.

What came next was a panel of African-American clergy including Pastor Robert Smith, Pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, and Chair of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention; Rev. Kinzer Pointer, who is the founding pastor of Agape Fellowship Baptist Church and is now pastor of Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Buffalo, New York; and Rev. Dr. Ernest Johnson, a Professor at the Southern University Law Center and pastor at Windows of Heaven Ministry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Pastor Smith observed that while there are constant wars against darker-skinned people around the planet that are considered unremarkable, Ukraine was exceptional because it is a “white on white war” that can lead to the threat of nuclear confrontation. He called for ecumenical cooperation against the war and against the exploitation of Africa, as did his two colleagues. Rev. Pointer recalled Martin Luther King’s April 4, 1967 speech on “breaking the silence” about the Vietnam War, and said that we are once again in that place where it is time to break the silence. He pointed out that we can’t seem to spend money on the poor, but we are excited to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to support an unjust war in Ukraine, just as we did in Vietnam.

Sam Pitroda of the U.S. and India, a telecom and IT innovator, who advised several Indian heads of government, made a plea that we shift our emphasis from military power to human concerns.

During the discussion period, Ray McGovern called the Ukraine war “the mother of all opportunity costs,” meaning that the money spent on the war could be used productively. Donald Ramotar said that as a byproduct of war drive, freedom of speech is being undermined: France has banned RT, and social media are demonetizing anti-war voices. Wolfgang Bittner said, “the goal of the war is clearly regime change in Moscow.” He added later that he is astounded all the time about the intensity of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s engagement. He thanked Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern as well, adding that he knows from his own experience what sort of hostile reaction that speaking out can provoke.

A question came in from the president of the Rotary Club in Kiev: Why were the concerns and proposals of Russia ignored for so many years until now, “after the child has fallen into the well”? He asked specifically about Germany. Helga Zepp-LaRouche responded that Germans behave as they do because Germany is still an occupied country. “Germans need a kick in the behind,” she said, adding that the German foreign minister and economic minister are “tools of the war machine.”

Donald Ramotar returned to economic issues, saying that the appearance of a strong economy in the U.S. is deceiving—it’s due to the dominance of the dollar in the world. Zepp-LaRouche emphasized again that the roots of the war danger are in the collapsing financial system. The developing countries are having a renaissance—“the Spirit of Bandung has re-emerged.” She recalled Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio, in which he wrote that “Development is the new name for peace.”

Diane Sare pointed out that leaders of nations that we would call “weak” are having the courage to say “no” to the Anglo-Americans. A question then came in from the leader of the Christian Democratic Party in Peru: What are the chances that NATO countries themselves might say no? Angela McArdle replied, saying that the U.S. pays the bills, so the chances are not good. Ray McGovern disagreed, insisting that after Feb. 19th, that will change. He reminded the viewers that NATO requires unanimity in its decisions, and Turkiye, Croatia, and Hungary are digging in their heels. Biden himself, at a press conference a month ago, stated we have to do what the NATO countries will allow, possibly setting the stage for a de-escalation of American bellicosity. McGovern added that there will soon be a Russia offensive that will give the lie to the claim that the Ukrainians are winning. Explaining the basis for his optimism, he referenced I.F. Stone: the kinds of fights that are worth fighting are the ones you are going to lose, and lose, and lose, until one day somebody wins.

Continuing the theme of optimism, Diane Sare said that if we are merely the political fringe, why have they spent millions of dollars trying to stop us? The biggest mistake we can make is to underestimate our power. Ramotar, who described himself as “possibly old-fashioned,” said that the internet is great, but there is no substitute for meeting others face to face.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche brought the discussion to a close, saying that we need to evoke the devastating experience of World War II. Young people have an artificial conception of war because they were raised with video games which were designed to desensitize them to killing human beings. The U.S. has not had a war on its territory for so long, that people here haven’t had that experience and it somehow is not real to them.

Panel 2: The Name of Peace: A New Security and Economic Development Architecture

Dennis Small introduced the panel with a provocative map of the BRICS+, the BRICS organization plus the growing number of nations who wish to join it, which represents the hope of a new paradigm to supersede the parasitical City of London/Wall Street system which is presently in its death throes. What followed was a video presentation of Lyndon LaRouche speaking in 2004, reiterating his warnings of the inevitable bankruptcy of the present financial system, and developing the distinction between humans and animals: the ability to discover and wield universal principles of physical science and classical art.

Jacques Cheminade, president of Solidarité et Progrès party in France and a former French Presidential candidate, described how the trans-Atlantic economies are now organized for war production at the expense of meeting the needs of their populations, saying, “Let’s face it: The true name is a culture of death.... If we abstain from acting, we become the collaborators of evil.” He provided shocking figures on poverty in Europe. Referring to the pervasive propaganda, “to get rid of all that manure for once and for all, defines our challenge.” He cited a book by Lyndon LaRouche, Earth’s Next Fifty Years, in which LaRouche calls for a return to the principles of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. In his book, LaRouche also develops the Promethean principle of using discoveries of physical principle to increase potential relative population-density. Cheminade insisted that we must provide leadership to those people who are “disgusted with the transformation of NATO into an offensive alliance.”

Cheminade was followed by two leaders from Ibero-America. Celeste Sáenz de Miera, Secretary General of the Mexico Journalists’ Club, reflected upon a time when calls for world peace were pro forma and were to be expected from contestants in beauty pageants. Today it is a far more serious matter, because a new world war threatens to be apocalyptic. Julio De Vido of Argentina, former Minister of Economics and Public Works under both Kirchner administrations and a former member of Congress, said that we are taught a distorted view of history as a series of wars. One of the causes of the war in Ukraine was the persecution of Russian-speaking minorities. BRICS+ offers an opportunity for regions of the South to help build the new paradigm.

