China takes center stage at Davos and says ‘no’ to protectionism

Christopher Dickey writes: … global leaders are looking elsewhere for a stable anchor in a stormy world, and the country that’s stepping forward at Davos to present its case for leadership is not the United States, not even Russia, and not any European country or collection of them, but China. Xi Jinping will give the opening address for the conference, the first time a Chinese premier has ever taken such a role.

“We’re at an inflection point,” says Adrian Monck, a member of the WEF [World Economic Forum] managing board and longtime director of communications.

Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry, a Davos regular, will be making an appearance, but he’s the lamest of lame ducks. The United States is pulling back. And where President Barack Obama tried to lead from behind in order to build broad consensus in global affairs, Trump may decide simply to walk away if the world won’t play by his ad hoc and sometimes arbitrary rules.

So, says Monck, “What China has to say about its role in the global economy is hugely important. The potential lies there for trade wars, and some warn of shooting wars. But even if the Chinese meet Trumpian truculence with Mandarin delicacy, much of the planet may start looking to them to set the tone for international affairs. [Continue reading…]

Bloomberg reports: Chinese President Xi Jinping cautioned against protectionism as he pushed back against criticism of globalization by Donald Trump and other Western populists.

“Protectionism is like locking yourself in a dark room, which would seem to escape wind and rain, but also block out the sunshine,” Xi told the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, the first Chinese head of state to address the annual gathering in the Alpine resort town of Davos. “No one is a winner in a trade war.” [Continue reading…]

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