Lyndon LaRouche gave this address to a private gathering in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 2, 2012.
Listen to the audio here
Transcript as follows:
We are presently, as most of you already know, in probably one of the greatest crises in human history. Because we’ve come to a point that the conflict centers on the question of, will thermonuclear weapons be used?
This problem has been on our minds, and threatening us, since, probably the middle of the 1960s, at which point there was the possibility of a Russian super-bomb—one case from that period—but there’s been an increasing importance of thermonuclear capabilities. And even back then, during the middle of the 1960s, it was known and fairly estimated by most officials in this business, that thermonuclear warfare is extinction warfare. That does not mean that there would be an immediate extinction of humanity, but there would be a process of eruption which would probably, we would have to say it’s estimated, could eliminate the human species.
We are now at a point where that is brought back to us, because we have, between Russia and China, on the one side, who are struggling for peace in the world, and avoidance of this process; on the other side, you have certain forces which are pushing for warfare, using the Middle East cockpit for such warfare, which could be such a threat to mankind. And that threat to mankind is foremost in my attention, and in the attention of people of rank whom I know inside the United States and other countries.
You have some people, such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United States, and certain leadership forces in Russia and China, which are working to try to prevent this thing from happening. And it’s our concern that this prevention occur. But the danger is going to exist for some time.
Now, the other side of the thing, is the fact that we’re in the worst financial crash in world history. The crash is centered in the trans-Atlantic region, and affects, of course, Africa, but Africa doesn’t know that, because Africa has been under so much, for so long, that this is not great news. But for the rest of the world, for the trans-Atlantic world, we’re now in the point of a breakdown crisis. And what we’re looking at is an economic breakdown, which is now threatened, unless certain measures are taken, to occur during this year. If the present President of the United States were by some mischance re-elected, then we would have a terrible situation.
But the current President, of course, is in difficulty for violations of this or that, things which could result in his being removed from office. We’ve already seen that process: If you look back to the Nixon Administration, and how Nixon was hoisted out of government back in the early 1970s, you know how these things are done. And what is happening now, in the United States, has a certain resemblance to what happened to Richard Nixon back in a comparable period; it’s close to that now. The charges are actually there, they’re floating outside; the indications are there, and we have generally a mess.
- The Possibility of Something Good -
We have one piece of good news in this whole process. My old adversary, the British Empire, has undergone a certain degree of improvement. The following is extremely interesting, because there is truth in the situation; it is also the possibility of something good, and we just have to take both of these contingencies in mind, and see which one is going to be forthcoming.
Recently, a group of people associated with finance, international finance, inside the British system, have called for a Glass-Steagall adoption by Britain, and also, in collaboration with the United States. Now, this certainly is not coming from Mr. Obama. But a Glass-Steagall introduction now, between certain forces in Britain—if it happens—and certain forces in the United States, which I can say, we are committed to. We’re committed to Glass-Steagall, because without Glass-Steagall as a reform, the United States economy will crumble, and will crumble this year. Only Glass-Steagall’s installation will save the situation.
So, therefore, the hopeful side is that, first of all, Russia and China succeed, together with the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, in preventing the current situation in the Mediterranean from becoming general warfare. That’s number one.
Number two, we must have a reform of the economic system, especially in the trans-Atlantic region. Now, of course, a reform in the trans-Atlantic region would be a reform that would affect the world economy, and for most of the world, that reform would not be too difficult.
For Europe, it’s a crisis. All of Western and Central Europe is in the process of disintegration right now, economic disintegration. It’s being held together with wires and cheese, and whatnot, and whatever else they use to pull things together. But we’re on the verge of a general disintegration throughout Central and Western Europe. Economic disintegration. Not crisis, not depression, disintegration.
And the question is, can we stop it?
Because the collapse of the European system, the trans-Atlantic system, would mean a disaster for the relatively better off, momentarily, China and other parts of the world. So therefore, we have a Pacific region, which is more stable, but with many difficulties, and we have the trans-Atlantic system. The trans-Atlantic system is now in the threat of a breakdown crisis, and the whole system is being held together by wire, and whatever, and toothpaste, and whatever else you use to pull things together.
By this order, under the present trends, if what present trends seem to be, were to continue, by the end of this year, we will have a disintegration of the trans-Atlantic system.
That can be prevented.
- A Recovery Depends on Glass-Steagall -
Now, what I want to emphasize with this talk about calamities, I want to emphasize what’s important: what are the remedies. What are the possibilities of escaping this crisis?
