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Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Others Address the International Peace Coalition Meeting No. 49

May 13—Below are the remarks of Schiller Institute  chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Col. (ret) Richard Black, former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, Prof. Steven Starr, Chandra Mouzzafar, Vincenzo Romanello, and moderators Dennis Speed and Dennis Small to the Friday, May 10, 2024 49th consecutive meeting of the International Peace Coalition:

DENNIS SPEED: We want to welcome everybody for meeting No. 49 of the International Peace Coalition. We have many speakers today, so we just want to make a general announcement for everyone to try to keep your remarks both focused and short. But when we get to the Q&A period, there we want people to be focused on responding to the content of what you will hear. You can say anything you wish, but we make that as a request so we can run the meeting as efficiently as possible.

There are obviously a lot of things going on, particularly this past week. Today in fact, if I’m not mistaken, the UN General Assembly is expected to vote on a resolution on whether or not Palestine will be granted new rights and privileges, etc. So, there’s a lot even as we are speaking at this moment that is evolving.

What we’re going to do is to go to our first speaker, who is the intellectual generator of the International Peace Coalition, and also the founder and leader of the international Schiller Institute, Helga Zepp-LaRouche.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Hello to all of you. Well, the situation in the world is extremely advanced, and advancing by the day. Let me start—it’s difficult to choose which crisis is more acute, Ukraine or Southwest Asia—but let me start with Ukraine. There we had a very dramatic development in the last week, where the statements by Macron were reiterated on May 2 to send troops into Ukraine. Then, Cameron said it’s OK if Ukraine is using its cruise missiles to launch attacks deep into the territory of Russia. Then, you had Hakeem Jeffries from the U.S. Congress saying that if Ukraine loses, then the U.S. would send troops. This was, however, countered by a former member of the U.S. Army, Stanislav Kaputnik[ph], who said if U.S. troops would be sent to Ukraine, they would be wiped out by Russia without any doubt. Then, Russia also said that if F-16s are deployed in Ukraine, they will regard that as a deployment of nuclear weapons, because of their dual-use capability. In other words, the F-16s can carry either conventional or nuclear weapons. And to all of that, for the first time in history, Putin announced maneuvers of the tactical nuclear weapons in response to these Western provocations. There have been normally tactical nuclear weapons rehearsals and maneuvers, but this is the first time that it was explicitly in reaction to these statements by Macron, Cameron, Jeffries, and the F-16 question.

That has sent shockwaves in the West, and Macron in the meantime pulled back a little bit and assured that France would not send troops. That was also probably due to his discussions with Xi Jinping, who was on a state visit in France. In the meantime, there has been relative silence so far from the British side. The British and French ambassadors had been called into the Russian Foreign Ministry and were read the Riot Act, and told what would happen, namely, that if these troops or the British systems would be deployed by Ukraine against Russia, this would cause a Russian reaction against all British and American bases and beyond. And that “beyond” was naturally left open, which Scott Ritter said he thought that this could cause an attack on U.S. bases in Romania, in Poland, in France, in Germany. So, we are really in an extremely escalated situation.

This does not prevent Defense Minister Boris Pistorius from Germany from travelling to the United States, where he bought new weapons systems of various kinds for $23 billion. NATO is pushing hard for the 2% of the national budgets being increased to 2.5%. This whole discussion is that if Russia wins in Ukraine, that Putin will march on and attack the Baltics, Poland, and other NATO countries. That is completely unproven; there are several journalists who have demanded that those who are insisting on this argument should bring the quotes from Putin. There are no quotes. As a matter of fact, the only available quote comes from Putin in his discussion with Tucker Carlson, when he explicitly said that Russia has no interest whatsoever to attack NATO countries. Anybody who studies the matter carefully can only come to the one conclusion: The one thing which Russia wants to get out of this whole affair is to have Western security guarantees like those Putin had demanded on Dec. 17, 2021. That Ukraine will not become a member of NATO, that there are no offensive American weapons systems along the Russian border. So, there is the farce one has to say of the planned so-called peace conference in mid-June in Switzerland, where the basis will be the Zelenskyy so-called “peace formula,” but Russia is not invited. It is an effort to pull as many countries from the Global South on the side of Ukraine, to be able to say that the majority of the world is going in this direction. But this has zero chance to actually lead to peace, because if you don’t invite Russia, how can you have a peace agreement if you don’t invite one of the two sides? This is a very dramatic picture.

If you look at the other hotspot, it is almost unbelievable to follow the news every day. In Rafah, since a couple of days, leaflets have been dropped saying that the 100,000 people of the probably 1.3 million people who are in an absolutely desperate situation in Rafah, have been motivated to relocate to another area because of the pending attack of the IDF on Rafah, which is beyond the imagination. Some of these people—I listened to a radio report this morning—some of these people have been relocated eight times; from the north to Khan Younis, to back to Rafah. Now they are told again to move away from there. Always starving, no medical supplies—it is an absolutely intolerable situation. Hamas in the meantime accepted a deal which was brokered by Qatar and Egypt. [Former CIA Director] Burns visited these countries, and then went to meet with Netanyahu. Now, it turns out that this incredibly cynical game, whereby Hamas is promised that part of the deal will be a permanent ceasefire. But when Burns talked with the Israelis, with Netanyahu, he said it will not be a permanent ceasefire. It will be a ceasefire not with a dot at the end, but a comma. Meaning that once the hostages are freed, then the war can continue.

