The World Economic Forum, a foundation “committed to improving the state of the world,” hosts political, academic, and financial leaders from around the globe at a much-discussed gathering at Davos, in Switzerland, at the end of every January.
Each year’s Davos gathering has a theme. In 2013, for example, it was Resilient Dynamism. Last year, it was Responsive and Responsible Leadership. This year’s theme is Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.
The honchos will hobnob from January 23 to the 26th. The rest of us can watch the web feeds.
This will be the first year in which U.S. President Donald Trump and a retinue will be in attendance. Attendance by the U.S President is not customary. Bill Clinton showed up only once, in his final year in office. No President has attended subsequent to that.
Trump’s presence at this meeting will be brief. He is expected to arrive on the evening of the 25th and speak on the event’s final day. Nonetheless, his presence will be noteworthy. Indeed, Reuters has headlined a story by Noah Barkin, “Merkel could join Macron in Davos for epic clash with Trump.” The headline of course references French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, both of whom count as globalists in the demonology of Trump’s “America First” supporters.
View from the Right
Before the announcement that Trump would be going, the predominant sense on the right was that there wasn’t going to be any news out of Davos this year. Dan Petrie tweeted, “the world’s self appointed business media elite will interview exactly the same blowhards as in previous years with ski jackets on.”
Chris Yeretsian instagrammed a quote from Jamie Dimon about Davos as an institution: it is “where billionaires tell millionaires how the middle class feels.”
But the rightists generally applaud Trump’s decision to go, if only to be the skunk at a party. Governor Mike Huckabee, on Fox Business, called his trip a “smart strategic move.”
Katrina Pierson, who was a senior advisor to Trump’s presidential campaign, says that the forum “will be the perfect opportunity for POTIUS to reassert his #AmericaFirst policies.”
Adam Shaw, for Fox News, relates the trip to the fact that Stave Bannon, one of the key figures in the economic populism of the campaign and the earliest stage of this administration, is long gone. Son-in-law Jared Kushner and economic advisor Gary Cohn fit the Davos mold more readily than Bannon did. The logical inference from Shaw’s reasoning might be that Trump isn’t going there to be a skunk at all, but to signify a change in his own policies and to join the party.
View from the Left
The French President is scheduled to speak on the evening of January 24. Robin Niblett, the director of a London based think tank, said, “My instinct tells me that Macron will go big. He won’t just talk about Europe. He will try to take up the mantle of the free world under Europe’s wing.”
John F. Harris and Ben White wrote for Politico, about why they think Trump is going to attend. They say, “One constant of Trump’s rise to power is his desire to command the attention, if not the approval, of the very establishment institutions he claims to be contemptuous of.”
Some on the left think that POTUS ought to be made to feel some heat at Davos. Louis V. Galdieri, a documentary filmmaker, for example, asks how the WEF could “welcome Trump … without making it clear that his views on Africa are unwelcome?” The Davos hosts, he says “might be reluctant to issue such a statement” but they should think about the statement made by their silenced.
Others on the left think the most important fact about this year’s Davos is the sex of the seven co-chairs: all are women.