Now, what you hear from various quarters, is that Glass-Steagall is, for the trans-Atlantic region in particular, the one measure which can prevent a general economic breakdown crisis of the trans-Atlantic system. There would be no great technical difficulties for Asia in participating in such a system. There are measures that have to be taken, but they could be taken. And they’re not really controversial. They may be controversial to some people, but they’re perfectly reasonable. All the interests of nations, variously, can be represented fairly by this kind of reform. And it is my particular hope that this be realized, and realized this year, so we can bring together, around what we have now, a group of nations who will initiate a kind of reform which means an economic recovery process among nations.
It’s going to be difficult, because, as you know, most nations of the world have been undergoing a deterioration, especially in the trans-Atlantic region. There’s been a disintegration of the economies of the Americas, and Europe, and so forth. Africa, of course, is continuing to suffer—it’s hard to say they’re going through a crisis, because they’ve been in crisis for so long, it doesn’t make much difference.
But, the possibility of a recovery does exist. It exists and depends upon a Glass-Steagall agreement. Why?
If you look at the accounts in the trans-Atlantic regions, among nations, you will find that there’s not much value in any of it. The physical productive capabilities throughout Europe, throughout the United States, are actually zero. All the so-called wealth of the United States, in terms of money wealth, is fake. There’s no value in it.
There are no industries in the United States of any significance left—they’re gone. The skills of the people are gone. The deterioration of our population, of our young population, under 25 years of age, is a criminal state of affairs. We are at the breakdown point, and the danger is that the continuation of the process which is behind this breakdown, if it continues, can bring down civilization, by chain-reaction effects. And can actually lead in the process, to the unleashing of thermonuclear war. And a thermonuclear war, if it’s stacked up now, and the way the system is stacked up now, is a quasi-extermination event, which can lead to a complete extermination process.
Therefore, we must, we must take certain drastic measures of reform, and take them now, based on agreements among nations for an economic reform, as well as economic-cooperation reforms among nations.
In the trans-Atlantic region, it’s very easy to do so, in principle. Whether politically it’s feasible or not, that’s another question. But in physical terms, solutions do exist. They’re not going to be comfortable solutions, because we have lost, in the United States; we have lost in Europe; we have lost the greatest part, since the assassination of John F. Kennedy—we’ve gone through a process in the United States, and into Europe, which has resulted in a general erosion of productive capabilities in the trans-Atlantic region.
There are very few exceptions, and very small ones.
- The Threat of Thermonuclear War -
So, now we’ve reached the point that, if we’re going to rebuild, if we’re going to avoid this great crisis which now threatens us, we’re going to have to start modestly, but with great ambition. What we will be able to achieve—we have a labor force that no longer has skills. The majority of our U.S. labor force no longer has productive skills. What they’re doing is not production—it’s make-work. It’s fill-in work.
You have a similar trend in Western and Central Europe. The euro system has been an absolute disaster for all of Western and Central Europe. And the result is, now you have China and India, both of which—China more notably—depend to a significant degree on a European and a U.S. market. And therefore, the threat of the collapse of the trans-Atlantic region is a threat to all nations, to one degree or another.
My view is that we can solve that problem, if the will is there to do it.
And the thing we’re starting on, really, is, you have Russia standing in the way, directly, in near-Asia, of thermonuclear war. The danger was, last Summer, after the destruction of one nation [Libya] by Obama—and it was the U.S. forces under Obama which destroyed that nation—and they wanted to extend it immediately into the Near East, into Syria and to Iran. That intention still exists. Russia is blocking the way against the continuation of that war. And implicitly, China is involved in that.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States military, have been at the other end of blocking against that war. Because any general officer, especially of this grade, knows exactly what thermonuclear war is. The world knows what the naval capabilities are of the United States in the Pacific region. We have the ability, on a first launch, to virtually exterminate part of civilization. That must not occur. We must prevent that.
So, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States understand that, and do what they can to prevent this thing from being launched. And without their interference, and without Russian interference, that would have happened. You cannot have a war in Syria, and a war in Iran, that does not become a world war. And if it becomes a world war, at that point, it becomes a thermonuclear world war.
European nations generally have very little reserve for military operations, as I think many of you know. They have drained their capabilities. You have two major powers in the world which have, combined, major capabilities. One is the United States. The United States is the only nation that has, on the Western side, an in-depth thermonuclear capability, largely in the naval capabilities. The U.S. naval capabilities can virtually destroy much of the planet. And that’s what’s being threatened.
