The following article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche was published in the book released at the Bandung Spirit conference titled “Bandung-Belgrade-Havana in Global History and Perspective: What Dreams, What Challenges, What Projects for a Global Future?” taking place Nov. 7-14 in Indonesia.
Is it an exaggeration to say that mankind is faced with the gravest crisis in its history, when the potential for a global thermonuclear war, and with it, the likely annihilation of the human species, is accelerating by the day, and when leading experts warn that the situation is more dangerous than at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and yet that does not persuade the leadership of some Western countries to abandon their policy of confrontation between the so-called “democracies versus autocracies”?
The driving force behind this war danger is the imminent disintegration of the neoliberal financial system, which has now entered the hyperinflationary phase as a result of years of liquidity injections into the monetary system, and of the “Great Reset” policy, which former Czech President Vaclav Klaus calls the “green delirium.” Food and energy are becoming increasingly unaffordable, threatening 1.7 billion people in the short-term with famine, according to the World Food Program. Moreover, the pandemic has again widened the gap between those few, who count their fortunes in the billions of dollars, and the billions who had to face disease and starvation without a healthcare system, without energy, clean water or enough food.
So again, 67 long years after the Bandung conference, we have to conclude, as did President Sukarno in his opening address on April 18, 1955, that colonialism is not dead, even if it formally and purportedly no longer exists. Formally, independence was granted, but sovereignty for many nations is denied by monetary structures, terms of trade and the lack of access to resources, which would allow self-determination in the course of economic development. Sanctions imposed for geopolitical reasons on third countries perpetuate “humanitarian crises,” which are designed to increase the pain imposed on the populations to such a degree, that they will rise against their government and create the conditions for regime change.
The real confrontation therefore is not between “democracies” and “autocracies,” but between those forces who want to maintain the colonial system in modern garb, and the countries still struggling for their right to economic development.
In light of the consequences a further escalation between the nuclear powers would have—leading to the real “end of history,” namely a third, this time thermonuclear, world war, followed by a nuclear winter—, the current renaissance of the Non-Aligned Movement is the most crucial element that can point the way to a New Paradigm. In order to overcome geopolitical bloc-building, and the flawed thinking in terms of a zero-sum game, it is necessary to conceptualize the higher One, which must be of a completely different quality and higher power than the Many.
It is a proven principle in history, that peace treaties only function, if they take into account the interest of each party, as was the case with the Peace of Westphalia. If they don’t, as with the Versailles Treaty, they lead to new wars. Given the many interwoven regional conflicts and the global dimension of the present confrontation among nuclear powers, the lesson to be drawn from that historical principle is the urgent need for a new global security and development architecture, which takes into account the interest of every single country on the planet.
The option of a functioning European security system, or a “common European house,” as evoked by Gorbachev at the end of the Soviet Union, clearly no longer exists, given NATO’s sixth expansion to the East. The intention to create a “Global NATO,” as proclaimed at the recent summit of the Alliance in Madrid, including the establishment of an Indo-Pacific headquarters somewhere in Asia, threatens to consolidate the confrontation between those countries belonging to such a military alliance, and those that want to maintain political, economic or military relations with Russia and China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has already issued a proposal to overcome geopolitical confrontation with his Global Security Initiative, which together with his Global Development Initiative, represents a concept for the approach required. But since some countries in the West portray China as the main threat to their interests, they are unlikely to respond positively to this idea.
It is this geopolitical and historical calamity which makes the revival of the “spirit of Bandung” all the more urgent. The refusal by many countries coming out of the tradition of the Non-Aligned Movement to be pulled into a geometry of bloc-thinking has been very strongly expressed recently. The fact that the next G20 summit will take place in Indonesia could present an opportunity of historical providence to add a conceptual ingredient to the political agenda, one that could signify the difference between the danger of the extinction of civilization, and a bright, beautiful future for mankind.
It is the tradition of the Bandung Conference and the subsequent conferences of the Non-Aligned Movement, where the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the ten principles of the NAM laid out the framework to establish a new international security and development architecture for the world today. The 120 member countries of the NAM plus 17 observer countries represent the vast majority of the human species, namely 4.511 billion people in the NAM, and 2.061 billion as observers, that is 6.571 of 8 billion people. And as President Sukarno said in his opening address to the Bandung Conference in 1955, the oceans and the seas which separate the developing countries from those that might conduct a new world war, will not protect those countries that are not party to any side and that have no interest in the conflict. He was echoed by Prime Minister Nehru, who was concerned, that the military strength of some of the great nations might lead them to think in terms of military force and let them stray from the right track: “If all the world were to be divided up between these two big blocs, what would be the result? The inevitable result would be war.”
