How The SDI Was Created:
The LaRouche Method and "New Physical Principles"

by Jonathan Tennenbaum

Speech Given at the Schiller Institute Conference, March 20-23, 1993. Printed in the American Almanac, May 17, 1993.


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Contents

There is no doubt, that the process leading to and from the adoption by the United States government of Lyndon LaRouche's policy for strategic defense based on new physical principles--as announced by Reagan on March 23, 1983-- constitutes a turning point in world history. The laws which had seemed to govern the world up to that point, suddenly changed. March 23, 1983 signalled, that the entire system of ideas and institutions, which had governed the world increasingly during the 20th century, were being swept away. For a certain time, the policies of Lyn, our policies, had moved into the White House, and were governing the United States. Yes, we suffered a serious defeat--humanity suffered a defeat--in the subsequent period. But no one can turn the clock back to before March 23, 1983. I think it is not incorrect to say, that the punctum saliens, the historical turning-point period which began then, is still ongoing. We are still in the middle of it. The outcome will be determined by what we are able to accomplish over the coming weeks and months.

That poses the question: How do we change history? By being rich and famous? Like David Rockefeller, with his beetle collection? No, David Rockefeller hasn't changed anything, he is just a menial slave, a slave of the Whore of Babylon! Do we change history by occupying positions of great nominal power, like members of the Soviet Politburo, standing like a row of vodka bottles on top of Lenin's tomb? No, history swept them away. Lyn gave them a chance to change history, by accepting the offer to share the SDI, but they refused. They proved themselves impotent.

So, how do you change history? The lesson of March 23, 1983, which I want to elaborate for you now, is this:

You change history by making fundamental scientific discoveries--above all--and otherwise by applying and radiating the same Socratic method, which is the essence of fundamental scientific discovery. That's how Cusa did it. That's how Leibniz did it, and that's how Lyn did it.

Through examining the true story of the SDI, we can grasp and learn from Lyn's unique personal role in this ongoing period of history. That role is inseparably connected with the fact, that Lyn accomplished back in 1946-52 a fundamental scientific discovery. And everything he has done since then, his rise to predominance as a maker of world history, has been based on nothing but that original discovery and on his own, constantly improving mastery of the method by which he was able to make that discovery.

To show this, I want to single out two specific contributions by Lyn--contributions that could only have been made by him--which were absolutely essential to the U.S. government's adoption of the SDI policy. They may not have been adequately expressed in the U.S. government's public formulation of that policy per se, but they were implicitly the basis for everything.

First was Lyn's rigorous demonstration--which he and the organization forcefully brought to the attention of all relevant individuals--that the defense and economic policies adopted by the so-called Liberal Establishment for the United States and the rest of the world, were leading inexorably toward World War III. The problem was not this or that detail of policy, not some specific issue per se, but was located in the underlying axiomatic assumptions of Anglo-American policy-making; such that each new reaction of the Anglo-American elite to the ongoing crises was bound--as long as they clung to those assumptions--to merely accelerate the plunge into disaster.

The second crucial point, was the way Lyn designed a complete set of alternative strategic, military, and economic policies around the crucial principle of what is called ``rapid technological attrition'' applied to ``new physical principles.'' What this means, in a nutshell, is not to think of a single, hypothetically perfect defense system--that could never exist--but instead to drive development of anti-missile technology as rapidly as possible through an evolutionary series of breakthroughs based on the most advanced scientific research, while at the same time ensuring a continual ``spill over'' of the new technologies so developed, into the entire civilian economy. Lyn, and only Lyn, was in a position to specify how to organize that process, in such a way that a crash-program development of defensive systems would not only not be a burden to the economy, but would be the locomotive for a broad economic recovery.

Exactly this feature--the prospect of an SDI-led economic boom which, in the event of shared development, could also solve the devastating problems of the Soviet economy--was key to Lyn's design of the offer he made to the Soviet leadership on behalf of the U.S. government.

Now, before I elaborate these points more, I want to briefly identify Lyn's original scientific discovery, or group of discoveries, made over the period from 1946 to 1952.

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As Lyn reports, what provoked him to embark on the essential phase of his discovery was an encounter with the famous book by Norbert Wiener on cybernetics. One thing in Wiener's book infuriated Lyn to the point of having an angry impulse to throw the book against the wall. Wiener had attempted to characterize what we call living processes, by methods borrowed from Ludwig Boltzmann's statistical thermodynamics. And Wiener tried to do the same thing for human intelligence, developing the now-famous approach of ``information theory.''

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The basic assumption of Boltzmann, which Wiener took over, was that all processes of Nature could be described mathematically as systems of particle-like entities interacting according to fixed laws. And Boltzmann demonstrated, what already Newton had remarked, that such mathematical systems are afflicted with the inevitable tendency to ``run down'' toward states of increasing chaos. Out of this came Boltzmann's claimed proof of a purported law of universal entropy.

Wiener noted that living processes, and the effects of human intelligence, show exactly the opposite tendency. But rather than understanding this fact as a devastating refutation of Boltzmann's statistical approach, which it implicitly is, Wiener chose to define the manifest negentropy of living processes in terms of a progress toward what statistics regards as more orderly arrangements of particles. Similarly, Wiener implied that human intelligence could be defined essentially as the ability to arrange objects in an orderly manner -- one of the few definitions according to which beetle-collector David Rockefeller might be considered to be "intelligent"!

Lyn immediately saw the folly of this whole approach, recognizing in it the same devastating flaws of assumption which Leibniz had pointed out earlier in Newton's work, in the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence Lyn had studied as a teenager. In his 1988 autobiography Lyn emphasizes:

``My understanding of this error of Wiener's is the key to my original discoveries in economic science, and is therefore the key to everything which has made me an influential international figure today.''

Contrary to the absurd assumption of Wiener, Boltzmann and Newton, we have conclusive evidence -- featured in Plato's Timaeus, in the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Kepler, and others -- that living processes are governed as a whole by a universal geometrical principle. This principle is manifested to us by the harmonic characteristics of the visible forms of living organisms, characteristics associated with what Leonardo da Vinci and Luca Pacioli called the divine proportion, otherwise known as the Golden Mean. Thus, life has nothing to do with assumed pairwise interactions of particles, nothing to do with the statistician's tabulations of arrangements of objects. Living processes are governed by a principle of development which drives them through ever more dense series of changes or singularities, while remaining everywhere similar to itself.

Carrying the refutation of Wiener further, how might we adequately define the nature of human intelligence, and particularly what we call creative mental activity? Well, Lyn proposed, let us look at the physical effect of such activity, in terms of human existence, in terms of the growth of economies. For, creative mental activity of individuals is the unique cause of technological progress, and technological progress is the unique cause of sustained economic growth, properly defined. If we can demonstrate that healthy economic growth is governed by the same Golden Mean geometrical principle as living processes generally, then the same must be true for creative mental activity, which is the cause of such growth!

A precondition for this proof, of course, is to clear away all the intellectual garbage surrounding the concept of ``economic growth, the insanity of monetary accounting procedures like the so-called Gross National Product, which count drugs and gambling profits as forms of wealth.