What Russia has been doing, in the Middle East, in collaboration of a certain type with the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, has been blocking the steps that would lead to a thermonuclear war throughout the planet. And, if you go back to the middle of the 1960s, when the first idea of thermonuclear war was possible, we began to recognize at that point that thermonuclear war would be extinction warfare, or would become extinction war, if it kept going on. We’ve now reached the point that the British have very poor depth, in terms of thermonuclear capability. They don’t have reserves. The one nation on that side is the United States, that has in the naval forces, the reserves necessary to virtually destroy much of the planet.
And it’s not just the detonation of those weapons. It’s the after-effect of the detonation of those weapons, which is what concerns us the most. Because you’ve got to think about what the weather is after a full-blast shock of thermonuclear warfare, on a strategic level. Not local weapons, not special cases, but strategic. And that’s what a few people—a few governments and a few people around this world—have been blocking.
Now, what’s the other side?
Well, as I said before, we have a world economy that does not really function as a world economy. You have some parts of Asia, some parts of other locations, where there’s still some kind of productivity; there’s some growth going. But that growth is largely dependent on the continuation of world trade levels. So, therefore, we’re looking at the whole concern of all mankind. If it doesn’t affect one nation directly, it affects it indirectly, with the same force as if it were directly.
And we can change that.
- A Sudden Change -
Now, let’s suppose this. The group in Britain, which proposed the adoption of a Glass-Steagall law—some of you may not understand the Glass-Steagall law, but it’s crucial in this case—recognized, people who had been part of the British system on everything, on the imperialist side, all this stuff, suddenly changed their view. And one bright day, they announced their change of view, and said that Britain must adopt a change in economic policy, from its previous economic policy to a U.S.-style Glass-Steagall policy.
This came from a number of people who are typical British oligarchs, financial oligarchs. And they were very firm. They proposed, publicly—this was a few weeks ago—the establishment of a Glass-Steagall agreement with the United States. Now, of course, Glass-Steagall was originally a U.S. creation under President Franklin Roosevelt. It was destroyed by the current and recent administrations—by the Bush Administration and the current President’s Administration. They’ve done everything possible to destroy Glass-Steagall.
The destruction of Glass-Steagall, from the United States, is the cause of the general breakdown crisis going on in the United States today. You see in London, in other parts of Europe, the European nations, generally, you see this madness, this gambling system—the so-called Libor system—has destroyed the economies, or what remained of the economies, in the trans-Atlantic region. We are, in this year, in this month, we are on the verge of the disintegration of the European system, the economic disintegration of the European system. And we can stop it—with Glass-Steagall.
Because what Glass-Steagall is dealing with, is a gambling system, and it’s pure gambling. The trans-Atlantic region is based on pure financial gambling. There is no substance to what’s going on. It’s a complete fraud.
Now, the solution is, under what’s called Glass-Steagall, which was invented by President Franklin Roosevelt, and continued since that time until recently: Glass-Steagall was the means by which we dumped the speculative banking system. We just told them, you’re bankrupt. We shut down the worst speculators in the world, in London and the United States. We shut them down, then. And that’s how we saved the United States, in particular, back during the 1930s, under Franklin Roosevelt.
The impact of the Roosevelt Glass-Steagall reform was so strong, that they were never quite able to destroy it until the end of the 1990s—not until that time. Then they got the thing through. And since that time, the United States, and also Europe, have gone into a hyperinflationary spiral, which has brought the European system to a breakdown point. So, obviously, on the first account—and there are several accounts, I just indicate to you which are crucial here—if we do not put back Glass-Steagall, as a U.S. law, immediately, and if we do not engage Europe in agreements to the same effect—which is what the British group I referred to has said—then the whole system, the whole economic system, of the trans-Atlantic system, is going to disintegrate, this year.
So, it’s not a usual situation. But Glass-Steagall will work.
Now, the problem is, it is not difficult for most of you, in your own countries, to recognize what the benefits of Glass-Steagall are. The obvious benefits. And most nations do know this. But they know that certain financial interests don’t like the idea. But the point has come, when the financial interests in the Western Hemisphere, the western part of the world, have created a hyperinflation beyond belief. This is worse than any hyperinflation in recent European history. And if we don’t get rid of that hyperinflation, the United States will go down, and Europe will crash immediately. The entirety of Western and Central European nations is presently on the brink of disintegrating.
This is not a question of a depression, an economic depression. It’s a matter of disintegration.
