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Afghanistan Crisis: Humanity Comes First!

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”                                                                                                                  –Mark 8:36

The head of the United Nations World Food Program, American David Beasley, has fought to bring to the world’s attention the now-unfolding catastrophe in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a nation which has known nothing but war and internal conflict for more than 40 years. The rapidly worsening multiple crises in that nation–lack of food, lack of health care, lack of a sovereign national credit system, lack of production–demand immediate solutions in the next weeks, if the world wishes to avoid the unnecessary, unwarranted deaths of millions– many of them children, who have clearly offended no one. Over 20 million people are presently at risk. Geopolitical rationalizations for continuing inaction, from “taking cautious steps to not allow the Afghanistan government to exploit our good will” to “demanding that other countries step up,” will do almost as much to take the lives of the innocent, through depraved indifference, as the coming famine 

Several of us have been outraged by the callous indifference expressed in the worldwide, persistent inequality of efficient distribution of medical care, not merely in the selective availability and affordability of life-saving medicines, but in the widening disparity in available basic facilities and capabilities. Whole continents, such as Africa, are stigmatized as “disease farms” because of deplorable economic conditions that are conveniently perpetuated but then never actually improved. That happened in the 1980s with HIV/AIDS, and is happening today with COVID-19. The clearly man-made Afghanistan disaster is an opportunity to reverse that syndrome. . A crucial first step would be the release of the $9.5 billion of assets of Afghanistan’s central bank, which are currently being held in the United States.

Why? That nation, familiar to the United States, Russia, China and several NATO countries, as well as the five other states that border it, has a clearly urgent, largely war-induced set of problems that could be quickly resolved, and offers a test case for how to actually uproot war, through multinational cooperation involving even real and/or imagined enemies working together for a common good. This Afghanistan initiative has been called “Operation Ibn Sina” after the great Islamic physician known for centuries as “the father of modern medicine” and who comes from that general vicinity. In contrast, it is perhaps the lack of exactly such initiatives that begin with compassion for, and cooperation with others, that has allowed COVID-19 to grow from being a relatively controllable epidemic to a pandemic, and is causing that pandemic to worsen by the hour. That would not be the first time that the vice of selfishness had doomed mankind. Historian Barbara Tuchman, in “The March of Folly,” warns us: “A phenomenon noticeable throughout history, regardless of place or period, is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.” 


We who have devoted our lives to acting upon the conviction, so eloquently enunciated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” say that there is no injustice like famine, no crime worse than slowly snuffing out the life of a child through neglect, through depraved indifference. Though the need is equally important everywhere, the time to change “the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests,” and those of humanity, is now. The world can–must– choose one place, this Christmas season, to begin a march in the opposite direction, and prevent the slaughter of the innocent upon the altar of a geopolitical folly that would sacrifice both conscience and true self-interest for the aura of power.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former United States Surgeon General – On behalf on the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites 

December 23, 2021

Dr. Walter Faggett, pediatrician, Col. U.S. Army (ret.), former Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health of Washington D.C., professor of medicine Howard University

Dr. Bennett Greenspan, Founder Family Tree DNA

Ernest Johnson, President of the Louisiana NAACP, civil rights attorney

Barbara Kamara, former Associate Commissioner, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, responsible for the National Head Start Program (Carter Administration); former Director of Early Childhood Education, Washington DC, for 22 years

Dr. Khadijah Lang, pediatrician, Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the National Medical Association, President of the Golden State Medical Association, the California branch of the NMA 


Afghanistan—‘Act Now’!

Jan. 5 (EIRNS)—Today a 30-second video was issued by David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) on Afghanistan, showing both hungry children, and also food delivery, with the text: “The situation in Afghanistan may have faded from the front page, but don’t let Afghan families fade from your mind. 8.7 million people are on the brink of starvation. Read that again: 8.7 million people are on the brink of starvation. What we do today has the power to change the fate of more than 23 million people. Act now.” Beasley’s immediate message, tweeted with the video, is for WFP donations. He wrote, “The Year 2021 has been a catastrophic year for the people of Afghanistan. Millions of Afghans are counting on WFP for life-saving food this winter. Help us help them.”

However, Beasley’s imperative about keeping in our minds what is important about Afghanistan—the value of human life—is what applies across the board to the crises we now face. Think it through. We are capable of mobilizing the physical resources and logistics to stop mass death in Afghanistan. It takes concerted action. The Schiller Institute will host another conference in mid-January (date to be determined soon) on action in Afghanistan.

Look at the pandemic in the same way. The same principle applies. In China, concerted action has kept the COVID-19 case rate and death toll very low, with massive testing and contact tracing, as well as localized lockdowns. In contrast, the pandemic virus is now surging in multiple locations elsewhere in Asia, in the trans-Atlantic, the Americas and Africa. On Jan. 4, the daily case count was 2.594 million cases officially reported worldwide (a big undercount), of which 35%, 885,500 cases, were in the United States alone.

The Schiller Institute/Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites is preparing an emergency statement of action points required to save lives and roll back the virus. The outline and principle are the same as in prior statements, but with measures specific to the unfolding events. (Prior statements: “LaRouche’s ‘Apollo Mission’ To Defeat the Global Pandemic: Build a World Health System Now,” April 11, 2020; ‘Global Health Security Requires Medical Infrastructure in Every Country—Major Industrial Nations Must Collaborate Now!” May 14, 2021, submitted to the Global Health Summit in Rome; “Open Letter to Virologists and Medical Experts Around the World To Address the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, Nov. 23, 2021; and others.)

There are initiatives in the needed direction. Yesterday, for example, the importance of rapidly expanding medical staff, by calling back into action retirees, was stressed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, when he declared an official state of emergency. There are many measures that are clearly bipartisan and nonpartisan, overriding the non-stop partisan shouting going on in the U.S. For example, use the Defense Production Act, as was done under Trump, to get all needed items, from material for construction of hospitals and medical materials, to COVID-19 therapeutics in quantity. Ramp up production of antiviral medications and all kinds of monoclonal antibodies, currently scarce.

Mobilizing for emergency action and a world health platform, with a focus on Afghanistan, are entirely consistent with the drive to stop the nuclear war danger. The meetings set for next week, on the initiative of Russia, are critical for that: Jan. 10 in Geneva, between the U.S. and Russia; Jan. 12 in Brussels, between NATO and Russia; and Jan. 13 in Vienna, with Russia and the OSCE. But there are countermoves underway.

Circulate everywhere the Schiller Institute Memorandum, Are We Sleepwalking into Thermonuclear World War III?


TASS Interviews Schiller Institute’s Black on P5 “No Nuclear War” Declaration

TASS Interviews Schiller Institute’s Black on P5 “No Nuclear War” Declaration

Jan. 6, 2022 (EIRNS)–{The following is the full text of an article published today by Russian news agency TASS, based on an interview with Richard Black of the Schiller Institute.}

Expert: The Statement of the Nuclear “Five” Means Countries Can Resolve Shared Challenges; Schiller Institute Spokesman, Richard Black, Believes Countries Can Work Together to Avoid Nuclear War and Guarantee Stable Development

NEW YORK, January 6. / Corr. TASS Grigory Sapozhnikov /. The statement by the leaders of the nuclear “five” (Russia, Great Britain, China, the United States and France) indicates that the countries can work together to resolve strategic problems and crises of an extraordinary and unexpected character. This opinion was expressed in an interview with a TASS correspondent by the representative of the Schiller Institute in New York, Richard Black.

“The statement of the ” five” countries of the UN Security Council is positive in two aspects. First, it is a confirmation by all five countries of the earlier joint statement by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. as has been also stated more recently by Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. Secondly, the statement of “the five” of the Security Council demonstrates that it would be possible for those countries to act together to solve other most urgent and complicated strategic problems concerning the life and death of civilization.

According to the Institute’s spokesman, Russian President Putin immediately has put on the agenda the need to stop “the current slide into a nuclear confrontation between the US and NATO on the one side, and Russia on the other.” Black stressed the importance of the required signing — by the US and the North Atlantic Alliance — of draft treaties on legally binding security guarantees, demanded by President Putin. “The draft agreements proposed by the Russian President are a call for action in the immediate days ahead,” Black said.

Black generally regarded the “five” statement as a step in the right direction. The “five” can now work “on special extraordinary problems, such as the situation in Afghanistan and the fight against the pandemic,” he said. Countries can cooperate both to prevent nuclear war and to ensure stable development. The question is, he said, “Will they cooperate?”  {The article is found here.}


Russian Amb. Chumakov and Schiller Institute’s Helga Zepp-LaRouche Delivered Remarks at Memorial Wreath Laying in Honor of Alexandrov Ensemble

Press Release:

Ambassador Dmitry Chumakov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder of the International Schiller Institute, Delivered Statements at the Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony in Honor of the Alexandrov Ensemble and Other Victims of TU-154 Plane Crash 

Ambassador Dmitry Chumakov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the international Schiller Institute gave keynote remarks on December 29, 2021, at a memorial event in honor of the Alexandrov Ensemble members who were killed in a plane crash on Christmas Day, 2016.  The members of the renowned Alexandrov Ensemble – previously the Red Army Chorus — were on their way to perform in Syria during the Syrian war.    The commemoration took place at the Teardrop Memorial in Bayonne, NJ – a monument donated and built by the Russian people and government in condolence to Americans for the tragedy of 9/11.  The monument is named, “To the Struggle Against World Terrorism.” Ambassador Chumakov’s are found here.

Ambassador Chumakov’s remarks, available now on the website of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, noted that the cultural collaboration of the Russian and American people in events such as this yearly commemoration of the loss of the Alexandrov Ensemble,  shows “that human relations and friendly ties between Russians and Americans are indissoluble.”  He concluded that “Amidst a very complicated international situation, it is the humanitarian ties that strongly bring us together,” and noted particularly to the Schiller Institute and the Fire Department of the City of Bayonne that “Your contribution to the friendship and solidarity of the people of Russia and the United States cannot be overestimated.”

Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s remarks, read by Diane Sare, founder of the Schiller Institute NY Community Chorus, referenced President Putin’s recent interventions, and bluntly described the danger of a “reverse Cuban Missile Crisis to which the President of your country has reacted in an unmistakable fashion: he insists, rightfully, that the promises given to Russia around the time of the German Unification, that NATO would not move eastward, closer to the borders of Russia” …  “were [promises which were] broken repeatedly”, and that they be “now belatedly” “restated in a written and legally binding form — at least as it concerns Ukraine and Georgia.” She closed: “The Schiller Institute fully endorses the demand by Russia that these treaties must be signed, and that the world must be pulled back from the brink of the abyss. …  Let us revive the spirit of the cultural contribution of the Alexandrov Ensemble to mobilize the strength in ourselves to create a more human civilization!” Mrs. LaRouche’s full remarks are available at this link.