The only sane measure of growth of economies is in terms of the ability to sustain a growing human population at increasing levels of per-capita consumption and physical productivity. In other words, to provide for an increasing density of human individuals each one of whom is able to contribute at a higher level to the further growth of the economy so defined. Once economic growth is defined in terms of this self-reflexive concept of increase of relative potential population density, as Lyn did, the identity of the law of economic growth with that of living organisms generally becomes readily apparent.

But, that growth depends on the creative powers of the mind to continually generate and apply scientific and technological progress. Each overall level of technology defines a relative upper limit on the population which could sustain itself in that way. If we ``freeze'' technology at some level, society will eventually exhaust the accessible base of resources in that mode, and collapse. Therefore, even the maintenance of a constant level of potential population density requires a certain minimum rate of technological progress.

This raises two crucial questions: First, what is the internal ordering of technological progress, as a process of development of conceptions in the human mind? Second, what is the precise functional relationship between technological progress and the resulting increases in the productive powers of labor, as measured by increases in population potential of human societies? This includes the question, crucial to Lyn's design of the SDI policy, how an economy must be organized in order to realize a maximum rate of technological progress.

Lyn saw that as a mental process, technological progress is implicitly measurable. That is already implied by the indicated geometrical ordering of economic growth which is the effect of such progress. But we can characterize the internal geometry of that mental process also in the following way. Technological progress is a function of the development of science. That development involves the generation, in increasing densities, of formally unbridgeable mathematical discontinuities or singularities.

To identify the essential point of the matter as briefly as possible: continued scientific progress occurs as a succession of what we could call scientific revolutions, in which the fundamental assumptions which underlay an entire period of scientific and technological development are challenged, disproved, and superseded by the invention of a crucial experiment and an accompanying new set of improved hypotheses. If we call the state of knowledge before such a revolution ``A,'' and after it ``B,'' we see that there is no logical way to set from ``A'' to ``B,'' they are formally inconsistent on account of the change of fundamental assumptions. That gap between A and B represents a singularity generated by the creative action of (ultimately) a single human mind, inventing and proving a crucial experimental hypothesis.

So the technological progress upon which healthy economic growth depends, generates an unending series of such singularities, from A to B, B to C, C to D, and so on. It therefore becomes measurable in terms of varying densities of these and related species of singularities, as soon as we realize that the series of revolutions, A, B, C, D, E ..., must be lawfully ordered in a manner consistent with the Divine Proportion. How does that express itself?

Very simply: the internal history of science demonstrates that important discoveries are not isolated, chance events. In crossing the apparent unbridgeable gap between two stages of formal knowledge A and B, the discoverer is always energized and guided by a certain kind of idea, or ``thought-object,'' to use Lyn's recent term, an idea of a mode of forward motion of discovery, referred to classically as a higher hypothesis, which carries society forward from A to B to C to D, and so on.

But by its very nature--the fact that it, effectively, bridges the gaps between mutually incompatible sets of formal assumptions--a higher hypothesis can never be described or communicated formally. It belongs to a higher level of conception whose relationship to the states of formal knowledge A, B, C, D is that of Cusa's circle to its inscribed polygons. And yet, the existence of economic growth over human history, proves that adequate higher hypothesis are actually generated and effectively communicated from generation to generation!

And Lyn identified the crucial means by which that is done: the method of metaphor, the metaphorical communication of concepts. At this point, no later, Norbert Wiener's "information theory" doctrine bites the dust!

Exactly this is what comes to the fore in any period of rapid technological progress. Lyn and his collaborators demonstrated this in studies of such examples as the Italian Renaissance, the École Polytechnique of Monge and Carnot, the Goettingen School of Gauss and Riemann -- and also in connection with more recent technological crash projects such as the Pennemunde Rocket project, the Manhattan Project and Apollo Program.

To analyze the functional relationship between rates of technological progress and economic growth: Lyn studied the way in which new technologies are ``injected'' into the economy. Typically a crucial experiment, in the form of a laboratory apparatus invented by scientists, is transformed into a new type of machine tool, which then permits entire new classes of products to be produced, increases the productivity of labor general. Lyn examined the propagation of successive waves of technology

A -> B -> -> C ...,
into the economy, through successive investment cycles, and in relation to shifts in the composition of the labor force, the market basket of goods, the shifting use of land, and particularly as a function of improvements in basic economic infrastructure -- in energy production and distribution, transport systems, water supply, communications, education and health services.

It was clear from the nature of the series A,B,C... that the functional relationship involved could not be described by a logical-deductive form of mathematics. Does that mean it cannot be rigorously described? Not at all! Lyn found the key to the solution, as he emphasizes, by looking back on the work of Bernhard Riemann, on the Hypotheses of Geometry, from the standpoint of having grasped the essential idea behind Georg Cantor's development of transfinite orderings, particularly his discovery of the so-called aleph series.

On this basis Lyn identified -- among other things -- the fundamental constraints which must be satisfied for healthy economic growth. Among them the point of most immediate relevance to the SDI is the role of energy-density functions: increase in potential population density correlates with the increase in useful energy available per capita and per square kilometer, subject to the condition that the technological quality of organization of the energy application, is improving. That quality can be very roughly measured by increase of the power density of a machine, for example, at its cutting edge or equivalent area of application of power, or in the age of directed energy technology by the frequency and wavelength of applied radiation. But a closer look at this matter obliges us to recognize, that the notion of "energy" commonly employed by physics today requires a rather profound revision.

Let me emphasize, that the early work of Lyn's points directly to ``new physical principles,'' uniquely appropriate to processes which undergoing a rapid series of what physicists chemists call "phase changes". In fact, Lyn proposes to make the case of an economy undergoing successive technological "phase changes" associated with

A->B->C...,
viewed as a concrete physical process occurring in space and time, as the paradygmatic case for developing a new form of truly relativistic physics. The form of lawfulness governing such processes is embodied in the variable higher hypotheses governing the succession of scientific revolutions in healthy economic growth. Such "laws" cannot be expressed by formal deductive methods preferred by present-day mathematical physicists, but require a different type of mathematics, whose basis Lyn found in the works of Bernhard Riemann and Georg Cantor.

This already implies that the common textbook definition of "energy" as a scalar, linear magnitude is intrinsically fallacious. The shift in characteristics of action implied by a transformation of the form

 A->B
is seen to in effect CREATE energy, in contradiction to the Helmholtz-Kelvin doctrine of "The First Law of Thermodynamics". In particular, a correct appreciation of this point already indicates the underlying reasons why it is possible to destroy a speeding missile with a nominally "very small" amount of electromagnetic radiation, provided that the latter is delivered in "appropriately shaped" pulses.

Keeping this fundamental work of Lyn in mind, let's now jump about three decades ahead, to the situation that confronted the world at the end of the Carter administration.