So, this is a situation which is becoming more and more unbearable for the international community to watch; and we should not watch it.

So, on the positive side, I can only say that we had, following our very important Oasis Plan conference on April 13th, this past weekend a diplomatic event in Copenhagen with the presence of 13 embassies, half of dozen ambassadors in person. It was an extremely important follow-up meeting on the level of diplomats and ambassadors, and out of this meeting came a complete commitment to continue the organizing, kick it up to a higher level by trying to get a big international conference with the participation of states on the need to put the Oasis Plan, the development plan for the entire region of Southwest Asia in earnest on the agenda. I think this shows very clearly that if the Oasis Plan is becoming realized, that can be the first stepping stone in the direction of a New Paradigm for the whole strategic situation. That becomes more urgent by the day.

First of all, the London Economist has an article written by its chief editor containing an observation that indeed the old order is decaying, is finished, is no longer existent. This coming from The Economist is quite noteworthy, given the fact that it is the mouthpiece of the City of London. And there is a new poll conducted by an NGO headed by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former NATO Secretary General. They made a poll and came to the conclusion that especially since the Gaza war started, the reputation of the United States in the world is rapidly plunging. It’s plunging in the Global South, among the Muslim world, but it’s also plunging among Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, and some other countries of Europe. At the same time, the images of Russia and China are rising; naturally especially in the Global South.

If the establishments are not capable of learning, and it seems they still are very reluctant to do so, which you can see by the very harsh police reactions to the growing student protests in over 100 cities in the United States and now increasingly in Europe; in France, but also now in about 10 German cities, where in the case of Berlin and Leipzig, they went in relatively brutally and then several hundred professors supported the right of the students to defend their free speech. This is being blasted by the mainstream media as a complete break of the dam, the whole order is breaking apart. How can these professors dare to support the students? So, I think we are experiencing right now a real divide between those people who still have something human inside them, and those who are absolutely sticking to a collapsing order which cannot be maintained in any case. That puts the need on the agenda to really go in earnest for our new international security and development architecture, for a New Paradigm in the tradition of the Peace of Westphalia. If you do not include the interests of everybody, peace is absolutely impossible.

These are, in a few words, the updates about the situation, and now I’m very interested to hear what other people have to say.

SPEED: Thank you very much, Helga, and thank you to everybody who is just beginning to join us. I want to announce the next two speakers, because both of them have some schedule constraints. There’s Col. Richard Black, and Scott Ritter is on the line. What I’d like to do is go first to Colonel Black. Colonel Black, for people who don’t know, is the former head of the U.S. Army’s Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon; he’s a former Virginia State Senator. Welcome, Colonel Black, go right ahead.

COL. RICHARD H. BLACK (ret.): Thank you very much. I’m please to be with you. These are very tense times that we’re living in. Just recently, President Putin announced that there will be tests conducted, actual battlefield drills of tactical nuclear weapons carried out by Russia and by Belarus. The reaction from the media has to some extent been sort of blowing this thing off, saying it’s nuclear saber-rattling and so forth.

From the beginning of Russia’s special operation, Russia has pointedly reminded the West that it is a powerful nuclear state. This isn’t a bluff, and it’s not just meant to intimidate or to threaten. It’s actually a reminder of a very cold reality that NATO seems to have forgotten. The West is game of chicken on the world’s most deadly nuclear playground. From the outset, NATO—led by the United States—has carried out a series of just extremely reckless actions. NATO helped the Ukrainians assassinate 13 Russian generals. We worked to sink the flagship of the Black Sea fleet, the Moskva cruiser; 300 young sailors went to the bottom with it. The United States, apparently with White House approval, directly orchestrated the sabotage and destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, which has permanently damaged the entire European economy; but especially the economy of Germany, which has suffered enormously from the cut-off of cheap Russian gas. We helped Ukraine to carry out very deep drone attacks that targetted Russia’s nuclear triad. That appears to have been a NATO-orchestrated development designed to see just how elements of the nuclear triad were. Ukraine apparently orchestrated this terror attack on the Moscow concert hall that killed 137 concert-goers. We don’t know the extent of NATO involvement in that. It was directed by Ukraine from what we can tell.

But now, we have sort of a ratcheting up, even from those things. We’ve got President Macron of France, and he is just constantly putting out information over and over suggesting that it is time for NATO troops to become directly involved in fighting Russian troops on the border. More recently than that, we have David Cameron expressing the British approval for the use of cruise missiles and drones and jets to strike deep inside of Russia.

Now, it’s important to recognize that this is a dramatic shift, because it directly contradicts British assurances earlier on that Kyiv would not be allowed to use these weapons inside the Russian heartland under any circumstances. Now, he’s sending the message, “It’s OK; it’s up to them.”

The most recent development in this whole scheme is the comment by House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, indicating that if Ukraine is defeated—which is sort of common knowledge that it’s coming—then the United States will have to fight. He said, “We can’t let Ukraine fall, because if it does then there’s a significant likelihood that America will have to get into the conflict. Not simply with our money, but with our servicewomen and our servicemen.”