The event was moderated by Capt. Randy Geis of the City of Bayonne Fire Department, and the invocation and benediction prayers were presented by Reverend Dorothy Patterson of Bayonne, NJ.  The laying of the wreath at the Teardrop Memorial was led by the Bayonne Fire Department, followed by a public laying of flowers to the Alexandrov and to all victims of world terrorism, added at the base of the Teardrop Memorial.  Musical selections included Russian songs sung by soloists Everett Suttle, Michelle Erin, and Lisa Bryce; the Christmas Spiritual “Sister Mary had-a but One Child,” arranged by Roland Hayes; and Grechaninov’s “Praise Ye the Name of the Lord.”

The video of the event is available on the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus website.


Are We Sleepwalking into Thermonuclear World War III?

Schiller Institute Memorandum [Updated]
December 31, 2021

The war in Ukraine could have been prevented. If the West would have insisted on the Minsk agreement, instead of letting Zelensky capitulate to the right-wing forces in his country, it would not have happened. If the US and NATO would have responded to Putin’s request for legally binding security guarantees, which he put forward on December 17, 2021, we would not be in the situation we are today.

As a summary review of the documented record shows, Ukraine is being used by geopolitical forces in the West that answer to the bankrupt speculative financial system, as the flashpoint to trigger a strategic showdown with Russia, a showdown which is already more dangerous than the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and which could easily end up in a thermonuclear war which no one would win, and none would survive.

Consider the facts as we present them in the abbreviated timeline below. Russia, like China, has been increasingly subjected to the threat of being destroyed by two distinct kinds of “nuclear war” by the bellicose and bankrupt UK-U.S. financial Establishment: (1) “first-use nuclear action,” as stated most explicitly by the demented Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS); and (2) the “nuclear option” in financial warfare—measures so extreme that they would be laying financial siege to Russia to try to starve it into submission, as is being done against Afghanistan.

Russia has now announced, for the whole world to hear, that its red line is about to be crossed, after which it will be forced to respond with “retaliatory military-technical measures.” That red line, it has made clear, is the further advance of U.S. and NATO military forces up to the very border with Russia, including the positioning of defensive and offensive nuclear-capable missile systems to within a scarce five minutes’ flight time to Moscow.

Russia has presented two draft documents—one, a treaty with the United States, the other, an agreement with NATO—which together would provide legally binding security guarantees that NATO’s eastward march will stop, that Ukraine and Georgia in particular will not be invited to join NATO, and that advanced weapons systems will not be placed at Russia’s doorstep.

These are neither more nor less than the verbal guarantees the Soviet Union was given in 1990 by the duplicitous Bush and Thatcher governments, guarantees that have been systematically violated ever since. They are neither more nor less than what President John F. Kennedy demanded of Chairman Nikita Khrushchev during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which was successfully defused by the deft back-channel negotiations of JFK’s personal envoy, his brother and Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, out of sight of the pro-war military-industrial complex.

It is urgently necessary that the United States and NATO promptly sign those proposed documents with Russia—and step back from the edge of thermonuclear extinction.

What we chronicle below has been happening, step by step, while most Americans have been asleep at the switch. It is time to wake up, before we sleepwalk into thermonuclear World War III.

The Military Component

The collapse of the socialist states of Eastern Europe and then the Soviet Union in 1989-91 was a moment of great hope, for an end of the Cold War and the potential for the parties of the Cold War to cooperate in building a new world order based on peace through development. That moment was lost when the Anglo-American elite chose instead to declare itself “the only superpower” in a unipolar world, looting Russia and the former Soviet states, while seeking to either take Russia over, or to crush it. 

Promises were made to the Soviet Union—and thus to Russia as its recognized legal successor as a nuclear-weapons power—at the outset of this period, all of which have been broken over the past thirty years. Already in February of 1990 in Moscow, then Secretary of State James Baker promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that, in the wake of German reunification which came about later that year, if U.S. troops remained in Germany there would be no expansion of NATO “one inch to the East.” (This was confirmed in official U.S. files released in 2017.)

At that time, Soviet force structure in East Germany consisted of around 340,000 troops and extensive military infrastructure, weapons, and equipment. The terms of their withdrawal (eventually completed in 1994) and whether or not, under German reunification, NATO forces would replace them in that formerly Soviet-occupied section of Germany, were on the table. Other Eastern European countries, located to the east of East Germany, were still members of the Warsaw Treaty Organization (Warsaw Pact), whose dissolution was not then anticipated; that dissolution happened in July 1991, the month before the Soviet Union itself broke up. 

But the U.S. Department of Defense was plotting the expansion of NATO eastwards already by October of 1990. Although there were different policies being debated within the U.S. political leadership, planning for expansion was proceeding behind the scenes. 

On the surface, Russian relations with the trans-Atlantic powers remained non-adversarial for most of the 1990s. In the economic sphere, however, the “takeover” proceeded apace, with the adoption of London- and Wall Street-engineered economic reforms that resulted in the large-scale deindustrialization of Russia, and could have led to the annihilation of its military might. There was some planned dismantling of nuclear weapons in both East and West, with U.S. specialists providing on-site assistance in the transfer of nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and other now independent ex-Soviet areas back to Russia, as well as in the disposal of some of Russia’s own weapons.

On May 27, 1997, the NATO-Russia Founding Act1The Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security Between NATO and the Russian Federation. May 27, 1997. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_25470.htm?selectedLocale=en was signed, establishing the NATO-Russia Council and other consultation mechanisms. Among other things, the document declared that “NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries.” (Sec. 2, Para. 2) NATO described the document as “the expression of an enduring commitment, undertaken at the highest political level, to build, together, a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area.” (Sec. 2, Para. 2) 

Nonetheless, a shift began to occur in the late 1990s, driven by several events. One was that the imported economic reforms, promoting enormous financial speculation and the looting of Russian resources, led to a blow-out in August 1998 of the Russian government bond market (nearly triggering a meltdown of the global financial system because of bad bets placed on Russian securities by Wall Street and other hedge funds, as ex-Director of the International Monetary Fund Michel Camdessus later acknowledged).

In the wake of that collapse, Russia’s London- and Chicago-trained liberal “young reformers” were replaced by a government under the leadership of former Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and military-industrial planner Yuri Maslyukov, who acted swiftly to stem the collapse of the remainder of Russia’s industry.

A second factor in Russia’s troubles at that time was the escalation of terrorist separatist movements in Russia’s North Caucasus region, which Russian intelligence services had solidly identified as being backed and egged on not only by Wahhabite Islamic fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia, but also by U.S. and UK intelligence agencies directly. In summer 1999, these networks attempted to split the entire North Caucasus out of Russia.

Also in the late 1990s, NATO boosted its involvement in the Bosnian War and other Balkan Peninsula conflicts among the former components of Yugoslavia, which had broken up. This meddling peaked with NATO’s bombing of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, in March-June 1999 without authorization of the United Nations Security Council. This action shocked Moscow with the realization that NATO was prepared to act unilaterally, as it wished, without international consensus. 

In July 1997, at a NATO Summit in Madrid, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were invited to join NATO, which they formally did in 1999. This was the first of five rounds of NATO expansion. In 2004, all three Baltic countries (formerly republics within the Soviet Union proper), and Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia were admitted. Four more Balkan countries joined in the years following, bringing NATO’s membership up to its current level of 30 countries. 

Vladimir Putin, in his Dec. 21, 2021 address to an expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board, expressed Moscow’s view of the importance of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and its subsequent betrayal by NATO:

Take the recent past, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when we were told that our concerns about NATO’s potential expansion eastwards were absolutely groundless. And then we saw five waves of the bloc’s eastward expansion. Do you remember how it happened? All of you are adults. It happened at a time when Russia’s relations with the United States and main member states of NATO were cloudless, if not completely allied.

I have already said this in public and will remind you of this again: American specialists were permanently present at the nuclear arms facilities of the Russian Federation. They went to their office there every day, had desks and an American flag. Wasn’t this enough? What else is required? U.S. advisors worked in the Russian government—career CIA officers, [who] gave their advice. What else did they want? What was the point of supporting separatism in the North Caucasus, with the help of even ISIS—well, if not ISIS, there were other terrorist groups. They obviously supported terrorists. What for? What was the point of expanding NATO and withdrawing from the ABM Treaty?

As Putin noted, the United States, under the George W. Bush Administration, began to dismantle the system of strategic arms control assembled during the Cold War, beginning in 2002 with the U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, just a few months after Putin had extended an offer of strategic cooperation with the United States following the 9/11 attacks.

The U.S. administration quickly began planning for a global ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) in Europe and Asia, which in Europe led to the first sailing of an American guided missile destroyer equipped with the Aegis anti-missile missiles (the USS Arleigh Burke) into the Black Sea in the spring of 2012. In 2016 would come the inauguration of an “Aegis Ashore” installation—the same system, but land-based—in Romania, and the start of construction of a similar site in Poland.

At a conference in Moscow in May of 2012, then Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov provided extensive documentation, with video animations, of the fact that the BMDS was not aimed primarily at Iran, but did, in its intended later phases, represent a threat to Russia’s strategic deterrent. Putin and other Russian officials have also emphasized the possibility of the defensive (anti-missile) systems being quickly reconfigured as missile launchers for direct attack.

An increasingly sharper Russian response to the U.S./NATO pursuit of these programs and to the rejection of Russia’s offers of cooperation was also evident in the contrast between two speeches President Putin gave in Germany: before the Bundestag (Parliament) on September 25, 2001, and at the Munich Security Conference in 2007.

 Putin spoke to the Bundestag, in German, just two weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. in 2001. He had called President Bush within hours of that attack—he was the first foreign leader to call—offering full Russian support for the U.S. in the moment of crisis. He told the Germans: “The Cold War is over,” and posed a vision of global collaboration in building a new paradigm based on collaboration of the nations of the world. 

Then on February 10, 2007, Putin delivered a landmark speech at the annual Munich Security Conference. The Western media and some people who were present, including the war-monger U.S. Senator John McCain, denounced it as belligerent, and it became a point of departure for the subsequent demonization of Putin. But it was not an aggressive speech. Putin simply made clear that Russia was not going to be trampled underfoot, as a subjugated nation in a unipolar imperial world.

Almost all international media ignored how he opened the speech, with a carefully chosen quotation from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat of September 3,1939, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland that had marked the outbreak of World War II. FDR said, and Putin quoted, “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.” This speech was the signal that, speaking in strategic terms, Russia was “back.”

In July 2007, Putin attempted to avert the crossing of a line that Moscow defined as a fundamental threat to Russian security, namely the installation of the American BMDS directly at Russia’s borders. Visiting President George W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine, he proposed joint Russian-American development and deployment of anti-missile systems, including an offer to the U.S. administration to use the Russian early-warning radar in Gabala, Azerbaijan as part of a mutual Russian-American missile defense system for Europe, instead of the American BMDS planned for installation in Poland and the Czech Republic (the latter was changed to Romania). Putin also offered to give the U.S. access to a radar facility in southern Russia, and to place coordination of the process with the NATO-Russia Council.

