July 31 (EIRNS)–Today the Schiller Institute brought together in a five-hour intense discussion at an international virtual conference, diplomats and experts from many nations, including Afghanistan, Russia, China, Pakistan, the United States, Italy and others, on the theme: “Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History After the Failed Regime-Change Era.”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche (Germany,) Chairwoman and founder of the Schiller Institute, who has been leading a process of institutional and informal dialogue for the past 18 months, said at the conclusion of today’s event, that we now “have a perspective of where to go.” The priority is “to put development on the table, which will be difficult to refuse” by anyone, and to give all the support possible to make it happen. The last speaker of the day, Hussein Askary (Sweden/Iraq,) Southwest Asia Coordinator for the Schiller Institute, put it forcefully, that we must “make development the first item” in any talks, not the last. He warned, “Keep the warlords and the British out!” Askary’s presentation, which covered concrete aspects of development, was titled, “Put Afghanistan on the Belt and Road to Peace.”
The event was opened by Moderator Dennis Speed (U.S.A.), who said that the deliberations would change the usual conception of war or peace, to partake of the diplomacy of formulating policies for mutual understanding and development. He introduced a short 1985 video by statesman-economist Lyndon LaRouche making the point, with reference to President Abraham Lincoln’s record, that the power of infrastructure transforms an economy. Zepp-LaRouche’s opening remarks stressed that we are at a special moment in history, where geopolitical confrontation must be ended, and a new paradigm begun—not only for Eurasian integration and prosperity, but for universal history. She showed the beautiful “Golden Mask” artifact, to make the point of the 5,000-year history of the Central Asian region.
Playing a lead role in the discussion from beginning to end was Professor Pino Arlacchi (Italy), who participated from Italy. Currently Sociology Professor at the Sassari University, he was Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (1997-2002,) and former European Parliament Rapporteur on Afghanistan. He spoke on, “Eradicate Opium in Afghanistan, Develop Modern Agriculture, Build the Nation, Now.” He described his original plan which by 2001 had nearly eliminated opium poppy growing in Afghanistan, which then was reversed under the ensuing years from 2001 of U.S. and NATO military operations. Arlacchi again proposed a plan in 2010, which was thwarted by the EU, Britain and the U.S. Today, Afghanistan is the source of over 80% of the world’s opium drugs. Arlacchi laid out what can and must be done today. The needed approach uses alternative agriculture—supporting farmers to switch to other crops, and similar realistic methods. Arlacchi stressed how relatively inexpensive this is, given the huge leverage by the drug cartels. Farmers in Afghanistan might get $300 to 350 million for their opium crop, which then is worth $20 billion to organized crime in Europe. There are many alternative crops of great use and value, for example saffron.
The diplomats presented a sweeping picture of the present situation. Ambassador Hassan Shoroosh (Afghanistan), the Afghanistan ambassador to Canada, spoke from Ottawa, saying that there is a “new chapter of partnership” ahead, which must be worked out. His talk was, “The Way Forward for Afghanistan.” He said that his country is “positioned to serve as a land-bridge” in Eurasia, and reviewed in detail various transportation corridors, from the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, to the Five Nations Railway route.
Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva (Russia,) from the New York City, where she is Deputy Permanent Representative at the Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN. Her presentation was titled, “Russia’s Outlook for Afghanistan and Eurasia.” She stressed that the goal is stability, and there is no military solution. There are important frameworks among the neighbors in the region, including the CSTO and SCO and bilateral relations. There is a special role for the “extended troika,” which has been in place for many years. There are meetings coming up in the near future. She noted that transport and infrastructure are of great significance.
Dr. Wang Jin (China,) Fellow at The Charhar Institute, spoke on the topic, “Afghanistan and the Belt and Road Initiative.” He presented four key aspects of China’s concerns: 1) that there are no “spillover” impacts of instability; 2) that there is a future of advancement for Afghanistan; 3) that extremism and terrorism do not gain ground; and 4) that China and Afghanistan have positive ties.