Here’s why this is so relevant: We’re talking about sending American troops into battle against the Russian troops. Today, Ukraine’s lines are trembling. Ukraine has certainly fought very valiantly, but their manpower is drained. They lack the reserves to seal any Russian penetrations that occur to their defense lines. At the same time, Russia has massed several large armies for a late spring or summer offensive. And they’re likely to burst through at some point and Ukraine will not have the reserves to shore up the defenses. At that point, there will be a collapse of Ukraine’s lines. The White House knows that this is happening, but they will not permit this war to end, certainly not before the November elections. So, they’re preparing wildly reckless options for preserving power, and those options are the use of tactical nuclear weapons, battlefield weapons, or perhaps the use of poisonous gas, as we did during the Iran-Iraq War during the Reagan era. Those things have not been ruled out.

Russia, in response, is deeply concerned that the U.S. and NATO are beginning to deliver F-16s to Ukraine. These jets are capable of carrying the 100 tactical nuclear bombs, the B-61s, which are air-dropped gravity bombs. So, Russia considers the use of those bombs, or the potential for it, to be an enormous threat. For this reason, the Russian Foreign Ministry has warned NATO that the F-16 is considered a nuclear weapons carrier, and that when they launch, the jets and their airfields will be considered as legitimate targets. Keep in mind that there’s a very high likelihood that NATO would have been sending these from major U.S. airbases within the NATO countries.

On Monday, Putin announced this tactical nuclear weapons exercise in response to what they consider existential threats to Russia. All of this is happening. The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the French and British envoys and told them in no uncertain terms that NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine, or the use of long-range missiles inside of Russia will be considered as legitimate targets not only in Ukraine, but wherever these things are launched from. This means actual Russian attacks back into NATO. President Putin was newly inaugurated on May 7th; Russians are solidly behind him and behind the war effort. He’s in a position of great strength. He’s ready to fight the U.S. and NATO.

So, what we are seeing today is this fiery exchange of diplomatic salvos going back and forth. It is reminiscent of the lead-up to World War II; and it may unfortunately presage the outbreak of World War III. Thank you.

SPEED: Thank you very much, Colonel Black. Again, we want to always thank you for being with us. We’re going to go now to Scott Ritter. Scott Ritter a lot of people know from his appearances on things like Judge Napolitano and so on. Let’s remember he’s former United States Marine Corps, an intelligence officer. He was the chief United Nations Special Commission Weapons Inspector to Iraq from 1991-98. We’re always happy to have Scott with us. Scott, you now have the floor.

SCOTT RITTER: Thank you very much. I think Colonel Black pretty much summed it up. I’ll just reiterate some of the points, and maybe expand on some of them a little bit. We have a situation where classic deterrence is failing. It’s failing because in order for deterrence to work, both sides have to take the threat of their imminent destruction seriously. Russia does take the threat to its existential survival seriously. Russia understands that the United States and NATO have articulated a grand strategy that seeks the strategic defeat of Russia. If you’re a Russian, that means that Russia as you know it no longer exists. The United States and Europe are seeking to have Russia return to the decade of the 1990s, when Russia was completely subordinated economically, politically, and even from a security standpoint, to the collective West. This is a vision the West seeks to embrace and to have re-emerge, and it’s one that Russia has rejected wholeheartedly.

One only has to listen to the speeches of Vladimir Putin recently at his inauguration address and his address on Victory Day, to understand that Russia today will never go backwards; will never allow that to happen. Russia views a retrograde in that direction as an existential threat. Russia now defines itself as a nation that depends only on Russia; it is a self-sufficient nation that classifies itself as one of the great civilizations of the world. And Russia says, and its leader says that a world without Russia not a world worth living in. That’s sort of his way of saying that if you seek our strategic defeat, you seek your parallel demise. That’s Russia’s deterrence doctrine: If you seek to destroy Russia, you shall be destroyed in return.

Russia has warned the collective West, NATO, the United States that this issue in Ukraine, this special military operation is something that it will not tolerate a direct Western intervention into. They’ve said that from the very beginning; Russia alluded to the fact that if NATO were to intervene, this would become a direct conflict between Russia and NATO. And Russia would use all the means at its disposal in response. This means Russia’s nuclear weapons. And Russia doesn’t believe in limited nuclear war; that’s the other point that needs to be pointed out here. For Russia, once a nuclear war starts, it logically goes to general nuclear exchange. So, Russia doesn’t believe you can have a one-and-done; you could do a nuclear demonstration. Russia doesn’t believe in “usable nukes” in terms of “We can use these weapons, and then contain the problem so it doesn’t expand.” From a Russian perspective, once nuclear weapons are used, it will logically proceed to a general nuclear conflict.

One of the reasons why Russia does this is for deterrence value. So that people understand that there are clearly-defined red lines that cannot be crossed. These are reasonable red lines; it’s not as though Russia is seeking unreasonable conditions on the world. Russia simply says, “Do not seek our strategic defeat. Do not attack us with nuclear weapons. Do not try to acquire conventional military power capable of overwhelming us, because that would be a strategic defeat. We are not going backwards. We will use all the means at our disposal.”

Somehow the West doesn’t understand this. First of all, the majority of people who are so-called Russian experts or who are in a position to advise policymakers, or the policymakers themselves cut their teeth on so-called Russian-area studies during the 1990s—late 1980s, during the 1990s. These are the people who are committed to the exploitation of Russia. For them, Russia-area studies wasn’t about understanding Russia, but rather understanding how best to exploit Russia. It’s this mindset; their desire to have the West in a dominant position across the board. And an intolerance for Russia daring to stand up and be treated as an equal that has put us in this situation. Their policies always seek to return Russia to the 1990s. There is no policy out there today in the collective West that respects Russia as an equal, and will not tolerate Russia as a superior. But the fact remains today that Russia is in many ways the equal of the West, and in some ways the superior of the West. This is intolerable.