Although most people didn't know it, that world was headed toward World War III on a very short fuse. The essential cause, as Lyn identified publicly with ever-increasing clarity, was the nature of the axiomatic assumptions underlying the way the Anglo-American Establishment thought it was running the world. The mind-set, the cultural outlook of that Establishment was such, that--to a certain extent wittingly, but also unwittingly--they were maneuvering the world step-by-step into a situation in which the only choice would be between total thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union, or submission by to a virtual dictatorship from Moscow. In the latter case, a disintegration of the world into some sort of global Thirty Years' War was virtually guaranteed further down the line.

Central among these Anglo-American ``axioms'' was the idea that the world should be run through a ``balance of power'' between two empires--an Anglo-American (with England supplying the brains, the USA the muscle), and an Eastern empire centered in Moscow. These two empires would be adversaries, but there would also be a common understanding between them, concerning the ``rules of the game,'' about how the world would be ruled between them. This arrangement would crush any independent development of sovereign nation-states.

Underlying the whole thing was malthusianism: the goal of establishing a perpetual, zero-growth, feudal-like state of mankind, in which a strictly regulated population of slaves would serve a tiny minority of oligarchical families. A worldwide Confederacy!

This utopian scheme was associated with a military doctrine which came to be known as MAD--Mutually Assured Destruction. Already set forth by Leo Szilard and Bertrand Russell in the 1950s, this doctrine declared the hydrogen bomb to be an ``ultimate weapon,'' -- the supposed "last word" in strategic offensive armaments, against which no effective defense is possible. Each of the two superpower empires was to build up an enormous arsenal, so large, that even in the event one side would launch a surprise attack, the other side would still have enough missiles and warheads surviving to virtually annihilate the attacker. Under this condition of ``Mutually Assured Destruction,'' all-out nuclear war had become impossible--or at least, so thought McNamara, Kissinger, Schlesinger et al.

No technological development was to be permitted to undermine this supposedly perfect system of balance of nuclear terror.

The problem was, as Lyn's discoveries proved in the most rigorous way, that no such sort of scheme could possibly be stabilized. On the contrary, the very malthusian axioms, practically eliminating scientific and technological progress, meant imposing upon the world a regime of "ratchet-like" downward collapse toward virtual extinction of the human race through the combined effects of wars, famine and pandemic disease -- as the final, inevitable outcome unless those policies were stopped soon enough. With the Carter administration, the utopian, malthusian policy had taken nearly complete control over the U.S. government.

But there was also a very specific, urgent danger of this policy, located in the diverging perception of the second ``partner'' of the "game". The Soviet rulers looked at things like the destruction of the quality of education in the United States, the spread of rock-drug-sex counterculture encouraged by government policies and agencies, the cancellation of the long-term NASA space programs and so forth, and the Soviet rulers said: ``What fools they are! They are destroying themselves. Let us help them to do so!'' Soviet strategists were increasingly convinced that the West was collapsing from within and was losing the will and capability to fight. At the same time, the Soviet military leadership never accepted the ``rules'' of the MAD game. Instead they focussed on building up a war-winning capability, with emphasis on massive civil defense measures and anti-missile technology. An operational plan was developed for winning an all-out war with the West, known from the 1980s on as the "Ogarkov Plan".

Meanwhile the effective decision-time in case of a surprise attack from either side, given forward-basing of submarines and medium-range missiles in Europe, plus the implications of the socalled EMP ``pin-down'' effect, was reduced to 5 minutes or less. This meant that the world was running into a strategic military crisis compounded by the destabilizing and other effects of a deepening depression, plus growing insanity among the Western elites who were responsible for the malthusian policies in the first place. To this was added a monstrous factor of miscalculation: the growing discrepancy between committment to the utopian "MAD" doctrine by the West, and committment to a thermonuclear war-winning doctrine in the East.

As desperate as the situation had become, the work of LaRouche and his associates had generated major opportunities to change things in the United States. Lyn had already warned the American people of the disastrous policies that would be pursued by Carter, in a nation-wide television broadcast on election eve, November 1976. Lyn's characterization of the Carter Administration was proven right in the subsequent period. Through the terrible years of the Carter administration, LaRouche built up a major grass-roots political movement, as the only coherent, visible opposition to the Carter Administration's "deconstruction" of the United States. The EIR Quarterly Economic Forecasts, based on the LaRouche-Riemann method, proved uniquely accurate in projecting the industrial decline caused by the Carter-Volcker policies, and demonstrated Lyn's unique competence in economics against the manifest incompetence of leading private and governmental agencies, institutes and think-tanks.

The Carter administration was voted out in a landslide. People had had enough of Carter's green deconstructionism. Going into the Reagan Administration there was a craving to get back to what America used to be, to get back to economic growth, to the atmosphere of scientific and technological progress associated with a memory of President John F. Kennedy's Moon landing program. The Europeans looked to the new administration hoping there would be a return to sanity.

As for the new Reagan Administration itself, it was a mixed bag, to put it mildly. But there was a certain openness. The better people inside the administration were open to suggestions. There was already a certain, perceptible leaning in the direction of LaRouche's policies.

The challenge was to design an improved policy, which would assure war avoidance on the short and medium term, and at the same time provide the world as a whole with a long-term pathway into the future.

At the time Lyn designed his strategic defense policy, the idea of laser and particle beam weapons to defend against nuclear missiles, was not at all new. Shortly after the first successful demonstration of an optical laser, Soviet Marshal V.D. Sokolovsky announced in the 1962 edition of his book on Soviet Military Strategy, that the Soviet Union had embarked on a long-term program to develop laser and particle beam weapons. He remarked that only beam weapon technology "based on new physical principles" could overcome the inherent shortcomings of anti-missile missiles, which made the latter unsuitable for an effective strategic defense -- a point which was underlined, recently, by costly experience of the performance of Patriot missiles during the Gulf War.

In the subsequent period through the end of the 1970s, both superpowers had programs to develop beam weapons, There was, however, a characteristic difference: the Soviets were committed to developing an operational beam weapon defense as soon as possible; they deployed many of their best scientists into the relevant areas and pushed the work forward in a hubristic manner from one breakthrough to the next. Whereas especially under the Kissinger policies, the United States was not only not committed to developing beam weapon defense, but officially regarded such development as undesirable, as a destabilization of the MAD doctrine. As a result, the U.S. beam weapon program was kept on the ``back burner''; it was relegated to the task of making sure that the U.S. would not be taken totally off guard in the event of major Soviet progress.

LaRouche was already familiar with many of the essentials of directed energy technology through the work of the Fusion Energy Foundation (FEF), which he had played the major part in launching back in 1974. The focus of the FEF's work, of course, was to promote fundamental research, development, and application of controlled nuclear fusion as the major energy source for mankind in the future.