From Pakistan, Mr. Hassan Daud spoke. He is the CEO of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Board of Investment. He pointed out that Afghanistan is one of “the least integrated” economically in the Central and South Asian region, after these decades of strife. He spoke of the great “economic spillover” that will ensure, with Pakistan leveraging its position and resources to become a logistical hub, and extending benefits to Afghanistan through CPEC and the BRI. We must have “the spirit of the ancient Silk Road” again. He called for more seminars on this, involving scholars, chambers of commerce and others.
From the United States, Ray McGovern spoke. He is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, co-founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Addressing the topic, “The Real Interest of the United States in Asia,” he made many strong points, including that there must be “accountability” for the string of commanders who lied about what the U.S. was doing in Afghanistan, also in Iraq and elsewhere. He dramatically pointed out, that there weren’t even competent “situation estimates” that should have been done, about terrain, weather, LOC—lines of communication, and other standard assessments of what the U.S. is doing in places. In 2010, the U.S. Navy logistics was paying $400 a gallon to put gas in the tanks of military vehicles in Afghanistan! He hit hard at the racism involved in presuming you can do anything, anywhere; he quoted Kipling.
Many others were involved in the two question and answer periods, with important exchanges over key topics. For example, Earl Rasmussen, Vice President of the Eurasian Society, raised the point of the necessity to build trust. Dr. Stephen Fischer, an American physician, reported on a year he spent in public health in Afghanistan, working with a provincial reconstruction team. Zepp-LaRouche stressed many times, that in the context of the prolonged pandemic, it is imperative that we move in Afghanistan, and everywhere, for public health and modern medical care infrastructure.
Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva made a concluding point, that it is “important to rise above geopolitics.” She said that in Russia, “at all levels, including President Putin,” we are ready for cooperation.” Helga Zepp-LaRouche called on the panelists, and anyone in the viewing audience, to contribute to the development program perspective under discussion, and mobilize. Prof. Arlacchi, who has a new book out, Against Fear (in Italian,) gave parting words that, “peace is stronger than war. Let’s be more courageous. Not a victim of huge deceptions.” The full conference is archived for viewing. Now is the time to join the Schiller Institute.
July 31 (EIRNS)–Today the Schiller Institute brought together in a five-hour intense discussion at an international virtual conference, diplomats and experts from many nations, including Afghanistan, Russia, China, Pakistan, the United States, Italy and others, on the theme: “Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History After the Failed Regime-Change Era.”
Kurchatov Institute To Create a Joint Russia-Belarus Scientific Research Center–
July 28 (EIRNS)—The president of the Kurchatov Institute Scientific Research Center Mikhail Kovalchuk announced yesterday that his Institute and Belarus’s National Academy of Sciences had signed a roadmap to jointly establish “powerful projects related to new research infrastructure based on powerful installations—mega-sciences—[that] are now unfolding in front of us.”
Kovalchuk stated: “The program has also been launched in Russia and it is expected to become the world’s most accomplished research infrastructure in 5-7 years…. Importantly, both Belarus and Russia have the required tools. If we create this single infrastructural research space, we will become leaders in drawing other [Commonwealth of Independent States] CIS partners into this effort.”
He further said that “We have also proposed that a branch of the Kurchatov Institute be set up on the premises of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus to strengthen integration and cooperation. Also, we proposed that a branch of the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute be opened in Belarus in the field of new education.”
The TASS wire reporting on this announcement characterized the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center as “one of the leading research facilities in Russia and in the world. With its creation, Russia has set up a unique inter-disciplinary scientific and technical compound that comprises the Kurchatov specialized synchrotron radiation source (KISI-Kurchatov), the U-70 accelerator, the IR-8 and VVR-M neutron research reactors, the PIK high-flux research reactor, the T-10 and T-15 tokamak thermonuclear installations, plasma and other units.”