These nations have deluded themselves into believing that Russia is bluffing; that Russia is paper tiger. That what passes for a solid foundation of national security is a house of cards; that if you blow on it, it shall collapse. They believe that Vladimir Putin’s hold on power is tenuous. They believe that there are deep fractures within Russian society. They believe that the economy is being artificially hyped and that it’s very vulnerable to outside pressure and subject to collapse. The bottom line is, they don’t respect Russian deterrence. As a result, they are inclined to embark on policies to achieve an unattainable objective—strategic defeat of Russia; policies which will cross Russia’s red lines.

Colonel Black mentioned the French and British ambassadors being brought into the Foreign Ministry to be read the riot act. The French for daring to say that they will deploy French troops into Ukraine, and the British for saying that they will greenlight the use of British weaponry, the Storm Shadow, to be used to launch strategic strikes into the depths of Russia. I wasn’t there, the Russians haven’t put out a read-out of the meeting, and neither France nor the United Kingdom have talked about it. But I’d bet a dime to a dollar that the conversation went something like this: “What you have articulated represents policies that are seen by the Russian government as presenting an existential threat to our survival. We have told you not to intervene. You now are articulating policies of intervention. Let us remind you that we will respond decisively. And by decisively, we mean not just against terminating the threat as it exists in Ukraine, which we will do, but we will now strike decision-making centers outside of Ukraine to include the high probability of striking targets on your territory. And if you choose to respond to that, understand that we will respond with all the weapons available to us, and this does mean nuclear weapons. And we will use nuclear weapons against you.” I believe Russia did not sugarcoat this whatsoever.

This coincided with Russia launching these training exercises. These are not a bluff; this is not a game. This is the real Russian posture as it speaks. Vladimir Putin has articulated publicly that all decisions have been made. All decisions have been made; there will be no phone calls. There will be no discussions. At the appropriate time, if indeed, France, the United Kingdom, or any other Western nation chooses to conduct policies, conduct operations inside Ukraine squarely off against Russian soldiers, launching strategic strikes inside Russia, all decisions have been made. Russia will automatically respond.

Normally, that would be enough to trigger the deterrence factor, where people would say, “Well, we’re not willing to go there, so we shall modify our posture.” But what we have right now is a feeling in the West that this is pure bluff, and that it’s time to double-down on what we’re doing. Chatham House, a major British think tank, just published a report that said that Great Britain should embrace the strategic ambiguity that the French have done. Well, there’s nothing ambiguous about what the French have said; they said “We’ll go into Ukraine.” Russia has said, “If you do that, we will attack you.” Now the British are saying, “We need to adopt a similar posture.” This is very dangerous. We live in a very dangerous age. And this is a period of time when the United States needs to step up and provide leadership and make sure the British and French know in no uncertain terms that the United States will not back postures such as this. But the United States is silent. Indeed, in our own Congress, we have people making noises. I would say thank goodness that Hakeem Jeffries is not in the chain of command; so frankly speaking, his words mean nothing. He can order no troops; he can’t pick up the phone and call the Secretary of Defense with a meaningful conversation. If he were the Speaker of the House, he still would have those limitations, but the Speaker of the House is a player, who can make phone calls, not to direct, but to advise. But Hakeem Jeffries is a nobody, so fortunately, his words can’t be brought into action; but it should be noted that his mindset is reflective of the mindset of many members of Congress, who view the Russian posture as a bluff. This is the danger. If you’re going to have deterrence, both sides have to be cognizant of the fact that there are red lines which, if they are crossed, things will happen which they don’t want to happen. Therefore, don’t cross the red lines.

But right now, the Russian deterrence, although it’s soundly articulated and ably backed up with the evidence of the ability to carry it out, it’s not being treated in a respectful manner by the West. If the West doesn’t view it as not being a bluff, then they will cross those red lines. And because the Russians have made it clear that their response is on full automatic, we may very well find ourselves up one morning, and that will be our last morning on this Earth. Because once a nuclear war starts, once nuclear weapons are used, this will rapidly escalate to a strategic nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States. And then it’s too late.

So, what I believe we need to do, is focus on educating people about the reality of Russian deterrence; that it is real, it is not a figment of anybody’s imagination. And we need to work on getting Western policies to align. One of the more difficult aspects of this is to get the West to let go of Ukraine. We have lost this. We poured hundreds of billions of dollars into this gambit; it has failed. Russia is winning, and will win; and there is nothing that can be done to prevent this. No amount of Storm Shadows flying into Russia’s strategic depth, no amount of French troops on Ukrainian soil will turn the tide. The Russian is pre-ordained; it’s going to happen. The West needs to learn to deal with that. The best way to deal with that is to figure out how we can peacefully coexist with Russia in a post-conflict environment. Nobody’s having this discussion.

