THE global COVID-19 case total was still to hit 1 million on March 30, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison presaged his JobKeeper announcement with a dire warning.
"Many countries in the months ahead and perhaps beyond that, may well see their economies collapse," Mr Morrison said.
"Some may see them hollow out in the very worst of circumstances, we could see countries themselves fall into chaos."
At the time, we remarked in this space that the next, unspoken link in such a chain of events was conflict between nations, given the heightened diplomatic tensions between China and the United States that were building at the time.
Those tensions have not gone away, but Mr Morrison's presentiment of countries in chaos has become horribly real in the US since the May 25 death by police of 46-year-old African-American truck driver George Floyd.
If Australia began as a convict country then the US was built in similar fashion on slavery.
The racial tensions that have exploded so dramatically across America - spreading now, in solidarity, to other nations - have been culturally embedded from the beginning.
Despite the gains of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, America is still a divided nation.
And it was already reeling under the Trump administration and its mishandling of COVID-19 when the death of George Floyd lit a match to the kerosene-soaked rag.
Protests in this country - including one proposed today for Newcastle - have erupted to remind Australia that we have our own form when it comes to mistreating people of colour.
A truer parallel might be with the plight of Native Americans, but the evidence of Aboriginal injustice remains everywhere.
On measure after measure, Indigenous Australians find themselves at the bottom of the scale, and with little or no improvement in sight.
And like the black-white tensions tearing at the American fabric, it is impossible to see a meaningful breakthrough in Australia without a real recognition of the central conflict.
Even since the 1991 Royal Commission, more than 430 Indigenous Australians have died in policy custody.
Twenty years have passed since Midnight Oil closed the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a global message of "sorry" stencilled across their black track suits.
As long as the deaths in custody continue, even the best-intentioned "sorry" is a word without action.
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