It is therefore completely legitimate and appropriate, that the NAM countries speak with one voice at the next occasion, at the G20 conference in Indonesia in November, (or at an extraordinary session of the UNGA, if called on an emergency basis), and that they demand a new security and economic architecture, which takes the interest of every country into account.
The authority for the NAM to take a more active role in shaping the world order comes from the lessons of the experience of its history. The Bandung Conference established the Pancheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence, and subsequent conferences attempted to maintain that lofty spirit. But it was at the conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1976, that the NAM came closest to the formulation of what that new order should look like economically. Mrs. Indira Gandhi presented the demands, which then were incorporated in the final resolution, namely:
- suspension of debt payment for the poorest countries,
- a new universal monetary system to replace the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,
- the creation of new credit system, which was supposed to be linked to global development,
- triangular trade agreements between the developing sector, the socialist states and the OECD countries.
This resolution was almost identical with the proposal for an International Development Bank, IDB, which the American statesmen and economist Lyndon LaRouche had made one year earlier, i.e., to replace the IMF with a new credit system in order to facilitate global development.
Many in the developing sector will remember the violence, with which that demand representing the aspiration of at that time 75 countries and the majority of the world population was met. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was soon to be assassinated, Mrs. Gandhi was ousted from power, Mrs. Bandaranaike from Sri Lanka was destabilized, the cohesion of the NAM was weakened, and naturally the demand for a new just world economic order was never met. One could add a long list of other casualties among leaders of what is called the Global South. And now, we have arrived at the unprecedented crisis in world history mentioned above.
It is very clear, that if one were to present honestly and objectively to the peoples of the world, the dangers that would result from a nuclear world war, namely annihilation to such a degree that no memory would remain of all of mankind’s enormous struggles for progress and freedom, of all the beautiful creations of science and art throughout the world, more then 99 percent of them would oppose this war.
I am also sure that if ordinary people had the means to really understand the reasons for the injustices in the world and to look at the situation in each country both from the standpoint of the best tradition of that nation and the potential it and mankind as a whole have, more than 99 percent of them would wholeheartedly agree with the perspective of a just new world economic order. Both these insights are presently denied to the “ordinary people,” because most of them lack the historical knowledge of other cultures or a personal experience from travel, and the mass media in many countries tend to nourish the prejudices about other cultures that fit the geopolitical aims of the respective establishments.
It is therefore urgent and necessary that the leadership of the NAM find an early opportunity to intervene on the stage of world history, by pointing in the starkest terms to the dangers resulting from geopolitical bloc-building, as Prime Minister Nehru did in his address in Bandung, showing that “the inevitable result would be war.” These leaders should also awaken the consciousness of the world population, making them aware of the plight of the people in the developing sector, illustrating the suffering of death by hunger, which Jean Ziegler, the former UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, describes as the most cruel and painful kind of death. In his 2012 book We Let Them Starve: The Mass Destruction in the Third World, Ziegler speaks about a cannibalistic world order, in which 10 global cartels, that control 85% of food production worldwide, decide who eats, lives, starves and dies.
As a result of food speculation, land grabbing, over-indebtedness, biofuels, one child under ten years of age dies every five seconds, 57,000 people die every day of hunger, and that in a world, in which global agriculture, according to the UN WFP, could easily produce food for 12 billion people. Today, ten years later, 1.7 billion people are in danger of starvation, yet the EU and other Western governments still insist on setting aside up to 30% of arable land, and restricting the use of fertilizer and pesticides, which will lead to a 50% cut in harvests. Behind this, is the Malthusian outlook of policymakers, who make Malthus a self-fulfilling prophecy by imposing such misanthropic policies—here again, because of “green delirium” and profit maximization.
In light of these outrageous injustices, the leaders of the NAM have all the legitimacy and even duty to awaken the consciousness of the world population to the fact, that this condition of hunger, poverty and underdevelopment in the world is not the result of inevitable natural conditions, but of the implementation of a financial and economic system, that favors the rich and increases the gap with the poor up to the point of genocide.