I’ll just throw out in conclusion, again sometimes my ambition is greater than ability to carry it out, but I have engaged with the Russians to begin a process in February of 2025 on the 80th anniversary of the Yalta Conference, to have a New Yalta Conference bringing together experts on international law to talk about post-conflict resolution between Russia and Ukraine. And then to follow up with a New Potsdam Conference in Berlin on the 80th anniversary of that, where Europe and Russia can begin talking about reconciliation in a post-Ukraine environment. There seems to be some interest; maybe we can get more interest, and maybe we can turn it into something that not only happens, but the product of which can be useful to guide a policy both in Europe, Russia, and the United States. Thank you very much for having me.

SPEED: Thank you, Scott, for being here. Before we go to our next two speakers, who will be Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, and Prof. Steven Starr, let me just ask Helga, because I know you have limited time, Scott, and may have to be going. Helga, is there anything you’d like to say to Scott or respond either to him or Colonel Black at this point?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I just think this idea of having a new international conference to discuss how to live together on the planet, is the most important. I’m promoting this idea of a new international security and development architecture based on the model of the Peace of Westphalia. I think that that idea, because that’s the situation—the Peace of Westphalia came into being because people realized that if they would continue the war, there would be nobody left alive. Now, with nuclear weapons involved, that is more true than then. So, I think we really should join all efforts to get the idea that we need a New Paradigm, and that the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia is that you have to respect the interests of the other. That was also what Putin said in his speech in the context of his inauguration. He used that formulation about the interests of the other, which I thought was very appropriate. I referred to it in a short interview with TASS. So, I would urge all participants in this IPC conference that we should brainstorm on how we can activate as many intellectuals, academics, influential people, people who are concerned about peace, to support such an idea.

SPEED: Scott, any response before you get going?

RITTER: I think it’s great, Helga. Find one or two international lawyers who are going to be empowered to present your concept, and maybe we can bring them to Yalta to participate so that they can educate people on what you’re thinking. You could get the feedback and we can make sure that your ideas are part of an international dialogue.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: We will work on it, thank you.

SPEED: Thank you, Scott. Stay as long as you can, but we understand that you have some restrictions. I’d like to go now to Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, founder and president of Just International, the international movement for a just world. He’s also one of the original founders of the International Peace Coalition. Glad to see you back, sir.

DR. CHANDRA MUZAFFAR: [can’t seem to unmute himself]

SPEED: OK, we’ll come back to you. I’ll go to Prof. Steven Starr, a nuclear weapons expert and director of the University of Missouri’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program. Steve?

PROF. STEVEN STARR: Hi, thanks for having me here today. I actually retired from that director position, but I’m still teaching a class on nuclear weapons at the university every summer.

I get the impression that the political elite and the leadership in the West are like the students I have coming in who know little or nothing about the effects of nuclear weapons and nuclear war. Because as Scott said, the West doesn’t seem to be deterred from risking nuclear war. I supposed it’s a combination of arrogance and hubris, but there’s also got to be an enormous amount of ignorance to take a position like that. It is astounding to anyone who’s knowledgeable about what nuclear weapons do. I think we also have a really huge problem, because the western media has just become an echo chamber for official narratives. So, throughout the course of the war in Ukraine, the only news that’s been reported here has been direct from the Ukrainian military sources. So, much of it has been completely factually incorrect. Last August, we had President Biden announcing that Ukraine had won the war; Putin has lost. We’ve heard throughout the war that Russia was running out of missiles and ammunition; that they were using chips from washing machines, that they were desperate, that they’d lost half of their army.

So, how does that match up with the realities of the battlefield today that Russian forces are advancing all across the entire line of conflict? Which is what’s triggering the panic in the West; all these Western leaders are facing elections, and that’s their main concern is not to lose the next election. But if you think about what happens if Biden wins the election? You can bet there will be NATO troops on the ground if he does, if not before. But I think the rate of the Russian advances now are such that we won’t have to wait until November to see something like that happen, because Russia is clearly winning the war now.

And I wanted to say just a few things for people, because the news has been so blacked out in the West. For the first time since World War II, throughout the entire Cold War neither the United States nor Russia has ever suffered attacks on its homeland. We have used proxy wars in Vietnam and Korea, but never were the attacks directed at homelands. Russia has had Russian oil refineries hit, their military bases have been hit, the cities of Tula, Kaluga, Bryansk, Moscow. Belgrade has been hit to the point where they’ve had to evacuate half of the city; that’s a city of 340,000 people. There was recently an attempted invasion of supposed Russian nationalist forces, but they’re just Western mercenaries who use tanks, troops, armored vehicles. How would that be received in the United States if Moscow was fighting a proxy war, and Mexico was being used to fight a proxy war against the U.S.?

There was a recent attack at the concert that massacred 140 people. The head of the Russian FSB, which is the equivalent of the U.S. FBI, said that the Ukrainians and probably Westerners were involved. That’s inflamed Russian opinion. And of course, Helga provided great detail initially talking about the French and Macron and the constant talk about French troops. There’s been definite reports about the French Foreign Legion being there, although they’ve been contradicted.

A few other things that people might now know about: NATO has been pushing what they call a “military Schengen,” which means that all the paperwork has been done to streamline transfers of military equipment across the borders in Europe, without any slowdowns from regulations, that make logistical preparations such as the storage of munitions on NATO’s Eastern flank. NATO is building the largest military base in Europe in Romania, which is going to be 50% larger than the Ramstein air base in Germany. It will cover 6,900 acres; it has a perimeter of 18 miles. The base will accommodate 10,000 NATO and Romanian troops, as well as their families. This doesn’t sound like they’re getting ready to stand down to me.

