Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world with a speech at Davos in 2017, defending free trade and joint action on climate change as then US president-elect Donald Trump argued for precisely the opposite. It might have been an overambitious pitch by Xi to position China as the world’s next leader, but it also seemed a genuine sign that Beijing was committing to the international rules-based order.
That anyone believed that Xi was “genuine” (and quite a few appeared to) was (and is) evidence of the collective delusion so usefully summed up in the name “Davos.”
Disappointment has followed delusion:
Today, the warmth in the room at Davos has all but gone.