Schiller Institute Webcast: Why Geopolitics Lead to War
1 March 2018
If anyone doubts what Helga Zepp-LaRouche has been saying about how the failure to replace the Old Paradigm, which is based on geopolitical assumptions, will lead to war, they should look at the most recent insanity produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Join Helga Zepp-LaRouche in her weekly webcast as she provides the strategic guidance to bring the Trans-Atlantic world out of its suicidal impulses, and into collaboration with the other great powers of the world, as President Trump continues to stress is his true intent.
HARLEY SCHLANGER: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute. Welcome to today international strategic webcast, featuring our President and founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
We have some really big news to report to start the program, which comes from Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, where there was conference that took place, that took up as its theme a project that’s near and dear to our hearts, that Helga’s been fighting for for many, many years. So Helga give us this report on what happened in Abuja.
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: It is really fantastic, because there was this conference in Abuja on the Lake Chad crisis, with the participation of the Nigerian government, and Niger, and I think some other governments from the region, and they adopted officially the Transaqua project. They came to the conclusion as a résumé after the conference that there is no way to solve the Lake Chad situation, except with bringing water from outside, and that this is not an option but a necessity, and that the preferred solution is the Transaqua project.
Let me quickly explain what this is: If it will be realized, it will be the largest infrastructure project, I think in all of history, because it is the idea which was developed already in the ’70s, by the Italian engineering firm Bonifica, to take some of the abundant water of the tributaries of the Congo River, take about 3-4% of this water which is now going unused into the Atlantic, and redirect it from 500 km above sea level, and bring it through a system of canals into Lake Chad. This works very well, because of the gravity difference of these 500 km, so it’s a very efficient system. And it would not just refill Lake Chad, which is obviously an absolutely urgent necessity, because this lake has been drying out so that only 10% of its original volume is left; and naturally, the poverty which has been increased through the lack of water, has given rise to the terrorist Boko Haram, so that is one of the reasons why all the countries participating in this now, say it’s not an option, it’s a necessity. Because if you don’t realize such a development program, you may as well hand over the whole territory over to the Boko Haram.
So it would mean to refill Lake Chad, it would mean to have plenty of water for irrigation of the Sahel zone; it would give water to all twelve participating countries — but not only water, it would build a modern infrastructure in the heart of Africa. It would create an inland waterway for these countries for shipping, and naturally, it would generate a lot of hydropower.
So, this is really, really fantastic. And the Schiller Institute has been campaigning for this project as part of our World Land-Bridge, and even before — I think we started to hold conferences on this already in the beginning of the ’90s, and we worked with the engineers of Bonifica. So, it’s really our work. There was an article People’s Daily already last year, which said that the fact that the Schiller Institute made this connection between PowerChina, the Chinese construction firm, and Bonifica is really thanks to the work of the Schiller Institute. So, I’m very happy that this is happening.
At the conference [International Conference on Lake Chad], the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria proudly announced that the Italian government will take over half of the cost of the feasibility study, which is now going to go into motion, and all the people, they’re completely passionate about this idea. They were happy, really happy, and we had two members of the Schiller Institute as participating guests at the conference, our Claudio Celani, who’s Italian, who has done good work on all of this, and also one of French members, Sébastien Périmony. Celani raised the question that this is not just infrastructure, and this is not just these two countries working together for the first time, but that this can be a model for the New Paradigm cooperation in the context of the New Silk Road: Because you have China, you have a European country, Italy, and the African nations working together on such a very far-reaching project.
I think this is really fantastic, and Im absolutely convinced this will function, because Bonifica is an extremely efficient company and PowerChina is also — they have a great expertise: This was the company which built the Three Gorges Dam, so they have a lot of experience with such large earth-moving and similar kinds of technologies. So, this is really, really good!
It obviously means that with these kinds of projects, there is a perspective of solving the refugee crisis, because that is exactly what is needed: You have to get the young people involved in building such projects. And as the President of Ghana said in a trip to Germany earlier this week, that in 20 years, Africa will have 2 billion people — you need a lot of jobs, you need a lot of education, you need a lot of things. And I think the President of Ghana on an earlier occasion had also said that he wants these young people to join in building the continent, rather than fleeing through the Sahara and drowning in the Mediterranean; he wants to have a reversal of that, and therefore, he wants investment and not development aid. And this is exactly an example of how it can be done.
This is really good news, for anybody who cares about the human species.
SCHLANGER: Helga, you mentioned that this is a realization of a big level of the New Paradigm. A couple of weeks ago there was Africa Day in Berlin, and I was talking to a number of African ambassadors about this. And one of them said, "Transaqua, that’s big. We need big. We don’t need people to tell us to be small any more. We need big projects, and we need to leapfrog."