Sergei Ivanov, then a deputy prime minister, said that the Russian proposals signified a fundamental change in international relations, and could mean an end to talk about a new Cold War:

If our proposals are accepted, Russia will no longer need to place new weapons, including missiles, in the European part of the country, including Kaliningrad.

Negotiations between Russian and American officials over the Russian proposal were conducted throughout 2008, before petering out. Key to their failure was the vehemence of Washington’s refusal to abandon construction of the BMDS. In the words of then Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Stephen Mull:

What we do not accept is that Gabala is a substitute for the plans that we’re already pursuing with our Czech and Polish allies. We believe that those installations are necessary for the security of our interests in Europe.

Clearly, the target was not Iran, but Russia, and the opportunity for a new paradigm was lost. 

At the April 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Georgia and Ukraine were promised future NATO membership, although they were not offered formal Membership Action Plans (MAP). Their bids, nonetheless, were welcomed by many and they were left with hopes of MAPs in the future, maybe the near future—enough so that the Georgians declared:

The decision to accept that we are going forward to an adhesion to NATO was taken and we consider this is a historic success.

In August 2008, while President Dmitri Medvedev was on vacation and then Prime Minister Putin was at the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, Mikheil Saakashvili’s Georgia attacked Russian peacekeepers in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia, leading to a short but ferocious war, which Georgia lost. The fact that Saakashvili acted on the assumption he would have full NATO backing, although it proved wrong in the event, was not lost on Moscow and has influenced subsequent Russian thinking about what would happen with Georgia or Ukraine becoming full NATO members.

Ukraine

In December 2008, in the wake of Georgia’s military showdown with Russia, Carl Bildt and Radek Sikorski, the foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland, respectively, initiated the European Union’s “Eastern Partnership.” It targeted six countries that were formerly republics within the Soviet Union: three in the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and three in East Central Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine). They were not to be invited to full EU membership, but were nevertheless drawn into a vise through so-called EU Association Agreements (EUAA), each one centered on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).

The prime target of the effort was Ukraine. Under the EUAA negotiated with Ukraine, but not immediately signed, the country’s industrial economy would be dismantled, trade with Russia savaged (with Russia ending its free-trade regime with Ukraine to prevent its own markets from being flooded via Ukraine), and EU-based market players would grab Ukraine’s agricultural and raw materials exports. 

Furthermore, the EUAA mandated “convergence” on security issues, with integration into European defense systems. Under such an arrangement, the long-term treaty agreements on the Russian Navy’s use of its crucial Black Sea ports on the Crimean Peninsula—a Russian area since the 18th Century, but administratively assigned to Ukraine within the USSR in the early 1950s—would be terminated, ultimately giving NATO forward-basing on Russia’s immediate border.

Turning Ukraine against Russia had been a long-term goal of Cold War Anglo-American strategic planners, as it was earlier of Austro-Hungarian imperial intelligence agencies during World War I. After World War II, up until the mid-1950s, the U.S.A. and UK supported an insurgency against the Soviet Union, a civil war that continued on the ground long after peace had been signed in 1945.

The insurgents were from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and remnants of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The OUN had been founded in 1929 from a template similar to that which produced the Italian and other European fascist movements. Its leader, Stepan Bandera, was an on-again/off-again ally of the Nazis, and the OUN-UPA, under an ethnic-purist ideology, committed mass slaughter of ethnic Poles and Jews in western Ukraine towards the end of World War II. In Europe after the War, Bandera was sponsored by British MI6 (intelligence), while CIA founder Allen Dulles shepherded Gen. Mykola Lebed, another OUN leader, into the U.S.A., despite strong opposition from U.S. Army Intelligence, based on Lebed’s record of collaboration with the Nazis and war crimes.

Next-generation followers of Lebed, whose base of operations—the Prolog Research Corporation in New York City—was funded by Dulles’s CIA for intelligence-gathering and the distribution of nationalist and other literature inside the U.S.S.R., staffed the U.S. Radio Liberty facility in Munich, Germany for broadcasting into Ukraine, up into the 1980s.2Taras Kuzio, “U.S. Support for Ukraine’s Liberation During the Cold War,” a study of Prolog Research and Publishing Corporation, Communist and Post-Communist Studies Vol. 45, Issue 1-2, June 2012, pp. 51-64.

When the U.S.S.R. broke up in August 1991, key Banderite leaders dashed into Lviv, far western Ukraine—a mere 1,240 km from Munich, 12 hours by car—and began to rebuild their movement. Lviv Region, which for many years had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, not the Russian, was the stronghold of the OUN’s heirs.

The Banderites’ influence got a boost after the 2004 Orange Revolution in Kiev. Backed by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the private foundations of financier George Soros, this was a so-called “color revolution,” which overturned the results of a Presidential election and, in a second vote, installed banker Victor Yushchenko as President. He was voted out in 2010 because of popular opposition to his brutal austerity policies (generated by IMF-dictated formulae for privatization and deregulation), but not before overseeing a revision of the official history of Ukraine’s relations with Russia in favor of a radical, anti-Russian nationalism (whereas, historically, there had been a strong tendency among Ukrainian patriots and advocates of independence to prefer a long-term alliance with Russia).

The Lviv-based Banderites, meanwhile, recruited and strengthened their movement, and held paramilitary summer camps for young people in the Ukrainian countryside and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. At times, the instructors included off-duty military officers from NATO countries. In 2008, Yushchenko first applied for NATO to grant Ukraine a Membership Action Plan.

The turning point for Ukraine’s status as a potential trigger in the current war danger came in 2014. Ongoing efforts to get Ukraine to finalize its EUAA were rejected as untenable by the Viktor Yanukovych government in November 2013, when it became clear that free-trade provisions giving European goods unlimited access to the Russian market through Ukraine would bring retaliatory measures by Ukraine’s biggest trade partner, Russia, to counter this assault on Russia’s own producers, and thus would backfire against the Ukrainian economy. When Yanukovych on November 21 announced postponement of the EU deal, long-laid Banderite plans to turn Ukraine into a tool for isolating and demonizing Russia were activated. 

Protesters against Yanukovych’s EUAA postponement decision immediately began to assemble in Kiev’s Maidan (central square). Large numbers of ordinary people turned out, waving EU flags, because of the destruction of the Ukrainian economy under “shock” deregulation in the 1990s and the IMF-dictated policies of privatization and austerity throughout the Orange Revolution years. Many had desperately believed, as Ukrainian economist Natalia Vitrenko once put it, that the EUAA would bring them “wages like in Germany and benefits packages like in France.” A disproportionately high number of the demonstrators hailed from far western Ukraine, and pre-planned violence by the Banderite paramilitary group Right Sector was then used for systematic escalation of the Maidan.

Bloodshed and victims, all blamed on the regime, were then used to keep Maidan fervor and outrage going through to February 2014.3An EIR fact sheet, “British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis,” documents the pre-planning and the step-by-step escalation. EIR, Vol. 41, No. 20, May 16, 2014, pp. 21-38. https://larouchepub.com/other/2014/4120fact_sheet_brits_ukr.html Neo-Nazi and other fascist symbols defaced building walls and placards in the Maidan, but they did not deter public U.S. support of this process. Sen. John McCain addressed the mob in December 2013, while Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland passed out cupcakes and negotiated with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt regarding whom to place in office once Yanukovych was ousted. A Nuland-Pyatt phone discussion of this was caught on tape and circulated worldwide. 

On February 18, 2014, Maidan leaders announced a “peaceful march” on the Supreme Rada (parliament), which turned into an attack and touched off three days of street fighting. Peaking on February 20—a day of sniper fire from high buildings that killed both demonstrators and police—these clashes killed more than 100. Scrupulous research by Ukraine-born Prof. Ivan Katchanovski at the University of Ottawa, using video recordings and other direct evidence of these events, has convincingly shown that the majority of the sniper fire came from the Maidan’s paramilitary positions, not the government’s Berkut special police forces.4See Ivan Katchanovski, “The ‘Snipers’ Massacre’ on the Maidan in Ukraine,” Social Science Research Network, Sept. 9, 2015, 79 pages. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2658245 

On February 21, 2014, a trio of Maidan leaders, including Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the man hand-picked by Nuland to be Ukraine’s next prime minister, signed an agreement with President Yanukovych, committing both sides to a peaceful transition of power: constitutional reform by September, presidential elections late in the year, and the turning in of weapons. The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia helped negotiate it, with a representative from Moscow as an observer. When this document was taken to the Maidan, a young Banderite militant seized the onstage microphone to lead its rejection by the mob, and threatened Yanukovych’s life if he didn’t step down by morning. Yanukovych left Kiev that night. The Rada unconstitutionally installed an acting president. 

Among the new government’s first measures was for the Rada to strip Russian and other “minority” languages of their status as regional official languages. (As of the 2001 census, Russian was spoken throughout the country and considered “native” by one-third of the population.) This, with other measures announced from Kiev, fanned major opposition to the coup, centered in eastern Ukraine—the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the Donbas) and Crimea. Civil conflict erupted in both areas, with local groups seizing government buildings. 

In Crimea, the insurgency against the coup-installed Kiev regime prevailed. A referendum held March 16, 2014 in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (a separate jurisdiction on the peninsula), asked voters whether they wanted to join the Russian Federation or retain Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine. In Crimea, 97% of the 83% of eligible voters who turned out, voted for integration into the Russian Federation; in Sevastopol, the result was likewise 97% for integration, while the turnout was even higher, at 89%.

There was no “Russian military invasion of Ukraine.” On March 1 President Putin sought and received authorization from the Federal Assembly (the legislature) to deploy Russian forces on Ukrainian territory, citing threats to the lives of Russian citizens and Russian-ethnic residents of Crimea; these were troops from the Russian Black Sea Fleet facilities in and around Sevastopol, already stationed in Crimea. 

The fate of two Donbas self-declared republics in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (Regions), was not settled so quickly. Support from within Russia for these insurgents was unofficial, including the involvement of Russian military veterans on a volunteer basis. The Donbas conflict turned into heavy fighting in 2014-15, continuing at a lower level until now; more than 13,000 people have been killed in the past seven years. Defeats of Kiev’s forces by the Donbas militia, including their gaining full control of the Donetsk International Airport in January 2015, set the stage for Kiev’s agreement to a ceasefire.

