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Helga Zepp-LaRouche

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Webcast: Afghanistan – Opportunity for a New Epoch

The dramatic developments surrounding the Taliban takeover of Kabul expose the failure of this regime-change war, and the previous ones since WWII. The war was wrong from the beginning, as the continuing investigation by the 9/11 families into who was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks are uncovering, and as Lyndon LaRouche warned that day, but more needs to be done. And there was never a viable war plan.

Some western political leaders are reacting thoughtfully. German CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet stated that this was the biggest failure of NATO, ever. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod called for reflection and soul-searching. Helga Zepp-LaRouche pointed out the special responsibility that the U.S. has, in President John Quincy Adams’ words, to not go abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

Now, as presented in the July 31, 2021 Schiller Institute video conference, “Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History after the Failed Regime-Change Era,” there is a potential for a new era of real nation-building in Afghanistan, and the rest of the world, if the Western nations cooperate with the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative, along with Afghanistan’s neighbors, and drop their geopolitical goals of preventing China and Russia from playing leading roles in the world. Many Afghan development plans are already on the drawing boards, and there is great humanitarian need, starting with building a modern health system, other infrastructure and agricultural alternatives to opium production. There will be great pressure on the Taliban from the outside, with offers of economic development contingent upon how they act.

International Conference

Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History After the Failed Regime-Change Era

Watch here →

Online Seminar sponsored by the LaRouche Legacy Faoundation

On the 50th Anniversary of LaRouche’s Stunning Forecast of August 15, 1971: So, Are You Finally Willing to Learn Economics?

Event Proceedings →

Stay tuned for upcoming conferences!


Webcast: How was Lyndon LaRouche Able to Forecast Today’s Systemic Crisis 50 Years Ago?

In reviewing the crises facing mankind, Helga Zepp-LaRouche began and ended with an appeal to viewers to join her and the LaRouche Legacy Foundation this Saturday, for an in-depth review of why we are facing a systemic collapse, and why it is finally necessary for the world to learn how Lyndon LaRouche was able to forecast the collapse, and constantly offer alternatives.

The central issue for her late husband, she said, was a rejection of the approach of systems analysis, typified by his opponents, such as Norbert Weiner and von Neumann, which dominates all fields; and instead putting forward solutions derived from the approach of classical science and culture. Despite the horrendous conditions facing us since the destruction of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, LaRouche maintained his optimistic belief that solutions can be found, based on application of human creativity.

Watch the conference at the LaRouche Legacy Foundation website on Saturday, August 14, at 9 AM EDT.


Conference—Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History After the Failed Regime-Change Era

Schiller Institute International Conference – July 31, 2021

Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History
After the Failed Regime-Change Era

Moderator: Dennis Speed (U.S.), The Schiller Institute

Helga Zepp-LaRouche (Germany), Founder and President of The Schiller Institute
Keynote Address: “Afghanistan: The Bright Future for the Coming Cooperation of the Great Powers”

Pino Arlacchi (Italy), Sociology Professor at the Sassari University, Former Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, and former European Parliament Rapporteur on Afghanistan
“Eradicate Opium in Afghanistan, Develop Modern Agriculture, Build the Nation, Now”

H.E. Ambassador Hassan Shoroosh (Afghanistan), Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Canada
“The Way Forward for Afghanistan”

H.E. Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva (Russian Federation), Deputy Permanent Representative at the Mission of The Russian Federation to the UN “Russia’s Outlook for Afghanistan and Eurasia”

Dr. Wang Jin (China), Fellow with The Charhar Institute
“Afghanistan and the Belt and Road Initiative”

Question and Answer Session

Ray McGovern (U.S.), Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA-ret.), Co-Founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
“The Real Interest of the United States in Asia”

Hassan Daud (Pakistan), CEO, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Board of Investment

“The Perspective from Pakistan: The Role of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Afghanistan Reconstruction.” 

Hussein Askary (Sweden/Iraq), Southwest Asia Coordinator for the Schiller Institute
“Put Afghanistan on the Belt and Road to Peace!”

Discussion Period

We welcome questions during the conference. Please send them to questions@schillerinstitute.org

Supplementary material by Executive Intelligence Review (EIR)Special Report Offprint: ‘Will Afghanistan Trigger a Paradigm Change?’