This system, however, is reaching the end of its rope, as was made clear by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium on August 26 of this year. There, he announced a policy of brutal austerity causing “some pain” in order to fight inflation. “Reducing inflation is likely to require a sustained period of below-trend growth,” he maintained, and announced a policy of high interest rates for some extended time to come, by referring to “The successful Volcker disinflation in the early 1980s,” years in which the interest rates soared above 20%. These remarks immediately triggered a deadly capital flight out of developing sector markets and back into the dollar. The General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Agustín Carstens warned that too much “pain” too fast could crash the entire system in the process, comparing it to the spot called the “coffin corner,” where an aircraft slows to below its stall speed and is unable to generate enough lift to maintain its altitude.
Pointing in the same direction to the hard times to come, were French President Macron, who he lamented that the “times of abundance” are over, as well as Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who said the “next 5 to 10 winters will be difficult.” While the return to Schachtian economics—the policy of Hitler’s Finance Minister Hjalmar Schacht—may be “difficult” for what one must almost call the “formerly industrialized countries,” it would be murderous for the developing countries, translating into population reduction by the billions.
It is therefore mandatory that an appropriate platform be found to reorganize the present failing financial system. It may be within the G20 format, or, if that is not workable, in another appropriate framework, such as the BRICS countries, the SCO, or another institution of the Global South. A New Bretton Woods system needs to be established with the modalities, as they were originally intended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but never carried out because of his untimely death. The primary and unassailable goal of this new system must be the qualitative and quantitative increase in the living standards of the populations of the developing sector and of the global poor in general.
The new credit system must provide long-term, low interest loans, which must be dedicated to investments in basic infrastructure, agriculture and industry, with the aim of increasing the productivity of the physical economy in each country. What constitutes such a productive investment and what does not, should be determined by the scientific principles of physical economy as they were developed by American economist Lyndon LaRouche, i.e., they must vector towards an increase in the energy flux density in the production process, leading to an increase in the potential relative population density of each nation.
Wherever this system of economy was applied, it led to the country’s successful industrialization. This was the case with the American System of Economy of Alexander Hamilton, the application of the theories of Hamilton and Friedrich List by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the Meiji Restoration in Japan, the industrialization of Russia by Count Witte, Roosevelt’s New Deal, the German economic miracle of reconstruction after World War II, the Southeast Asian countries’ economic miracle and, last but not least, the economic miracle of China, which lifted 850 million people out of poverty.
The key feature of this system is, that the state has the sovereign power to create credit, and as long as this credit is strictly directed to productive investment, it is not inflationary, rather, the creation of real physical wealth will always be greater than the initial amount loaned, due to the ability of labor power to create added value. Since the only source of social value is neither the possession of natural resources nor the ability to buy cheap and sell dear, but entirely the creativity of the individual, it is the duty of the state, to further the creative potential of all citizens to the utmost. For this, investments in a modern health system and an excellent universal education system are high priorities. Naturally the deployment of all available resources, such as natural resources, and an international division of labor taking into account geographical or climatic conditions must be mobilized for the optimal expanded reproduction of the economy. The aim of the economy is not the enrichment of a few, but the well-being and happiness of all.
Many developments are already occurring in the direction of the creation of a multipolar world, where countries are choosing economic models in cohesion with their own cultures and traditions. But it is the unique vocation of the NAM to try and overcome the dangerous bloc formation propitious to war, by offering an all-inclusive new Bretton Woods System. In the tradition of President Sukano’s speech at the Bandung Conference in 1955, they could take up his reference to the “first successful anti-colonial war in history,” that is, the American War of Independence, and his quoting of the poet Longfellow and his poem on the famous ride of Paul Revere.
If a way can be found to remind the United States and the European nations of their better traditions, of the policies of Benjamin Franklin or John Quincy Adams, of Enrico Mattei, Charles de Gaulle or the German-Indian cooperation in the building of the Rourkela steel plant, a new paradigm of worldwide cooperation based on the Pancheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence, can be established.
From where should one draw the optimism, that the Bandung spirit will help to overcome this gravest crisis in human history? Perhaps if we remember what the German rocket scientist, Krafft Ehricke, the “father of the Centaur rocket” of the Apollo program, coined as the first law of astronautics: “Nobody and nothing under the natural laws of this universe impose any limitations on man except man himself.” In this spirit, we can create a new chapter in the history of mankind.