Only a Scientific and Cultural Renaissance
Can Stop the Dark Age Now Descending Upon Humanity
Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave the following remarks to the EIR Forum at the National Press Club on Jan. 26. She was preceded by Thomas Wysmuller, a former NASA meteorologist and activist with "The Right Climate Stuff," an alliance of retired NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers who are fighting against the fraud of man-made catastrophic climate change.
EIR's Michael Billington was the forum's moderator.
Michael Billington: Now we're going to hear from one of the people Tom was referring to, who has been subjected to many international efforts to prevent her name and her husband's name from being known; but as I'm sure she will tell you, this is breaking wide open right now. And we will hear it. Helga LaRouche.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Well, I will try to be brief; I have a hard time doing that. Obviously, the question is, why is such a report as you just discussed, how is this possible? Why? What is the motive? Why would you go through the effort of falsifying data of trying to squash an honest debate among scientists? And I think once one would pursue that question to the end, one would come to the conclusion of my presentation, which I want to put in the beginning; and that is, that the entire trans-Atlantic region -- and I'm fully aware where I'm saying this; namely, in Washington D.C. -- is run by very destructive policies and very destructive forces.
Now, let me start with one which should be of the biggest concern of anybody who wants to outlive his lifespan; and that is that we are on the verge of thermonuclear war. And contrary to the height of the Cold War, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or at other high points of the Cold War where people were concerned about the possible extinction of mankind; even if we are much closer to it, there is no public conscience, there is no public debate about it. And only rare individuals, such as former Defense Secretary William Perry, or nuclear specialist Hans Kristensen, are warning of the possibility that the world could go to war. Now, if you want to take it on the light side, the danger of accidental war is extremely high; simply because the normal kind of code of behavior, which existed even between Kennedy and Khrushchov is presently not there. After the Ukraine crisis exploded, they cancelled the NATO-Russian consultations; an institution which was created to be there in times of crisis was abandoned.
However, I would take it a step further to say that the evolution of military doctrines in NATO, going from a Mutually Assured Destruction to the idea of a winnable first strike posture, which is what the missile defense system around the world actually is, which is what Prompt Global Strike is; and which is what the Air-Sea Battle doctrine against China is; is really, including the modernization of nuclear weapons in Europe, are all pointing in the direction of such a possibility.
Now, Russia and China have drawn their conclusions and they are basically also gearing up their arsenals; and William Perry was warning just a couple of days ago in the Boston Globe, that we are far advanced into a new arms race with nuclear weapons, which according to President Obama, he wants to spend $1 trillion in the next 30 years. Which, given the condition of the world financial system, sounds a little bit ludicrous; but this is the danger.
And if it comes to a war, by intention because some people have the illusion that you can win a nuclear war, or by accident; I think civilization very well may not exist within minutes, hours, or at the latest weeks. A nuclear winter would evolve, and that would possibly be the end of civilization. And all the beautiful things mankind has accomplished so far would be in vain: There would be nobody to even comment about it. No historian, nobody making an archive about it; not even a museum. So that is the one danger.
The other danger which is in direct correlation with this, is the fact that the trans-Atlantic financial system is about to blow up in much bigger ways than the crisis of 2007-2008. As you know, there was just the World Economic Forum in Davos, where people officially went through the usual kind of eclectic series of entertainment on different subjects; but behind closed doors or among themselves privately, there was an absolute panic. And publicly it was expressed by the former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements, William White, who gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph; where he said that since there was nothing done to re-regulate the banking system since 2008, the world indebtedness today is such, this debt that can neither be repaid nor serviced. And that people who think they own a lot of money in this virtual world of finance, may wake up to very unpleasant surprises; namely, that it could evaporate in one minute.
So obviously, the measures, the so-called "tool box" which the financial institutions came up with after the 2008 Lehman Brothers/AIG crisis, was what? It was quantitative easing, it was bail-outs, it was various kinds of measures to basically turn private gambling debt into public state debt. And therefore, you have now a state debt crisis. And the recent developments which came in with Dodd-Frank and appropriate legislation in the EU Commission to go for bail-in, they called this the Cyprus model. This happened three years ago in Cyprus, where basically banks went bankrupt and then they confiscated the amounts of money in the accounts of either people who had their savings there, or had shares of the banks, or were holding bonds. And this was basically expropriated by 50%.
Now, Dijsselbloem, the Finance Minister of Holland, who is also the head of the Eurogroup, at that time said this Cyprus model is the blueprint for the entire Eurozone; and legislation was made. As I said, Dodd-Frank, Article II in the United States has that provision; all the European governments made legislation in the meantime to go for that. But the problem is -- and this was just noted by Thomas Hoenig, who is the vice chairman of the FDIC in the United States, and similarly an unnamed EU official gave an interview to Reuters just three days ago -- saying the problem is, this bail-in does not function; the banks have not been recapitalized enough to do it, and so they are not prepared. And furthermore, the amount which you could generate if you bail in all the accounts -- business, private people -- and go for additional bail-out measures, you would get approximately $18-20 trillion; the problem is, the outstanding derivative debt is about $2 quadrillion.