PDF of the invitation

“After the hasty withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan—U.S. troops, except for a few security forces, were flown out in the dark of night without informing Afghan allies—this country has become, for the moment but likely not for long, the theater of world history.”
—Helga Zepp-LaRouche, July 10, 2021

We face an extraordinary moment, of further descent into chaos, or the beautiful potential of Afghanistan becoming the seed-crystal of a new era of international cooperation so desperately needed in the wake of growing disease and famine worldwide.

Afghanistan was once a hub for the ancient Silk Road, the connection between the great cultures of Asia and those of the European side of the Eurasian continent. The entire Central Asian region was once known as “a land of 1,000 cities”, showcasing advanced technologies in oasis cities, including Merv, Balkh, Kabul, and Kandahar, with large-scale underground irrigation systems. Water development will once again be crucial, and the agricultural potential is great.
In the past weeks, most of Afghanistan’s neighbors have come together, in an attempt to forge a commitment to end the nightmare suffered by the people of Afghanistan, a nightmare also suffered by the military forces of many nations drawn into needless combat in the service of a British-centered oligarchy fostering the growth of drug trafficking and terrorism in the entire region.

Just as the collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of an era—the division of the world into nuclear armed blocs hostile to one another—so also the utter failure of the 20-year misadventure of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan, and in the other failed colonial wars in Southwest Asia, poses the question: Can the great nations of the world cooperate in the transformation of Afghanistan, and the other war-torn nations, into modern economies, participating in co-operative development through the New Silk Road process, exemplified by China’s Belt and Road Initiative?

Leading voices, from veterans’ groups and whistleblowers, to experts on the danger of global narcotics plague and on international political relations, will join Helga Zepp-LaRouche in dialogue, to impel the United States and Europe to join the growing international cooperation that is coming together. We can use this opportunity to make the turn from 50 years of failed policies, and instead to embark on the path required to achieve a new paradigm for mankind.


Schiller Institute Afghanistan Webinar: Circulate a Common Interest Development Program Right Away

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.


Webcast: Learn from the Present Crises: There is No Need for a Systemic Breakdown

The upcoming events of the Schiller Institute will make clear that there is no need for humanity to suffer from the accelerating breakdown crisis of civilization. On July 24, we will present an in depth dialogue, “There Is No Climate Emergency;” on July 31, a conference on the opportunity to use the withdrawal of U.S.-NATO troops from Afghanistan to move out of the era of endless wars, into cooperation based on mutual benefit; and on August 14, what are the lessons of Lyndon LaRouche’s forecast of the end of the Bretton Woods system, on August 15, 1971, and of the advances he made in physical economy to overcome the succession of increasingly bad policy decisions made after Nixon’s move.

In introducing this arc of events, Helga Zepp-LaRouche spoke of the disastrous flooding in western Germany, which resulted from a lack of preparedness and a failure to invest in infrastructure — not so different from the lack of preparedness when it came to dealing with the COVID pandemic. Instead of compounding the effects of these crises by making more bad policy decisions, let us learn from the development of the science of physical economy by Lyndon LaRouche, so we can move from these deadly events into a new era of peaceful collaboration and development.


CGTN Publishes Helga Zepp-LaRouche Opinion Piece on ‘COVID Resilience Rankings’

July 16 (EIRNS)—A commentary from Helga Zepp-LaRouche, responding  to “COVID Resilience Rankings” determined by Bloomberg, was published by CGTN today. Zepp-LaRouche lambasts the Bloomberg report, which gave the U.S. higher marks than China, in which she states, “Essentially this ranking is a demonstration of the thesis, that one can prove anything with statistics, as long as you define how the statistics are constructed. While most of the nominal facts of the listed rankings appear to be factual, the accompanying article in the section ‘Containment Formula’ belies the overall purpose and bias hidden behind the statistics. Here the worry is expressed, that the ‘underperformance of some of the world’s most prominent democracies’ as compared with ‘authoritarian countries like China’ has raised questions about the ability of democratic societies to cope with pandemics.”

