ARGENTINA’S PRESIDENT WARNED AGAINST SOCIALISM
The leaders of France, Argentina and Spain also spoke on a busy second day of the elite gathering, where heads of state mingle with corporate executives, activists and more.
“Do not let yourselves be intimidated by the political caste and by the parasites who live off the state,” new Argentine President Javier Milei said in a fiery speech addressing the world’s business class. “You are social benefactors, you are heroes.”
Milei, a libertarian economist who was sworn in last month and promised changes to drastically reduce both Argentina’s budget deficit and inflation of over 200% seen last year, warned that political and economic leaders were “opening the doors to socialism” in what is a threat to the Western world.
Argentine native Pope Francis went the other way — urging business leaders to not be guided by profit alone but by high ethical standards because national governments cannot regulate the global economy for the common good.
In a letter to Davos organizers, the pope said wars worldwide show the need to tackle what he called the root causes of conflicts: economic injustices, hunger and exploitation of natural resources.
Davos attendees are taking up other weighty issues, such as artificial intelligence and climate change with International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva saying she’s “sick and tired” of hearing people say climate funding is too expensive.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres didn’t hold back either: “Let me be very clear — the phaseout of fossil fuels is essential and inevitable.”
He cited scientists’ recent findings that last year was the hottest on record and warned that “droughts, storms, fires and floods are pummeling countries and communities.”
To combat those effects, Colombian President Gustavo Petro called for an “American pact” on developing clean energy sources, which also would help ease the economic disparities between North and South America.
Meanwhile, Blinken, who met at Davos with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and others, was asked in a conversation with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman whether Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives. He responded, “No, period.”
“What we’re seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching,” he said.
To ease that suffering, the U.S. is pushing to get more humanitarian assistance to Palestinians and press Israel to ensure it minimizes civilian casualties, said Blinken, whose return home was delayed after a mechanical issue grounded his Boeing plane and the US Air Force had to bring over another aircraft from Brussels to ferry him home.