The U.S. has been facilitating construction of a new highway system on an emergency basis that connects Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. That’s for logistical support. The U.S. has just delivered a large shipment of M1-A1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley armored vehicles and light support vehicles to Greek ports. They’re flooding the military equipment in there. Romania is building up portions of Moldova. French forces are in Moldova. The U.S. has had the 1st Airborne Division in Romania, training for some time now. And throughout the course of the war, the NATO satellites and reconnaissance planes, the AWACS, have constantly been providing targetting information. This targetting information includes, their drones were sent to help hit, say, the Engels Air Force base in Russia, which houses the Russian strategic nuclear bomber, they have to evade air defense systems. So, in way, when they send theses drones in, they’re also mapping out Russian air defense systems. The Russians are very acutely aware of this.

If you add this picture up, it’s more than disquieting. It just seems that we have a leadership, at least definitely in the United States, that’s bent on starting a war with Russia. If they really believe they can make Russia back down, it’s hard to comprehend. I’ve made a career of talking about the effects of nuclear weapons, and I decided I wouldn’t do that today. I can answer questions today, but a nuclear weapon is like a piece of the Sun when it detonates. The surface of the fireball is hotter than the surface of the Sun. It ignites fires in all directions. The strategic weapons of the United States and Russia will start nuclear firestorms that will have diameters between 80-150 square miles. That’s up to 290 square kilometers, I think; I’m not sure, I’m not so good on the metric system as I should be. But these are enormous fires. One detonation like that will destroy an entire city and kill hundreds of thousands of people. Russia and the United States each have 1,000 strategic nuclear warheads that they can launch within 15 minutes or less. Then the so-called strategic weapons, the B-61 weapons that NATO has, five member states and six bases in Europe, these are called variable yield weapons. They can be dialed down to have a yield of 300 tons of TNT, which is 0.3 kilotons. Some military commanders will see that as usable, because it’s only about 27 times larger than the largest U.S. conventional weapon, the mother of all bombs, which is 11 tons of conventional high explosive. But they can also be dialed up to a yield of 170,000 tons of TNT explosive equivalent, or 170 kilotons, which is a strategic nuclear weapon. So Russia knows these F-16s can carry a B-61 weapon, they don’t know if it’s in there and what yield it would be set at.

That’s enough, but I just want to underline my concern that the leadership in the West is oblivious. They seem to have forgotten the Mutual and Assured Destruction. We need to remind them of that. I’m not sure of the best way. A conference would be good—anything that would draw attention to that I think would be useful. The people in Europe need to wake up to this.

Thank you for your attention. I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have.

SPEED: Thank you very much Professor Starr. We’re trying to get two things done here. There are some scheduling questions. Professor Muzaffar, are you OK now? …

DR. CHANDRA MUZAFFAR: Yes. Thank you, Dennis. Thank you very much everyone. Thanks in particular to Helga and Mike [Billington]. I’ll be brief. There are a few points I would like to make related to what has been discussed so far.

I think Scott Ritter has highlighted what I feel is the most critical dimension of this crisis. That both sides are not listening to one another, there is no communication. Both have taken positions which appear to be intransigent, at least in appearance. And if you look at the reality, it is very clear—and this leads me to one of the three points I want to make—if you look at the reality, I think Russia has made its position very clear, that they will react, they will respond. They know what the red lines are, and they will act. There is no hedging around, there is no attempt to mask the intention.

As far as the West is concerned, I think this, too, is playing the game. Why? Because the most vital aspect of this crisis the West has not shared with its own people, which is that the real purpose behind what has happened since February 2022, that the real purpose is the annihilation of Russia. They want to defeat Russia, and this has been a strategic ambition of the West for a very long while, even before the Cold War ended. So, one is not surprised that this has come to the fore again. That is the intention of the West, and my fear is that the West is quite capable of moving in this dangerous direction. Why? Because for a civilization which sees itself as dominant and wants to perpetuate its dominance at all costs, whatever the consequences, I do not think they will tolerate a situation where that dominance is challenged, whether it’s by Russia or China, and this, I think, is the reality. They would see a Russia that emerges victorious from the Ukraine crisis, they would see a Russia that is victorious as a direct and immediate challenge to their dominance. And they would want that to be brought to an end, which means that they will be preparing to do whatever it takes to perpetuate their position.

This is the challenge facing us. I think the West will move in this direction.

I also feel the Russians, they will not adopt a different course. They have made their position very clear. And for Russia, whatever some analysts in the West may say, it is an existential threat, because that is the underlying motive, and this is the reason why they have taken this position.

So, what do we do? May I suggest a couple of things here apart from the conferences that has been proposed by Scott Ritter and supported by Helga. It’s a good idea, we should work towards that. But I would see as a more immediate challenge before us, how to persuade the decision-makers in the West and the people who influence the decision-makers, the inner circles in the West—the United States and Britain, in France, and Germany—how to persuade them that this is the course that lies before us: This is the danger. They should accept, as I think Scott said quite correctly, they should accept defeat in Ukraine, without saying that it is a defeat. That is something that one should leave to the negotiators, to be the people who have to work this out. Through negotiations, I think one should take a position where the West will accept the reality—we don’t want to use the word defeat—the reality. And reality has been there right from the beginning, but now it is staring at us dark-face, and that reality is linked to this real threat to the whole of human civilization. The West just has to say that the Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine—apart from Crimea, Donetsk, and other areas—they should be returned to Russia. And added to that, yet another dimension, where one should get a solid commitment from Russia that they would enter into bilateral and multilateral treaties with various countries, including Russia’s own neighbors and others which are part of the Western alliance, they would get into these treaties: That they would forge these treaties that would say that the sovereignty of states would be respected. And this would be a very important principle going forward, that sovereignty must be respected at all costs.