Now, this is in the context of the overall advance of the New Silk Road dynamic. You know, there’s been a lot of discussion in China about projects that are under way. Why don’t you fill us in on what’s going on from China on this?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the Silk Road Spirit is really catching on. There was a conference, for example, just now in Dubai, where the Dubai Global Business Forum and the President of Panama, in an interview with Xinhua, completely endorsed the Belt and Road initiative, and said he wants Panama to be a part of it, and that they have now agreed with China to build a fast train railway system between Panama and Costa Rica as a first step, and that this will connect Central America with Asia in a much more productive way.
Almost every day we have a new development, and as a result, various Chinese professors commented on that, saying this is not just for China, but this is uplifting the whole world; this gives a model for the developing countries to improve their industrial chain, and all the neighbors of China will do so. And then another professor who has written several books on the New Silk Road, Prof. Yang Yiwei, he said, look, the reason why the West is so full of anxiety about the rise of China is because they lack a complete self-confidence about their own economic model and that is why they are so absolutely hysterical about it.
But, then you had a very beautiful interview from a person named Su Quanke; he is the chief engineer of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which is now completed, including a very long tunnel, and this shortens the travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from three hours to 30 minutes. So, he was asked if he was optimistic if China could reach its development goals in 202, 2035 and 2050, and he said he was absolutely certain that these would happen. And you know, this bridge is really fantastic. I had the good fortune to be on that bridge at the end of November — I was invited to a Maritime Silk Road conference in Zhuhai, and part of the program was to travel to this bridge. So I was only 15 km from Hong Kong. This is fantastic: It’s the longest sea bridge on the planet; I think it’s altogether 55 km long, and to build it required 150 new patents which were all invented by Chinese engineers.
And this region, the Hong Kong, Macao, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen region, this is probably the powerhouse of the world economy by now. It’s all modern cities, modern, relatively beautiful architecture — I was really surprised to see that — and it’s the powerhouse which attracts young, creative people in the high-tech areas. And I think this is just an example where you can see that with modern infrastructure you can make such developments a magnet, and then everything flourishes around it.
And I just would wish that people in the West, in the United States, we could do exactly the same thing! There was, by the way, an article recently saying, "could the United States have 7% growth like China?" and the answer was, "yes, they could, if they would go back to the economic policies of Alexander Hamilton, which after all is what China is now doing! China is basing its own model of Alexander Hamilton, and naturally, Friedrich List, and other such proponents of physical economy; and also the theories of my husband are quite well known in China and I think they are also being studied very intensively.
This is all very, very good, and there is absolute reason for optimism.
SCHLANGER: And this brings up the broader Chinese diplomacy. Liu He is coming to the United States, he’s one of the chief economists; he’ll be meeting with people in Washington. What do you expect will come from this trip?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it is very interesting, because there is clearly an effort between President Xi and President Trump, where the good news is also that Xi will now remain President beyond 2020, which has caused a big freakout in some quarters, but I think it’s a very good development, because the Chinese people appreciate his successes in the anti-corruption fight, and also naturally the New Silk Road Belt and Road Initiative is a huge success. And Trump announced that he will run again in 2020. And therefore, I think it’s very important that the two presidents, obviously follow a policy of having direct contact with each other, and that way bypassing some of the neo-con outfits and efforts to destabilize the relationship.
This Liu He was the main speaker on the Chinese side in Davos at the World Economic Forum, and he is the most important economic advisor of President Xi directly. And this follows only two weeks after the State Councillor Yang Jiechi was in the United States meeting with Trump and other officials. So I think the personal relationship between Trump and Xi is functioning, and I think this is a very important country to a lot of other nonsense and anti-China hysteria, which is being pushed right now.
SCHLANGER: And on the anti-China hysteria, we have to take a look at this new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies [csis], which just came out last week; which essentially says China is preparing possible nuclear cruise missile strikes on Washington, assassinating U.S. leaders and invading Taiwan. This is escalating even further what we’ve seen in the last weeks. What’s going on with this, Helga?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: It’s obviously what already General Dempsey, the previous Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, had warned about: The "Thucydides trap," that the so far dominant power, the United States, is confronted with the rise of China, and is, indeed, if they would follow such crazy scenarios like that of CSIS, would go into the Thucydides trap.
