As discussed in these pages on numerous occasions over the past week or so, Chinese President Xi Jinping is keen on using his address at Davos to position Beijing as the torchbearer for free trade and global governance.
Xi’s visit to the World Economic Forum comes amid a populist surge in Europe and the US that threatens to replace progressivism and multiculturalism with populism and nationalism.
Here’s how I put it on Monday evening in “Western Democracy’s Last Stand: Merkel Versus Trump“:
The rising tide of nationalism perpetuated by Donald Trump in the US, Theresa May in the UK, Marine Le Pen in France, and Frauke Petry in Germany, threatens to upend the post-World War II international order in favor of a system based on a kind of “us against them” mentality where the definition of “them” depends on whether we’re talking about trade or immigration.
Angela Merkel is keen on holding down the fort in what feels like a kind of Alamo-ish last stand to defend democracy [but] the irony in all of this is that should Merkel lose the battle, the savior of Western democratic ideals may well end up being a communist.”
Well, enter the communist. Here are the key points from Xi’s address:
- Economic globalization has created new problems but it’s no justification to write it off all together
- Economic globalization powered global growth
- Any attempt to cut off capital flows is not possible and runs counter to historic trends
- Most pressing task is to steer global economic out of sluggishness
- Fundamental structural reform is unfolding, new path for global economy remains elusive
- There is no point in blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems because that is simply not the case. And that will not help to solve the problems.
- The history of mankind has shown us that problems are not to be feared.
- What should concern us is the refusal to face up to the problems.
And now it’s time for Donald Trump to call Xi a “loser”…