For example: Spain is on the verge of disintegrating. Greece is ready to disintegrate. Italy will disintegrate. And in that process, how much will be left? Nothing.
- We Are Going To Survive -
So therefore, we’re on the edge of the situation, where these reforms must occur, or we’ll have a chain-reaction collapse throughout the planet, of economies. And therefore you have this phenomenon, of suddenly, the British Empire, which has been the world empire ever since 1763, when the British East India Company took over—and that situation has dominated the world, as British imperialism, up to the present day. And what you’ve always had, is that the complicitly of certain U.S. forces with the British in that policy, has been the cause of most of the problems this world has gone through.
Now we’ve come to a time that the monster has threatened to eat itself. The monster of hyperinflation, the monster of the British system, has come to its end, and leading British thinkers have understood that, and led in the charge.
More recently, in the past week, we’ve had also the same thing happen inside the United States. A number of leading bankers, who are among the biggest robbers of nations you ever saw—just like the British ones—these robbers of nations have suddenly come to say, “Oh, we must reform. We must have Glass-Steagall.”
Now, Glass-Steagall is not difficult for most governments to understand, at least on the surface, on the outside. We simply take those categories of financial speculation, which are not worthy of trust, and we tell these gentlemen, they can continue their banking processes, but we don’t have anything to do with them. And we will not bail them out if they get into difficulties. If they cannot survive, they will go bankrupt, and we will help them go bankrupt. But we are going to limit the liabilities of the United States, and these gentlemen in England and so forth, will have a similar intention. We’re going to survive.
What are we going to do? We’re going to say, the inflation, the hyperinflation, belongs to you. It belongs to you who are in this hyperinflation. Other nations should have no obligation to pay any of the debts of these wild speculators. And if we can do that, we can regrow. But it will be a painful regrowing, a difficult regrowing.
Because, as you know, throughout the world, there are great shortages of productive capability. We’re going to have to take people who are unskilled, or poorly skilled; we’re going to have employ them, and build up their skills, with great projects, which includes space projects. Space technology is a very important part of the future economy of the world today. And our mastery of Mars as a base of operation, as well as the Moon, is one of the key prospects which we have to use in order to organize things on Earth. It does not mean we’re going to suddenly get into a space ship and travel to Mars. It means that Mars is one of the areas in which the people of the world, our world, are going to have to participate, in order to promote the development and security of Earth. And all intelligent governments are thinking in that direction.
The Moon is necessary. The Moon is necessary, because if you try to go from the Earth to the Mars directly, it takes a lot of power to take people up there. So if you can just get up there, and build industry on the Moon, then the building of the industry on the Moon now becomes a vehicle by which you can begin to move, and we can do it within this generation.
We can actually have the establishment of a Mars control station on the Moon within a generation. It would mean using thermonuclear fusion as an impulse power. And with themonuclear fusion, you can get from the Moon to Mars in a week, and the ability to get from the Moon to Mars in a week, is man’s triumph in moving outward in our Solar System.
And what we have to do is take the kind of technology which building that system means, and use that technology to drive the industrial and general development of all nations of Earth into some degree of necessary progress. There has to be a change: We have to think of ourselves in terms of, yes, we have this planet Mars; there are many reasons why we have to put things up there, which we will use to satisfy needs on Earth, by way of development of the Moon. We will then have a basis for seeing what the true unity of mankind must be. What we must share in common, as sovereign nations, respectively, in order to bring about what has to be done.
Now, the problem is this:
Most people still believe, including in the United States, of course, that money is the basis for economy, and that is not true. Economy is based on the productive skills, productive powers of labor, of people. And it’s the improvement of the ability of people to produce, physically, things that are needed, to change the environment, and that sort of thing. These are the things on which humanity depends.
Therefore, we’re going to have to change, in the sense of, instead of looking at money as the nature of wealth, we’re going to have to look at credit, physical credit, as the true nature of wealth. And what I have to do, with others, is to make clear what that means.
Nearly every nation has leadership in it on economic policy, which understands the first part: understands what Glass-Steagall reform represents; can understand why it works; can understand why it’s an international issue, not a national issue. Because the key thing here is cooperation, physical cooperation among nations, in physical production, physical advancement: conditions for life.
Therefore, my major problem, my, shall we say, assignment, is, with my associates and others, to make clear how that system works: how the change from money as value, to money as an instrument of investment—that change has to become understood. And that is not well understood. There are many people in the world who understand aspects of this, and prefer this to what they’re getting now. But the one empty spot in the whole thing is, there is not a clear understanding of what a credit system is.