After one false start—the so-called Minsk Protocol in September 2014—an interim state of affairs in the Donbas was agreed to in the February 2015 “Minsk II” accord between the regime in Kiev, then under President Peter Poroshenko, and representatives of the self-declared Donbas republics, which was negotiated by Kiev, France, Germany and Russia with support from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It provided for a ceasefire, pullback of weapons, prisoner exchanges, and humanitarian relief, as well as a political settlement within Ukraine. This envisaged a special status for the Donbas, with extensive regional autonomy including the “right of linguistic self-determination.” Re-establishment of Ukraine’s “full control” over its border with Russia in the Donbas was to occur following provisional granting of the special status and after local elections. The special status was to be enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution by the end of 2015. 

The UN Security Council endorsed Minsk II on February 17, 2015. It remains unimplemented, because Kiev almost immediately refused to conduct the elections or fully legalize the special status, until first being given control over the Donbas-Russia border. Today, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government in Kiev refuses even to meet with Donbas leaders for negotiations, and continues to claim that the Donbas is under Russian “occupation,” and therefore Kiev should talk only with Russia, not the Donbas leaders. Sporadic fighting has continued, with a new escalation of shelling across the “line of contact” between the Donbas entities and the rest of Ukraine.

A New U.S. War Posture

The Trump Administration accelerated the take-down of the entire architecture of international arms-control agreements by withdrawing the U.S. from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov in 1987, and the Open Skies Treaty, negotiated by NATO and the Warsaw Pact nations in 1992. This left the New START Treaty (Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, signed by the U.S. and the Russian Federation in 2010) as the last of the existing arms control agreements—the one covering heavy intercontinental missiles. Upon taking office this year, President Joe Biden extended the New START Treaty for five years, a decision welcomed by Moscow. 

On January 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense released its new National Defense Strategy. “Great power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” said the then Secretary of Defense James Mattis in a speech describing the document:

We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models—pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.

Hours later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, in response to the release of the new Pentagon strategy:

We regret that, instead of conducting a normal dialogue, instead of relying on international law, the United States seeks to prove its leadership through confrontational concepts and strategies.

All throughout this time period, Moscow has protested these confrontational actions, but to no avail. “Despite our numerous protests and pleas, the American machine has been set into motion, the conveyer belt is moving forward,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his dramatic March 1, 2018 address to the Federal Assembly, in which he publicly announced the new generation of strategic weapons that Russia had under development, at least two of which, the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle for ICBMs and the Kinzhal aeroballistic missile, have since been introduced into service.

The Economic Component

Beginning in March 2014, right after the February 2014 coup in Kiev, the United States imposed financial and economic sanctions on Russia, purportedly over Crimea and the Donbas republics. These sanctions have included five Acts of Congess, six Presidential Executive Orders, ten “Directives pursuant to Executive Orders” and two additional Presidential “Determinations.” This, according to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list. There have of course been other sanctions, property seizures, diplomatic expulsions for other alleged reasons, as well as other forms of economic warfare. All of the Ukraine/Crimea-related sanctions remain in effect; none have been lifted. The last major new round of sanctions was imposed in 2018 (the CAATSA Act), coinciding with new sanctions over the Sergei Skripal poisoning case.

According to various estimates, the resultant cost to Russia’s economy of all of these sanctions (in GDP accounting) has been in the range of $250-400 billion, with comparable losses imposed on European economies.

In addition, in 2016 and 2017, President Putin accused the Barack Obama Administration of having conspired with Saudi Arabia to lower the price of oil and thereby damage the Russian economy. During the Trump Administration, that appeared not to continue, as Russia and Saudi Arabia made two significant production-pricing agreements on oil, the second in 2019 with Trump Administration participation of some kind. 

In 2021, the crisis came to a head.

2021 Timeline

February 2: The U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings published an article by Adm. Charles A. Richard, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, in which he claimed that the risk of nuclear war with Russia or China was increasing and called for action. 

There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state. Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from “nuclear employment is not possible” to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility,” and act to meet and deter that reality.

March 15: The U.S. Army-led DEFENDER-Europe 21 exercise began and ran through the month of June, involving 28,000 troops from 27 different countries. The exercise included “nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas” in a dozen countries, reported Army Times

March 16: The UK Government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson released its Integrated Review of security, defense, development, and foreign policy. The report, among other things, announced that the UK nuclear warhead stockpile would be increased from 180 to 260 warheads. This was decided “in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats….” 

April 1: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran “to discuss the regional security situation,” the Pentagon reported, condemning the supposed “escalations of Russian aggressive and provocative actions in eastern Ukraine.” Austin assured Taran:

Washington will not give up on Ukraine in case Russia escalates aggression. [And] in the event of an escalation of Russian aggression, the United States will not leave Ukraine to its own devices, and neither will it allow Russia’s aggressive aspirations toward Ukraine to be realized.

April 13: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Northern Fleet headquarters in Severomorsk, where he said that the United States and its NATO allies were building up naval and land forces in the Arctic, increasing the intensity of combat training, and expanding and modernizing military infrastructure.

This activity is typical not only for the Arctic region. Over the past three years, the North Atlantic bloc has increased its military activity near the Russian borders.

Shoigu then commented on the DEFENDER-Europe 21 exercise:

Now American troops are being transferred from the continental part of North America across the Atlantic to Europe. There is a movement of troops in Europe to the Russian borders. The main forces are concentrated in the Black Sea region and the Baltic region…. In total, 40,000 military personnel and 15,000 units of weapons and military equipment, including strategic aviation, will be concentrated near our territory…. In response to the Alliance’s military activities threatening Russia, we have taken appropriate measures.

Within three weeks, two Russian armies and three formations of the airborne troops were successfully transferred to the western borders of the Russian Federation performing combat training tasks.

The troops have shown full readiness and ability to perform tasks to ensure the military security of the country.

April 15: The Biden White House issued an Executive Order (EO 14024) proclaiming that Russia’s various so-called malign actions “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

That EO contained a series of new sanctions against Russia, including expelling ten diplomats, blacklisting six Russian technology companies, sanctioning 32 entities and individuals, and—most importantly—prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021, by the Russian government and its financial institutions.

The explicitly stated purpose of the measures was to trigger voluminous capital flight and a “negative feedback loop” that would wreak havoc on the Russian economy. A background briefing by an unnamed senior administration official elaborated:

There are elements of this new EO that give us additional authorities that we are not exercising today … We are prepared, going forward, to impose substantial and lasting costs if this [Russian] behavior continues or escalates … We’re also delivering a clear signal that the President has maximum flexibility to expand the sovereign debt prohibitions if Russia’s maligned [sic] activities continue or escalate.

The latter was widely understood as a threat that further sanctions could follow barring participation in the far more important secondary bond market, and even escalate to the so-called “nuclear option” of expelling Russia from SWIFT.5 Created in 1973, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), headquartered in Belgium, serves as an intermediary of financial transactions to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions, among more than 11,000 affiliated banks and other financial institutions in over 200 countries.

June 14: The EO announced on April 15, 2021 officially went into effect—two days before the June 16, 2021 summit between presidents Biden and Putin. 

June 23: The Russian Defense Ministry announced that a Russian warship fired warning shots at the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender, which it said had violated Russia’s maritime border around Crimea in the Black Sea. HMS Defender had entered waters in the vicinity of Crimea’s Cape Fiolent that are within Russian sovereign territory, and it had ignored warnings to depart the area. Not mentioned in the press coverage but visible on flight tracking websites was an U.S. Air Force RC-135V electronic intelligence aircraft, which was rounding the west coast of Crimea at the time of the Russian naval encounter with the Defender.

The BBC, which had one of its own reporters on board the British warship, confirmed that the HMS Defender deliberately entered waters claimed by Russia in order to provoke a response from Russian forces:

This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russia. HMS Defender was going to sail within the 19 km (12 mile) limit of Crimea’s territorial waters.

June 23: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu again warned of the strategic danger facing Europe in an address to the Moscow Conference on International Security:

As a whole, the situation in Europe is explosive and requires specific steps to de-escalate it. The Russian side has proposed a number of measures. For example, it put forward a proposal to move the areas of drills away from the contact line. 

Shoigu also pointed to Russia’s proposal for a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in Europe, calling them “a special danger” for Europe because their deployment in Europe “will return to the situation, when the Europeans were hostage to the confrontation between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.”

Speaking at the same conference, Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, pointed to NATO as a destabilizing factor:

NATO’s naval activity near our borders has grown considerably. Warships outfitted with long-range precision weapons are operating in the Black and Baltic Seas constantly, while reconnaissance, patrol and attack aircraft and also unmanned aerial vehicles are performing their flights. The operations by the warships of the United States and its allies are clearly of a provocative nature…. Preconditions are being created for the emergence of incidents, which does not contribute to reducing military tensions.

September 20: NATO kicked off Exercise Rapid Trident 21 at the Yavoriv training range in western Ukraine, with 6,000 troops from 15 countries, including 300 from the U.S. The drills are “an important step towards Ukraine’s European integration,” said Brigadier General Vladyslav Klochkov, co-director of the exercises. 

October 6: NATO ordered the expulsion of eight diplomats from the Russian mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels, alleging that they were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers.” Moscow retaliated Oct 18 by announcing that Russia’s mission to NATO would shut down and the NATO information office in Moscow would be closed and its staff stripped of their accreditation.

“If anyone ever believed in the sincerity of those statements [from NATO], there are none left today. Their true price is clear for everyone,” said Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Grushko, in response to the NATO action.

October 19: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin landed in Kiev and, speaking at a press conference at the Defense Ministry, promised the regime’s leaders that the U.S. will back it in its conflict with Russia:

Let me underscore what President Biden said during President Zelensky’s recent visit to Washington. U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering. So, we again call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea … to stop perpetuating the war in eastern Ukraine … to end its destabilizing activities in the Black Sea and along Ukraine’s borders … and to halt its persistent cyber-attacks and other malign activities against the United States, and our Allies and partners.

He noted that the U.S. has spent $2.5 billion in support of Ukraine’s military forces “so that they can preserve their country’s territorial integrity and secure its borders and territorial waters.”

“I think our posture in the region continues to present a credible threat against Russia and it enables NATO forces to operate more effectively should deterrence fail,” Austin said the following day in Romania. “And I think this is borne out of our commitment to sustaining a rotational U.S. force presence.”

October 21: The NATO defense ministers, on the first day of their meeting in Brussels, endorsed “a new overarching plan to defend our Alliance.…” The new plan includes: “significant improvements to our air and missile defenses, strengthening our conventional capabilities with fifth generation jets, adapting our exercises and intelligence, and improving the readiness and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance has been increasing its presence on the Black Sea, “because the Black Sea is of strategic importance for NATO.” 

October 21: Putin warned in a speech to the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi that Ukraine doesn’t even have to be formally brought into the NATO alliance to pose a strategic threat to Russia:

Formal membership in NATO ultimately may not happen, but the military development of the territory is already underway. And this really poses a threat to the Russian Federation … Tomorrow, rockets could appear near Kharkov, what are we going to do about it? It’s not us placing our missiles there, it’s them shoving theirs under our nose.

