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Global takeaways from Trump’s Davos speech

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LONDON – “When people are forgotten the world becomes fractured,” U.S. President Donald Trump observed to the Davos forum in his breathlessly awaited speech Friday. That he himself was the fracturer-in-chief must have entered the minds of more than a few in the crowded hall.

Many expected the speech to be a clash of civilizations: that of “America First,” the pursuit of national advantage, the raising of the barriers both to trade and to immigration — and that of cooperation, a lowering of borders and barriers, a privileging of free trade and — at least until recently — free movement of labor. Along with that, there was a zany, unpredictable often deeply unpleasant governing style, based heavily on tweets, and a hatred of news media — which in a post-speech Q&A he could not refrain from branding as “nasty, vicious … and fake.” (He got a few hisses and boos for that.)

But the speech was crafted for a kind of virtual togetherness, a merging of America First with everybody else as partners. America was certainly first, and Trump said he had put it there: the stock market had added $7 trillion, 2.4 million new jobs had been created and U.S. unemployment was at a new low “since my election.” This was good for everyone. And for many of the attendees there, they are part of the everyone. The top part, in the past, present and future.

Not surprising. The world economy is growing. The giants are growing especially rapidly, with India, at over 7 percent in 2017, growing faster than China, at 6.9 percent. Trump can tweet with delight: the International Monetary Fund, not a friend, says that his tax........

© The Japan Times