The crucial thing about fusion, clear at that time, is not that the supply of fuel is virtually unlimited (which is true), but rather the fact that fusion reactors can potentially deliver power in various forms, at an energy flux density many orders of magnitude higher than conventional nuclear or fossil fuel plants. This implied that fusion technology is associated with an intrinsically higher economic productivity as compared with other known forms of power production. For example, we can use energy-dense plasmas to process ores and other materials; we can process low-concentration ores, industrial waste or even ordinary rocks and dirt, into high-quality materials and at a tiny fraction of the present cost per unit output. Furthermore, the energy-dense plasmas required for fusion confront us with varieties of singularities, in the form of solitons of various sorts and rapid successions of phase changes, pointing to a vast domain of fundamental research for which the LaRouche-Cantor-Riemann form of physics is uniquely appropriate. And, incidentally: ninety-nine percent of the universe is in a plasma state!

From the standpoint of his science of physical economy, LaRouche knew that fusion would have to be at the center of any policy for healthy, capital-intensive growth of the world economy from the late 1990s into the 21st century. This evaluation brought LaRouche into a somewhat heated debate with Dr. Edward Teller and other leaders of the U.S. scientific community, who generally supported controlled fusion research but failed to recognize the need for a broad-based "crash program". They tended to see fusion mainly from the standpoint of long-term supplies of energy, not as the locomotive of an economy undergoing rapid technological progress.

Now, it is clear, that if we can master the means to generate and control the kinds of energy densities associated with ``hot'' fusion, and if in connection with this we learn how to focus and "tune" such flows of energy, to propagate them efficiently through space and through various media, then we can come up with weapons vastly more powerful than anything known up to now.

In a certain sense the internal features of H-bomb design themselves announced the onset of an era of directed energy which would make the bomb ultimately obsolete. This simple observation rrefuted the whole MAD doctrine, of course, and was accordingly made into a "top secret" by U.S. classification policies. Efforts to "keep the lid" on directed energy went so far, as to classifying as secret presentations made by Soviet scientists during seminars in the United States! Hence a tumultuous response in some government laboratories, when an article was published in the newspaper New Solidarity in October 1976 on the basic physical principles of the H-bomb. The simple fact is, that if we study how the fusion process is actually generated in such a device, we confront a whole set of "energy-enhancing" processes -- nonlinear focussing of shock waves, laser-like transformation and "tuning" of radiation, isentropic compression and so forth -- which are in turn crucial to the functioning of beam weapons. If we turn an H-bomb "inside-out" in this sense, we already have a rudimentary precursor to directed energy weapons.

LaRouche was not at all surprised when U.S. Air Force's Gen. Keegan publicized his warnings on the existence of a large Soviet program for beam weapons. Lyn was familiar with the quality of Soviet work in related areas of plasma physics. One of his collaborators discussed this with Keegan, and the FEF made an independent evaluation, published in 1978 in the newspaper New Solidarity, and in a celebrated pamphlet entitled ``Sputnik of the 70s--the Science Behind the Soviets' Beam Weapon.''.

By the middle to the late 1970s, scientific proof of principle had been established for a wide range of beam weapons suitable to destroy missiles and thermonuclar warheads in flight. But this mere scientific feasibility in principle did not by itself dictate an entirely new strategic doctrine. All kinds of doubts and objections could be raised, and were, even by those who did not support the MAD doctrine: Wouldn't the costs of an effective system be astronomical? Can't any defensive system be defeated by countermeasures? And so forth.

The most essential thing Lyn contributed here, was his solution, based on the economics discoveries I referred to earlier, to the problem of how to organize the economy for an unprecedented rate of technological attrition in the relevant fields. This implicitly solves every problem connected with the design of a viable SDI.

First, it was clear that the idea of an ultimate, invincible beam weapon defense system was as silly as that of an invincible offensive system. Every development might eventually be countered by countermeasures. But, Lyn pointed out, provided a high rate of technological development is maintained, beam weapons and related systems, as a family, embody an intrinsically greater firepower than the slow, nuclear-carrying missiles. In his original design Lyn demanded a crash program leading to the construction and deployment of a first-generation defense system ("Mark I") within a few years, to be followed rapidly by successive, improved generations "Mark II", Mark "III" and so forth.

In doing so, Lyn emphasized the close relationship between increase in firepower in military terms, and the energy flux density and related parameters used by economic science for the measurement of technology. The conclusion was that under conditions of technological attrition, defensive systems based on the indicated "new physical principles" would rapidly gain the advantage, leading "asymptotically" to a situation in which the nuclear-tipped missiles would be virtually obsolete.

In particular, Lyn showed that the higher firepower embodied in beam weapon technologies as a family meant that it would become far cheaper to destroy one missile with a defensive system, than to produce and launch the missile. Thus, the defense becomes the superior investment compared to the offense.

But the most crucial point is the economic impact of technological attrition. If we think not of a single technological level of defense ``A,'' but instead of a process of driving defensive technologies through a series of evolutionary stages A, B, C, D ..., embodying breakthroughs in advanced science, and if we organize the economy in such a way as to rapidly integrate the technological ``spill-overs'' into the civilian economy, then the increased rate of growth of productivity of the overall economy pays back the investment into the SDI many times over. This was already demonstrated, to a limited extent, by President Kennedy's Apollo Program, which returned an estimated $5-10 to the economy for every dollar spent to land men on the Moon. However, as Lyn pointed out, the unique characteristics of beam weapon technologies as a family, in terms of the vast increases in controlled energy-flux-densities embodied in first and later generations of such weapons, point to a potentially far larger "spill-over" effect. The growing use of high-power lasers for machining and treatment of materials, marks the beginning of a new industrial revolution in which, ultimately, a single industrial operative might achieve a greater productive power than the entire industrial labor force in former centuries.

Lyn underlined this point with his proposal, initially placed before the public at a 1985 conference in Washington, for a 40-year project to establish a permanent manned colony on Mars. The first steps would involve creating new space transport systems, with emphasis on the goal of fusion propulsion, and setting up mining and manufacturing operations on the Moon as a base and "stepping-stone" to the planets. This Moon-Mars project constitutes, as Lyn demonstrated, a necessary complement to the SDI itself. The technologies required to install and economically sustain a human population in the hostile environment of that distant planet, are so closely related to those needed for an effective SDI, that research and development in the one area is at the same time development of the other area.

But there is a deeper, CULTURAL implication of a properly organized crash-program for "beam weapon" technology, which was key to Lyn's design of the offer he made to the Soviet leadership on behalf of the United States. In effect, Lyn was offering to the Russians a profound transformation of their society -- a transformation radically different, however, from the disastrous IMF "shock therapy" promoted by Jeffrey Sachs and others.

A shared "crash-program" development of SDI technology, provided it were organized in accordance with Lyn's principles of physical economy, would have effectively solved the most essential problem of the Soviet economy. There was however a "price" the Soviets would have to pay for this solution, a price linked inseparably to the solution itself. This "price" was to permit a shift in the prevailing "matrix" of cultural values AWAY from that associated with the dream of Moscow as the "Third and Final Rome" of a world empire, and instead TOWARD an ecumenical form of agreement with the principles of Western Judeo-Christian civilization as embodied, for example, in the work of Nicolaus of Cues.

A brief example identifies, in microcosm, the point at which the relevant issues of culture and economics intersect.