Putin cited NATO’s promise not to move its infrastructure eastwards after the reunification of Germany, a promise which it did not keep:

Everyone from all sides said that after the unification, in no circumstances would NATO infrastructure move toward the East. Russia should have been able to at least rely on that. That’s what they said, there were public statements. But in practice? They lied … and then they expanded it once, and then they expanded it again.

October 30: The Washington Post, citing unnamed officials, reported that the Russians were engaged in another buildup of troops along the border with Ukraine. The article’s authors said the troop movements have reignited concerns that arose in April.

“The point is: It is not a drill. It doesn’t appear to be a training exercise. Something is happening. What is it?” said Michael Kofman, Program Director of the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based nonprofit analysis group CNA. 

November 1: Politico published satellite imagery purporting to show a Russian troop buildup near the Ukrainian border, including armored units, tanks, and self-propelled artillery, along with ground troops massing near the Russian town of Yelnya close to the border with Belarus. Elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army were spotted in the area. The army “has been designed to conduct operations at every level of combat from counterinsurgency to mechanized warfare,” Jane’s analysis reported. 

Even the Ukrainian Defense Ministry denied the reported Russian military buildup, stating officially: “As of November 1, 2021, an additional transfer of Russian units, weapons and military equipment to the state border of Ukraine was not recorded.”

November 2: The Russian Security Council announced that CIA Director William Burns was in Moscow for two days of talks with Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council. According to leaks reported by CNN on November Nov. 5, Biden sent Burns to Moscow to tell the Russians to stop their troop buildup near Ukraine’s border, which the U.S. was monitoring closely. 

November 8: For the first time, a Resolution passed by both Houses of Congress voiced the demand for “crushing sanctions” on Russia’s economy, purportedly to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, because, in the words of Sen. James Risch, “Russia is creating and weaponizing this energy crisis.” Sen. Ron Johnson said the U.S should “use crushing sanctions to stop the pipeline.” Sen. Tom Cotton added: “The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will expand Russian influence and threaten energy security throughout Europe. Since the Biden administration won’t hold Putin accountable, Congress must take action to ensure our NATO allies aren’t hostage to Russian energy.”

November 11: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that Russia is prepared to act against any NATO provocations:

If necessary, we will take measures to ensure our security if there are provocative actions by our opponents near our borders. I’m referring to NATO and NATO forces that are taking rather active and assertive actions in close proximity to our borders, be it in the air, on water, or on land.

November 16: British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace met in Kiev with Ukrainian President Zelensky, and signed a joint statement with Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. Zelensky “thanked Ben Wallace for the unwavering support of the UK for the independence and territorial integrity of our country within its internationally recognized borders,” according to a statement issued by his office. Zelensky “also praised the signing of the Ukrainian-British Bilateral Framework Agreement on official credit support for the development of the Ukrainian fleet’s capabilities:

The United Kingdom has become our key partner in building the Ukrainian fleet. I expect that future security projects planned under this agreement will be effectively implemented.

November 18: During an address to a meeting of the Russian Foreign Policy Board, President Putin protested the repeated flights of U.S. bombers close to Russia’s borders:

Indeed, we constantly express our concerns about these matters and talk about red lines, but of course, we understand that our partners are peculiar in the sense that they have a very—how to put it mildly—superficial approach to our warnings about red lines.

Putin repeated that Russian concerns about NATO’s eastward expansion “have been totally ignored.”

November 19: U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines landed in Brussels to brief NATO ambassadors on U.S. intelligence on the situation and the possibility of a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. 

NATO’s Stoltenberg suggested that if the new German government (which was still the subject of coalition negotiations) were to pull out of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangement, the B61 nuclear bombs currently stored in Germany could be moved eastwards:

Of course, it’s up to Germany to decide whether the nuclear arms will be deployed in this country, but there’s an alternative to this; the nuclear arms may easily end up in other European countries, including these to the east of Germany. 

That is, even closer to Russia’s border.

November 20: Ukrainian military intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov told Military Times, on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Conference, that Russia has more than 92,000 troops massed near Russia’s border with Ukraine and is preparing for an attack by the end of January or beginning of February 2022.

November 21: Bloomberg published a report citing unnamed sources saying that the U.S. had shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of 100,000 Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations, should Putin decide to invade.

November 30: Radio Free Europe reported that U.S. Republicans had blocked voting on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) until Nord Stream 2 sanctions were added to it, objecting that the Russia-to-Germany Baltic Sea pipeline will deny billions in annual revenue to “ally” Ukraine. (The overland pipeline from Yamal in Siberia to Europe traverses Ukraine, which collects transit fees.) 

December 5: Neo-con Democrat Michèle Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under President Barack Obama, appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and declared that President Biden, in his upcoming December 7 video-conference summit with Putin, was going to threaten “much more severe” financial/economic sanctions on Russia than anything previously done:

[What] the administration is actively considering with our allies, is an escalating set of sanctions that go beyond what’s been done before. I’m sure they are looking at sanctioning the banking system, sanctioning the energy sector, possibly cutting off Russia from the SWIFT system,@5 which enables all of their international financial transactions. So, they’re looking at much more serious means … much greater level of pain than anything [that Russia has faced to date]. 

December 6: The day before the Biden-Putin video conference, an anonymous senior White House official briefed the press that all NATO allies had agreed on a package of “financial sanctions that would impose significant and severe economic harm on the Russian economy” should Russia invade Ukraine:

We believe that there is a way forward here that will allow us to send a clear message to Russia there will be genuine and meaningful and enduring costs to choosing to go forward—should they choose to go forward—with a military escalation…. We have had intensive discussions with our European partners about what we would do collectively in the event of a major Russian military escalation in Ukraine, and we believe that we have a path forward that would involve substantial economic countermeasures by both the Europeans and the United States, We have put together a pretty damn aggressive package.

In its coverage, CNN raised the “nuclear option” directly:

Officials have also been weighing disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT international payment system, upon which Russia remains heavily reliant, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. This is being considered a “nuclear” option. The European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution in the spring calling for such a move should Russia invade Ukraine, and the U.S. has been discussing it with EU counterparts.

Later the same day, after Biden had personally spoken with European leaders, the White House issued a statement which did not mention financial sanctions or significant economic damage to Russia. It said, “diplomacy is the only way forward to resolve the conflict in Donbas through the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”

December 7: Presidents Biden and Putin held a video conference summit, after which National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan assured the media that Biden—

told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures, and would provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians, above and beyond that which we are already providing, [and that the United States] would fortify our NATO allies on the eastern flank, with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.

Biden himself emphasized later that he was considering Putin’s demand for security guarantees, which later resulted in Russia’s proposals (see below).

December 12: The new German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, declared on a national television interview that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could not become operational because, according to the German government coalition agreements, the pipeline was not consistent with European energy law.

The previous government of Chancellor Angela Merkel had found the opposite. Baerbock, a war-hawk Green Party leader, did not explain the reversal. The Hill pointed out that the Greens want Ukraine in NATO.

December 17: The Russian Foreign Ministry released two draft treaties specifying guarantees for Russia’s security, one, an agreement between Russia and NATO, and the other, a treaty between Russia and the United States.

Both documents call for recognizing a principle of “non-interference in the internal affairs” of each other, acknowledge that a “direct military clash between them could result in the use of nuclear weapons that would have far-reaching consequences,” reaffirm “that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and recognize “the need to make every effort to prevent the risk of outbreak of such war among States that possess nuclear weapons.”

The operative part of the U.S.-Russia treaty calls for refraining from taking actions “that could undermine core security interests of the other Party.” Cognizant of the drive for NATO-ization of Ukraine, Article 4 states:

The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of NATO and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former U.S.S.R.

And,

The United States of America shall not establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former U.S.S.R. that are not members of NATO, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.

It goes on to state that the Parties (the U.S. and Russia) will not take military actions outside their own borders that threaten each other’s national security, or fly bombers or sail warships outside of their territorial waters in ways that would threaten each other. On the U.S.’ expansion of its nuclear weapons to include those stored in such locations of Germany, the treaty states,

The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed … to their national territories.

December 19: An anonymous senior White House official told CNN and other media that there was “only about a four-week window” to compel Russia to de-escalate and that U.S.-planned sanctions “would be overwhelming, immediate, and inflict significant costs on the Russian economy and their financial system.”

December 21: In an extensive report delivered to an expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated:

Tensions are growing on the western and eastern borders of Russia. The United States is intensifying its military presence at Russian borders. 

The United States and NATO are purposefully increasing the scale and intensity of military training activities near Russia. Increasingly, they involve strategic aviation, carrying out simulated launches of nuclear missiles at our facilities. The number of their flights near the Russian borders has more than doubled.

NATO pays special attention to the issues of the transfer of troops to the eastern flank of the alliance, including from the continental part of the United States. The exercises are practicing various options for using coalition groups against Russia with the use of non-aligned states—Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. 

The presence of more than 120 employees of American PMCs [private military companies] in Avdeevka and Priazovskoe settlements in Donetsk region has been reliably established. They equip firing positions in residential buildings and at socially significant facilities, prepare Ukrainian special operations forces and radical armed groups for active hostilities. To commit provocations, tanks with unidentified chemical components were delivered to Avdeevka and Krasny Liman cities.

Speaking at that same meeting of the Defense Ministry Board, Russian President Putin himself sounded the alarm:

What they [the United States] are doing on the territory of Ukraine now—or trying to do and going to do—this is not thousands of kilometers away from our national border. This is at the doorstep of our home. They must understand that we simply have nowhere to retreat further…. Do they think we don’t see these threats? Or do they think that we are so weak-willed to simply look blankly at the threats posed to Russia?

As I have already noted, in the event of the continuation of the obviously aggressive line of our Western colleagues, we will take adequate retaliatory military-technical measures, and react toughly to unfriendly steps. And, I want to emphasize, we have every right to do so, we have every right to take actions designed to ensure the security and sovereignty of Russia…. We are extremely concerned about the deployment of elements of the U.S. global missile defense system near Russia.


Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites Sends Relief Shipment to Mozambique—The World Needs a Modern Healthcare System in Every Nation

Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites

December 15, 2021: Media Release:

Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites Sends Relief Shipment to Mozambique—The World Needs a Modern Healthcare System in Every Nation

The Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites announced today that it has completed its initial pilot project of relief aid to Mozambique. The Committee has sent a significant financial donation for the purchase of food that has been received by the World Food Program office in Mozambique, which will coordinate the purchase and distribution of food in the neediest region of Cabo Delgado. A representative physical shipment of air cargo boxes containing medicines, medical supplies, water purification tablets, and emergency high-protein supplements has also been collected in the Washington, D.C. area, and will be shipped directly to Maputo within the next few days.