Bolivian President: A Fight for ‘Scientific Bolivia’ Is a Fight for the Future —
July 27, 2021 (EIRNS)—Yesterday Bolivian President Luis Arce, together with other government officials and Rosatom’s deputy director general, Kirill Komarov, presided over the ceremony in the city of El Alto to inaugurate construction of a research reactor, which is the third component in the state-of-the-art Nuclear Technology Research and Development Center (CIDTN) being built in the city of El Alto, next to La Paz, by the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency and Rosatom Overseas. The other two components include a Radiopharmacology Cyclotron complex (CCRP), which will produce isotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients and a Multipurpose Irradiation Plant, the construction of which is already underway and scheduled to be completed by year’s end. The research reactor should be completed by 2024.
The project’s location in El Alto carries special significance. When the Project Democracy “Maidan” coup government took over in November of 2019, it immediately shut down the project, while military and police repressed the city’s largely indigenous population that had opposed the coup. When President Arce took power last November, he immediately restarted the project. At 4,000 meters above sea level, CIDTN is the largest Russian-sponsored project in Ibero-America and, as Komarov explained, is considered to be a top priority for Rosatom. “The project is unique, a technological marvel that will put Bolivia on a par with the major countries of the world,” RT reported him as saying. Arce has emphasized that this project is not just for Bolivians, but “for all of humanity,” and as he expressed it yesterday, quite beautifully, is also to ensure that young Bolivians have a future. Future generations, he said, “will inherit and harvest what we do today in terms of technological advancement; they shall be the standard-bearers of scientific Bolivia, because a millenarian people with advanced technology is invincible. So, I want to take this opportunity to assure you that as a national government, we have the firmest will and conviction to advance on the road to scientific development for Bolivians… Our country needs highly-trained human resources in nuclear engineering, chemical engineering and biotechnology to advance toward a change from the pattern of accumulation to the transformation of our country’s productive matrix, which is moreover, a challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean,” the President’s press office reported. The full press release is here.
July 24 (EIRNS) — Moscow-based American foreign affairs expert Andrew Korybko writes on his blog on the website of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), that the ongoing settlement of the Afghanistan war is putting “geo-economics” ahead of the zero-sum game of geopolitics. He writes that “geo-economics” is at the center of the cooperation among the U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan in seeking an Afghan settlement and the creation of the so-called “Quad” of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States which was created on July 16 at the connectivity conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This latter, Korybko writes, “complements the prior such platform between the former two states, China and Tajikistan back in 2016 as well as the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway project that was agreed upon in February.”
Crucial to the development according to Korybko is Pakistan’s new “Geo-Economic Grand Strategy Is Multi-Alignment,” which was adopted during March’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, where it was announced that geo-economics will now constitute the basis for all policy formulation and not geopolitics. The first fruits of the policy was the creation of the so-called Quad platform among Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the U.S.
Korybko writes: “Pakistan is actively fulfilling its geostrategic destiny as the ‘Zipper of Eurasia’” by connecting a variety of stakeholders through their shared economic interests. “Islamabad is leveraging its influence in Afghanistan to advance the neighboring country’s peace process, which saw it facilitate Beijing and Moscow’s incipient ties with the Taliban. Upon these multipolar great powers establishing pragmatic political relations with the group, they were then able to seriously countenance the viability of trans-Afghan connectivity corridors. Russia is interested in reaching the Indian Ocean Region through PAKAFUZ (which can also unofficially be conceptualized as N-CPEC+), while China is pioneering the so-called “Persian Corridor” to Iran via Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The U.S., meanwhile, aims to use PAKAFUZ as a means for expanding its economic influence in the post-withdrawal Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics (CARs).”
As for India, it is finding itself left out of the process, he writes, because it is maintaining a geopolitical policy aimed at countering Pakistan. Nonetheless, he believes now India has begun to seriously reassess its policy away from geopolitical principles, which of course will require an improvement of relations with Pakistan. One option would be reversing the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 which dismantled the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir to bifurcate the region, which would admittedly be a very difficult political decision.
