A Tale Of Two Speeches

Xi Goes To Davos
For the first time, China’s president will attend  the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos, Switzerland.  He will deliver a key-note speech there on January 17.

Davos, as this forum is commonly called, has become one of the world’s most important and exclusive regular gatherings of political and business leaders since the turn of the millenium.  Many refer to it as the replacement of the Bilderberg Club of Western power elites whose consensus would shape and shake the world.  It has included more and more non-Western members in recent years. While Chinese leaders generally shun the idea of joining “clubs” abroad, they have become highly-sought-after participants, for obvious reasons.

Trump Goes To Washington
On January 20, assuming there is no accident, Donald Trump will swear (no pun intended) in, that is, as the 45th president of the United States.  In keeping with tradition he will deliver, and not tweet, something called an inaugural speech.  He will no doubt use the opportunity to attack his domestic enemies while offering to unite the country (a combination which is quite scary to contemplate, if successful).   At the same time, potential friends and foes abroad will meticulously analyse his every word and punctuation to find out who would be what, how and why, according to his American administration.

Two Speeches – What Kind Of Conversation?
There is little question that Xi Jingping has chosen the timing of his attendance this year at Davos in order to make a historic speech.  It will attempt to instil confidence to the world, against the backdrop of a destabilised political reality in America.  The overriding concern is that the new US administration might take brash actions abroad, in order to divert attention from domestic political pressures and crises.  Xi will advocate a way forward for nations of the world based on win-win development, not domination.  He will promote the One Belt One Road initiative as a shared program, not just China’s.  He will reassure the world that China’s rise is peaceful, but its resistance against ill-intended provocation and any threat to its core interest will be firm and resolute.  He will once again warn against protectionism, since unilateral actions by individual nations will simply be reciprocated by others, leading to a spiral of contraction rather than growth in the aggregate.  History had shown that this resulted in wars, not peace.

As for Trump’s speech and potential messages … well, I am not his speech-writer.


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