The best traditions of investment practice in Western industrial societies are associated with what is sometimes called "technological depreciation". Typically, an owner or manager of a small- or medium-sized industry -- Germany's famous "Mittelstand" exemplifies this -- will often replace a machine or related piece of production equipment long before the useful technical life of the machine has expired. Under conditions of rapid technological advance, it commonly happens, that a new machine soon becomes available, which incorporates major improvements and promisses a much higher productivity than the original piece of equipment. In the typical case, the "Mittelstand" entrepreneur decides to discard the old machine and install the new one in its place. The nominal loss of remaining service life on the old machine is more than compensated by the increased productivity of the new one. However, the typical "Mittelstand" farmer or industrialist in Western culture sees this practice not merely as a means to earn profits; rather, PROGRESS in this sense IS A WAY OF LIFE. Rapid technological depreciation provides the chief context in which entrepreneurs and workers, engaged in daily process of production, exercise the creative mental potentials expressed in the concept of "imago viva dei". In this and related ways, Western culture at its best has fostered the relatively highest rates of technological progress achieved in history to date.

Contrast this now to the proverbial, monstrous inertia displayed by the civilian sectors of the Soviet economy, an inertia associated with what Soviet commentators sometimes referred to as "the peasant problem". The rampant backwardness, the fact that obsolete equipment was often kept running virtually indefinately, reflected not only organizational defects in the socalled socialist system. Rather, it chiefly stemmed from a deep-seated cultural resistance, from the bureaucracy down to the individual worker, against introducing new technologies and new ways of doing things. Implicitly, the underlying idea of "value" governing such resistance was the notion that wealth is located in objects -- e.g. a machine, a deposit of raw materials, or some country or population which could be looted -- and not in the individual human being's creative role in generating new wealth through technological progress. This problem predates the Soviet period; it is an expression of the same deeply-imbedded cultural "axioms" which fueled the centuries-old dream of Moscow as the "Third and Final Rome" of a world empire.

It was that underlying cultural problem which Lyn addressed with his design of the SDI and the 40-year program to colonize Mars -- a design which offered a real pathway of solution. The rapid proliferation of SDI-related technologies into the civilian sectors of the Soviet economy would have provided powerful proof, in everyday life, of the efficiency of the creative powers of the mind. Instead of the dangerous demoralization we have now, the population would have been inspired by the ability to change things for the better. The most favorable context would have been provided for a broad cultural transformation.

It is to that, more than anything else, that the Soviet Nomenklatura answered "Nyet!". From that tragic refusal, Russia and the whole world have suffered disastrously.

So, instead of joyfully exploring the Universe together, hopping from planet to planet out to the stars, we have a humanity descending into a holocaust of famine, disease and genocidal wars. How tragic, how unnecessary! Its time to change history again, as Lyn did in the period leading to March 23, 1989. If we master Lyn's method, we shall surely be successful.

End Speech


Russia's new SDI offer heralds scientific and strategic revolution

by Jonathan Tennenbaum, 1993

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Leading western experts in strategic and military affairs privately admit they were caught completely offguard by reports of an official Russian proposal to the United States for joint development of a ``global system of anti-missile defense'' incorporating revolutionary ``plasma weaponry.'' The surprise was so great that editors of the West's so-called free press, with one exception, decided not to publish a single word concerning the lead item on the front page of Izvestia, April 2, announcing the Russian offer.

The Izvestia article describes a proposed plan for a full-scale test of Russian plasma weapon technology, to be carried out jointly by the two countries. The article emphasizes that the relevant technology already exists, and has advanced beyond the laboratory stage to field tests. According to the proposal, the Russians would transport the components of their plasma weapon on an aircraft carrier and other ships to the American SDI testing area at the Kwajelein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. There, full-scale tests would be conducted against missiles launched from either the United States or Russia. According to a Russian scientist quoted by Izvestia, plasma weapons would be devastatingly effective against missiles, warheads, and aircraft moving through the atmosphere.

Initial reports confirm that the offer described in Izvestia was actually presented to President Clinton by President Boris Yeltsin at the Vancouver summit. The Izvestia text is also known to have been dictated to Izvestia from the highest levels of the Russian military-industrial complex. Coming exactly ten years and ten days after President Reagan's announcement of what became the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Russians' offer represents a 180-degree shift in their official attitude toward the SDI, and potentially a far-reaching revolution in relations between the two military-scientific superpowers.

Voices have already begun to be heard, dismissing the proposal as an ``April Fool's joke,'' as a ``fishing expedition'' to gain information about advanced western military research, or merely an attempt by starving Russian scientists to procure funds for their laboratories. But experts who have followed extensive Soviet research in the relevant areas of technology since the 1950s, emphasize that the offer is scientifically credible and should absolutely be taken seriously. The ``plasmoid weapon'' described in the April 2 Izvestia article clearly belongs to the first-generation beam weapon defense system known to constitute a crucial element of the Soviet war-winning strategy known as the ``Ogarkov Plan,'' and originally projected to be completed in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Although the Izvestia announcement implies that some important breakthroughs have been accomplished by Russian scientists, key technological components of the plasma weapon have repeatedly been identified in western literature. Furthermore, Soviet work in several of the relevant research areas had been acknowledged to be considerably ahead of the West for some time.

In February 1988, for example, Executive Intelligence Review published a special report entitled ``Electromagnetic-Effect Weapons: The Technology and the Strategic Implications,'' describing and documenting crucial aspects of the capability now revealed by the Russians themselves in the April 2 Izvestia article. The same capability had been the subject of a long series of conferences and seminars held all over western Europe and in the United States in 1987-88. These included events in Munich, Paris, and Rome at which EIR founder Lyndon LaRouche predicted a revolution in war-fighting based on nonlinear effects of electromagnetic pulses. LaRouche and EIR pointed at that time to Soviet breakthroughs in the generation and propagation of high-power microwaves--a crucial aspect of the plasma weapon described in Izvestia.


How the Russian plasma weapon works

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It is important to emphasize that the plasma weapon described in Izvestia is only one of many possible weapons which could be put together on essentially the same technological basis. The heart of the capability is the means for generating an entity known as a ``plasmoid'' at any selected location in the atmosphere, by means of high-power microwave pulses emitted from a so-called phased array. The proposed experiment would involve an application of this technology for a ground-based terminal defense system, i.e., a system designed to destroy warheads in the last phase of their trajectory, as they descend through the atmosphere toward their targets. The same system would also provide a defense against aircraft.

In the diagram included in the Izvestia article we see two phased arrays: one installed on the deck of an aircraft carrier, the other on the Kwajelein Atoll. These arrays consist of a large number of individual modules, each several meters in diameter (see drawing in lower right-hand corner). Each module contains accumulator banks for storage and concentration of electrical energy, microwave generators, and an antenna element. The modules are arranged in a regular geometrical array and connected together with power sources and a complex electronic control system which ``shapes'' the total wave-form emitted by the system in space and time.

