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U.S. Directed Attack on Crimea: One Step Closer to War Between NATO and Russia

Webcast with Schiller Institute founder and Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

HARLEY SCHLANGER: Hello and welcome to the international dialogue with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. Today is Wednesday, June 26, 2024, and I’m your host Harley Schlanger. You can send your questions and comments via email to or post them on the YouTube chat page.

Helga, at last Friday’s International Peace Coalition meeting adopted a resolution which could not have been more timely, given the attacks on Crimea on June 23rd. There had been a discussion of the June 14 peace proposal by President Putin, which was dismissed, rejected, or ignored by most Western leaders, and a proposal was made to support Putin’s peace initiative drafted by the East German Board of Trustees of Associations (OKV) and it was adopted by the International Peace Coalition members. What’s the content of the resolution, and how can this be used to intervene in the present crisis?

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: It is an effort to get back to a dialogue in the international arena, because we are—and that is what concerns many people in the West—we are right now in an extremely dangerous spiral of escalation, whereby no matter what happens, the NATO countries are for the most part dead-set on escalating. And I think the recent example of that, was the attack in Sevastopol on June 23, on the beach, by five U.S. ATACMS missiles, armed with cluster bombs: They struck a beach in Crimea on Trinity Sunday, which is a major religious holiday in Russian Orthodox Church. There were many families on the beach: more than 150 people were injured; 4 were killed. Many are still in serious medical condition. And this was solely a civilian target!

In the meantime, it is very clear that this could not have happened, without the U.S. fully guiding to the targets, the whole technical supervision of these ATACMS are not Ukrainian, they’re entirely American. Naturally, the response from Russia was extremely sharp, because also on the same day, another terrorist attack occurred, in Dagestan, hitting a church and a synagogue, and that was also a terrorist attack, very clearly.

There is very clearly an attempt to escalate the confrontation, and one cannot help to think of the plan which was proposed by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Great Britain, two years ago, where they said, we have to “boil the Russian frog” by increasing the temperature on and on, and eventually leading to a “Cuban Missile Crisis on steroids,” where you have a nuclear confrontation and then maybe at the height of such a “Cuban missile crisis on steroids,” maybe then the leaders are more willing to negotiate.

This is pure insanity! And it increases the threshold of potential catastrophe, where something unexpected can happen, especially in light of a complete breakdown of all disarmament agreements and arms control agreements, which makes the situation so much worse than during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

So, in this environment—naturally also before—but in this environment, Putin had issued this proposal, which the Western media reduced to just a proposal on Ukraine, but that was only the end of a one-hour speech he gave before the Foreign Ministry leadership on June 14, where he proposed a comprehensive, new Eurasian security architecture, open for NATO countries, and saying, maybe this is the last moment before a catastrophe can annihilate the entire human civilization. And it was an urgent call to sit down at the negotiation table.

Now, as you say, the Western leaders categorically rejected that without even bothering to read the whole thing, just referring to the last part, the proposal for settling the Ukraine crisis. So, the umbrella organization of East German associations ([OKV of various kinds, they issued an appeal to support this proposal, and we invited a spokesman from the OKV to present this proposal, and it was discussed at length by all the participants of the International Peace Coalition, and we decided ad hoc in a resolution that we would try to get support for this: because we need to go to the negotiating table. I think this is extremely important, and I would urge all of you, our viewers, to check the resolution, to read the Putin speech, and also to check also the Ten Principles I had proposed already in November 2022, for what such a security and development architecture should look like, and you will find there is an amazing affinity between Putin’s proposal of June 14 and what I proposed in November 2022. And that is why I have a very easy time to agree and say, we should put this on the table and go back to diplomacy; and stop this absolutely immoral, extremely dangerous escalation, which can only lead to a world war in which nobody would live.

So please study these proposals, and help us to get as many signatures of individuals, institutions, organizations, because I think we need to really change the agenda.

Now, there are some signs that the danger of the situation is getting to some politicians. For example, while Chancellor Scholz, in his government declaration today, again, for the second time, flatly rejected this proposal by Putin, by saying, “Aw, this can only be believed by people who are listening too much to RT Germany,” referring to the Russian news agency. It’s just a silly response. But fortunately, Friedrich Merz, who is the opposition leader and likely opposition chancellor candidate (given the fact that the coalition has maybe 25% or less of the vote, but they’re dwindling and crashing in the polls) it makes the statement by Merz somewhat important. Because he said, already two days ago, that there may have to be a rethinking on the Ukraine situation, because it may be time to think about how to end the war, with a ceasefire or some peace negotiations.

This is very interesting. What the media are saying about that is that this has something to do with the upcoming elections in three of the Eastern German states: In Saxony, in Brandenburg, and in Thuringia, where the mood of the population is overwhelmingly to stop this crisis, and they don’t believe the narrative about what NATO is trying to tell them. So that may be a factor, but even more important is the fact that the German economy is just collapsing, falling like a stone, and there is massive pressure by industry to stop this insane confrontation course which will ruin Germany economically. So they’re leaning heavily on Merz, and that is a big factor as well.

And also Macron, who recently was a key warmonger in demanding for French and other NATO troops to be sent to Ukraine, now he’s all of a sudden—he’s also under the impact of a tumultuous domestic situation—he is calling for going back to discussions with Putin, and then he says he believes in the power of dialogue, and he wants to be in the dialogue with Putin.