For us in the Global South, this is very, very critical, which is why I see people in the Global South—leaders and opinion-makers who can be persuaded—playing this role. They have to reach out and say: Look, the underlying principles are principles are very important to the Global South: respect for sovereignty. That one would respect the sovereignty of all states. One would, at the same time, ensure that the different states can live together, and they would respect one another. This principle of respect which Helga also emphasized is very critical. And this, again, is something that is very important to the Global South. If the Global South had reacted in a certain way in the past, during the years of the Cold War, it is partly because they felt that there was so little respect coming from certain quarters, even from Russia at a certain point in the past. And what they want is respect.

So, respect, sovereignty, these are two important principles. That these would be things to be worked out, but in the short-run, a solution that is directed to Ukraine: which is, respect for the Russian-speaking states and their history, because the history is not a simplistic history, where Ukraine was a totally different state and all the rest of it—we know what the past was. So, respect that, respect the need to recognize the rules of the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine, eastern part, southern part: do that. And at the same time, Russia itself gets into treaties, establishes these treaties with 12 guarantees, maybe through the UN or other international bodies, and I think this is something that is workable. We should work towards that.

I see the IPC, this International Peace Coalition of ours, as something that could play a role. That we’ve sustained this dialogue for so long, that is a great achievement. It is a great, great achievement. And I think we can reach out to various groups on the Russian side, on the side of the West, and say, “this is what is needed.” Both sides will have to realize the danger that faces us, and more than just realize the danger that faces us, they should work in such a way that they will be able to ameliorate the situation. We will have to ensure that this doesn’t happen, because I cannot think of a moment in our history where we have come as close to Armageddon: A total destruction. I think we are at that point, and we don’t have much time. I think this Coalition, I’m seriously convinced, has got a role to play. We’ll play our individual roles within our own governments, leaders that we know, opinion workers, opinion-makers that we are aware of, we will work together with all of them. Thank you very much.

SPEED: Thank you very much, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar. It’s a very welcome addition and very thoughtful….

DENNIS SMALL: We do have two more speakers here and then much discussion, here. The next person up is have Dr. Vincenzo Romanello: He’s Italian, he’s in the Czech Republic. He is a nuclear engineer and founder of the organization Atoms for Peace [Atomi per la pace].

DR. VINCENZO ROMANELLO: Good afternoon. I would like to say a couple of very short things. The first is, we were speaking about nuclear war. Of course, it would be a disaster because of fires, because of shockwaves. According to simulations, hundreds of millions would die immediately or maybe even 1 billion people. But it’s not the worst part of the story. The worst part of the story would be the fallout and the nuclear winter which would follow. This would be a disaster any maybe the collapse of every infrastructure—so, food, water, energy, health systems. I believe only disturbed people can think to survive in a scenario like this, and is willing to survive in a scenario like this. They can do that, only because people are not informed, because if they would know what is the scenario which they are planning, they would all react. So, this is really a battle of information of all the people.

When we speak about nuclear war, we always forget that, probably the superpowers would use also biological warfare and chemical warfare. So, no way to survive, very probably.

But my message today I wanted it to be something, where I wanted to give a hopeful message today. I wanted to speak about desalination in the Oasis Plan. So, Helga mentioned some time ago that with maybe 1% to 3% of the military expenses, it would be enough to implement desalination in the Middle East area. According to my calculations, only 0.001 of the expenses would be enough to manufacture three or four small modular reactors and starting to implement desalination, providing hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of water every day, at a cost which would of the order $1 or even half a dollar per cubic meter.

This could be possible if we manufacture desalination plants, and we have the technologies. There are many desalination plants worldwide. There are also high-temperature reactors, small modular reactors. We have the technologies, and it’s something that is possible to do.

What I would like to remember, however, is that if you think to a nuclear policy in those places, it is not simply that easy how somebody can think that, “OK, we decide, we have the money, we manufacture the reactors.” You need to train people there, to have a regulatory authority, and this takes time. From the moment when you have the money and you take the decision, it takes ten years, probably. Because I work in a regulatory authority, I know how difficult it is and how many qualified people you need, how much time you need to qualify them, etc. But it is not a reason not to do it. Every second lost is something going more in the direction of Hell, in my opinion.

So, we should really be informing the people and going in this direction as soon as possible. Thank you.

SMALL: Thank you very much, Dr. Romanello. … Dennis Speed?

SPEED: Yes, I just want to respond in part to some of the last things by reminding people of something. Daniel Barenboim, the conductor, wrote something earlier this week, I believe it was published on the 6th of May, on this being the 200th anniversary of the premiere of the Ninth Symphony. I thought this was a useful thing both to say, and also because I know that Helga will have something to say about it. He said:

“Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was first performed exactly 200 years ago Tuesday, and since become probably the work most likely to be embraced for political purposes….”