The Committee was co-initiated during the late Summer/Fall of 2020 by Schiller Institute Founder and Chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders. This was in response to multiple crises: the COVID-19 pandemic; the equally catastrophic impending deaths of millions through global famine; and the large-scale international social unrest generated in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in the United States.

The purpose of the Committee is to demonstrate, by means of a few pilot projects, that “citizens without portfolio” can not only help mitigate tragic circumstances, but also inspire a larger-scale response and the collaboration of major governments, particularly involving the United States, Russia, and China, required to address these global crises. This is not simply a humanitarian or moral issue, but a strategic issue as well.

Over five million people worldwide have already died from COVID-19. New variants, including the more vaccine-resistant Omicron, threaten countless more lives. Nearly one billion people face food insecurity, two billion people do not have access to clean, safe, drinking water. These dire human crises continue to be left unaddressed, while tensions and the danger of war mount between the major political powers.

The Committee emphasizes that solving these crises requires full, modern health systems in every nation, which means not only hospitals and medical personnel, but also food, safe water, sanitation, electricity, decent housing, roads, and other infrastructure. This situation cries out for the approach of the “coincidence of opposites” from whence the Committee derives its name, which refers to a new type of thinking, first put forward by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) in his organization of the 1439 Council of Florence. The concept, then and now, calls for acting first for the common good of all mankind, and rejects pitting sub-groups against each other.

Over the past 15 months, the number of Committee members and collaborators has increased internationally to include medical personnel, farm leaders, civil rights and religious leaders, scholars, engineers, retired military and engineering experts and specialists—people from all walks of life. Many individuals have participated in the public dialogues at the Schiller Institute’s frequent international webcasts, and informally, in private discussions of initiatives. Notably, in Washington, D.C., the Committee has been instrumental in establishing a program in which youth corps volunteers were deployed to further the rate of COVID-19 community vaccination, to create a model for youth involvement in public health measures around the world.

Mozambique Initiative

Mozambique was selected as an initial area to receive aid, both because of the recent terrorism in the northern Cabo Delgado region, which has intensified the refugee crisis, and because of the ongoing food crisis, resulting from many factors, including the pandemic, low rainfall in 2021, cyclone damage, locusts, and decades of suppressed development in southern Africa. At present, 1.9 million people in Mozambique are estimated to be in varying degrees of food insecurity, out of population of 32 million.

This initiative has been spearheaded by Committee member Dr. Khadijah Lang, Chair of National Medical Association (NMA) Council on International Affairs and President of the Golden State Medical Association (California branch of NMA). The NMA is the largest and oldest national organization in the U.S. representing black physicians and their patients.

Dr. Walter Faggett, former Chief Medical Officer of the Washington, D.C. Department of Health, has played a pivotal role.

Dr. Lang has led three prior humanitarian missions to Mozambique, delivering donated supplies and providing training to medical personnel. Scores of individuals from throughout the United States contributed funds or material supplies for our 2021 project. This aid package of food, medicine and medical supplies to Mozambique comes at a crucial time with Covid-19 cases surging by 140% over the recent period in Southern Africa, driven by the Omicron Covid variant centered in South Africa, which borders Mozambique.

It is the Committee’s intention that this initiative, while modest in scope, will provide a model for what can be done, and will help to spur immediate action in the neediest situations, in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Haiti and all others. For example, in the case of Afghanistan, where 18 million people are now threatened with starvation, and over 2,000 hospitals and health centers have been closed, Helga Zepp-LaRouche has issued an urgent call for “Operation Ibn Sina,” named after the great Islamic physician and philosopher of the 10th century. Its purpose is to free up the funds belonging to the Afghan nation, now withheld by U.S. and European banks, and to launch collaboration among the U.S., China, Russia, Afghanistan, and neighboring nations, to reconstruct Afghanistan, and in the meantime, to mobilize all necessary emergency provisions to prevent as many as 20 million people from starving.

This holiday season, as we prepare to enter a New Year, is a most appropriate moment for every individual and every nation to make a commitment to ensure the future of humanity. The Committee welcomes members and collaborators.

For Additional information on the Committee’s initiatives: 

Contact email: Lynne Speed –  lynnespeed@schillerinstitute.org


Pakistan TV Special Broadcast on OIC Extraordinary Meeting On Afghanistan Gets Briefing From Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Hussein Askary

Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—What follows are the exchanges with Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Hussein Askary on Pakistan’s PTV panel discussion on the Organization of Islamic Countries’ Extraordinary Meeting on Afghanistan. PTV’s host was Faisal Rehman. The two-part broadcast included in-studio guests, former Ambassador Naila Chuhan, and defense analyst Lt. Gen. Talat Masood (ret.), with Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche online from Germany; and in the second part, defense analyst Lt. Gen. Raza Muhammad Khan (ret.) and former Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi in studio, with Schiller Institute analyst Hussein Askary online from Sweden. Although time did not allow for transcribing the other guests, their remarks reflected important thinking, including our influence and is worth watching at this link

FAISAL REHMAN: Assalamualaikum, you’re watching PTV World, and I’m Faisal Rehman with a special cast mission on this very important OIC conference that has been held in Islamabad. And as we all know, the main reason is about the Afghan crisis. This is in fact the largest gathering after the Aug. 15, when the Taliban took over the regime in Afghanistan. As we all know, winter has approached, there are a lot of crisis, whether we talk about the economic upset that is there, or we talk about the banking collapse; there is lack of flow of money, so the government in Afghanistan currently can’t even pay the salaries of the government employees. And having said that, the crisis is so huge, that it is believed that 60% of the total population of Afghanistan is at the verge of almost starvation. There is no medical facilities as such, and the people are really depending on the neighboring countries, such as Pakistan, and Iran, perhaps; and on the northern side, the Central Asian countries as well.

But having said that, now the issue is so huge that Pakistan in fact took the initiative and called the OIC members to attend this very important summit, so that this particular issue could be taken care of.

And we all know the Western world isn’t supporting as such—the Americans, they have frozen their $9.5 billion U.S. dollars and that was much needed for the revival of their economy. And so the case is, from a lot of European countries as well, in fact, initially, they planned for help, but nothing has arrived so far.

As we will be running this transmission for the next three days, till Sunday, so this is the beginning in fact, and let us show you a report that our production team has prepared, and then I’ll introduce you to our panelists.

NARRATOR: A deepening humanitarian quandary of Afghanistan reflects the flawed approach of international community towards Afghanistan, with tragic consequences. The crumbling healthcare system, economic meltdown of aid-dependent economy, pandemic, food insecurity, access abated by drought, and harsh winter all combine to create a perfect storm for killing more Afghans than bullets. Raising further alarm, the UN envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said an estimated 60% of Afghanistan’s 38 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger in a food emergency that will likely worsen over the winter.

DEBORAH LYONS: “Now is not the time to turn away from the Afghan people. We must find ways to prevent an imminent humanitarian catastrophe and the terrible loss of life, that could happen over the winter.”

NARRATOR: According to UNICEF around 3.2 million Afghan children are acutely malnourished and 1.4 million children are at risk of dying because of severe acute malnutrition, unless we intervene with treatment. Explaining the country’s worst humanitarian disaster, Abdallah Al Dardari, the resident representative of the UNDP in Afghanistan, some 23 million people are in desperate need of food. The $20 billion economy could shrink by $4 billion or more, and 97% of the 38 million population are at risk of sinking into poverty.

As an emphatic gesture, Pakistan has announced $28 million medical, food, and other humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, while also authorizing the transport of food aid from India through Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The ensuing catastrophe is preventable as releasing the frozen funds, the Afghan Central Bank’s $9 billion reserves, most of which are held in the U.S. would alleviate the current humanitarian crisis. UNICEF official Samantha Markle noted that “This is no time for political brinksmanship. People in Afghanistan are dying and they need our support. Humanitarian aid is the last expression of human solidarity.” [end video]

REHMAN: And now to talk about it, let me introduce you to our panelists. We have with us in our studio, on my right is Ma’am Naila Chuhan. She is a former ambassador, senior diplomat. Thank you so much for your time. And we also have Lt. Gen. Talat Masood (ret.), who is a senior analyst—thank you also for your time. And on Skype we have with us from Germany, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of Schiller Institute: Thank you so much, Helga Zepp for your time as well. A pleasure to have you on the show….

I still remember, when as a kid, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and there were a lot of people who migrated to Pakistan. And at the Eid time, I remember, during that time period, a lot of planes used to come from Saudi Arabia and they would bring in meat for these people. So these is what we have seen during those crises, but currently it’s worse right now, but nothing is being done.

But let’s see what Miss Helga Zepp has to share with us. Ma’am, looking at the current Afghan crisis and the summit that Pakistan is having in Islamabad, now your take: what sort of hope do you have about the Afghan people, that, yes, there is going to be some sort of help in terms of cash and kind, both.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, first of all, I think it’s extremely important what Pakistan is doing right now, by hosting this summit—by Pakistan taking the leadership in a situation where the West has morally completely failed. I mean, this is a moral bankruptcy declaration, because, this is not a crisis which was not foreseeable, because, one week after the withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan was clear, that the country was in a complete shambles. And now, almost four months have passed since, and it is clear that more than 90% of the people are in danger of dying of hunger, of the cold in the freezing winter, and this has been known in the West for several months. But in the news, Afghanistan has completely disappeared from the Western media.

So I think this conference is a real chance to show who is the moral superior factor in the situation. And I’m so ashamed that the West is not capable of freeing—the money which is being withheld by the U.S. Treasury and the European banks, this money belongs to the Afghan people, and we are in a campaign with the Schiller Institute, both in the United States and in Western Europe to demand that these monies be unfrozen right away.

But I actually would like to mention something which is a little bit more hopeful element: I have called for an Operation Ibn Sina. Ibn Sina was probably the most famous doctor in the history of mankind, the most famous physician. He lived about one thousand years ago. And right now, to build a modern health system in Afghanistan, that would be the beginning of overcoming not only the humanitarian crisis, but also starting a real economic development and to give that the name of Ibn Sina, it would bring forward—and I would actually hope that OIC countries, being the Islamic countries of the would, that they would adopt Operation Ibn Sina. If they all would work together—Ibn Sina, the synonym for not only saving the Afghan people right now, in this incredible humanitarian crisis, but all working together to build up economically this country which has a very proud history. The whole region was once known as the Land of a Thousand Cities. Ibn Sina is not just a physician, but he was one of the great universal thinkers, who contributed a lot to philosophy and many areas of knowledge.

So, I think this is a moment where history can change in a positive way. I think the West has failed and now hopefully the Islamic countries, together with the neighboring countries of Afghanistan can step in. I mean, it’s unbelievable what is happening: that the world would know of such a humanitarian tragedy and not act, I think this is a point where people have to really think about what does that mean about the moral condition of the world? I think Operation Ibn Sina could be a tremendous change in the situation.