So as you can see, there is flux, and that has to do with the fact that people vacillate between obedience to the NATO narrative, and a perceived, fundamentally different self-interest. And that is why I think such an intervention to actually gather support for such a dialogue based on Putin’s proposal is extremely important.

SCHLANGER: Madeleine assured me before we came on that the proposal is now posted on the Schiller Institute website, and I notice it’s also posted to the BüSo website in German. So, people can download it, read it and circulate it.

Now, I have a question from a medical professional from North Carolina, who writes: “I don’t think most Americans realize that one or two more attacks like the one this hit the beach in Crimea, will put enormous pressure on Putin to escalate. I heard Scott Ritter and others warn about the danger of nuclear war, but the main media won’t cover it. Does Biden think that Putin won’t respond? Why do they keep pushing this way?”

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it’s very hard to figure out what Biden is thinking because he seems to be vacillating a lot, and one doesn’t get a clear idea. But I think the powers that be, that is, the military-industrial complex, or as Ray McGovern calls it, the MICIMATT, referring to the military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think tank complex, I think they are completely freaked out about the fact that the Western model is not functioning; the financial system is in shambles, it’s over-indebted and there’s no easy way in sight how that can be remedied; and they’re seeing that there is this other world system emerging with the BRICS, the BRICS-Plus, but as Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov pointed out, it’s not just the BRICS; it’s the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), ASEAN, several other such organizations, which are forming a different economic system, which is based on sovereignty, on non-interference, on allowing for the different social system of the other country, and they’re basically focussing on investment into the real economy, while the West is entirely focussing on making the military strong, but neglecting the civilian economy. And that naturally goes along with brutal austerity against all kinds of things for the population.

So, I think it’s one of the most remarkable phenomena of this present crisis, that while it is clear to the whole world, to the Global Majority, and to many people in the West as well, that what the Chinese and their friends and colleagues in other states are doing, is in the interest of the people, because it pertains to the living standards, to increasing the living conditions for the people, while, what the West is trying to do, is they’re trying to assert hegemony by cutting the living standard, by going into brutal austerity, cutting hospitals, cutting schools, cutting all the things that make life worth living—and, rather than thinking and reflecting that maybe it would be wise for the Western countries to go back to a different policy tradition, like the U.S. Founding Fathers, like Alexander Hamilton, like Lincoln, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, like Kennedy—no! they’re incapable, or seemingly incapable of correcting their mistakes, and they’re trying to double down by escalating the confrontations with Russia, and with China looming not far in the background.

So, I think this is something which needs a massive intervention by the population, by thinking people! by people who are professors, academics, retired military, all kinds of people who have an opinion on that: They should speak out while we still can do that. Because I think only if we move to a situation where the collective West stops the geopolitical confrontation, and says, “OK, the world is shifting. There are more power centers emerging, but if we cooperate, that way we can resolve all problems easily through dialogue.” And I know it would be easy if Biden would reach out and call Xi Jinping, call Putin and say, Look, let’s have a summit, let’s discuss how we get a better policy,” I’m 100% sure it would be responded to positively.

Now, Putin’s proposal is such a stretching out, and that’s why we need to build as much support for it as possible.

SCHLANGER: We’re getting some questions coming in, and this one is from Connie, and it refers to the release of Julian Assange, which I’m sure you have some thoughts about that. But Connie asks: “Is Biden trying to score points for his reelection, especially among students? Or is there more to the release of Assange than we’re hearing?”

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: The best I know is that that is a very likely hypothesis, that Biden would not want to have this terrible situation hanging around his shoulders, while going into the hot phase of the election campaign. There’s a lot of debate about it, where some people are expressing happiness that he’s finally in freedom, others criticize that he made a deal whereby he admitted some guilt concerning the espionage accusation. My view on this matter is that it’s very, very good that he is in freedom, because if he would have stayed in prison much longer, there was a serious threat to his life. He has two children, and a wife, and he now can hopefully go back to some form of normality, and I fully endorse this decision.

Now, the not so nice part about it is that it came at the price of admitting a guilt which he does not have! Because even the German TV, which is among the most controlled media on the planet, in their normal coverage, they had some commentaries which were very important that they got out: Namely they said that what Assange was accused of, was that he published some videos many years ago which showed war crimes by American and British soldiers in Afghanistan, in Iraq, which were quite horrible. Where soldiers were shooting civilians on the ground as if it was a video game, and egging each other on, saying, “Oh, here’s another one! We have to get this one, shooting that one down.” This is so absolutely incredible, terrible, and if you have a journalist who says, this has to become known, that’s what should be supported. Because if a government or an army is involved in such activity, it should not go unpunished. But obviously, the message which is supposed to be gotten out to the world is that if you do this, if you are an investigative journalist, look at what happened to Assange: He had to be in exile in the Ecuador embassy for seven years, and then in HM Prison Belmarsh for five years, so, this is what happens to you if you dare to do this.

Now, hopefully this will lead to a reflection, with people saying: Are we a democracy, are we supposed to be the countries of the “rules-based order,” of freedom of speech, freedom of thought, human rights? Well, I think we really in danger of losing these things, if we don’t correct this very urgently.

I think this will have an aftermath, because hopefully there will be a reflection of this, and hopefully the freedom of the press will not die with this case, which is obviously what the intention was.

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