Zepp-LaRouche continues: “The reality shows a quite different story. In Wuhan, China, it demonstrated that the prioritization of society’s well-being over individual liberty was very successful. The Chinese approach after the containment in Hubei Province to test, isolate, quarantine, continues to spot cases to the present day and has resulted in only 4,636 deaths to date. In the U.S., on the other hand, more than 600,000 people lost their lives with many people suffering from long-term COVID debilitating effects.” The full opinion article is here.


Webcast: Great Opportunity to Learn from 50 Years of Strategic Insanity

In reviewing the multiple strategic crises confronting humanity today, Schiller Institute leader Helga Zepp-LaRouche kept coming back to words such as “lunacy”, “insanity” and “dangerous immaturity” to characterize the policies pursued by leaders of the U.S., the U.K. and the EU. In their zeal to confront and provoke Russia and China, impose austerity while bailing out bankrupt corporate cartels, cut funding for health care, and impose an anti-human Green New Deal, the corruption behind their genocidal intent has become ever-more obvious.

Have we learned the lessons of the dangers implicit in allowing their imperial will to dominate international policy making?

One example of the potential for change is coming from the neighbors of Afghanistan, who met under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and engaged in serious discussion of how to bring stability to the people of that damaged nation. Instead of using the withdrawal from Afghanistan to “pivot to Asia”, to contain China and Russia, Wang Yi made a proposal for cooperative economic development.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche Briefs China Plus ‘World Today’ Program—‘The New Name for Peace Is Development’

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.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche – AFGHANISTAN AT A CROSSROADS: Graveyard for Empires or Start of a New Era?

PDF of this statement

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

July 10—After the hasty withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan—U.S. troops, except for a few security forces, were flown out in the dark of night without informing Afghan allies—this country has become, for the moment but likely not for long, the theater of world history. The news keeps pouring in: On the ground, the Taliban forces are making rapid territorial gains in the north and northeast of the country, which has already caused considerable tension and concern in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and they have captured the western border town Islam Qala, which handles significant trade flows with Iran. At the same time, intense diplomatic activity is ongoing among all those countries whose security interests are affected by the events in Afghanistan: Iran, Pakistan, India, Russia, China, to name only the most important.

Can an intra-Afghan solution be found? Can a civil war between the Afghan government and the Taliban be prevented? Can terrorist groups, such as ISIS, which is beginning to regain a hold in the north, and Al-Qaeda, be disbanded? Or will the war between Afghan factions continue, and with it the expansion of opium growing and export, and the global threat of Islamic terrorism? Will Afghanistan once again sink into violence and chaos, and become a threat not only to Russia and China, but even to the United States and Europe?

If these questions are to be answered in a positive sense, it is crucial that the United States and Europe first answer the question, with brutal honesty, of how the war in Afghanistan became such a catastrophic failure, a war waged for a total of 20 years by the United States, the strongest military power in the world, together with military forces from 50 other nations. More than 3,000 soldiers of NATO and allied forces, including 59 German soldiers, and a total of 180,000 people, including 43,000 civilians, lost their lives. This was at a financial cost for the U.S. of more than $2 trillion, and of €47 billion for Germany. Twenty years of horror in which, as is customary in war, all sides were involved in atrocities with destructive effects on their own lives, including the many soldiers who came home with post-traumatic stress disorders and have not been able to cope with life since. The Afghan civilian population, after ten years of war with the Soviets in the 1980s followed by a small break, then had to suffer another 20 years of war with an almost unimaginable series of torments.

It was clear from the start that this war could not be won. Implementation of NATO’s mutual defense clause under Article 5 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was based on the assumption that Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime were behind those attacks, which would thus justify the war in Afghanistan.

But as U.S. Senator Bob Graham, the Chairman of the Congressional “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” repeatedly pointed out in 2014, the then-last two U.S. presidents, Bush and Obama, suppressed the truth about who had commissioned 9/11. And it was only because of that suppression that the threat to the world from ISIS then became possible. Graham said at a November 11, 2014 interview in Florida:

“There continue to be some untold stories, some unanswered questions about 9/11. Maybe the most fundamental question is: Was 9/11 carried out by 19 individuals, operating in isolation, who, over a period of 20 months, were able to take the rough outlines of a plan that had been developed by Osama bin Laden, and convert it into a detailed working plan; to then practice that plan; and finally, to execute an extremely complex set of assignments? Let’s think about those 19 people. Very few of them could speak English. Very few of them had even been in the United States before. The two chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, have said that they think it is highly improbable that those 19 people could have done what they did, without some external support during the period that they were living in the United States. I strongly concur…. Where did they get their support?”

