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RIAC Analyst Believes Geo-Economics Is Overtaking Geopolitics in Central Asia

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.”


South African Riots Are Major Destabilization of this BRICS Nation

South African Riots Are Major Destabilization of this BRICS Nation

July 14 (EIRNS)—The opposition parties in South Africa are united in blaming (with varying emphases) President Ramaphosa, his government, and the ruling ANC at large, taking no account of the intense undermining of the country by London/Wall Street centered finance—for example, through destroying South Africa’s electric power development. Will no one stand up and tell Ramaphosa that it is his London/Wall Street patrons that are the problem?

As for this immediate destabilization, one interesting voice has been heard. Bantu Holomisa, MP, leader of the minor United Democratic Movement, said on SABC-TV, “We note the curious absence of the police in some areas. There has been radio silence from the top police echelons for two days. They are the ones who usually keep us [meaning, members of Parliament] informed. Are some intelligence people and police behind this?” That is now being investigated, but by whom, and with what end in view? Stay tuned.


Russian Academic Identifies Mackinder Geopolitics as Enemy of Russia and China

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.


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.


Zepp-LaRouche on Afghanistan: ‘The New Name for Peace Is Development’

Dramatic developments are taking place over the past days which make clear that the world is sitting at a crossroads. Two clearly distinct ideas about the nature of man are contending for the future of human civilization. One, which could well lead to the destruction of civilization itself in a nuclear holocaust, sides with the Aristotelian outlook of the British Empire, that some people are born to rule and others to serve, that human beings are as defined by Thomas Hobbes, as “all against all,” with nations following the same logic, locked into geopolitical laws of zero-sum “survival of the fittest.” The other view believes that: “Development holds the key to the people’s well-being, [and] no country should be left behind. All nations are equally entitled to development opportunities and rights to development.” While it would be understandable that one may think this statement came from Franklin D. Roosevelt as he planned his postwar vision for the role of a United Nations, it is in fact the words of Xi Jinping, speaking on July 6 to delegates of 500 parties and institutions from around the world, representing 160 countries, fully three-fourths of the human race, joining in support of the principle of “Peace Through Development,” as intended by China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Today, the Schiller Institute’s founder and president Helga Zepp-LaRouche released a statement titled: “Afghanistan at a Crossroads: Graveyard for Empires or Start of a New Era?” She posits that the policies taken by the world’s nations today on the future of Afghanistan not only affects every citizen of every country, in the sense that the danger of terrorism and drug proliferation affect us all, but also because it could well determine the fate of mankind itself. The only solution to the Afghanistan quagmire, she writes, is for the great nations of the world, and all the nations of the region, to join forces in a “Great Project” to develop Afghanistan as the hub for the New Silk Road, both East-West development corridors connecting East Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Eastern Europe and Western Europe, and North-South development corridors linking Russia, China, Iran, India and Pakistan.

Is it possible? Or is it, as seen by the geopoliticians of the British Empire, contrary to their warped sense of “human nature,” which will always seek out an advantage against “the other”? Will Americans follow this British prescription for imperial “divide and rule,” or will they recall the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Was this intended only for those who follow so-called “Western values,” and who follow the so-called “rules-based order,” or is it indeed intended for all mankind?


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!


Russia Denounces Sanctions on Syria as “Collective Punishment”

Russia Denounces Sanctions on Syria as “Collective Punishment” 

July 9 (EIRNS)–In a press conference following the Astana format meeting on Syria yesterday, held in Kazakhstan,  Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev denounced what he called the “collective punishment” of the Syrian people through Western sanctions. “We believe the consultations that we have held here in Nur-Sultan give hope that our call on the international community [will make it possible] to move the focus from efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria in military terms to humanitarian issues and activities aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people,” he pointed out. “And definitely, the deplorable practice of collective punishment for the Syrian people has to end,” Lavrentyev added.

Humanitarian aid needs to be delivered through the country’s legitimate authorities, and in this regard, Russia calls for the establishment of a mechanism to deliver humanitarian aid to all parts of Syria via Damascus, he said.

