The sentiment on geopolitics was one of concern. Concern for the impact of Trump, even though Anthony Scaramucci from his office mentioned that we are misunderstanding Trump and that he doesn’t want a trade war with China, tear apart NATO, see the end of the EU or instigate a nuclear war.
While president Trump seems to be retreating to nationalism, president Xi Jinping who was the first Chinese president to attend Davos was promoting globalization. “The international financial crisis […] is not an inevitable outcome of economic globalization, rather it is the consequence of the excessive chase of profit by financial capital and a great failure of financial regulation” he said. This message was reinforced by Ali Baba CEO Jack Ma.
In his final speech before leaving office, Joe Biden urged for a continuation of the transatlantic alliance to build peace and stability. “Our careful attention to building and sustaining the international world order, with the US and Europe at its core, was the bedrock of the success that the world enjoyed in the second half of the 20th century”, he said.
Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger reinforced Biden’s message by saying “President Trump will have to find a definition of the American role that answers the concern in many parts of the world that America is giving up its indispensable leadership role and define what and where America can lead, where it must contribute, and in that process help in the creation of an international order” as did the Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde.
As for Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May shared a seemingly conflicting message of a hard exit from the EU while pursuing globalization at the same time. Her assurances to the financial sector that Britain would remain a great place for banks was received with skepticism. At the same time, EU leaders defended the strength of the European Union: “The EU is as strong as the member states allow,” said Martin Schulz, the outgoing President of the European Parliament.