Thucydides was the Greek historian who described how the Peloponnesian War developed out of the rivalry between Athens and Sparta and how that led, as we know later, that led to the demise of ancient Greece. So, if the United States would fall into this trap, it would be naturally absolutely terrible, because China has offered many times, a special relationship among the great powers; it has offered the United States to cooperate in the win-win policy of the New Silk Road. So it is really stupid when CSIS has these absolutely utopian, like they say that Russia could make a surprise attack in the Baltics, — I mean that has no logic whatsoever, because it is absolutely not in the self-interest of Russia to do that. And anybody who knows the situation can see that very clearly.
There was a very powerful answer to that, actually, to this study, in Global Times, and they say, this is the United States being frightened by its own mirror image. And then they quote this utopian from the Pentagon Office of Net Assessment, who developed all these airstrike policies, Andrew Marshall, who had coined this notion that countries should not have a "mirror image" approach to other nations, in other words projecting what their own strategy is on the other one. They say, that’s exactly what the United States is doing, because who is pushing preemptive war? It’s the United States which has that in its doctrine, and not China; and who has been pushing regime change? It’s the United States, while the policy of China always has been to respect the sovereignty of the other country. So they go through a couple of other such differences.
So I think this is really bad and people should really not fall for that because anybody who studies — or what Marco Rubio is saying, that the Confucius Institutes would spy on colleges — I mean, it’s all absolute paranoia. Because you have one very successful model of uplifting the underdeveloped parts of the world out of poverty, and China is absolutely not trying to impose its own model. And the West could go back to their own successful periods, like the American Revolution, Lincoln, John Quincy Adams, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and if the United States would go back to their own strength and the European nations to their best traditions, we would not need to import the Chinese model, we would just become your true identity again. But since the West is not doing that, naturally, some people are indeed worried about China — but the perspective is really, absolutely wrong.
SCHLANGER: And we saw the same thing, — you mentioned Marco Rubio, at that same hearing FBI Christopher Wray basically said that every Chinese student studying in the United States is a potential spy. So this is something worse than the McCarthy era.
Now, going along that same theme, we’ve seen recently, a very difficult rough patch in U.S.-Russian relations. Now, with the dangers of an explosion in Syria, blaming Russia for what they say is a possible chemical weapons attack that the Assad regime is planning, Russian foreign minister Lavrov had some comments on this: calling on the U.S. to back the UN Security Council resolution for humanitarian aid in Syria. What’s going on there, from what you see, Helga?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: After the Russian intervention in September 2015, basically, step by step, the Syrian territory was re-conquered, and now you have only very few enclaves which are in the possession or in the control of al-Qaeda-related groups, and one of them is the suburb of Damascus, Eastern Ghouta. Now, I use the image, just to get people an idea: If you would have, let’s say, in Potsdam, or in Schwabing, thousands of ISIS fighters and they were shelling the inner city of Berlin or Munich; or let’s say if the same thing would happen from New Jersey into New York City, what would be the reaction? The government has the absolute right to try to stop that. And since these terrorists are keeping the population hostage, like now, due to Putin’s intervention, it was possible to have a five-hour corridor ceasefire each day, but you can really see that these terrorist forces are trying to prevent the population from leaving, because they are the human shield behind which they are hiding.
So I think the accusations of the West — some of them are still obviously on the policy of regime change; this was the policy of the European Union, of the German government, of the British government absolutely, and this is absolutely wrong.
I think it will not happen, but these policies just escalate the suffering of the Syrian people, and I think it cannot, it will not work, because forces now backing the Assad sovereign government they have proven to be militarily superior. But it’s a terrible tragedy and it should stop immediately.
SCHLANGER: And speaking of tragedies, we’ve had a new debate in the United States following the killings that took place at the Parkland High School in Florida. There was a very interesting intervention by the Governor of Kentucky Matthew Bevin, who made the comment that what we’re looking at is a "culture of death." And in this, I think the theme that you’ve taken up with the Schiller Institute over many years, about the necessity to address the cultural degeneration which is directly related to warfare and so on, is a key point to bring up. So I’d like you to present your thoughts on this, because this is something that is at the heart of a lot of the discussion in the United States, but it’s not a local issue, it’s part of the overall degeneration of the culture.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Many, many years ago, I gave a speech about the dangers of Pokémon, the danger of certain violent movies, the danger of video games. And at that point, I looked at it, and it was very clear that some of these videos come directly from the Pentagon’s strategic studies, they come from training programs. Because in the post-war period, people realized that during World War II only 15% of the soldiers were willing to shoot at the enemy, because there is a natural block in people to shoot another human being. So the aim of these video games initially was to increase the killing rate of the army, and that became, then, the commercial video games. And this is has reached a degree of violence, violence for violence sake. And there was this woman, who is a member of the VIPS, her name is Coleen Rowley, who pointed, in the context of the Parkland shootings, to the fact that the Pentagon and the CIA have, in the last years, cooperated with Hollywood, in 1,800 movies where the hero is some kind of deranged person, some veteran of foreign wars, who had a post-traumatic disorder, running around with killing sprees, and that this is actually one of the contributing causes of this present explosion of violence.
