By David Wainer
- World leaders split into three camps over Trump’s vagaries
- Merkel, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, China’s Wang among Davos attendees
Full coverage at bloomberg.com/davos, on Twitter @business and via our special WhatsApp alerts.
In 2018, Davos was basking in a robust global economy as Donald Trump pledged that “America is open for business.”
One year on, the U.S. government is partially shut and the market ebullience that greeted the president’s corporate tax overhaul is a distant memory
January 22, 2019
In the 12 months since he visited the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps, Trump has launched a trade war with China, slapped tariffs on Europe, weighed in on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, expressed understanding for France’s “Yellow Vest” protests against President Emmanuel Macron and threatened to “devastate” Turkey’s economy.
That unpredictable stance toward traditional U.S. allies and rivals alike fans geopolitical risk and ensures that Trump’s policy choices will be the talk of the retreat, even as the president skips the forum to focus on the shutdown.
“There is no longer this idea that he’d be reined in by the establishment and that you’d have a fairly normal administration,” said Walt. “People are now fully aware that he’s extremely impulsive and erratic and will continue to challenge the status quo. That means something different depending where you are.”
Leaders from all three camps will be present in Davos: those from traditional U.S. allies such as Canada and Germany who are resisting as far as possible in the hope they can wait Trump out; rivals from China and Russia who thought they could exploit the opportunities but have found him too erratic; and those in countries like Israel, Hungary and Brazil who have benefited from the environment around Trump’s rise.