REHMAN: Now, a very interesting point, and let me take this debate to the lady in Germany: Mrs. Helga, now a couple of important points. One is when Mr. Hamid Karzai was gotten, nobody knew him. And he was there for two terms, because he was the blue-eyed boy of the Americans, certainly, when he made certain remarks, and he was pretty open. Then there was this, I would say, change, as far as the leadership was concerned, and two terms were given to Mr. Ashraf Ghani, who ended up running away, leaving the Afghan people. And interesting part is in every election, if was believed that they were rigged and they were so close that initially Abdullah Abdullah was made the Foreign Minister, and later on, again, since he was also running for President, he said, well, I’m the President; and he ended up becoming the CEO, and again then in the second term, he was again given another responsibility. Now the point is, if that is acceptable to the Americans, that Mr. John Kerry flies all the way from U.S.A., comes here, creates a new appointment, and settles down things—if that is acceptable, Ma’am, why is the Taliban regime not acceptable to the Americans? Is it because they’re ashamed of their loss in Afghanistan? Or perhaps, they never expected Taliban to take charge so quickly, within days, in fact?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, obviously, it is a shameful experience. I mean, the United States military is the strongest military on the planet, and combined with NATO, there is simply no other military force stronger—and to be defeated by essentially 65,000 Taliban fighters, is not exactly a heroic experience. I think some of the military who were involved are still licking their wounds, and they have a hard time to digest the fact that they really suffered an incredible defeat.

But that doesn’t take away the responsibility—I mean, in the history of military affairs, if you defeat an enemy, you have a certain responsibility for what happens. In the same way, even if you lose, the fact that the West, NATO and the United States, and the German Bundeswehr and many others, were for 20 years fighting in Afghanistan gives them a moral responsibility to deal with the people. And what is happening now, by sanctioning Afghanistan, by withholding the funds, they’re punishing the Afghan people! The Taliban in a certain sense, the argument that the Taliban are not respecting women’s rights, that may be true, but if you starve more than 90% of the population, you are doing much worse to the women. And the pictures of the dying children and dying babies, I would really like that these pictures should haunt the people who are withholding the help! There is no—this is bordering genocide! Because the effects are all known: Withholding the money right now, it’s the biggest crime I can imagine! So I think we have to really arouse the world public much more, because what you do, by doing this, you force the Taliban practically to go back to the drug production and the drug trade. The Taliban do not want to have drug production, it goes against their religious beliefs.

And in 2000, the UN [drug and crime] representative Pino Arlacchi was negotiating with the Taliban, and they gave up the drug production. The explosion of the drugs occurred after NATO came into the country, and now, by withholding the funds, you are forcing the Taliban to get money from somewhere. So this will have an incredible amount of deaths within Europe, in Russia, China, where the drugs will find their way to go.

It also means, if you say you have to have an opposition to the Taliban, well, you’re encouraging terrorism. I mean the refugee crisis. If this is not remedied very quickly, you will have millions of people trying to escape hunger and disease and the cold, and you will have a tremendous refugee crisis which will burden the neighboring countries. But these refugees who then try to get to Turkey or to Europe—there is just no explanation for what is happening right now which would have any rationale and justification.

I think hopefully this conference taking place in Islamabad right now, also would find an appeal to the rest of the world, to open their eyes. Because what’s at stake, these are the kinds of branching points, where you either go in the direction of becoming more human or becoming more barbarian. And right now, the West has clearly decided on the latter. And I think that has to be remedied.

REHMAN: According to our foreign minister, the Afghan interim foreign minister is also going to attend this conference, along with the Chinese delegation and the Russian, as well as the American. Now, since the American presence will be there, ma’am, do you think that the OIC members, if they agree—let’s suppose if they agree that countries like Saudi Arabia can provide fuel for a certain time, let’s say, for a year on deferred payments or something of that sort; a few countries, like Russia can provide wheat, because the wheat consumption is a lot in Afghanistan, so is the case with rice. Certain countries, Pakistan might, let’s suppose end up agreeing that the Indians can bring in food supplies via Pakistan to Afghanistan, there are these decisions—because this is also going to be some sort of a negotiation, that if India wants to help, we will let them help. But there has to be some sort of condition then; this is the way it should be. Because there is a lot trust deficit also.

Similarly, when we talk about this important point, that we’re not saying let’s accept the regime, but at least talk to them! Do you think this is the basic point from where we can start the negotiation?

Since our foreign minister was also throwing light on this very important aspect of humanitarian crisis, and he said, we will try our level best to sort this issue out, and he also said he had a meeting with the Secretary General of the OIC which was very productive.

Now, one quick comment: as far as the media is concerned, because you were saying there is no news about Afghanistan in the Western media, in Europe, is this story regarding this particular moot, where the OIC members are meeting in Islamabad, is that also a story in your television channels, or in the papers, or on the net?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: No. The coverage of Afghanistan has practically disappeared. There was a big upset in the immediate aftermath, after the troops went out, and for three or four weeks it was the issue, but in the three months, in Italy, in France, in Germany, you don’t find any coverage at all. I think if one follows the media from the region, a lot of very promising signs—for example, I thought the fact that India and Pakistan agreed to use the Pakistan route to transport food from India this was a very important step, and I know for India what happens in Afghanistan is also extremely important. So one could only wish that the regional cooperation is overcoming older geopolitical conflicts. Also naturally the meetings which took place in the Central Asian Republics involving Russia and China. But I think the question of the Extended Troika should also be pushed because I think the involvement of the United States in a constructive effort, that in my view is the breaking issue, because if the United States could be convinced to take a positive attitude it would be an extremely important stepping stone for an otherwise extremely dangerous geopolitical confrontation between the United States, and Russia and China.

So in a certain sense, to get all the forces internationally together to help Afghanistan is in my view one of the absolute, important historical missions. In a certain sense, I think the whole destiny of mankind is in a laser, concentrated on what happens in Afghanistan. So I would really hope that all the participating and affected countries would double and multiply their efforts to make saving Afghanistan an issue of the whole world, because right now it is now. And I think all channels must be used: media, United Nations, conferences: there must be a drumbeat, a drumbeat of awakening the conscience of the world, because I think this is sort of a judgment of our ability as a human species: Are we morally fit to survive or not?

So in one sense, I think the fate of Afghanistan and the fate of humanity are much more closely connected than most people can imagine.

REHMAN: Very well said, Ma’am. Very well said. And I hope, in fact, to close this segment of our transmission on this note. And Ma’am, when we talk about U.S. President Joe Biden, he thinks he is the champion of humanitarian crisis, he always talks about the issues all over the world, doesn’t speak much about Kashmir or Palestine, for that matter. Neither have we heard much from him regarding Afghanistan. I think this is the high time that all human beings are created equal, so I think this is something really important, and the Americans should take a lead, if they consider themselves as the globe leaders or the masters in that matter, they should definitely come up and come up with some sort of solution, proper remedy for this issue. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, thank you so much for your presence and it was a pleasure having you.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Thank you….

REHMAN: Welcome back to our transmission. We are talking about this very important OIC moot that is being held in Islamabad, to make sure that the humanitarian issues should be taken care of, that are posing a significant threat to the public of Afghanistan. As we know, they have the social issue, the economic problems, the bank which is at the verge of collapse. The accounts have been frozen, $9.5 billion of the Afghan people’s funds that is being held in the United States of America and other Western countries, that has been frozen and not released. There is acute shortage of food, and it is believed that 60% of the total population is at the verge of an absolute catastrophe. 1.1 million children can die if there is no appropriate help available at the right time; plus about 3.2 children are at the verge of starvation.

So a lot of issues in Afghanistan, and Pakistan has taken the initiative to have this moot in Islamabad, so the issue of Afghanistan should be raised and the Western countries should come forward and help the Afghan people.

Now, in our second portion we are joined by Lt. Gen. Raza Muhammad Khan (ret.) who is a senior analyst…. and former Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi, senior diplomat and former ambassador—Ma’am, a pleasure to have you on the show. And from Stockholm, Sweden, we’ve been joined by Hussein Askary, who’s an expert on international relations. A pleasure to have you, Askary, sir….

Now, coming to you Hussein Askary: $2.2 trillion being spent—wisely or otherwise, that’s a separate question—20 years of war in Afghanistan. And at the end of the day, millions of people got displaced, hundreds of thousands of them got killed. Around 55, 60 countries invaded. Not even one is there to support them, now. So perhaps they were there to liberate, but they couldn’t liberate, so from liberalization to starvation: 20 years, $2.2 trillion: What sort of economic equation is this, sir? Let’s throw light on it.

NAGHMANA HASHMI: It’s more like $6 trillion.

HUSSEIN ASKARY: Also your guests have correctly pointed to some very important things [about the nature of the OIC meeting, including the UNSC P5 countries, and what should be planned]. But I think Pakistan’s efforts to alleviate the situation in Afghanistan are laudable. I read the letter written by Foreign Minister [Shah Mahmood] Qureshi, and he correctly pointed out that the danger is looming, and the urgency of nations, both in the Islamic world, but also internationally to move, quickly, to both release the funds of the Afghan people, these funds, the $9.5 billion have been frozen in the United States and European banks, these belong to the Afghani nation, they don’t belong to the Taliban.

And your Foreign Minister also correctly pointed to the fact that there are millions of people in Afghanistan are now thinking about taking their children and moving outside of Afghanistan, to Iran, Pakistan, wherever they could. And this would be an even greater humanitarian crisis. But the international institutions like the World Food Program and others, have pointed out that there are millions, 20 million at least, of these people are threatened by starvation, and therefore there should be a first step is to unfreeze the funds of the Afghan people, because that would be the quickest way to get food, medicine and other needs for the Afghan people—in addition, of course, to the humanitarian aid. But that’s primary.

Now, the thing is, what we have seen, as you have pointed out, the crisis in Afghanistan is not caused by Taliban takeover. It is caused by 20 years of failures of the trans-Atlantic world, with trillions of dollars spent, only on military operations, security operations. As your guests said, they failed to build the capacity in Afghanistan, to produce food, to have decent healthcare, to have the basics of life produced inside Afghanistan. So this is a massive failures, and now we have this cynical game, where as your foreign minister has clearly pointed out that if you now starve the Afghan people, which is a crime, actually, against humanity—this collective punishment—what you will create is a chaotic security situation which will breed terrorism, it will breed mass emigration—it will breed the same things you claim to what to prevent.

So, this is a clear failure, but we are now mobilizing, that every effort should be made to resolve the situation, to get people in the United States and in Europe back to their senses. The Schiller Institute is involved in an international campaign to push the U.S. congress, to push the European politicians and governments, and humanitarian organizations are also supporting this effort, to unfreeze the funds of Afghanistan people, and start to work with the de facto government in Afghanistan, in Kabul to start humanitarian aid.

