A sign at an organizing table in New Jersey manned by The LaRouche Organization yesterday posed these alternatives for Afghanistan, and by implication for the world: “Terror, War and Drugs; or Peace Through Development.” The first option would have a devastating impact on every man, woman and child in the world, given the fact that a destabilized Afghanistan will continue as the source of 80% of the world’s opium and as a training ground for ISIS and al-Qaeda. The second option—by following the proposal offered by Lyndon LaRouche even before George Bush launched the war 20 years ago—would allow Afghanistan to end its history as the “graveyard of empires,” and to become the hub for an expanded New Silk Road, with rail lines connecting the landlocked countries of Central Asia to the ocean via a north-south rail line through Kabul and Pakistan, as well as east-west connections following the ancient Silk Road.
LaRouche’s proposals began with the necessity that all the countries in the region—Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and the five Central Asian nations, meet and cooperate with the Afghanis to assure development, to the benefit of all, as the only means by which the terrorism and the drugs could be eliminated. There are now, over this past week, developments which convey the very real potential that this is possible. The U.S. military withdrawal after 20 years of useless, destructive, deadly warfare, has sparked actions by all of the regional nations, which held a series of meetings this week largely focused on the urgency of bringing real development to Afghanistan. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ Council, which includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as ten other nations as Observers or Dialogue Partners, met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on July 13-14. At the center of the discussions, including the sideline discussions, was the idea that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor could be extended, branching out from the rail line running from China through Pakistan to the Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea. From Islamabad, the branch would pass through Peshawar, the Khyber Pass, to Kabul, then onward north to Tashkent, Uzbekistan and on to the Eurasian Land-Bridge lines connecting China to Europe. This plan was launched in February in a meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan, called the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor.
This and other development plans were also on the table at a July 15-16 meeting in Tashkent of the “International Conference on Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities.” Dilshod Saidjanov, an Uzbek spokesman, told India’s Asia News International (ANI): “Economic development is the way to make Afghanistan stronger and probably more peaceful. Everyone wants better development in Afghanistan.” Pakistan has proposed the establishment of an “SCO Development Bank,” to further generate credit for these development projects.
Will the U.S. join these efforts, or allow the “war party” which dominates both U.S. political parties and the media to act against them, under the evil lie that they are simply another expression of China trying to “take over the world.” A sliver of hope that the U.S. will take the sane approach of cooperation in development was seen in a State Department release on July 16: “Announcing the U.S.-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan-Pakistan Quad Regional Support for Afghanistan-Peace Process and Post Settlement.” These are indeed the nations through which the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor would pass. The announcement states: that “the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links, and strengthen business-to-business ties.” Such a shift in the now-normal U.S. policies of sanctions, wars and regime change subversion should be strongly encouraged.
Next week’s issue of Executive Intelligence Review will contain a package on this critical moment in Afghanistan, a moment in which the fate of the entire world could be determined, for good or for ill. An international agreement to cooperate with Afghanistan and its neighbors to transform the region into a central hub for the global New Silk Road process would also serve as a model for ending other crisis spots, in the war-ruined nations of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. This is the principle of the Schiller Institute’s “Coincidence of Opposites”—bringing seemingly intractable conflicts to an end by addressing the higher-ordered principle located in the common interests of all people, for peace through development. Such an optimistic approach may seem impossible, but the alternative is unthinkable. Humanity has risen up out of Dark Ages in the past, creating a Renaissance when nothing less will work. This moment must find a people with no less of the creative will required to build such a new Renaissance.