Now, my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, made extremely important comments after the Columbine shootings occurred [in 1999], where he pointed to the deep, deep cultural axiomatic danger of the United States as a result of this. Since Columbine, there have been 38 school shootings with fatal consequences. After the Parkland shooting, there were 50 alarms in schools per day — obviously, pupils being concerned about other pupils, or weapons, or having strange social messages. So I think this is really reaching a point where this has to change.
And it’s very good that President Trump made some extremely important comments on that: He met with some of the pupils from the Parkland school and he said there is a terrible violence, a lot of it on the internet, which is shaping the minds of the kids and the young people, and that he was considering a rating system for movies which may not have sex and therefore are not rated, but are actually full of killing.
Now, I think this is a step in the right direction but it is not enough. I would really go for a much more radical approach, and making legislation forbidding any such movies, because they contribute to menticide of the children. Now people have argued in the past that you can’t block the violence on the Internet; I think you can, and people criticize China a lot for blocking certain things on the Internet — if the Chinese can do that, so could the West, protecting its own youth and children.
I think this is a very important thing, because as I have said many times: The New Paradigm is not just about economics, the New Silk Road is not just a question of transportation or infrastructure; it is also a question of developing a completely new conception of the human being, and the kind of bestialization, the absolute, terrible lack of dignity of the human person which Governor Bevin of Kentucky pointed to, is really in a complete, 100% opposite of what is needed. We need an image of man which is beautiful, which is creative, which is truthful, which is developing all the potentials of each child in the fullest possible way.
And when you have such a culture of absolute degeneracy — I mean, you know, people are also freaking out about the fact that China is now having a system of giving advantages to people who behave in the interest of the common good, and giving negative points to people who are not doing that. There is a big debate, at least in Europe, about that. People are absolutely upset about it. And we discussed this, and we came to the conclusion that such a system has existed in the West for a long time! It’s just not called that way, but if you have, in Germany even, which is not the worst place, you have 25% of the all the young teenagers who are regarded by industry as absolutely undeployable. So they won’t hire them, they won’t get an apprenticeship, because they’re not motivated, they’re autistic, they’re just not fit — so they have no chance to get a job. Now, this is as selective system as well!
So I think people should just not — they should really think, is this Western system, where everything is allowed, everything goes, you have not two sexes, or three sexes, by now you have something like 49 genders. Is it really OK, if the drug epidemic, which in the United States has led to a decrease in the overall living standard; Governor Bevin pointed to the fact that some of these Satanic messages are also in the lyrics of the pop music, in the movies, in the video games — should we allow all of this, and have our society completely destroyed? I mean, there is an effect from all of this on the cognitive powers!
If you want to have the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche as the only solution to prevent a collapse of the system, well, especially the Fourth Law demands a crash program for fusion power, for international space research and travel. Now, you can’t have people who have destroyed minds, because they’re hooked to these things and have them become a creative, productive labor power.
So it’s one and the same discussion which we need — we need a New Paradigm, and we have to have an education system which emphasizes the beauty of Classical culture, which emphasizes the beauty of the character as a development goal. I mean, this was an idea of Wilhelm von Humboldt, who after all, influenced much of the education system in Europe and the United States in the 19th century, and it lasted even into large parts into the 20th century, and he had the idea that the aim of education must be the beauty of the character. Now: Who talks about that these days? If you go to some of these kids who are hooked to these violent video games, or even works who are looking in the internet at terrible material, using torture and such things, and getting really destroyed. I mean, their minds become absolutely destroyed!
So, since Governor Bevin asked for a national debate about that, and also President Trump fortunately wants to take on this issue, I think we need such a debate, because, in my view, it’s an integral part of the United States joining with the New Paradigm and the New Silk Road, because we can’t have this continue. And the Schiller Institute has for many years proven that with Classical music, with Classical poetry, with Schiller, with Shakespeare, you can transform people and have an aesthetical education, and that is exactly what is needed right now.
SCHLANGER: Helga, I think coming back to where we started, introducing projects such as the Transaqua project, will give millions of young Africans a sense of the future, and I would encourage people to go to the Schiller Institute site, and get a copy of the special report we have on that: "Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa: A Vision of an Economic Renaissance," which is available.
So, Helga, with that, I’d like to thank you again for joining us, and we’ll see you next week.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, till next week.