About 24 hours after Lavrentyev’s remarks, the UN Security Council passed a compromise resolution, today, on extending the UN mandate for cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid supplies from Turkey to Syria’s Idlib province. The new resolution extends the mandate for six months until Jan. 10, 2022, with an automatic extension for another six months until July 10, 2022, subject to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issuing a report on the “transparency” of the aid operation and progress on delivering aid across conflict lines within Syria as Russia wanted. The resolution also welcomes “all efforts and initiatives to broaden the humanitarian activities in Syria, including water, sanitation, health, education, and shelter” as well as early recovery projects.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche interviewed on CGTN’s Asia Today

Helga Zepp-LaRouche was interviewed by Zhong Shi today, the host of the “Asia Today” program on CGTN, as part of its lead coverage on the crisis in Afghanistan.

Zhong Shi: I want to now also bring in Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the president and founder of the Schiller Institute, a German-based political and economic think tank. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, welcome to the program. It’s a pleasure to have you on today.

The Pentagon says returning Bagram base to Afghan security forces was a key milestone in U.S. military withdrawal. Now, the question is, what type of milestone will this be for Afghanistan? How will this affect the country’s ability to fight against the Taliban?

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think it’s a very serious situation. There is the danger of civil war, not only between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban, but according to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, who yesterday pointed to the fact that there are now ISIS forces massing in the north of Afghanistan. I think the danger is that the war will continue, this time with Afghans killing Afghans, so I think it does require some other approach. Something completely different than just withdrawing and leaving the place as it is.

Zhong: The world is now watching the situation unfold in Afghanistan. We know the Taliban certainly has been sweeping into districts as foreign troops go home. When the United States watches what is happening right now in Afghanistan, how would you characterize Joe Biden’s policy towards Afghanistan after U.S. forces leave? He certainly has promised continued support.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, I’m not so sure. Obviously, this is a quagmire. Twenty years of war and lost lives and lost money for nothing. I think that the withdrawal from Afghanistan has similar reasons like the United States reducing logistics in other parts of the Persian Gulf. It’s in part, in my view, this focus on the Pacific, on Russia, on China. So per se, it’s not an Afghanistan policy, but it’s more a policy led by geostrategic considerations. I think this is a path to disaster as well.

Look, Afghanistan in the last year, the opium production increased by 45%. Afghanistan produces 85% of the world’s opium production. If you just leave that, the Taliban will for sure increase that production as a way of financing their military operations. The deaths will be in the streets of the United States and Europe, of the many addicts. In Afghanistan, there are 3.5 million drug addicts, but that just shows that you need to have a completely different approach to solve this problem.

Militarily, Afghanistan cannot be won. That was proven by the Soviet Union trying to win for 10 years, now the United States and NATO for 20 years. I think it’s high time to rethink, that one needs to have a completely different approach than the continuation of the same.

Zhong: As you say, it would be 20 years of a war for nothing, if Afghanistan quickly descended back into chaos; into where it was before the war. Some fear that this is more likely to become a reality once foreign troops are gone. What do you think are the chances that this will happen? That Afghanistan will dive deeper into a civil war?

Zepp-LaRouche: As I said, if nothing is being done, it will be a nightmare. There will be more terrorism, which will spread not only in the region, but beyond. I think there must be a change in the approach. The only way there would be any hope to stabilize the situation is if you bring real economic development to Afghanistan, but also to the entire region, of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, all these countries which have been destroyed by the endless wars. This could be taken as one region, and one should understand that both the problem of terrorism, but also the problem of drugs, is one which should concern all the countries—the United States, Russia, China, Iran, India. They should all work together for an economic development perspective. One could extend the Belt and Road Initiative, the New Silk Road. The previous president, Karzai, saw that he sees the only hope for Afghanistan would be development. And the new name for peace is development, also in Afghanistan. So, my wish would be that this could become a subject of a UN Security Council special conference. President Putin has demanded, in any case, that the Permanent Five of the UN Security Council should meet. That would be one of the urgent items; how to prevent Afghanistan becoming a source of terrorism, drug trafficking, and just a nightmare for everybody. And how can you stop thinking in terms of geopolitical confrontation, and concentrate on the common aims of mankind? I think Afghanistan is one of these absolute crossroads—it is a crossroad—but also a crossroad in the history of mankind.