He concludes: “The very fact that the U.S., which is known for its geopolitically driven zero-sum policies, is joining together with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in order to expand its economic influence in Central Asia speaks to just how dramatically everything is changing.”
Ambassador Antonov on U.S. Media Fake News about Russian Foreign Policy –
July 21 (EIRNS) – In an interview with RT’s Rich Sanchez yesterday, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov commented on his dismay at all the fake news in the U.S. media on Russian foreign policy. The entire interview is here.
Sanchez opened discussing Merkel and Biden’s decision to drop any opposition to Nord Stream 2, and then asked Antonov if he thought Biden’s insistence that Nord Stream 2 is “geopolitical” stemmed from his need to “save face” with respect to U.S. relations to Ukraine.
“I don’t understand what you are talking about. What kind of political interest United States administration has in Ukraine? Ukraine is too far.” He went on. “I discussed this issue with many politicians and sometimes, frankly, I’m not kidding… but some of them don’t know where Ukraine is! So I don’t understand why it’s so important for United States. It seems to me that some political figures, some politicians just only would like to use Ukraine as a tool to press on Russia, to change Russian independent foreign policy, or Russian economic policy. Or, as you, the United States call it, as ‘malign activities’ of Russian Federation on the international scene.”
Sanchez asked him about what Americans hear from the media, that Russia has expansionist ambitions, seizing Crimea, wanting to take over Ukraine, and what he thought about that?
Antonov replied: “You have touched a very interesting issue. Every morning when I wake up, I open American newspapers, and I switch on my TV…. And sometimes I am shocked to get so much fake news, fake information about the Russian foreign policy,” he replied. “What I see today, we see a lack of confidence, a lack of trust between the United States and Russia. I am trying to find a day when Russia has become an enemy or a rival for the United States, and it’s rather difficult to say when it happened. It seems to me that maybe ten years ago, but not when the Ukrainian crisis started, it goes without saying.”
Sanchez’s last question, “Is there a way to put our relationship back together again?” drew the following reply from Antonov: “We have to fix it, the Russian government and American administration as well. Because, to have good relations between the United States and Russia is in the interests of the United States people, as well as Russian Federation. I could say, we are doomed for cooperation,” he said, and then echoing President Putin’s January 2020 call for the P5 summit, he went on: “We are the main nuclear states. We are permanent members of [the UN] Security Council. We bear special responsibility for peace. That’s why we have no time to quarrel. We have to fix many problems that we face today. For example, fighting against terrorism, climate change, and … we see what is going on now in Afghanistan after United States’ decision to withdraw their forces from this country. I understand how much we have to do together.
“I would like to say, if anybody would like to create an island of security somewhere, in the United States, or in Europe, or in another continent, it will be a mistake. We can win together. When we are together, we can solve any issue, any problem that we face today,” Antonov concluded.
July 20, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov captured the potential world-transforming change which can be brought about, if the nations of the world join together in developing Afghanistan and the Central Asian nations, when he addressed the plenary session of the conference on “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities” in Uzbekistan on July 16.
“The representative nature of this event is vivid proof of the increasing demand for a unification agenda in Eurasia and the rest of the world,” he began, in thanking Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev for organizing the conference. He situated the building of connectivity between Central and South Asia within the greater project of developing the giant continent of Eurasia as one “seamless, united logistical” economic hub of transportation, trade, power, development.
“Russia has been consistently in favor of forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership, a congregative integration contour in the entire space from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, one that is maximally free for the movement of goods, capital, the workforce and services, and open, without exception, to all the countries of our common continent, Eurasia, and the integration unions created there, including the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” all organizations which have displayed an interest in this initiative, Lavrov explained.
“Implementing this long-term project will make it possible not only to accelerate the economic development of all participants but also to create a reliable material foundation of common security, stability and prosperity.”