Electronically controlled arrays of antenna-elements, known as ``phased arrays,'' are a well-known technology in the West. Phased arrays are used for advanced radar systems capable of tracking many objects simultaneously. Electronic control of antenna-elements, shifting the relative phases of emission by those elements, makes it possible for an array without moving parts to generate highly directional beams and to change the direction and focus of those beams nearly instantaneously. Furthermore, a technique known as ``synthetic aperture'' permits such an array to simulate the effect of a single gigantic lens in the focussing of microwave energy.

In the mid-1980s the United States repeatedly complained of Soviet construction of very large phased array radars which violated the terms of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Such radars, the U.S. alleged, had no plausible purpose but to provide precise tracking information for a territorial anti-missile defense system, forbidden by the 1972 Treaty. At the same time, however, concern was voiced in some western quarters, that the big arrays might be more than simply radars, i.e. tracking devices. What would happen, if instead of the relatively low emission power employed for tracking, such phased arrays were connected to gyrotrons and other devices generating microwave pulses of up to a billion watts? At the very least, the resulting microwave weapon might knock out sensitive guidance systems and other electronic components of missiles and warheads. Subsequently, America's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory initiated a series of laboratory tests of the effects of ultra-high-power microwave pulses on military hardware.

Izvestia describes exactly this sort of feared combination of phased arrays and high-power microwave generators, but with an additional feature based on advanced work in the domain of atmospheric and plasma physics. In Izvestia's figure we see the high-power beams from the phased arrays focussed not mainly on the target itself, but rather on a region in the atmosphere directly ahead of the target. In that region the focussed microwave energy ionizes the air, causing a type of ``structured'' electrical discharge, known as a ``plasmoid,'' to be created. The plasmoid in turn creates a massive disturbance of the air flow around the target object, causing it to divert from its path and to break up under the influence of huge aerodynamic and mechanical forces.

To understand this type of effect of a plasmoid-caused atmospheric disturbance, one must bear in mind the tremendous energy which a ballistic missile warhead carries upon re-entering the atmosphere. The survival of the warhead and its ability to hit precisely a chosen target depend on achieving a stable, predictable aerodynamic behavior during re-entry at hypersonic speeds. For related reasons, meteors and other non-stabilized objects invariably break up and are partially or fully burned when they fall to Earth from space. Izvestia's diagram specifies that the plasmoid is created in a state of motion, generating shock waves and other effects which destabilize the target's aerodynamic configuration. At sufficiently high energy-densities, collision with a plasmoid could presumably destroy the target directly.


Background information on plasmoids

``Plasma'' is a general term for an electrically conductive state of matter generated from a gas, for example, under the action of extreme heat, radiation or powerful electromagnetic fields. The term ``plasmoid'' refers to the fact, that under certain conditions a plasma can develop a self-contained, self-stabilizing structure based on the magnetic and other effects of internal configurations of electric currents within the plasma. This property of plasmas was discovered in the 1950s in early experiments in controlled nuclear fusion, and is crucial to some of the most promising schemes for advanced fusion reactors. Plasmoid structures have been proposed as the possible explanation for the strange and elusive phenomena of ``ball lightning,'' which have been the subject of much scientific controversy, partly because of possible military applications. In July 1982, an EIR Special Report on ``Beam Weapons: The Science to Prevent Nuclear War'' included the following information on plasmoids and ``plasma beam weapons'':

The Soviet Union ... has had a major research program in plasmoids since the middle 1950s when the first plasmoids were produced at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. A review of Soviet research on ball lightning lists literally hundreds of experimental projects devoted to the subject. The Soviet research in this area has been well funded and has attracted the highest levels of Soviet scientific interest, including P. Kapitsa, the Soviet Nobel laureate. Recent intelligence reports indicate that the Soviet Union is now conducting large-scale propagation experiments involving the generation of high energy plasma beams. The appearance at regular intervals of a high frequency radio signature typical of plasmoid experiments has been interpreted by European intelligence agencies as striking confirmation of the practical application of the long-term Soviet interest in plasma beams.
The author of this article attended the 1978 Nobel Prize lecture by Pyotr Kapitsa, in the course of which the Soviet scientist described experiments on the generation of plasmoid-like structures by high-power microwaves. Since then, research has progressed a long way. As the Izvestia article emphasizes, Russian scientists have led the world in the relevant area of plasma dynamics. We would add to this their mastery of the complex interaction among plasma, electromagnetic radiation, and particle beams--an area where the ``civilian'' science and technology of controlled nuclear fusion intersects that of anti-missile beam weaponry, and one of the highest priority areas for Soviet research since the 1950s. It is the combination of plasma physics together with mastery of the principles and technology of ultra-high-power microwave generation and propagation, together with advances in suitable electronic control and processing techniques, which provide the basis for the new plasma weapon.


High-power microwave generators

From the mid-1970s on, Russian laboratories have taken the world lead in development of technology for generation of high-power microwave pusles. The famous ``gyrotron,'' which utilizes a relativistic electron beam to generate such pulses, was invented and perfected in the Soviet Union. Following 1975, western observers noted a curious decline in the number of publications in this domain, indicating that a major portion of research had gone ``underground'' into secret military programs. The 1988 EIR special report noted:

The Russian program to develop high peak power radio-frequency (and microwave) has involved scientists active in Russia's strategic defense program: Leonid Rudakov of the Kurchatov Atomic Energy Institute (who specializes in intense relativistic electron beams), A.A. Rukhadze and Y.A. Vinogradov of the Lebedev Physics Institute (who specialize in plasma electronics and X-ray lasers), and many others. A useful review of Russian work on radio-frequency devices is RAND Corp. Report R-3377, ``Soviet Development of Gyrotrons'' by Simon Kassel (May 1986).... How did it happen that the Russians developed high peak power gyrotrons that at some frequencies operate efficiently at peak powers three orders of magnitude greater than in the West?|... The high peak power machines have no application to the area of interest in gyrotrons in the West (heating of magnetically confined plasmas).... The United States didn't start a serious program in high peak power short-pulse gyrotrons until 1984.
Besides gyrotrons, Russian laboratories produced many other important technologies in the domain of pulsed microwave generators, high-current electron beam generators, and pulsed power systems relevant to strategic defense. From a technological point of view, the plasma weapon described in Izvestia is based on a ``favorite'' area of Russian leadership and expertise.


Focussing and propagation problems

Several features of the diagram and short explanation provided by Izvestia will surely lead to interesting speculations among specialists in the West, at least until more detailed information is supplied. For example, the ``moving plasmoid'' shown in front of the target (a warhead) looks like a mirror image of the target itself. Is this achieved by an ingenious analog/digital data-processing technique, similar in effect to the ``phase conjugation'' methods pioneered by the Russians in laser optics? This technique might fulfill the function of an otherwise extremely difficult computer analysis of the wave-form scattered back from the target and (possibly from the developing plasmoid), in order to precalculate, in real time, the complex effects of the atmospheric conditions and interactions on the propagation of the microwave pulses. The Izvestia article merely indicates that ``it becomes possible for the first time to combine in a single complex, the system for radar tracking and the system for electronic delivery to the target, with the speed of light, of the means of destruction--the plasmoid.''

