Humanity’s Immense Challenges.

(Editor’s note: We highlight two recent articles, one published at New Eastern Outlook by James O’Neill and the other at Information Clearing House by Mohamad Shaaf, which reveal the unprecedented challenges now facing people around the Earth. What follows is the full article by James O’Neill – on this year’s Davos speeches by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, then this writer’s response to Mohamad Shaaf’s powerful article “Why China Surpassed the United States” … We’ve long admired legal expert Mr. O’Neill’s clear-headed and sober writing skills, mainly focused on sharing his (seemingly always accurate) perceptions regarding major world conditions and events. The excellent article by economics Professor Mohamad Shaaf is the first we’ve read by the academic.)

“Davos 2021 Speeches by Putin and Xi Point to a Different Future”

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, from a previous meeting in Moscow. [Screen capture – YouTube]
By James O’Neill

he Davos Group of nations recently held its annual meeting electronically, the coronavirus preventing attendance in person for the first time. The United States was represented by John Kerry, one of many Democrats recycled from the Obama years. Russia was represented by its president, Vladimir Putin, and China, for the first time since 2017, by its president Xi Jinping. The western media largely ignored the contribution of the latter two but what they had to say was significant and worthy of closer examination.

Putin had received a copy of a book in 2019 from one of the main conference organisers, a personal friend Klaus Schwab. The book was entitled The Fourth Industrial Revolution and was written by Schwab. Putin used the contents of the book as one of the main themes of his address.

The theme of the book had obviously been overtaken by the events of 2020’s coronavirus, but it still provided several important talking points that Putin used to structure his speech. He noted that the Covid 19 illness had accelerated numerous pre-existing structural problems in the world economy, particularly what he referred to as the cumulative effects of sub-economic problems that he identified as being the fundamental reason for unstable growth.

That unstable growth has led to a growing exacerbation of many international problems. Referring to the growing inequality in the world’s economy, he laid the blame squarely at the door of the richest 1% who dominated income and profits. This led in turn to a growing exacerbation of many international problems.

Expecting these problems to be identified, much less addressed, was unlikely, not least because the mainstream media is unlikely to identify the source of the problem, given that their owners are overwhelmingly from the same 1%. The degree of foreign policy propaganda rhetoric was growing. Although he did not say so directly, it is obvious that Russia has long been a victim of mass disinformation from the western media.

Putin pointed out that he could expect the nature of practical actions to become more aggressive, including pressure on countries that resist the attempts by unnamed powers, but clearly alluding to the United States, to use illegitimate trade barriers, sanctions and other restrictions in finance, technology and cyber space to control the recalcitrant.

The end result of such a game, with no rules, or at least a set of rules for the elites which can be modified at will, critically increases the risk of unilateral military action.

Putin identified four priorities which the world must adopt to avoid these disastrous consequences occurring. First, there should be comfortable living conditions for everyone. This will be extraordinarily difficult to attain and he offered no real clues as to how the problem might be overcome.

Secondly, the aim must be for everyone to have a job that would ensure sustainable growth and income, and access to lifelong education which he defined as being absolutely indispensable.

Thirdly, people must be confident that they will receive high-quality medical care.

Fourthly, regardless of family income, children must receive a decent education.

These were not exhaustive demands, but they arguably provide the essential basis for a civilised life. Many countries have already achieved this, including the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand. Even among the so-called developed world there are glaring inequalities and they will not be overcome in the immediate future.

This grim reality was acknowledged in Putin’s final comment when he said that competition and rivalry between countries never stopped, do not stop, and never will stop. The challenge will be to ensure the rivalry does not deteriorate into war.

Xi for his part identified four major tasks facing the contemporary world. First, the world needed to “step up” macro-economic policy coordination to promote strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the world economy.

Secondly, he said, the world needed to “abandon ideological prejudice, and jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and (using a phrase with which he is identified) win-win cooperation.”

Differences in societies is not itself a cause for alarm. What did bring alarm, he noted, was “arrogance, prejudice and hatred.” Xi quite bluntly identified a major problem as attempts to “force one’s own history, culture and social systems upon another.”

That final phrase needs to be read and absorbed by many western leaders, including notably Australia, who perceive the growth of China as an existential threat to their own existence. There is no evidence to support these fears, but they are a constant refrain in western media analysis.

Thirdly, Xi said, the challenge is to close the divide between the developed and the developing countries. The growth of developing countries would put prosperity and stability on a more solid footing.

Fourthly, we needed to come together against global challenges. No global problem can be solved by one country alone, and wilfully imposing decoupling, supply disruption and sanctions to create isolation and estrangement would only push the world toward divisions and confrontation.

