The world’s path ahead

The world’s path ahead

Below we present the third and final part of our interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and President of the Schiller Institute.

What is your opinion about Ukraine? We know that you have criticized the US’s position on the war in Ukraine. What is your main objection on that?

The poor Ukrainian people are being instrumentalized for dual strategic reasons. This has not primarily to do with Ukraine and Russia. This is done on the back of the Ukrainian people, a geopolitical war the US and NATO is carrying out against Russia. I find the prolongation of this war absolutely horrible. Think about the poor people who are being killed every day.

Peace initiative

So that is why we are calling for a peace initiative. As a matter of fact, we are supporting the initiative by Pope Francis, who has offered the territory of the Vatican as the venue for unconditional peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. We are collecting signatures from influential people from all around the world and others. I think that the war has to be ended. In the time of thermonuclear weapons, war cannot be a means of conflict resolution because, once you go to the exhausting of the possibilities, you end up with the danger of a thermonuclear war. We are right now much closer to that than most people even have an inkling of.

Putin’s patience

The attitude of the West is to say, “Oh Russia did not respond to previously defined so-called red lines proves they will never do it.” I think this is really pushing the luck. Germany right now is delivering Leopard 2 tanks – which are heavy weapons – to Ukraine, despite that Chancellor Scholz had said a year ago that Germany would not send heavy weapons because this would increase the danger of World War 3. Now he is doing it and people say “Oh the Russians did not react to that, so they will never do.” I think this is a very wrong idea. They are also training Ukrainian soldiers in Germany. So that makes Germany a war party already. And I can only say that Putin shows a patience, which I am really amazed by.

10 years of nuclear winter

We, as Schiller Institute had several conferences recently. An American nuclear specialist, Stephen Starr, showed videos depicting how a nuclear war would happen. It would happen in a few minutes. The Presidents would have about 30 seconds to make a decision, then two minutes to get the nuclear missiles into position. Then they fly for about 10 minutes. So in half an hour, the whole thing would be over. And it is very clear if only one nuclear weapon is used, the likelihood that all of them will be used is absolutely, almost certain. Then you would have 10 years of nuclear winter in which every life on the planet would disappear. So I think the idea to have a limited nuclear -regional and contained- is completely wrong and the people who are pushing this are really playing with the annihilation of the human species.

You mentioned Germany’s delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz was not so eager to deliver these weapons to Ukraine and there was an enormous pressure on him.

I think Scholz, in his better thinking, knows exactly that this is devastating and that is why he is trying to put the brakes on. But the pressure is enormous. And this whole affair of the last year proves that Germany is a completely occupied country, that we have zero sovereignty. The majority of the population is so beaten down and so subdued that they don’t dare to say “no”.

The Greens: From an ecological party to a complete war party

The big problem is that the two parties in the coalition, the Liberals and especially the Greens, are the war party. And if you look at this so-called Foreign Minister Baerbock who goes around the world and says we are at war with Russia. It is not her privilege to declare war, but she did. And now, apparently Scholz is trying to rein her back in. But the Greens have really turned from an ecological party into a complete war party. What Baerbock is saying is completely like the print out of what Jens Stoltenberg.

A peace order for the 21st century

About the Belt and Road Initiative, how do you evaluate it generally and how did it run so far?

If you look at the work of the Schiller Institute for the last several decades, you will find that we already in 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, proposed that the whole Eurasian continent should be united through Eurasian land bridge. This was our answer to the fact that there was no more enemy. Communism had just vanished and there was the possibility to have a peace order for the 21st century. We proposed at that time to connect the industrial and population centers of Europe with those of Asia through development corridors. We pushed that policy in many conferences and seminars. Actually, around the world on all 5 continents, we had such events and therefore when in 2013 Xi Jinping announced the initiative in Kazakhstan we were extremely happy. We immediately put all our studies together and published it in the form of a 400-page book called “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land Bridge”. That book was immediately translated by China into Chinese, it was proposed by the Egyptian government and translated into Arabic and also to French, German and Korean. In a certain sense, the Road and Belt Initiative is identical what our policy has been for the last several decades.

I think it is now very successful project. More than 150 countries cooperate with it. If the Chinese economic miracle would not be there -they lifted 850 million people out of poverty and now they have been offering since 10 years they are offering other countries to replicate, that has been the largest engine of the world economy- we would have had a even more horrible collapse of the world economy than we are seeing right now in many parts of the world.

We are advocating that even Europe and the United States, rather than trying to to fight against it, they should cooperate with it. Why cannot Germany, for example, have joint ventures with China to develop Africa or to reconstruct Southwest Asia? Southwest Asia is devastated. Look at the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. All these countries have been destroyed by interventionist wars and it would be economically wise and morally correct for European nations to cooperate with China and also other countries like India. Japan, why not? Cannot we join hands and really make the world a livable place for everybody?

Last question is about Türkiye. The former United States National Security advisor John Bolton said that Türkiye should be expelled from NATO. There many other voices like that in the US or, more generally, the West. We can also mention the confrontation between Türkiye, Sweden and Finland about their NATO membership. How do you evaluate Türkiyes  position in terms of building a multipolar world.