He cited, in particular, the efforts which seek to integrate the EAEU plans and the Belt and Road project and “the North-South International Transport Corridor linking Europe, and the South Caucasus and Central Asia with the Indian Ocean coast, as well as to the Europe-West China transcontinental transport route.”
“In this broad context, higher connectivity between Central and South Asia is opening new vistas for the development of trade, economic and investment processes on the Eurasian continent….”
This will not happen without a comprehensive settlement of the Afghanistan conflict, he argued; “only direct and inclusive intra-Afghan talks with the support of international partners can lead to a lasting peace.” Lavrov named three “tried and tested mechanisms” as key to mobilizing that support: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization-Afghanistan Contact Group, and the two known as the “Moscow format” and the “extended Troika,” the latter formed by the US, Russia, China, and Pakistan working together.
When a reporter at Lavrov’s discussion with the press in Tashkent asked him if he thought the U.S. had deliberately carried out its withdrawal in such a way as to cause trouble in Russia’s “area of geopolitical interests,” Lavrov refused to take the bait. “I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I heard that perhaps this hasty withdrawal was in pursuit of some kind of geopolitical goals. We should not speculate about it.” Russia is “not interested in chaos” in Afghanistan, and “we will continue working with the Americans in the extended Troika format, as well as with all other countries that can influence the situation in Afghanistan,” he answered.
`The Place Where These Rivals Can Work Together’: Afghanistan —
July 18 (EIRNS) – An interesting statement by Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Javid Ahmad Qaem, was quoted in Global Times July 17. “The only place,” the Ambassador said, “where the U.S., China and India could really cooperate, and at least there could be a starting point to cooperate between these rivals, if I can call them that, is Afghanistan.”
The same Global Times article which quoted Qaem made clear that China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative – the Eurasia-wide infrastructure corridor development plan it initiated in 2013 – as the basis for cooperation in shifting Afghanistan from the theater of endless war and poverty to a nation developing and a contributor to stability. At the July 15-16 conference of 40 nations’ representatives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on “stability and connectivity” in the region following the NATO withdrawals, “China urges Central and South Asian countries to forge a closer regional connectivity partnership through high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Global Times reported, not implying U.S. participation. A White House readout July 18 said only that A high-level US delegation led by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the international conference in Uzbekistan and discussed the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and the US support for the Afghan defense forces.”
The impression is given by many media accounts (leaving aside those that forecast the Taliban overrunning Kabul this week) that China and Russia are working with the Taliban on new regional security concepts while the United States and India try to meddle. Russia at least is, according to an Asia Times report July 15, preparing to move at the UN for the Taliban to no longer be designated as supporting terrorism, if that movement maintains peaceful relations with the Central Asian Republics and does not support either al-Qaeda or the East Turkistan Independence Movement (ETIM, Uiygur separatist terrorists). The Taliban have proposed friendly relations with China.
But the Afghan government has also made moves toward economic reconstruction potentials for the region, in anticipation of the NATO troops getting out. In February it agreed with Pakistan and Uzbekistan on a rail corridor from Peshawar, Pakistan to Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan to Tashkent, clearly linking to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and to the main Eurasian Land-Bridge rail corridor. It also discussed with Pakistan a highway in the same corridor but branching to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. And the Ghani government has started a 50 km gravel and asphalt road through the formidable Wakhan Corridor to the 5,000 meter-high Wakhjir Pass; it continued beyond it would be a rugged but short and direct route to China through Xinjiang Province.
Afghan consultant to Ghani’s office Shokrullah Amiri, writing in Global Times July 18, says that the Afghan and Chinese governments have been consulting since May on the Wakhan Corridor also becoming part of the Belt and Road Initiative (it was a part of the 12th Century Silk Road). This, said the Asia Times July 15 report, was why the Ghani government began on the road. Amiri has much more to say about the potential development of Afghan minerals and Afghan-China trade as a result. For more details, go here.