This question has still not been answered in satisfactory manner. The passing of the JASTA Act (Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism) in the U.S., the disclosure of the 28 previously classified pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry report into 9/11 that were kept secret for so long, and the lawsuit that the families of the 9/11 victims filed against the Saudi government delivered sufficient evidence of the actual financial support for the attacks. But the investigation of all these leads was delayed with bureaucratic means.

The only reason the inconsistencies around 9/11 are mentioned here, is to point to the fact that the entire definition of the enemy in this war was, in fact, wrong from the start. In a white paper on Afghanistan published by the BüSo (Civil Rights Movement Solidarity in Germany) in 2010, we pointed out that a war in which the goal has not been correctly defined, can hardly be won, and we demanded, at the time, the immediate withdrawal of the German Army.

Once the Washington Post published the 2,000-page “Afghanistan Papers” in 2019 under the title “At War with the Truth,” at the latest, this war should have ended. They revealed that this war had been an absolute disaster from the start, and that all the statements made by the U.S. military about the alleged progress made were deliberate lies. The investigative journalist Craig Whitlock, who published the results of his three years of research, including the use of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and statements from 400 insiders demonstrated the absolute incompetence with which this war was waged.

Then, there were the stunning statements of Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the Afghanistan czar under the Bush and Obama administrations, who in an internal hearing before the “Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction” in 2014 had said: “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan—we didn’t know what we were doing. … What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking…. If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction … who would say that it was all in vain?”

After these documents were published, nothing happened. The war continued. President Trump attempted to bring the troops home, but his attempt was essentially undermined by the U.S. military. It’s only now, that the priority has shifted to the Indo-Pacific and to the containment of China and the encirclement of Russia that this absolutely pointless war was ended, at least as far as the participation of foreign forces is concerned.

September 11th brought the world not only the Afghanistan War but also the Patriot Act a few weeks later, and with it the pretext for the surveillance state that Edward Snowden shed light on. It revoked a significant part of the civil rights that were among the most outstanding achievements of the American Revolution, and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and it undermined the nature of the United States as a republic.

At the same time, the five principles of peaceful coexistence, which are the essence of international law and of the UN Charter, were replaced by an increasing emphasis on the “rule-based order,” which reflects the interests and the defense of the privileges of the trans-Atlantic establishment. Tony Blair had already set the tone for such a rejection of the principles of the Peace of Westphalia and international law two years earlier in his infamous speech in Chicago, which provided the theoretical justification for the “endless wars”—i.e., the interventionist wars carried out under the pretext of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P), a new kind of crusades, in which “Western values,” “democracy” and “human rights” are supposed to be transferred—with swords or with drones and bombs—to cultures and nations that come from completely different civilizational traditions.

Therefore, the disastrous failure of the Afghanistan war—after the failure of the previous ones, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war, the Libya war, the Syria war, the Yemen war—must urgently become the turning point for a complete shift in direction from the past 20 years.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic at the very latest, an outbreak that was absolutely foreseeable and that Lyndon LaRouche had forecast in principle as early as 1973, a fundamental debate should have been launched on the flawed axiomatics of the Western liberal model. The privatization of all aspects of healthcare systems has certainly brought lucrative profits to investors, but the economic damage inflicted, and the number of deaths and long-term health problems have brutally exposed the weak points of these systems.