Prof. Liu Haifang, who is Associate Professor at the School of International Studies and Director of the Center for African Studies at Beijing University, kicked off a panel discussion of the situation in Africa by stressing the need for trilateral cooperation between Africa, China, and the “West.” She emphasized that China’s perception of peace building aims to resolve the root causes—social, political, and economic—of conflicts, as opposed to the liberal approach of the Western countries, the UN, and the World Bank. China encourages self-sufficiency and independence.

Ugandan attorney Ellison Karuhanga, who is a trained oil and gas lawyer, gave a very polemical presentation. He reported that Uganda has discovered 6.5 billion barrels of oil. They are building pipelines, such as the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and a refinery. Uganda has a constitutional commitment to a clean environment, but “that does not mean the conservation of poverty.” He described the tactics of the climate change ideologues as follows: stop investments in oil and gas, which will cause the price of oil and gas to rise until renewables become competitive. “The people who will pay for this transition will be poor people. It is a transition which favors incumbents.” He vowed, “Come hell or high water, we are going to develop our energy projects ... in the most responsible manner imaginable.... Those who are flying on private jets to moralize to us ... we will listen respectfully ... but we have listened far too long.”

Prof. Yoro Diallo, from Mali, is Executive Director of the Center for Francophone Studies and Director of the African Museum, Institute of African Studies, at Zhejiang Normal University in China. He pointed out that during the history of the P.R.C., it has not provoked a major conflict with another nation. He reviewed the history of China/Africa collaboration on African infrastructure and development. Only 20% of Africa’s external debt is owed to China, and much has been forgiven. China is the largest provider of scholarship and training to African countries.

Dr. Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party of Zambia, former editor of the Zambia Post, and a former Presidential candidate, reviewed the history of China’s support for national liberation and anti-colonial movements in Africa. The relationship between China and Africa is a strategic alliance. China has never had colonies. China seeks win-win relationships. He said, “Today China is target #1 for those countries who think that only they have the right to develop.” They are “choking with envy” over China’s success. But China does not respond in kind; “They are able to cope with all these provocations in the most mature way.”

Next, the discussion turned to Asia. Abdul Fatah Raufi of Afghanistan described his nation as the “victim of multiple invasions and wars waged for narrow geopolitical interests.” He described the devastation wrought in particular by the NATO invasion, which caused such a degree of hopelessness and despair in the nation’s culture that there is now a 10% rate of drug addiction. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, CEO of the Asian Institute of Eco-Civilization Research and Development in Pakistan, said that the two fundamentals are development and justice. Security needs of all nations must be taken into account. Armies can only win wars—they cannot win development.

Returning to the question of China, Marcelo Muñoz, who is Founder and President Emeritus of Cátedra China think tank in Spain, said that it is impossible for Europe to decouple from China, without sinking into poverty. All the nations who participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have invested a trillion dollars a year. He stated his agreement with LaRouche that philosophy must be at the foundation of strategic thinking.

Pedro Augusto Pinho of Brazil, who is president of the Association of Petrobras Engineers (AEPET), reviewed the shifts of the past 70 years: in the 1960s, stateless financial interests arose as a significant factor in world affairs. In the 1980s they promoted financial deregulation. With the demise of the Soviet Union, they began to call the shots globally.

A video clip was shown of an exchange at a recent international Zoom meeting, between Schiller Institute U.S. activist Gerald Belsky and Ambassador John Lander of Australia. Lander said that Australia turned against the BRI in response to pressure from the U.S. The West is struggling to maintain the geopolitical divide between the West (the imperialist countries) and the rest. Lander is former Ambassador to Iran, former Deputy Chief of Mission to China, former Director of the China Section in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs.

During the discussion period, Helga Zepp-LaRouche quoted Confucius saying that you can tell what sort of shape a nation is in by listening to its music, which is why we conclude our conference with music.

There was a very dramatic discussion by two of the Africans in response to questions on proxy wars, such as in Ukraine, and on the killing of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961. Ellison Karuhanga, said, “We are not looking for Nuremberg Trials or War Crimes tribunals for those who colonized us, but rather we are looking to the future.... We are interested in the ability and right to develop our countries, not in the settling of historical scores.” Dr. Fred M’membe said that the nations of Africa did not exist as such before the Berlin Conference of 1885, and they are still not recognized as real nations. Today, they are told not to deal with China, Russia or Iran. “We are still being treated as children, whose friends should be chosen by the parents.... We choose our own leaders, they kill them ... sometimes they turn against their own puppets and they kill them.”

A question came via email from Argentina: When will we stop talking about nations, and start talking about the real powers, such as the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and City of London? Julio De Vido said in response that LaRouche was correct to say that the bankruptcy of the system is driving the world toward war.

Marcelo Muñoz again referenced the importance of Confucianism as a factor in China’s foreign policy, saying that if the mutual respect mandated by Confucianism were practiced by the three leading powers (U.S., EU, as well as China), the war in Ukraine would not have happened.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche said in conclusion that, as someone who has fought for nearly half a century for a new world economic order, she is worried that some idiots may blow it all up, but she is also optimistic that we can win it and eradicate poverty within a few years.

The conference concluded with a montage of video performances of the canon Dona Nobis Pacem, performed by Schiller Institute activists on the streets of cities throughout the world. That was followed by videos of performances of hopeful songs from a diverse assortment of cultures, taken from Schiller Institute conferences over the years.

Back to top    Go to home page clear