July 15, 2021 (EIRNS)–In preparation for the Glasgow UN Climate conference – COP26 (Oct. 31-Nov. 12, 2021), the Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN held a virtual side event, titled, “Low Emissions Solutions in Energy and Beyond: Partnering with Businesses for a Sustainable Recovery.” The event was opened by Russia’s Minister of Economic Development, Maxim Reshetnikov, and included speakers from Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and the UK. The Schiller Institute attended the event, which had 60 participants.
Russia was represented by speakers from the IAEA and from Rosatom, as well as by the Minister of Economic Development. Minister Reshetnikov stated that Russia’s goal is to reduce emissions to less than 70% of Russia’s 1990 emission levels by developing all technologies, especially nuclear and hydropower. He appealed: “Don’t discriminate against any technology,” saying that this must be done in a cost-effective way and one that does not impede economic development.
Speaking as the Deputy Director General, and chief of the Nuclear Energy Dept. of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mikhail Chudakov made a series of sharp points addressing the importance of nuclear energy from the vantage point of urgent global energy deficits: 1) globally, 700 million people are still without access to electricity, and demand is growing, 2) nuclear is the most dense form of all energy sources — we need a level playing field for all low-carbon electricity sources, including access to financing, and 3) “Don’t forget about fusion:” Many companies are now investing over $2 billion in fusion research, which will yield a clean and unlimited new source of energy. Dr. Chudakov said that the promotion of nuclear power as a key part of the solution to the emissions question will be the message taken by the IAEA to COP26. Kirill Komarov of Russia’s Rosatom, documented in many dimensions the power of nuclear energy as a friend of the environment. For instance, in measuring Life Cycle Emissions (measured in gCO2eq/ kWh) we see the following: Solar – 48, Hydro – 24, Nuclear – 12, Wind – 11
Chinese Charge d’ Affaires at the China Mission to the UN, Amb. Dai Bing urged a “people-centered approach” to energy policy, which can create a “beautiful ecological environment.” Dame Barbara Woodward OBE, the UK Permanent Representative to the UN — who was apparently added to the program at the last minute — gave an arrogant speech attacking both Russia and the use of coal, demanding that nations adhere to the dictates of the Paris Climate agreement “4 to 5 times faster” — which will be the UK’s demand at COP26 in Glasgow. Corporate representatives from Brazil and Australia promoted biofuels, hydrogen production, wind, and solar panels.
The Schiller Institute’s Paul Gallagher posed this question to the panel of speakers: “Nuclear power plants have the highest power density per area and time of operation and are extremely reliable — but, they take a long time to build relative to other sources. Can this be solved through factory production of modular nuclear power units; how quickly can this become a reality?” Dr. Chudakov responded that Belarus had built a nuclear plant in only six years. So, the process can be expedited. “We need a clear policy of support of nuclear power from governments, governmental credits for infrastructure” so as to advance reactors and reduce construction time. “It’s easy to scale up when you produce the same unit. That’s why SMRs are the future. They need governmental support.” Russia and China are building nuclear plants because there is government support.
Russian scientists have a distinguished history of promoting — on the world stage — the universal use of nuclear power. Physicist, Academician Yevgeny Velikhov, then-head of the prestigious Kurchatov Institute, speaking at the Arctic Energy Summit in Alaska in October, 2007 addressed the vast “energy gap” between world supply and world demand for electricity. Dr. Velikhov was clear, then: sticking with the current dependence on oil, gas, and so forth will not work — there must be nuclear power.
Russian Academic Identifies Mackinder Geopolitics as Enemy of Russia and China—
July 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—Global Times yesterday published an interview with Alexander Lukin, head of the Department of International Relations at the Higher School of Economics and director of the Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In a brief editorial note at the beginning, GT notes that China and Russia have witnessed stronger ties, especially given the US’s continued pursuit of ideological confrontation in the world. The question to be addressed is, “How will the trilateral relations among China, Russia, and the US develop and shape the world?”