So, when William White says this debt will never be paid, and we have to have what he calls a Jubilee; pointing to the fact that in all great religions over the last 5,000 years, you had periodic debt write-offs when it became clear it was not payable. So, Mr. White is now a high-ranking member of the OECD, he's the former chief economist for the Bank for International Settlements, and you can call it a Jubilee, you can call it a debt conference, writing down this debt, or you can call it Glass-Steagall.
Now, that's just two of the situations. But we are reaching now a breaking point in the trans-Atlantic civilization. Let me emphasize two other aspects of why we are in a decaying, collapsing, destructive society both in the United States and in Europe. In the United States, apart from the abysmal collapse of real production, you have a drug epidemic which was highlighted by several articles in the New York Times in the last several weeks; based on a study from Princeton, and one from the CDC. Which shows that shockingly, that the death rate in the United States for white males in all age groups is increasing to such an effect that it outweighs and erases the progress in medicine. In the age group of white Americans -- not black, not Hispanic, but white Americans -- between 24 and 35, the death rates from suicide, alcoholism, or drug overdose has increased 500%. There are presently in all 3007 counties of the United States, there is an increase, a doubling, quadrupling of the suicide rate; there are 125 people per day committing suicide or dying from drug overdoses. That is five people per hour; so, since we have been here, five people have died. It's one every 12 minutes; and it is a sign of a dying society. This increase has happened since 2001, and you can think for yourself which Presidencies have been in charge since then. And only by that figure, you can say that you do not have good government in the United States.
Now in Europe we have a slightly different problem. We have a refugee crisis, which is detonating the EU. As you know, last year there were almost 1 million refugees coming primarily from Syria, from Iraq; but now, it's many people from Afghanistan, from Northern Africa. And at the Davos conference, the director of Davos, Kurt Schwab, said that he thinks that if the present oil price collapse is not stopped, there will be soon 1 billion people coming to the shores of Europe; and I think that that is not an exaggeration at all.
So, naturally the causes of this refugee crisis are the failed policies of the British, of the United States; the failed wars based on lies in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya; the attempt to topple Assad in Syria; the war in Yemen. And has this served the interest of the United States? I don't think so; I think it has damaged the United States and the reputation of the United States around the world.
Now, as you know, Chancellor Merkel did something right; she said, we welcome these people. And she's being criticized a lot for it; but at the moment when she said that, there was no other way, because you had thousands and tens of thousands of people being stuck in the Balkans between Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary. Because Hungary began to build a wall around its borders. So, it was a humanitarian crisis of unbelievable dimensions; and there is such a thing as an asylum right guaranteed by the Geneva Convention, and by the UN Charter. So Merkel did the right thing, and she did the right thing concerning the refugees; but obviously you have to change policy if you want to accommodate these refugees.
The result of the non-solidarity of the EU, all of Eastern Europe refuses to take one single refugee; the foreign minister of Austria just yesterday blasted Greece for not enforcing the security of the outer border of the EU. And the Greek government very correctly said, "What do they want us to do? Do they want us to shoot the refugees in their boats and drive them back into the ocean?"
And you all have seen these horrendous pictures where small children are caught between soldiers and barbed wire, razor wire. If this is not resolved in a human way, this is the moral end of Europe; and anybody who is any good has understood that perfectly well.
OK. However, fortunately, this is not the totality of the picture. Because you have right now, two universes: You have the trans-Atlantic world which is collapsing, and you have a completely different kind of political system emerging, coming primarily from China. And don't believe any China-bashing which you have read in the Washington Post or the New York Times. I have been occupying myself with China for the better part of 45 years or so, and I can assure you, that China right now is not only an economic miracle; the little news about the so-called Chinese stock exchange collapse triggering all these problems in the Atlantic world is complete nonsense. Because the real economy of China is doing excellently, and you will see in the second half of 2016, that all the many, many investments in real economy -- Xi Jinping was just on a trip to the Middle East; he went to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt. The total volume of investments is between 55 and 100 billion, only with these three countries. And if you look at the large amount of Chinese investments in many, many countries, in Latin America, in Asia, in Africa, in Eastern Europe, you will see that that will be an economic engine which will remain there for the next several years.
