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Trump migrates to Davos

Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

The World Economic Forum has opened in Davos and the theme is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.” You can follow the action here. Lots of noble sentiment will be spouted by many worthy people in the coming days in Switzerland but their strivings are already overshadowed by the impending arrival of the planet’s only political superstar: US President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to speak on Friday.

In the run up to Davos, the scholar and writer, Walter Russell Mead, has written a piece for the Wall Street Journal titled “Immigration Is Still Radioactive” in which he makes the point that immigration “powered Donald Trump’s triumph over the Republican and Democratic establishments while tipping the U.K. referendum toward Brexit.” He also notes that “In Germany, Angela Merkel, once the unchallenged master of European politics, is still struggling to form a coalition.” This is mainly due to her disastrous open-borders policy which, back to Davos, has fractured German and European politics. And, immigration remains the “third rail” in global politics, says Mead, who warns: “Anyone who hoped voters would get it out of their systems must be sorely disappointed.”

Mead spoke recently to Susan Glasser, host of The Global POLITICO podcast. She asked: “As we’re here at the end of year one of this most unusual and remarkable presidency, do you think Donald Trump is a believer in Trumpism, or is it silly of us in our sort of academic mode to try to impose ideologies and isms on a guy like Donald Trump?” To which Mead replied:

“I try not to read other people’s minds. I’ve found I’m not very good at it. I think if you look at the pattern, at the record of things that President Trump has said over many decades, things like dislike of democracy promotion as a foreign policy, of limited wars, of trade, free trade, there are definite patterns. And it seems to me that we’re not going too far when we say, ‘Yes, the man does seem to have some core beliefs that persist.’ But, you know, how he fits those in with what he is learning every day as president of the United States, you know, whether it’s from the briefings he gets from various advisers or whether it’s you try something and the whole country screams that they hate it and your poll numbers go down, well, that’s an education too. So every president changes in office. I don’t think Donald Trump will be an exception to that.”

Davos Man, and Woman, should ponder that.


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