The interview is extensive, covering a wide range of topics within the China-Russia relationship, but particularly notable is the matter of geopolitics, which the GT interviewers introduced by citing Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “The Grand Chessboard,” in which he warned “that potentially, the most dangerous scenario [for the United States] would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances [toward the United States].”
“This line of thought agrees that basically the main task of American policy in the new Eurasia should be avoiding the emergence of a single power or alliance of powers hostile to American interests that would control the Eurasian space,” Lukin replied. “This idea has a very long history. In the first half of the 20th century, many Western experts, beginning with the founders of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder and Nicholas John Spykman, said that control over Eurasia was very important. If an anti-Western force gains control over Eurasia, it would be very dangerous for the US and Western Europe.”
Lukin argues that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the US became “too proud” of itself and overestimated its influence in the world. “However, the collapse of the Soviet Union did not stop the general tendencies of world history, including in international relations in many countries which contributed to their becoming stronger, like China, India, Brazil, and others,” he said. “Russia also reemerged as a strong power. India and several other countries also became stronger. But American politicians did not want to see this trend. They thought that they could still control the entire world and punish those who did not conform to their position. Their policy of pressure and containment has only stimulated the coordination between Russia and China, and made their strategic partnerships stronger.”
Compared to Kissinger and Brzezinski, says Lukin, American politicians today don’t really know what they are doing. “Trump wanted to improve relations with Russia, but he could not for domestic reasons,” Lukin continued. “Now you see some articles written by influential American experts, who seem to begin to understand that Russian-Chinese rapprochement is a kind of problem for the US. But they still don’t know what to do about it. They are discussing how to break the Russia-China de facto alliance without giving either Russia or China anything. So that’s also not a very smart position, I would say. They are not going to get anything for nothing. I don’t think they can.
“Contrary to what they might believe, they cannot break our strategic partnership, because it’s based on Russia and China’s national interests.” Full interview is here.
July 13 (EIRNS)—Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave the following interview to China Plus radio’s World Today broadcast today. China Plus is the official English website of China Radio International. The interview is the second news story starting at 12:55 minutes
CRI: Welcome back. The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed China’s resolution on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights, at the 47th session, which emphasizes the right to development and that the aim of development is to improve the developing of the people. For more, we are now joined on the line by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany based economic and political think tank. Thanks for joining us Dr. LaRouche.
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, hello! How are you?
CRI: I’m good, thank you. So, the resolution stresses that development and the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. How do we understand those?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: First of all, let me express my congratulation. I think this is an excellent development, because hopefully this will inspire a very productive discussion everywhere around the world, what is the right definition of human rights. And I think the interdependence between development and human rights and freedom, you can see best if you look at the lack of development. Because then you have poverty, and you have still on the planet, 2 billion people who have no access to clean water, more than 800 million are and you have no freedom if you have all day to try to get a little bit of water and a little bit to eat, just to try to stay alive, so you have no freedom under these conditions. So therefore, I think development is very clearly the precondition for both human rights with freedom.
CRI: Yes, but that is very different from the Western explanation for human rights, which all starts with the ballot box and has everything to do with individual freedom. How did it get the different priorities when it comes to the human rights issue?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well first of all, I think one has to see that the label isn’t always consistent with the content. Many things which have the label “democracy” and “human rights” have quite some different content, and in the case of the Western parliamentarian system, or unfortunately even the presidential system in some countries, is more a plutocracy, where the money of the multinationals and the big banks determine who gets a seat. Also, I think if you look at the overemphasis of individual freedom it has degenerated into a notion, everything is allowed, and the common good is regarded as a suppression of these individual freedoms.
Now, if you have a crisis, like in the case of COVID-19, you can see what the consequences of this is. China and some other Asian nations took strict measures for the common good, and it worked well, and then also the individuals profited because they were rid of the pandemic earlier; while in the West you had a back and forth, people were even protesting against having to wear masks, regarding that as an intrusion in their personal freedom, and they had to pay a much, much bigger price.
