Schiller Institute International Conference
"A New Paradigm for the Survival of Civilization"
The Schiller Institute held a two-day international conference near Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov. 24-25 to discuss "A New Paradigm for the Survival of Civilization." Some 300 participants from 25 countries in Europe and the Middle East and from the United States came together to seek solutions to the two major crises of today.
First are the growing global tensions, especially in the Middle East and Gulf region (Southwest Asia), which threaten to escalate into a new world war, one which would involve total deployment of nuclear weapons and wipe out human civilization in a global conflagration. The second major crisis is the accelerating collapse of the Western financial system, and emphatically of the Eurozone.
The President of the Schiller Institute Helga Zepp-LaRouche, in her keynote address on Saturday morning, stressed the importance of economic development for all of Southwest Asia, over and above any religious or ethnic conflicts. Only the immediate perspective of a "Marshall Plan" for the entire area stretching from Central Asia to the Arab Gulf, and from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, would introduce a higher level of reason, from which to guarantee survival and a future for all. What we need, she stressed, is nothing less than a new Peace of Westphalia.
The acute danger of global war can be averted, Zepp-LaRouche proposed, by focusing on the common aims of mankind. Of such a nature is the proposal made by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin for a common Russian-American anti-missile defense system (Strategic Defense of the Earth - SDE) to defend against both missile attacks and global threats coming from space, such as large asteroids. Helga Zepp-LaRouche also called for the development and installation of early warning systems against earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and extreme weather conditions (such as the recent "storm of the century" Sandy on the East Coast of the U.S.).
Development, Not War
In the immediately following address, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Germany, Ali Rheza Sheikh Attar, presented Southwest Asia as the geographical and cultural bridge between three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. Cooperation among the peoples in this key region is crucial for the well-being of all the others on these continents. The ambassador went on to present some of the leading cross-border infrastructure projects in Iran, such as the Iran water route from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf, the rail link from Northeast Iran to Central Asia through the city of Mashhad, and a pipeline going from Tajikistan through Afghanistan and into the Northeast of Iran. The Islamic Republic, Sheikh Attar said, is putting substantial means into these projects.
Future-oriented great infrastructure projects as a way out of the current breakdown crisis, in particular for Southwest Asia, North Africa, Central Asia and the Mediterranean were presented by Hussein Askary, the Iraqi-born President of the Swedish European Labor Party. He was followed by professor Bassam Tahhan, professor of Arab Civilization in Paris, who refuted in particular the enormous inaccuracies in Western media of the crisis in Syria, and of the nature of the forces fighting the regime. Ghoncheh Tazmini of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Lisbon then spoke on "Re-reading Iran: a Friend Rather than a Foe," showing that Iranian leaders are in fact rational actors.
Manned and unmanned space exploration was the theme of the next session, featuring Didier Schmitt, a space expert from Paris, and Dr. Antonio Güell, a space medicine specialist from Toulouse. They presented future technological perspectives for all mankind, for example with the European-Russian ExoMars project and the application of satellite technologies to greatly improving public health.
Overcoming the Breakdown Crisis
Jacques Cheminade, former French presidential candidate and founder of Solidarité et Progrès, opened the Sunday proceedings with warnings on the war danger, and the disastrous political and social consequences of the current financial meltdown. He underlined the need to introduce a new paradigm in politics, putting a definitive end to the geopolitical tradition which is reflected in the imperial role of London, as financial capital, in globalization and in the monetarist design of the euro policy.
Such methods, Cheminade said, could never save the euro, but they do ensure the destruction and ruin of Europe. Rather, we need to open the way to a new and just world economic order, one which is not in the service of the fictitious claims of financiers, but of man and the economic and social progress of all mankind. The essential building blocks of such a just world order are the separation of banks, along the lines of the U.S. Glass-Steagall Act, which was repealed in 1999 and needs to be reenacted today, and the creation of a system of productive credit for the real economy, as well as outlawing of wars of any kind.
That was also the message brought to the conference in a video presentation by U.S. statesman Lyndon LaRouche, who issued a stark warning on the danger of thermonuclear war. Peace and development are not a "option", LaRouche stated, but an absolute necessity, if mankind is to have a future.
The following speakers on Sunday showed how in-depth economic development is key to solving the current strategic crisis. Aiman Rsheed, an engineer from Cairo, presented the ground-breaking "Africa Pass" project for linking the heart of Africa in Burundi to the Mediterranean, at Sidi Barrani. The Ethiopian Consul General in Frankfurt, Mulugeta Zewdie Michael, spoke of the importance of the "Grand Millennium Dam" project for Ethiopia and the entire region. He was followed by American Michael Billington, an advisor to Lyndon LaRouche on Asia, who read a message to the conference from the former Executive Director for Japan at the IMF, Daisuke Kotegawa, before presenting the historical development of Asia from the standpoint of the Eurasian Land-bridge.
The disastrous consequences of the euro policy were described by: Theodore Katsavenas, economics professor at the University of Piraeus, and author of a new best-selling book on how Greece should return to the drachma; George Tsobanoglou of the Greek International Sociological Association; Professor Wilhelm Hankel, one of the lead plaintiffs in challenges to the euro, the EFSF and the ESM at the German Constitutional Court; Daniel Estulin, an investigative journalist from Spain; and Lorella Presotto, of the National Civic Confederation of Florence, Italy. Conference participants also heard a message in favor of a Glass-Steagall type of bank separation from Álfheidur Ingadóttir, member of the Icelandic Parliament.
A panel on the need for a cultural Renaissance brought to a close the conference, which had been enriched with classical music offerings throughout. The high point was a concert on Saturday evening, with a trio by Lachner, a friend of Schubert, as well as the Va pensiero from Verdi's Nabucco and pieces from Beethoven's opera Fidelio.