A ‘new international security and development architecture’ instead of NATO

Frankly I think NATO is obsolete since 1991. It should have dissolved when the Warsaw Pact dissolved because it was originally built as a defense against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Park. In the meantime, I think NATO has changed its character a lot. They now want to be in Asia and in the Indo-Pacific. Just recently the EU made an agreement with NATO by which every member of one or the other organization simultaneously and automatically is part of the doings of the other organization. I have not been asked if I agree with that. I don’t think that was a democratic decision. It was a decision from a bureaucracy or from the top. I don’t feel represented by that because the present policies of geostrategic confrontation against Russia and the effort to contain the rise of China are what is potentially even leading to World War 3. It is urgent, I have said this in Germany very clearly, that we should leave NATO and NATO should dissolve and we need to replace it with a new international security and development architecture, which takes into account the interest of every single nation on the planet.

Lessons from the Peace of Westphalia

This draws on the lesson of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended 150 years of religious war in Europe. The 30 Years War was just the high point of that. The reason why all war parties at that time were sitting together in Münster, Osnabrück is because they realized if the war would continue, there would be absolutely nobody left to enjoy the victory. Already 1/3 of Europe was destroyed. Every village, every city, the people. Then they developed the principles of the Peace of Westphalia. The most important of which is the idea that any peace agreement must take into account the interest of the other. That is absolutely applicable today, that. We need a new International Security architecture, which takes into account the security interest of Russia, Ukraine, China, Iran, Cuba, North Korea and simply everybody. The only way that you can accomplish that is by having a combination of a security architecture with a a global plan of development.

In that sense I agree with Pope Paul the 6th who said the new name for peace is development, because only if you eradicate the existential problems of the nations of the world -poverty, the lack of a modern health care system which had devastating consequences now with the pandemic, the right for development, the right for universal education for every child- you can you have a stable peace among nations.

10 principles for a new security and development architecture

I have proposed 10 principles. I think those should be taken into consideration as being the basis of such a new security and development architecture. Among them that such an alliance has to be based on the sovereignty of every nation, that the eradication of poverty must happen, a modern health system for every country, universal education for every child, a credit system which allows to finance all of that, a new World Economic order based on the world land bridge.

Then the last principles are more philosophical, namely that, one has to recognize that in the age of nuclear weapons, internet, pandemics, humanity sits in one boat, and therefore we have to have a solution which addresses the problems of humanity as a whole. I have proposed the philosophical concept of Nicholas Cusa “the coincidence of opposites” (coincidencia Oppositorum). Because people have to learn to think about “humanity first”. That is a way of thinking. You have to overcome narrow-minded national chauvinistic interests by saying we can only survive if we are one humanity. he question of most important there.

The 9th principle I think is also important. It says that we can only solve the problems on earth if we learn to put the political, economic and social order in cohesion with the actual physical laws of the universe. In the past this was a metaphysical idea. In Europe it was called “natural law”, in India “cosmology should guide actions on the planet” in China “the politicians should respect the mandate of the heaven”. So in every culture you have a different way of expressing it, but it is an idea which was always there and with modern science the idea of applying the physical principles is not so mysterious anymore because if you look for example at semi-nuclear fusion, we will replicate the fusion process on the sun. There you see that you can actually find a correlation between actual physical principles and how we organize our life. Or you take space travel. It does require that you follow the laws of the universe or else you wouldn’t last long. You have to obey certain laws. I think that concept is also important because that is something scientifically provable and it will provide people from different nations reference point how to settle conflicts. If there are things that are intelligible, they are no longer just opinion.

Call for responses and debates

And the 10th principle is probably the most provocative, because I have gotten the most responses to it. That is the idea that man is good by nature, and that all evil comes from the fact from a lack of development, and therefore it can be overcome through development. It is a very basic concept that exists in many of the great religions. They oblige people to improve themselves to become better human beings -to work on their character, become more beautiful souls. But I think it is very controversial and it needs a debate. If you have a concept that man is good then you focus on that which makes us human and differentiates us from all other living organisms like animals or plants, namely that we are gifted with creative power of reason and that we can discover new laws of the universe deeper and better and in that way increase the living standard of the people, enlarge the number of people who can live. It implies absolutely culturally positive idea about men and our role in the universe. So I would hope that many people feel challenged in debate and actually if I would get any responses from Türkiye, I would be very happy.

Şafak Erdem

Şafak Erdem was born in Istanbul in 1993. He completed primary and secondary school in Istanbul, then studied philosophy and sociology as an undergraduate at Boğaziçi University. He is currently doing a master's degree in philosophy.

One response to “The world’s path ahead”

  1. Cantos Dora says:

    L’espérance de un monde meilleur, se construise ou présent avec le conviction d’arrive a réalise, le bon le juste le vrai. Merci pour votre travail persévérance et ténacité de nous aide a suivre le folle de route pour sauvé le humanité.

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June 2024