However, even more importantly, China, a little bit more than two years ago, offered a fundamentally new policy: the New Silk Road. Now, the New Silk Road is the idea, in the tradition of the ancient Silk Road of the Han Dynasty of 2,000 years ago, to further economic cooperation, scientific exchange of ideas, cultural ideas, and to promote a new infrastructure integration of the whole planet. I think that this has affected the policy of the BRICS; it is right now moving forward very quickly, and you have a strategic partnership of China, Russia, India, and many countries cooperating closely. Like, for example, now between China and Iran, you have an increased activity along these lines among many countries, including China and Greece; China and East European countries that turned to China to have fast train systems being built by China; and many investments in Africa and in other areas of the world.
Now, should that be regarded as a threat by the United States? Only if you believe that the maintenance of a unipolar world is the only way to go, at a point when a multipolar world is already a reality. The idea that there has to be a unipolar world and that you have to eliminate, through a regime change, every country in the world which does not submit to such an order, is the guarantee that we will blow ourselves up as a civilization. What China has offered, and Xi Jinping offered that to President Obama at the APEC meeting in 2014, in Beijing, he said: We offer to the United States and other major powers to cooperate in a "win-win" cooperation, to transform the world economy.
Now, to my knowledge Obama has not answered that. But this is now becoming a realistic possibility, because we have published this report, "The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge": Because we have been working on this New Silk Road policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was our answer to the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany, to the end of the Iron Curtain, we proposed in '91, to connect Europe and Asia through so-called "infrastructure corridors." And we have campaigned for this policy for 25 years, and therefore, we were naturally extremely happy when Xi Jinping in 2013 said, New Silk Road is now the Chinese policy. As a matter of fact, we were extremely happy, and said that is exactly how we will get out of this mess.
And then, we started to make our report, and you can see here, -- you can't see it now, because I was not so industrious as you! This is a map of all the corridors, bridges, tunnels which will eventually unite all the continents of the world, and bring unity to all the different development areas of the planet.
So we have said, since 2012, at least, that the only way how you will end terrorism in the Middle East and bring peace to this tortured region of the world, is you have to have -- I hate to call it "Marshall Plan," because "Marshall Plan" has always the connotation of a Cold War dimension to it -- but just to use the word so that people get an idea that there has been examples of successful reconstruction of war-torn regions. I would like to call it the extension of the Silk Road to the Middle East. Which is already now uniting Central Asia; it's moving into South Asia; a corridor is being built by China through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf. So, in 2012, we held a conference in Frankfurt proposing a Silk Road Marshall Plan for Southwest Asia, the Middle East, the Near East, and Africa, as the only way how you can -- you know, how do you end terrorism?
You know, terrorism has now been a menace: We have seen it in Paris, two times last year; the Charlie Hebdo massacre, then the horrible massacre in Paris later in the year; there have been terrorist events all over the planet, practically in all countries. So, will you stop this horror show by bombing ISIS or al-Qaeda? Well, you have to do something. And I think the best approach right now is what has been negotiated by Secretary of State Kerry together with [Foreign Minister] Lavrov in the Vienna conference which was very successful in getting Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and other parties of the Middle East at one table, the resumption of this conference was delayed because there were still some tensions, because Saudi Arabia didn't want certain oppositions groups from Syria; the Turks didn't want the Kurds; but, I think, you know, if Russia, the United States, China, and the other major powers of the Middle East sit together and say "we will militarily eliminate ISIS, but then you need something else."
Because you need a reconstruction program which gives real hope to the people in the Middle East to dry out the environment out of which al-Qaeda and Al Nusra, and ISIS and so forth have been recruiting. And only if you put a Marshall Plan, a Silk Road Marshall Plan into the region, where all these countries, Russia, China, India, Iran, Egypt, Germany, Italy, France, the United States, work together and say: We will take the entire region from the Caucasus to the Persian Gulf, from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, as one region, and we put in real development. We declare a war on the desert; we create, you know, new water! Because if you ever have flown over that region, this is all desert. There is not one little oasis -- nothing! So you need to have large amounts of ocean water desalinated, which is only possible through nuclear energy; you need to tap into the moisture in the atmosphere, which you can do through ionization; you can use aquifers and other methods. And then, you can develop agriculture. You can develop forestry. You have to put in infrastructure, infrastructure as dense as it is, for example, in Germany. Germany is a perfect example of a very well-developed infrastructural country. Then you can put in new cities, you can build industries.
And you give the people of the region a new hope. A hope that they can have a future, that they can become engineers, that they can become scientists, that it's worth to have a family. And that is how you bring peace to the Middle East and to Africa.
