The Summit between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden could not come at a more critical point in history. Not only current history, but universal history. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended the decades of warfare in Europe by establishing the concept of national sovereignty between nations, based on the principle that a nation’s national interest rests on the interests of the others. This principle has been breached many times, and horrible wars fought as a result, and none more deadly and destructive as the global wars of the 20th “Century of War,” as Lyndon LaRouche called it.
But under the direction of Franklin Roosevelt, a United Nations Charter was drafted and implemented following the Second World War, aimed at re-establishing the principles underlying the Peace of Westphalia, and mechanisms (imperfect ones) to manage conflicts before military actions were taken. These ideas were advanced further in 1954 when China and India, represented by Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, resolved their conflict of the time by formulating the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence—territorial integrity; non-aggression; non-interference in internal affairs; equality of nations; and peaceful coexistence. These principles were adopted in 1955 by the participants of the Bandung Conference of African and Asian nations, free of their former colonial rulers, and in 1961 at the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Historian Patrick Lawrence, in an article posted today in Consortium News, reviewed these Five Principles, adding that the US “has not once, not in any given year, observed even one of Zhou’s principles. It has always, in any given year, abused all five.” While that may be an exaggeration, Lawrence’s point is that this may be a moment of truth for the US—that in fact Presidents Biden and Putin may be on track to effect a change towards the better in bilateral relations, towards the profound notions of Westphalian sovereignty, towards restoring sanity in US foreign relations.
A similar point was made by Ray McGovern, who was a leading CIA analyst of Soviet/Russian affairs for 27 years. McGovern, in a June 9 interview posted on his website, www.raymcgovern.com, pointed to the fateful day of April 13, when four events took place on that single day: it was announced that the Russians had deployed significant military forces on the Ukraine border; Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu confirmed that deployment; Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the US that its planned deployment of two destroyers into the Black Sea at this dangerous moment was “playing with fire” (the deployment was scrapped); and President Biden called President Putin, setting in motion the process leading to this Summit. McGovern was not predicting any particular outcome—he warned that the media and the war party in the US were doing everything they could to “mousetrap” the meeting.
Although it is apparent to the world that President Biden is surrounded by advisors and military-industrial spokesmen promoting confrontation with both Russia and China, it is also true that he initiated a two-hour phone call with President Xi JInping, despite his Secretary of State Antony Blinken continuing the Pompeo lies about Chinese “genocide” and “slave labor.” And, he initiated a phone call to Putin on a day which could literally have seen the beginning of a war, a war which could have led to the annihilation of the human race.
After being tricked by a journalist into calling Putin a “killer” on March 17, Biden was pushed by the press on Monday to repeat the gaff, but responded instead: “I have met with him. He’s bright. He’s tough. And I have found that he is a—as they used to say when I used to play ball—a worthy adversary.”
The world is sitting on a precipice, facing the danger of a financial hyperinflationary break down; of a global war between nuclear superpowers; of a pandemic which is infecting and killing more people this year than all of last year; and an economic breakdown of the productive forces across most of the world outside of China and its periphery. As the series of Schiller Institute Conferences over the past year has demonstrated, it is possible, and absolutely necessary, to bring together people of good will from every part of the world—political leaders; scientists; medical professionals; artists; youth—to forge the ties amongst nations and disparate cultures to both address this existential crisis and to launch the new paradigm required to build a world worthy of human dignity for all. The upcoming conference, on June 26-27, will continue that process. Register today!