And what may be perceived as a direct challenge to western claims to enjoy a monopoly on support for their interpretation of the law, Xi stated that “we should stay committed to international law and international rules, instead of seeking one’s own supremacy.” International government, he said, should be based on the “rules and consensus reached among us, not on the order given by one or the few.”

That last phrase alone would be enough to set a rumble among the western powers, who for too long have claimed a monopoly on the “rules based international order.” What they really mean is their rules and their order. Xi was sending a clear message that those days are over and international law means just that, rather than the preserve of the wealthy few whose dictates for the past 70+ years have been the source of endless strife and benefits accumulating for the rich few.

It is doubtful that the west will listen to either Putin or Xi, much less modify their behaviour. The world however has changed. The sooner the old western powers recognise that change and modify their behaviour, the sooner we are likely to achieve the goals set out so clearly by both Putin and Xi. The limited coverage their speeches received in the west does not augur well. As the multiple series of agreements being made by diverse nations in the greater Eurasian region demonstrate however, the old world is rapidly disappearing. The sooner that is recognised the safer the world will be.

James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook


“Why China Surpassed the United States” by Mohamad Shaaf

Read the full article here –

(Comment by Jerry Alatalo) Professor of Economics Mohamad Shaaf’s clear, concise-yet-complete comparison of political economy in China and the United States may make much more urgent calls by some veteran world affairs observers.

Many world affairs analysts are calling for serious investigation into whether or not COVID-19 and its rapidly emerging new variants are in fact weapons of covert biological warfare.

Who has the more powerful motives for pulling the trigger on covert bio-warfare – the people of nations whose historical paths and decision-making have made their lives better by generally-accepted standards of health and happiness measures, or the people of nations whose paths and decisions have led to declining marks when applying those same measures?

Have the latter nations’ leaders come to the conclusion desperate actions are necessary to stop any further erosion of global power (share of world currency market etc.), influence, reputation and control?

Could such desperate actions include covert biological warfare, namely the increasingly known, immensely dangerous scientific process called “gain of function”? If such is indeed the case, humanity faces a profoundly difficult challenge unlike any ever experienced up to this juncture in all of human history.

Such an immeasurable challenge will never become met and overcome, – absent an equally powerful investigation, and full resolution of the covert biological warfare question. To summarize precisely: Humanity absolutely MUST know..


7 thoughts on “Humanity’s Immense Challenges.

  1. I read this as both Putin and Xi echoing the 1896 William Jennings Bryan ‘Cross of Gold’ speech,
    “There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below.
    The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.” […] Having behind us the commercial interests and the labouring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a “Cross of gold.”

    This is opposed to General-President Eisenhower’s 1953 ‘Cross of Iron” speech, fresh off his WWII Military Experience, entering the Political realm.
    ” First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy — for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

    Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation — but only in effective cooperation with fellow nations.

    Third: Every nation’s right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

    Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

    And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments — but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.

    In the light of these principles, the citizens of the United States defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of — of war, toward true peace. […] Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

    This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
    The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
    It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
    It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
    It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.
    We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”
    […] This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

    That was when the US DoD Budget was $60 Billion, compared to $740 BILLION Today.

    After 8 years as President, Eisenhower had the same warning in his retirement speech,
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.


    1. Hello Ray,

      Thank you for sharing words of wisdom from decades ago as a reminder to currently discouraged people that there were leaders of a higher moral nature then, and encouraging to know there are moral leaders today. It gives people something good to think about while winter temperatures drop below 0 and they are relegated to stay inside. Thanks again and take care, bro’ 🙂 …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For “Democracy” to work, people must be willing to change their minds based on facts and logic. That subset is very small. This is obvious to all members of that subset, minimized or glossed over by the rest. When you look at how they teach “debate”, it is about tricks and winning at any cost, not finding the best solution. “And the band played on.”


    1. How are you, Jimmy..

      You’d likely appreciate a suggestion for more debate teachers whose world views align with Plato or Socrates or many others who understand the importance of finding best solutions.. We might suggest also to that band which “played on” to include more lyrics (NOT more cowbell – Hahaha 🙂 ) reflecting solutions work.. Thanks, as always, for weighing in Jimmy.. Take good care, my friend.


    1. Yes indeed, Stuart,

      One feels mostly sadness while the wise esteemed leaders of major nations have their remarkable, honest and well-meaning messages recklessly overlooked. Perhaps good changes on Earth will come sooner rather than later which guarantee voices of wisdom are no longer disrespected and ignored, but receive their full due recognition and attention. Thanks for the encouragement. Take care, Stuart.


  3. Pingback: Others – Mohamad Shaaf

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