Related to this is another problem, often cited by western experts: how to deliver the large energy required to generate a localized plasma in the atmosphere, without dissipating most of that energy in heating and ionization of the air between the emitting array and the target area? An antenna emitting powerful microwaves will tend already to heat the air in its immediate vicinity. There are a number of ways known in principle for how to counteract this problem, but it is difficult to surmise from the short Izvestia article what specific solution the Russian scientists have found and perfected.

Based on known areas of concentration of Soviet fundamental and applied research, it is nearly certain that the chosen solution involves exploiting the nonlinear characteristics of propagation of powerful, ``soliton-like'' pulses in the atmospheric medium. In simplified terms, a ``soliton'' is a wave which transforms the medium as it propagates, in such a way as to self-focus its energy in a single, stable pulse which resists any disturbance. A rapid series or ``packet'' of such solitons might be emitted in such a way, that the solitons ``condense'' into a giant pulse only in the desired target region, without dissipating in the intervening medium. The corresponding area of fundamental research, which goes back to Bernhard Riemann's 1859 paper on acoustical shock waves, and its implications for so-called ``isentropic compression,'' has long been a specialty of the most advanced Soviet research. It is key to advanced nuclear weapons design, to laser- and particle-beam fusion, and many other areas, including future industrial applications of beam technology and energy-dense plasmas.

Independently of this, western experts have long pointed to unique Russian expertise in radio and radar propagation in the Earth's atmosphere--an area intersecting some far-reaching problems of geophysics. Over decades, bizarre radio-frequency signals have repeatedly been monitored from the Soviet Union, including emissions from huge transmitters whose purpose has never been clarified. Speculation was often voiced concerning Soviet development of exotic weapons capable of modifying the Earth's ionosphere over large areas, and/or causing ``over the horizon'' disruption of telecommunications and computer systems, and perhaps even biological effects. Whatever the explanation, it is clear that the Soviet experiments involved areas of expertise which are broadly relevant to the newly revealed plasma weapon capability.


Will Russia help revive America's SDI?

The pioneering breakthroughs embodied in Russia's plasma weapon contrast rather favorably with the sluggish performance of America's Strategic Defense Initiative--whose most promising areas of research have been crippled by the combined effects of savage budget cuts and ``dirty tricks'' from the SDI's enemies inside and outside the United States. Indeed, the most revolutionary areas of ``new physical principles'' which were the focus of Lyndon LaRouche's original design of the SDI policy initially adopted by Reagan in March 1983, came under strong attack, were soon cut back and finally virtually phased out, especially during the Bush administration. Symptomatic is the collapse in spending on ``directed-energy'' systems--including laser, particle-beam, microwave, and plasma weapons--which were initially the core of the SDI program, in favor of the relatively Stone Age technology of the so-called ``smart rocks'' (precision-guided anti-missile warheads based on advanced sensors and ultra-compact microcomputers). LaRouche emphasized that the latter sort of system could never provide the kind of global defense necessary to shift away from the doctrine of ``Mutually Assured Destruction''--the original mission of the SDI.

The process of destruction of the SDI was of course inseparably connected with the persecution of LaRouche himself, leading eventually to LaRouche's frame-up and final imprisonment, at the demand of the Soviet leadership, in January 1989. This underlines the irony of the present juncture. For, it was LaRouche himself who originated the idea of offering joint development of SDI technology to the Soviet Union, and who personally presented that offer on behalf of the U.S. government, in confidential ``back-channel'' discussions with Soviet representatives in the course of 1982. At that time the Soviets vigorously rejected the idea, on the grounds that a U.S. crash program of anti-missile technology based on ``new physical principles'' would cause the West to jump far ahead in economic and technological power. The Soviets opted to try to suppress the U.S. SDI by any means possible--while at the same time pressing ahead with their own, first-generation beam defense system!

Already back in 1982, LaRouche advised the Soviets that a common development of SDI provided the unique opportunity for solving the most devastating problems of the Soviet economy. Provided that the SDI effort were organized in accordance with LaRouche's parameters for economic policy, the ``spill-over'' effects of SDI technology into the civilian economies of the United States and Russia would pay back the investment in beam weapons many times over. LaRouche warned that a Soviet refusal of the U.S. offer for joint development would make a collapse of Warsaw Pact economies during the ensuing approximately five years, virtually certain. That is exactly what happened! A decade after their initial, vigorous rejection of LaRouche's proposals, the Russians now seem to have understood his point.

Meanwhile, the virtual dismantling of the U.S. SDI under the influence of George Bush and his friends guaranteed the downward slide of the U.S. economy into this century's worst depression. The only way out of the economic and political catastrophe now gripping both East and West is to combine a revival of LaRouche's original SDI policy, as a joint effort with Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union, with a massive, global program of basic infrastructure development centered on the European ``Productive Triangle.'' This means particularly: high-speed rail and magnetic levitation transport systems, ``second-generation'' nuclear energy, development of water infrastructure and communications, together with a complete reconstruction of health and education systems according to the requirements of the 21st century.

In this context, infrastructure and SDI development complement each other: On the one side, massive development of infrastructure provides the ``transmission belt'' for propagating the waves of new technologies, created in an all-out SDI effort, through the machine-tool and advanced machine-tool sectors into the entire economy; on the other hand, the effect of these new technologies is to greatly cheapen the relative cost of production for infrastructural and related capital goods. Thereby, as LaRouche emphasized, ``we can spend all day long on SDI technology, and become richer all the time.''

The science and technology behind the Russians' plasma weapon provides an excellent illustration of how this will work. For example, microwave-driven plasmoids promise to become a crucial ``working medium'' for the production of new and old materials in tomorrow's industry. In the United States, a prototype plasma reduction using a plasmoid-like structure has been tested, which produces high-quality steel and other metals by direct reduction in a fraction of a second. A single unit the size of a garage would have the throughput of a present-day blast furnace! Such furnaces operate at temperatures of 10,000°C or more in a highly nonequilibrium, energy-dense regime which will make it possible to produce entirely new types of exotic materials. Using highly structured plasmoids permits us to run a material efficiently through a rapid series of phase changes, including ``shock'' heating and cooling and exposure to various radiation regimes. Plasmoid furnaces promise also to become the most efficient means for processing various forms of waste into useful materials. However, in order to exploit these advantages, we have to go to a much higher intensity of energy consumption in industry. That, in turn, is a question of infrastructure!

Will the Russian proposal for joint development of plasma weapons and a global defense system, turn the tide of history and revive LaRouche's original policies for peace and economic recovery? It is too early to tell, but Izvestia's announcement is surely a step in the right direction.


Russia's "Plasmoid Weapon" confirms LaRouche analysis since 1977

By Jonathan Tennenbaum, 1993. As the Western press continued its three-week-long black-out, high- ranking Moscow officials again confirmed the stunning announcement in the April 2, 1993 edition of Izvestia, of a Russian proposal for joint testing of a revolutionary anti-missile "plasmoid weapon" developed in Russia.