The strategic turbulence caused by the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, offers an excellent opportunity for a reassessment of the situation, for a correction of political direction and a new solution-oriented policy. The long tradition of geopolitical manipulation of this region, in which Afghanistan represents in a certain sense the interface, from the 19th Century “Great Game” of the British Empire to the “arc of crisis” of Bernard Lewis and Zbigniew Brzezinski, must be buried once and for all, never to be revived. Instead, all the neighbors in the region—Russia, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey—must be integrated into an economic development strategy that represents a common interest among these countries, one that is defined by a higher order, and is more attractive than the continuation of the respective supposed national interests. This higher level represents the development of a trans-national infrastructure, large-scale industrialization and modern agriculture for the whole of Southwest Asia, as it was presented in 1997 by EIR and the Schiller Institute in special reports and then in the study “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.” There is also a comprehensive Russian study from 2014, which Russia intended to present at a summit as a member of the G8, before it was excluded from that group.

In February of this year, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan agreed on the construction of a railway line from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, via Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul, Afghanistan, to Peshawar in Pakistan. An application for funding from the World Bank was submitted in April. At the same time, the construction of a highway, the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor, between Peshawar, Kabul and Dushanbe was agreed to by Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will serve as a continuation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a showcase project of the Chinese BRI.

These transportation lines must be developed into effective development corridors and an east-west connection between China, Central Asia, Russia, and Europe as well as a north-south infrastructure network from Russia, Kazakhstan and China to Gwadar, Pakistan on the Arabian Sea, all need to be implemented.

All these projects pose considerable engineering challenges—just consider the totally rugged landscape of large parts of Afghanistan—but the shared vision of overcoming poverty and underdevelopment combined with the expertise and cooperation of the best engineers in China, Russia, the U.S.A., and Europe really can “move mountains” in a figurative sense. The combination of the World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) New Development Bank, New Silk Road Fund, and national lenders could provide the necessary lines of credit.

Such a development perspective, including for agriculture, would also provide an alternative to the massive drug production plaguing this region. At this point, over 80% of global opium production comes from Afghanistan, and about 10% of the local population is currently addicted, while Russia not so long ago defined its biggest national security problem as drug exports from Afghanistan, which as of 2014 was killing 40,000 people per year in Russia. The realization of an alternative to drug cultivation is in the fundamental interest of the entire world.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the risk of further pandemics have dramatically underscored the need to build modern health systems in every single country on Earth, if we are to prevent the most neglected countries from becoming breeding grounds for new mutations, and which would defeat all the efforts made so far. The construction of modern hospitals, the training of doctors and nursing staff, and the necessary infrastructural prerequisites are therefore just as much in the interests of all political groups in Afghanistan and of all countries in the region, as of the so-called developed countries.

For all these reasons, the future development of Afghanistan represents a fork in the road for all mankind. At the same time, it is a perfect demonstration of the opportunity that lies in the application of the Cusan principle of the Coincidentia Oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites. Remaining on the level of the contradictions in the supposed interests of all the nations concerned— India-Pakistan, China-U.S.A., Iran-Saudi Arabia, Turkey-Russia—there are no solutions.

If, on the other hand, one considers the common interests of all—overcoming terrorism and the drug plague, lasting victory over the dangers of pandemics, ending the refugee crises—then the solution is obvious. The most important aspect, however, is the question of the path we as humanity choose—whether we want to plunge further into a dark age, and potentially even risk our existence as a species, or whether we want to shape a truly human century together. In Afghanistan, it holds true more than anywhere else in the world: The new name for peace is development!


Webcast: A World Without Geopolitics Beckons: After the Afghan Debacle, Have We Learned Our Lesson Yet?

In reviewing strategic developments of the last week, Schiller Institute Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche highlighted the prospects for peace and collaboration possible when geopolitical confrontation is rejected. The Merkel-Macron-Xi dialogue, for example, opens the door for a change in European Union policy, as the EU bureaucrats face growing tensions over their commitment to the unilateralism implied in imposing a “Super State.” The end of the Afghan war does not mean more conflict, but the emergence of an alternative based on a desire by its neighbors to overcome underdevelopment, as a competent strategy to combat terrorism.

In her report on the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, she challenged viewers to not fall back on the axioms drummed into their heads by corrupt media and imperial oligarchs, but to look instead at the real history of China. She described the Conference of World Political Parties addressed by President Xi, which included representatives from more than 150 parties, as an “expression of friendship”, which demonstrates that overcoming underdevelopment is a mission which can be embraced by all nations. It also makes a mockery of the view pushed by geopoliticians that China “is isolated”.


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