CRI: Well, representatives from countries including Venezuela, Cuba, and Pakistan also made speeches to appreciate China for delivering those draft resolutions and stressed that development should be the focus of every country, especially developing countries. But why is the resolution getting support from these countries?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it’s very simple: Because in the entire post-World War II period, the IMF conditionalities prevented real development in the developing sector. They were told, you have to pay your debt first before you can invest in infrastructure or health, and the result was a blatant underdevelopment and incredible poverty. So, China, even before the Belt and Road, invested in railways in Africa and other infrastructure, but especially with the Belt and Road Initiative and the COVID crisis, it became very clear that these countries regarded the help from China—which was denounced as “vaccine diplomacy” by some Western media—but these developing countries regarded the attitude of China as a life-saver for them. So, it’s no surprise that they would support it.
CRI: And I think you earlier mentioned about what should be the right definition of human rights. And another question is who gets to pick what the most basic human rights should be? And have you got a feeling that this has been heavily guided by a small number of mostly Western nations which has led to a general bias in favor of the civil, political liberties over economic, social, and cultural rights?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. You can see that right now very clearly in the case of the so-called “identity policy.” For example, between the EU Commission and countries such as Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, there is a big tension right now, whereas in the East, they have rejected the effort by the EU Commission to impose the values of the Western liberal European countries.
So, I think what needs to be put up front again, is the Five Principles of peaceful coexistence and the idea of non-interference in the different social systems, because they are, due to customs, traditions, cultural heritage and these must be respected.
CRI: In 2019 a study by the Center for New American Security—that is a Washington-based think tank—says that China’s actions in the UN were part of this effort to redefine how such institutions are run and shift away from Western concepts of democracy and human rights. What is your thought on those?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, China has been the leading nation for centuries, and only in the 18th and 19th centuries, because of the colonialist attacks and Opium Wars by the British, you know, that that was diminished. But now, China is again the second largest economy in the world. The lifting of poverty of 850 million people represents a tremendous civilizational contribution, and therefore, I think, it is absolutely correct that China should have a major role in this discussion.
CRI: OK, but do you feel the widespread back and forth surrounding human rights issues around the world currently has been highly politicized? And sometimes it has even been used as a tool for political purposes and sometimes as an excuse to put pressure on other countries or even invade other countries?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. These notions, human rights and democracy, have become like a two by four: You can smash any argument into the ground. So, I think this double standard needs to be corrected. Those people in the West who support sanctions under conditions of the COVID-19 crisis against such countries as Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela—I think altogether 30 countries—I mean, this is a violation of human rights if you ever have seen one. Or, if you look at how Assange is treated, or what happened to Snowden, all these people just did the right thing, and they have been treated in an absolutely horrible way. So, this double standard should be stopped.
CRI: What are the consequences of such double standards or politicizing such human rights issues? Is it like shifting our focus away from the real human rights problems?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, it poisons the atmosphere, and it degenerates the idea of human rights, which is actually a beautiful idea, and makes it a victim to geopolitical reasons.
Now, the Schiller Institute is upholding this concept of the “New Name for Peace Is Development.” This comes originally from Pope Paul VI in 1967 in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio, where he coined that idea that the “new name for peace is development.”
And this is very important right now, concretely in Afghanistan. Look, for example, NATO spent there 20 years for absolutely nothing, and now the question is what’s to come out of Afghanistan? Will you continue the geopolitical war? Or, will you have an agreement among all neighbors, like Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and have real development? The real development would mean to extend the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan, but also into Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the whole region. And then you can have peace. So this is not an abstract academic notion, this is an extremely actual issue, that the idea that real peace does require development, that that is a precondition without which nothing will function.
CRI: OK, thank you Dr. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany-based political and economic think tank.