But then he says: "Beethoven might have been surprised at the political allure of his masterpiece.

“He was interested in politics, but only because he was deeply interested in humanity….

“I don’t believe, however, that Beethoven was interested in everyday politics….

“Instead, he was a deeply political man in the broadest sense of the word. He was concerned with moral behavior and the larger questions of right and wrong affecting all of society. Especially significant for him was freedom of thought and of personal expression, which he associated with the rights and responsibilities of the individual….

“The closest he comes to a political statement in the Ninth is a sentence at the heart of the last movement, in which voices were heard for the first time in a symphony: ‘All men become brothers.’…

“The greatness of music, and the Ninth Symphony, lies in the richness of its contrasts. Music never just laughs or cries; it always laughs and cries at the same time. Creating unity out of contradictions—that is Beethoven for me.

“Music if you study it properly, is a lesson for life. There is much we can learn from Beethoven. … He is the master of bringing emotion and intellect together. With Beethoven, you must be able to structure your feelings and feel the structure emotionally—a fantastic lesson for life!”

So, I will leave it at that. I just wanted to put that in, because you don’t want to get caught in, somebody called you anti-Semitic, or called you some other name. I come from a certain background in which that was often done, and you have to learn to rise above it, but how do you do it? How do you educate your own emotions so you can do that? So, I just wanted to include that here. And Helga, of course you may have some things about that. But people might want to go listen to the symphony.

SMALL: Helga, please go right ahead.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I want to touch upon several points which were made. I think one of the important outcomes of this session of the IPC meeting—and I want to thank all participants for a really very, very round and excellent discussion of the strategic picture in which we find ourselves. As a matter of fact, I was thinking, maybe we should make an exception to the rule, and publish this entire IPC call. I don’t know if you agree with that, but I think it was so rich in terms of both highlighting the danger of nuclear war, the genocide in Gaza and what the mobilization is against it internationally. So, maybe if you could make a vote, or signal your agreement or disagreement in the chat or email, we can see then.

I think we should really try to get across what especially Colonel Black and Scott Ritter and Steve Starr were elaborating, because the danger of nuclear war, it is so close, and every word that was said I can only agree with, because if the elites would know what they are playing with, they wouldn’t do it. But obviously they are completely arrogant and full of themselves, and they are not aware of the danger into which they are bringing all of humanity. I just would like to add one element, and that is that the Russians have a Doomsday machine: They have a doctrine whereby if the entire Russian leadership would be knocked out in the context of a war, they have installed where a second strike would nevertheless deliver a totally devastating blow, nevertheless. So, that would mean the absolute secure end of civilization, and I think people really should consider this.

On the Oasis Plan, what was interesting in the Copenhagen diplomatic meeting about the Oasis Plan, was that several participants had expressed agreement that, because many of the people who are suffering what is happening in Gaza, who are immediately concerned to get humanitarian aid to save the lives, may not have the time to think about the Oasis Plan, because they tend to think, “Let’s first save these lives, get a political solution, and then think about an Oasis Plan.” And we all agreed that that is understandable, even if it’s not the correct approach. But it puts all the more responsibility to the intellectuals to really forcefully try to get this alternative in the minds of everybody, and that is what my appeal to you, again, is: Help us to get the Oasis Plan into all pores of society— governments, think tanks, universities, military people, other organizations as well.

Thirdly, I want to say that one of the most important weapons right now in the metaphorical sense is to be exactly informed of what is going on strategically. I know that many people around the world are worried about the media telling you a narrative, and not the reality. I would like to use this occasion to tell you that we have a strategic alert newsletter, a Daily Alert, which is extremely inexpensive. It is a daily briefing about how the world strategically changes from yesterday to today. It is based on the experience of 50 years of analysis, based on the scientific method of Lyndon LaRouche, who initiated this process 50 years ago. Those people who have been reading it are absolutely convinced that it’s a very unique tool to be informed. So my suggestion to all of you is, if you are interested, you can subscribe to it for free for a couple of weeks, and then if you like it, you can subscribe to it and be really much, much better informed than any other way. We will put this in the chat, and I would urge you to try to subscribe to it.

Lastly, I can only wholeheartedly support what Dennis Speed said about Beethoven. The Ninth Symphony is probably the greatest work ever written. That’s very difficult, because Beethoven has written many absolutely outstanding compositions, but in the Ninth Symphony, especially when you take the totality of the three movements, then culminating in the fourth movement, where you have the entire richness of agapē, of elevating humanity on a completely different level. It’s not just the “all men become brethren,” which is obviously a very beautiful idea and which will happen, I’m sure of it: If man matures and becomes adult, we will be all each other’s brothers and sisters, naturally. And I’m not gendering, I have been saying that way back before the genders even came up with the idea. But it is also, if you listen to the text, which was written by Schiller, the Ode to Joy, there is a part in the composition where it says “above the stars, there must be a good Father.” You should listen to that part of the music. I’m absolutely sure that shudders will run down your back, because it is so elevated. It brings up man in the image of God, and that there is justice in the universe, in the Creation itself, and that there is goodness in the universe and that that will prevail. So, I would suggest that you indeed listen to it, and listen to the translation of that text, while you are listening, because I think there is a unity of Schiller and Beethoven which is really the highest expression of humanity I can think of. That is exactly what we need to be uplifted and strong enough to get through this battle.

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