Now, I have said this in many speeches, and people have said, this is completely utopian. Who should pay for this? Well, but I believe that if you have a breakdown of an old paradigm and you have a good plan, I believe that then you can be successful, simply because you are the only one who has the right idea. And I am totally flabbergasted and surprised, but I have to announce that one of the persons in Germany, who is not -- and I emphasize not -- on my favorite list, Wolfgang Schäuble, is now coming out for a Marshall Plan in the Middle East! He did that in a very surprising speech in Davos, where, to the surprise of everybody, he said, "well, it should be obvious that we have to invest many billions in the region, that we have to form a 'coalition of the willing' to do so," in a beautiful reversal of the coalition of the willing of Bush, you know, who wanted it to make war; so Schäuble, of all people, wants to have now a "coalition of the willing" to reconstruct the Middle East. And this is now being picked up by newspapers in Germany.
And you know, I always said, when there is no reason you can appeal to, the only thing which causes political change, is what I call the "policy of the burning shirt." That when people realize that their shirt is getting a little bit hot on their behind, they start to move. And I can assure you, this refugee crisis right now, is exactly that, because the EU is about to detonate. If they build, again, borders around all national countries, then the Schengen Agreement is out of the window, and everybody is now debating openly if there is no Schengen, then the European Monetary Union doesn't make any sense; the Eurozone will collapse; and very likely also the EU. Because then you have no raison d'être any more for this alliance as it developed from Maastricht to Lisbon.
So I think we have now a tremendous situation. I think we need to have a change in paradigm. I think people have to recognize, and you may not believe what I'm saying, but I want you to think about it, that if we stay in the old paradigm of geopolitical confrontation, with Russia, with China, the likelihood that we will not exist as a civilization is very high.
If, however, we look at the longer arc of the evolution of mankind, well, mankind has been only around for a little time, a few million years. The record in terms of writing and other readable artifacts is, maybe 10,000 years. And just think, what a tremendous development mankind has made in the last 10,000 years, from the Stone Age, where you would use a stone to kill your neighbor; now you have a smart phone of the same size, you can have international conferences, you see the people you're talking to around the globe. And in 10,000 years, people will say, "Oh, these people with their 'smart phones' they thought that was already a big accomplishment," because they will be communicating from one galaxy to the other, and look back at our period as the "Stone Age."
So you have to have a tremendous sense of optimism in mankind. Mankind is the only species which can, again and again, change the knowledge about the physical universe, making discoveries, and I believe that there is a limitless ability for mankind to improve, both intellectually and morally. I don't think that people have to be so mean as they are right now. I don't think that the drug culture, with all the ugliness that goes along with it, is what should be the worthiness of man.
I think that if we combine an economic reconstruction program with a cultural Renaissance, that we will go into a completely new era of civilization where man will be truly man! Truly beautiful! We have made an addendum to this report which is called "The United States Joins the New Silk Road." And it is the idea that, the Silk Road should not only be built in China and Africa, but the United States, needs urgently a Silk Road development. Has the United States a fast train system? I don't think so. Has the United States a functioning airplane system? I think it's getting a little bit shabby and old.
So why not build 50,000 km, or 35,000 miles, connecting the East Coast, the West Coast, the North and the South, through the maglev train, through other high-speed train systems, reconstruct some of the cities which ware falling apart; build some new cities! Some beautiful cities in the South; to inspire people to go back to the Moon, to rebuild NASA, to go to Mars, just to find out why the universe is built the way it is it!
You know, this problem of the Sun is very urgent, because the Sun in 2 billion years will not make it so comfortable on the planet Earth, so we have think, how, we as a species can live on as a species in the Galaxy and beyond.
So I think what we need to do, is we have to have an honest, fearless discussion about the change of a paradigm. And I think we have to recognize that good government means also, to have a beautiful culture which is uplifting people. I named the Schiller Institute, "Schiller Institute," because I believe that the image of man of Friedrich Schiller is the most beautiful I have found on the planet. And he basically said, Art is only art if it is beautiful and if it ennobles people.
So we need to combine this economic reconstruction with a Classical Renaissance of Classical culture, and then start a dialogue of the high phases of all cultures: Confucianism in China, which fortunately has a Renaissance right now, which has the whole country excited; you know, people in China are completely optimistic. They believe in the government -- can you imagine that? They have trust in the government? So, they're in a good shape. China has produced beautiful poetry, painting, Mencius, other great neo-Confucian thinkers.
India has produced many high points: The Gupta period. The Arab world was once in a much better shape during the Abbasid Dynasty when Baghdad was the cultural capital of the world. You had the Italian Renaissance, you had the Andalusian Renaissance. If we revive all of these high points of cultures, I'm absolutely certain that we can create a new Renaissance of human civilization, this time, on a completely different set of axioms than the present world of our decaying trans-Atlantic world.
And I want to stop here. But I think, if you think about it, we are on the verge of calamity beyond believe. But we can turn it around, if we go to FDR policies, Glass-Steagall, shut down Wall Street, make a new credit system, get production going. And it will be easy. [applause]