We in the United States have a tradition of a credit system, off and on. The first settlement, in Massachusetts, was based on a credit system, and it worked. But the British Empire at the time didn’t like it, so they crushed it. Our Constitution in the United States was based on a credit system, not a monetarist system. We were then pushed by the British into going to a monetarist system, as an imperial force. Then, with Abraham Lincoln, we used a credit system to defeat the British from destroying us in a Civil War, under Lincoln’s leadership.
This was reintroduced as a concept by President Franklin Roosevelt.
So, it is a part of our system, and some of our economists have a better grasp of it. The other people who have a better grasp of that particular question are in Britain. Because, after all, the British were our masters, most of time. We’ve pretended to be our own masters, but we didn’t run the world. The British used us to run errands for them, but they ran the world.
But we in the United States, and some in Britain, understand history, the history of economy, well enough to understand what a credit system is.
- NAWAPA: The Greatest Water Project Ever -
Now, we had one project in particular which I have been pushing, and my associates have been pushing. We had, during the time of the 1960s, a policy of building water systems in the United States, and beyond, water systems which would beautify the deserts, and also make them more productive. One of these systems was called [[NAWAPA]] (the North American Water and Power Alliance). [[http://larouchepac.com/infrastructure]] And NAWAPA is a project which would take about 20 to 25 years to complete. It’s the greatest water project that mankind has ever designed, and it’s been sitting there ever since the death of President Kennedy. It’s the water system which is being looked at in Russia from a different standpoint, and looked at by China, of course: The great water projects in China are part of the same process. They came out of the same process.
So these great water projects and other engineering projects of this type, which are the foundation for changing the terrain, and expanding economy, these are the kinds of things that are needed.
We need a space program. That’s a longish question, but we urgently need it. Humanity needs it.
And Africa—Africa has never had justice. Never. And if we develop, as we can, that justice can be delivered. It’s largely technological. It’s a lack of skills, it’s poverty, things of that nature. But we can cure those kinds of problems. We have done it in the past, and then we stopped doing it. Africa has been destroyed, again and again. It’s one of the most important areas for development, if we’re going to have a global development system, and we need it.
Because the key thing here: If we’re going to create a change in the monetary, the money systems, and so forth, among nations, we’re going to have to earn trust among nations. And that’s what we have to do. And Africa is the test of whether we can be trusted, or not. We’re going to have to earn that trust. China has done a certain amount of work in that area, in Africa. It’s very good work, and there are jokes made about it, and so forth, but it’s important. But it’s the only place from which much is being done for Africa.
So, therefore, the issue here is, we have to get from a system of bitter controversies, to recognizing the common interests of mankind, without forgetting the fact that nations are based on sovereignty. We cannot dispense with the concept of sovereignty of nations. But we must solve problems, including problems of cooperation, with cooperation among nations.
We will come to a time, and you have to realize it now, where war as we have known it, among nations, is no longer possible. When great war is based on thermonuclear fusion, and matter/antimatter reactions coming up now, you cannot have warfare in the sense we’ve understood it before. There was never any good reason for mankind to think that warfare was necessary to mankind, if we could reach the kind of agreement and cooperation, which would enable us to eliminate that factor in our history.
We must have sovereignty of nations, because that involves the question of the human mind, and you cannot have nations blindly operating without their own opinion, their own development of their own minds. Sovereignty is necessary, but sovereignty with cooperation among sovereign states is not impossible, in theory; it’s urgently necessary now. And we will not have trust, for the purposes of the kind of projects I’ve indicated, unless we can bring people to trust each other on the basis of the protection of their sovereignty. And sovereignty means the things that are necessary for nations to be sovereign, not to be slaves sitting in poverty.
And that’s where we are right now. Right now, everything is being held in suspension. We don’t know when, in this month of August, a great crash might occur. We don’t know. We can only fight to try to prevent that from happening. And there is chance, but it’s going to be a tough fight.
And this is essentially the core of my message here. We are in a situation in which the fate of humanity as a whole is actually in jeopardy. But at the same time, you have powerful forces, powerful nations, and other things, which, if they cooperate together, and can find cooperation, can solve these problems right now. But first we must be aware of the problems. We must be aware of the solutions. We must be aware of some of the questions which most nations will have difficulty in understanding. And since we need cooperation, we have to get busy in developing the necessary understanding, of doing the things that we have to do.