Now, the one important thing which your guests also pointed out, is related to the OIC, the Islamic nations have been suppressed, but that is because we had an era of geopolitics which has just ended in Afghanistan. Even President Biden said, the withdrawal from Afghanistan marks the end of an era. Now whatever he means by that, what we mean by that, is there is a new paradigm in international relations: the age of geopolitics, where you can pit one nation against the other, to make geopolitical gains—not really any service to humanity, and in that geopolitical game of divide and conquer, Islamic nations, Muslim nations were pitted against each other, like in Libya, then Syria, in Yemen, and it’s continuing until today! So it is time that we move away from geopolitics, including all the Muslim nations: They should not be involved in this geopolitical game of divide and conquer—and unite the effort to push the new paradigm which is exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the best vehicle to stretch the New Silk Road, this new strategy for reconstruction and win-win cooperation, into Afghanistan, and all the neighbors of Afghanistan will benefit from this, the world will benefit from this.

So this is the end of an era, and Muslim nations have to unite their efforts, also with other non-Muslim nations, like for example, we have in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This will lead us, as your guests said, into both alleviating the immediate humanitarian crisis, but also pave the wave to a long-term solution based on economic cooperation, building of infrastructure, and building a health platform, which our institute, as the chairwoman of our institute has discussed on your television broadcast: We have Operation Ibn Sina to create, starting with Afghanistan and Yemen, a healthcare platform, which is based on building the necessary infrastructure—water, power, transport, education and so on—to bring modern healthcare to the people. That’s the only way nations in the East and the West can work together, so we can close the chapter, the bloody chapter of geopolitics, which has extended now for 40 years—not only the last 20 years—and cost millions of lives, caused massive misery, mass emigration, as you experienced yourself in Pakistan. So this is an opportunity as well as a crisis time. So we should seize the opportunity to unite the efforts both of the Muslim nations, but also the international community, to bring a more human solution to the situation.

REHMAN: One quick comment before I return to our guests in the studio. Earlier we had a guest from Germany, and she was mentioning the fact that there is no news about Afghanistan in the Western media. And since you live in Scandinavia, and perhaps countries like Norway and even Sweden, or Denmark for that matter, Finland, these are the countries, the champions of humanitarian crises, and the sufferings of the people, they’re always very vocal about it. What is the current scenario? Is this moot also being talked about in the Western media, in particular in Scandinavia?

ASKARY: No, your guest from Germany was obviously correct. Afghanistan has disappeared from the media coverage. The only things that are reported are people shedding crocodile tears over the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, but they’re ignorant of the fact that these actions, the sanctions against Afghanistan are killing women and girls and children in Afghanistan. We have a few humanitarian organizations that have actually made public calls for relaunching the humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, so we have many Nordic organizations that have been involved in Afghanistan for many years, and now they are making public calls. They get a limited coverage. But remember that now the governments and the elites here in Scandinavia, in Europe generally, and also in the United States they are united now to focus on what they call “stopping China and Russia.” Because those countries, most of them in NATO, they failed in Afghanistan. But they want to shift the attention from their failure and the misery they have created in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so on, to saying that the problems of the world are because you have two authoritarian regimes in Russia and China, and we have to stop them. And this is complete madness, because what we will get is a World War III: It will be fought not by regular armies, but by nuclear weapons. And this is a recipe for the extinction of the human race!

So those people in the media are supporting the war machine here, even in Scandinavia, to focus on how to fight and stop Russia and China.

Now, Pakistan gets part of the blame in the situation here in the media, because they say Pakistan is supporting the Taliban, and this is really evil propaganda—

REHMAN: —at the end of the day, the narratives are always set by the Western world. And these are those narratives.

ASKARY: Yes, but there is a reality on the ground. It is reality which will determine the outcome of things, not what people say in the media, not what these intelligence agencies are writing and sending to the media to tell the people. There is a reality: The world has changed. The power of the world, the economic power of the world has moved to the East. We have massive social and economic problems here in Europe. We have an electricity crisis, right here in Europe! We have a healthcare crisis, right here in Europe! So these realities will determine which way nations will go, not what people in the military-industrial complex and their media agents are saying.

REHMAN: Perfectly said, perfectly said….

Last comment from you, closing remarks, Askary, sir.

ASKARY: Thank you very much. It has been a very enriching discussion here, I think. On the question of India, it is ironical that it was on your television, or another program perhaps, I suggested a month before India decided to send wheat through Pakistan, that India and Pakistan should work together on economic cooperation. Forget about all the British geopolitics that have created the Kashmir problems and other problems: that there’s a way for India to come back to its geo-economic and cultural environment. India is not an Atlantic country. There is an identity crisis in India. They want to have one foot in Asia, but the other foot in the Atlantic, and that is creating big problems for India.

There is a reality which India cannot surpass, which is a geographical, cultural, historical situation, and this is a very good case of that geo-economics, is superior geopolitics. And it was a welcome thing when I saw that your Prime Minister Imran Khan even accepted to allow the Indian wheat to go to Afghanistan, as I had suggested a month earlier. But then, due to these, sometimes quite silly geopolitical and other games this did not go through. But this is a very good a case where Pakistan’s position in the region should be reinforced by not by these games—

REHMAN: —absolutely. Very important point, especially this particular action of Pakistan is also opening up so many avenues for both these countries to at least start talking, start negotiating.

ASKARY: And India has everything to gain from working with Pakistan—

REHMAN: All right, thank you so much, Askary, for your discussion. That’s all we have for this hour.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Hussein Askary Appear on PakistanTV

Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Hussein Askary appeared on Pakistani PTV World today, commenting live on the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) dedicated to Afghanistan. {A transcript of Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche and Askary’s remarks will be posted soon.}

In her intervention, Zepp-LaRouche praised Pakistan for hosting the OIC conference on Afghanistan, given the failure of the West to take responsibility for the enormous risk to life of millions of people in Afghanistan. The withholding of Afghanistan’s funds by Western banks is shameful. She promoted Operation Ibn Sina as a path forward in creating a health and development path forward for Afghanistan, and hoped that the OIC would incorporate it into its proposals.

The American-NATO defeat by the Taliban was a humiliating experience, but this does not end the responsibility to the well-being of the people of Afghanistan. The given reason for withholding funding is the Taliban’s mistreatment of women and children, but creating the conditions for mass starvation is essentially genocide, and this is what the economic blockade does. Withholding funds may also cause Afghanistan to turn to drug production, which the Taliban opposes. She appealed to the entire world to choose the side of humanity over barbarism.

Responding to another question about the discussion of Afghanistan and the OIC meeting in the West, Zepp-LaRouche emphasized the potential of the human impulse to do good could overcome geopolitics. As an example, she cited the coordination between India and Pakistan of Indian supplies going to Afghanistan via Pakistan. Another example is the collaboration of the Central Asian Republics with Russia and China. If the United States could be induced to make a positive contribution, this would be of absolute world historical importance in shifting the world paradigm: “I think the whole destiny of mankind is concentrated like a laser in what happens in Afghanistan.” It must become an issue of the whole world. Is humanity fit to survive? “In one sense, I think the fate of Afghanistan and the fate of humanity are more closely connected than most people can imagine.”

Askary praised Pakistan’s efforts to support the people of Afghanistan, both to release the billions of dollars held by American and European financial institutions and to end sanctions. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi has made commendable efforts to these ends. The release of funds is essential, but more is required. The crisis in Afghanistan was not caused by the Taliban, but by twenty years of failures of Western military action. The current situation in Afghanistan will cause the rise of terrorism and of immigration, outcomes that Western nations supposedly oppose. The geopolitical game must be ended, replaced by the new paradigm exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative. The immediate crisis must be addressed, but the way must be paved to the long-term solution provided by infrastructure, including health infrastructure. The Schiller Institute’s Operation Ibn Sina is a proposal that allows for international cooperation across the geopolitical divide to provide for the common well-being of the people of the world. This is the opportunity presented by the current crisis, an opportunity that must be fought for.

Askary explained that Afghanistan had fallen off the media in Scandinavia as well. Although there are many Nordic organizations pushing for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, this receives scant coverage. But with the push among institutions to oppose China and Russia, there is little room to support useful efforts.

He emphasized that Muslim nations have been pitted against each other by British geopolitics, as happened in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. But, the age of geopolitics has ended with the failure in Afghanistan and a new paradigm beckons, based on economic cooperation. Muslim nations should join this new paradigm. He also spoke to the importance of India taking its rightful position as an Asian nation rather than an Atlanticist one, working with Pakistan and other neighbors of Afghanistan like China.

He closed by stressing that although narratives may appear to have a certain power, it is reality that ultimately has the upper hand. {The link to watch it is here.}


Helga Zepp-LaRouche at CGTN event: “Party building and the new generation”

The dialogue appeared live on Youtube, the CGTN website and different social media accounts. See here:

CGTN on Facebook
CGTN on Twitter
CGTN’s Webseite CGTN on Weibo

Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche added a profound call for sanity in an interview on China’s CGTN TV today. Asked to make suggestions for today’s youth in a moment of great peril, she responded that the fundamental issue is the image of mankind, with two opposite views being contested. The one is that of the Malthusian and oligarchical view, that man is a parasite, polluting Mother Nature, and the fewer people the better, a view most evident in those promoting the climate scare. The other view is that which perceives that every person is sacred, blessed with the power of reason, capable of making discoveries of new principles of nature which can be applied to enhanced production and higher standards of living for all. She said that it is time for all of humanity to unite behind this elevated view, to form a common party of mankind which unites citizens of all countries in a common mission, without contradicting the interests of the diverse and beautiful cultures of the world. To start this process, she said, mankind must unite behind the urgent need to end the pandemic, and all future pandemics, by building modern health facilities in every country. This would create a potential branching point for the human race, building the basic infrastructure required for the health of all people, and ending once and for all the idea that poverty is an unavoidable part of civilization which can not be eliminated. In 100 years, she added, when we have become a space faring species, national boundaries will be less important.


Sicily Daily Runs Call by Committee for Coincidence of Opposites on Afghanistan Emergency

Under the headline “Afghanistan, the Committee for the Republic: Let Us Help It,” the daily Il Corriere di Sicilia published the Dec. 10 call by the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites with an endorsement by Alessia Ruggeri.

The paper quotes Ruggeri saying: “I join the declaration by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president of the Schiller Institute, which has highlighted that for more than two months no one has talked about Afghanistan, totally ignoring the emergency and the fact that, with the confiscation of funds, the population is likely to die of hunger and hardship,” and it continues: “These are the words of Alessia Ruggeri, spokesperson of the political movement ‘Committee for the Republic’ member of the Committee for the Coincidence of the Opposites that supports the call by David Beasley, director of the WFP, which states that immediate support from the West is needed, defining it as a moral test for the West.” See the Italian original.


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