Zhong: This is more of a pressing issue by the day. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, we appreciate your analysis today; thank you so much for taking the opportunity to talk to us.


Henry Jackson Society: Britain Should Show Leadership Against `Russian Aggression’

NATO is not addressing “Russian aggression” sufficiently. It is out-of-control and Britain, within the NATO construct, must lead the way in countering it. So writes Henry Jackson Society fellow Robert Clarke in a June 23 paper — apparently written just before the incident with the HMS Defender the same day — published in the {UK Defence Journal}. Clarke claims that Russia, with restrictions imposed on some waters of the Black Sea around the Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov, is working to isolate Ukraine from NATO. “Britain is doing the right thing increasing maritime patrols in this increasingly important region, as {HMS Defender} alongside the Dutch frigate {HNLMS Evertsen} from the U.K.-led Carrier Strike Group begin to patrol the Black Sea over the coming days in support of NATO ally Ukraine,” Clarke writes. In his mind, it seems, Ukraine is already a member of NATO.

In light of Russia’s recent behavior, “the U.K. should seek to incorporate the Black Sea region as a geostrategic priority. This must include joint maritime patrols with both Ukrainian and NATO allies. The joint patrol conducted with the Dutch frigate {HNLMS} Evertsen in the coming days is a good example of this bilateral engagement,” Clarke writes. “Building from this, the U.K. should develop a more permanent and consistent leadership presence, ultimately within a NATO framework. Both French and Dutch navies have recently been deployed or are soon to deploy to the Black Sea, with Turkey a major regional actor and close NATO ally.”

Clarke concludes: “As the U.K.-led Carrier Strike Group deployment fulfils the vision of a Global Britain as the eminent European naval power, it is to this strategic corner of southern Europe which the U.K.’s and NATO’s attentions must turn, in order to counter an increasingly assertive and emboldened Russia.”

Read the article in the {UK Defence Journal}.


Brits Confirm: HMS Defender Deliberately Provoked Russia

Brits Confirm: HMS Defender Deliberately Provoked Russia

June 24, 2021 (EIRNS)–Confirmation that the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender’s sailing into waters claimed by Russia near Crimea was a deliberate provocation, came yesterday from none other than the BBC, which had one of its own reporters on the ship. The reporter, Jonathan Beale, confirmed that the Russians did issue radio warnings to the crew, that the crew was prepared for a possible confrontation, that gunfire was indeed heard, that some 20 Russian aircraft passed by overhead and that two Russian coast guard vessels came within 100 meters of the British ship. “This is at odds with statements from both the British prime minister’s office and defence ministry, which denied any confrontation,” the BBC reported.

       “While Moscow claims the peninsula and its waters are Russian territory, the UK says HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route,” the BBC reported further. “A source told BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale that the Defender was not there to pick a fight but to make a point — to assert its right to freedom of navigation in international waters.”

       Beale himself added: “This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russia. HMS Defender was going to sail within the 12-mile (19km) limit of Crimea’s territorial waters. The captain insisted he was only seeking safe passage through an internationally recognised shipping lane.” The logic behind this is that since the UK does not recognize the return of Crimea to Russia, the territorial waters that extend from the peninsula still belong to Ukraine. Therefore, according to the British view, the HMS Defender was merely exercising the right of innocent passage on its transit from Odessa to Georgia.

       The Russians regard the incursion by the HMS Defender as a violation of international law. “Russian Defense Ministry views the dangerous actions of the Royal Navy Destroyer as a blatant violation of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Russian military ministry called on the British side to conduct a thorough investigation of the HMS Defender crew for prevention of similar incidents in the future,” the Defense Ministry said.


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