Speaking at an April 19-20 conference of the Western European Union on "Anti-missile defense for Europe", Dr. Leonid Fitunin, Director of the Center for Strategic and Global Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, stated that "joint testing of a plasma weapon may be the first joint anti-missile program between the United States and Russia." He confirmed that the proposed test of an anti-missile weapon, "based on plasmoids created by microwaves and optical laser-generating systems" and code-named "Trust", was discussed during the Vancouver Summit between Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton. In answer to a question by an EIR journalist, Fitunin added the revealing comment, that the Russian plasmoid weapon "was designed to be our secret answer to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). You will remember, that we said that there will be an unconventional response to the SDI. Our topmost secret research institutes were involved in it. I can tell you, that against the plasmoid system there is no technologically feasible countermeasure foreseeable. I think the 'Trust' project can become a major point on the agenda between the United States and Russia."

At an April 20 conference on Russian science in Washington, D.C., the Russian Minister of Science and Technology Saltykov connected the plasmoid weapon proposal with "highly developed work in lasers and directed energy projects" being pursued in Russian laboratories, which are ahead of the West in some key domains.

Meanwhile, Western experts and think-tanks responsible for military-scientific and strategic issues, have evidently still not recovered from the state of shock and disarray into which they were thrown by the unexpected April 2 announcement in Izvestia. One reason for the stunned silence in the West is undoubtedly the fact, that the Russians have now revealed an operational capability far beyond anything existing in the West, in an "exotic" area of advanced science and technology having far-reaching strategic implications.

Governments and leading institutions who were caught off-guard by the Russian announcement, would do well to review what Lyndon LaRouche and his collaborators have been telling them for nearly 20 years about the military-technological revolution portended by Soviet breakthroughs in plasma and directed energy research. In that context LaRouche's scientific collaborators repeatedly pointed to the awesome implications of advanced research into "plasmoids".

Indeed, the quoted references by Moscow officials to "highly developed directed energy projects" constituting an "unconventional response to the SDI", confirm that the new Russian weapon system is based upon new physical principles along exactly the lines described by Lyndon LaRouche and his collaborators in numerous publications beginning no later than 1977.

In that year LaRouche's political movement published a pamphlet entitled "Sputnik of the 70s -- the Science Behind the Soviets' Beam Weapon" documenting Soviet breakthroughs in anti-missile beam weapon research. In the introduction to that document LaRouche emphasized that "basic advances in plasma physics and related areas" could lead to a "decisive Soviet war-winning capability". The 1977 pamphlet documents a very close relationship between advances in plasma physics and the emergence of revolutionary new types of weapons capable of destroying missiles in flight. Among other things, Dr. Steven Bardwell, a plasma physicist working with LaRouche, wrote the following:

"There is a large body of evidence of Soviet research...indicating an outlook and approach to the question of high energy processes in the atmosphere considerably in advance of those in the United States. On the experimental side, the Soviets have been engaged in intense research on the general question of the interaction of radiation (both electromagnetic radiation in almost all areas of the spectrum, and particle energy) and the ionized layers of the atmosphere... These experiments in creating 'artificial auroras', in broad-band radio wave propagation, and high-energy laser propagation...represent a broad-based research effort on the part of the Soviets."

Later in 1982, Bardwell assembled an overview of the technologies included in the broad-based crash program for beam weapon development that had been called for by LaRouche. This overview was published by the Executive Intelligence Review in July 1982 under the title: "Beam Weapons: The Science to Prevent Nuclear War", EIR July 1982:

"Until two years ago, directed energy beam weapons were exhausted by discussion of laser and particle beams, at least in the West. However, the Soviet Union was pursuing aggressive research in at least two other types of beam weapons. The first uses high- intensity beams of microwaves as a means of destroying a target... The technology for generating extremely high intensity microwaves was developed only in the past decade when it was discovered that relativistic electron beams propagating through a plasma can generate intense, directional microwaves... Plasma beam weapons portend an even more profound reorientation in our understanding of the potential of beam weapons...This fourth state of matter quite naturally forms into complex structures of particles and magnetic fields, which are spontaneously created and quite stable. One of these...is called a plasmoid...The exact physical mechanism involved in this family of closed structures is the subject of a heated debate within the Western scientific community with most Western scientists expressing profound skepticism concerning the significance or even existence of the phenomena.

"The Soviet Union, on the other hand, has had a major research program in plasmoids since the middle 1950s..."

In 1984, after President Reagan's famous March 23 speech announcing what became the SDI, LaRouche's collaborators in the Fusion Energy Foundation (FEF) published a book on "Beam Defense" which emphasized the importance of plasma physics and plasmoids in particular for the most advanced types of anti-missile weapons. They wrote:

"Few if any political and military leaders realize that the very best defense capabilities must emerge from the most advanced frontiers of science....Plasma physics provides an outstanding example of newly discovered principles from today's frontiers of science that allow us to leap over obstacles posed by existing and emerging technologies. The frontier of plasma physics, including the special problem of interaction of high-energy lasers and ion beams with plasmas, poses the major challenges to our development of more and more advanced beam weapons... The spheromak or self- sustaining plasma ball (= plasmoid, JT) -- which breaks most of the rules in the physics books -- may provide us with the cheapest of fusion energy systems. It may also provide a uniquely powerful, efficient directed-energy weapon for use within the Earth's atmosphere... A plasmoid will not hold together in space but seems to require the atmosphere to help maintain its boundary as it travels. These qualities make the plasmoid accelerator a candidate for development as an area-defense against nuclear warheads -- a defense based on the ground to deal with the stage in which some warheads have penetrated preceding layers of defense and reentered the atmosphere."

Now only did LaRouche and his collaborators point to the potential of plasmoids as anti-missile weapons, but they also emphasized breakthroughs in high-power microwave technology which are apparently used to generate such plasmoids in the weapon system just now announced. Details of Soviet high-power microwave work were published in February 1988 an EIR Special Report entitled "Electromagnetic-Effect Weapons: The Technology and Strategic Implications", which included the texts of two speeches given by LaRouche on the same subject, in September and November of 1987. LaRouche warned:

"During the span of the coming four to five years, almost certainly, a technological revolution in warfare will have completed its first phase. ...I know, that the Russian command's currently operational pre-war war-economy mobilization...has the prominently included aim, to build weapons for a new order of battle of Soviet forces, within as short a time as five years. This effort is focussed substantially on the production and deployment of both strategic and tactical electromagnetic weapons of the new class."

It was exactly the failure of Western political and military leaders to grasp the crucial importance of advanced plasma physics research and related areas -- areas central to LaRouche's original specification of a beam weapon crash program -- which became the "Achilles Heel" of the ensuing SDI effort. Under the onslaught of LaRouche's enemies inside and outside the U.S., the most revolutionary areas of research involving "new physical principles", were gradually eliminated from the SDI, in favor of conventional approaches which could never provide an effective defense against nuclear missile attack.

Now, ironically, the stunning proposal from Russia is reminding us what the SDI was originally all about. LaRouche's analysis is confirmed once again -- to the well-deserved embarassment of highly-ranking Western "experts", who should have known better.


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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.


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