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The great Davos face-off for Trump

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LONDON – Since its foundation in 1971, the World Economic Forum in Davos has been a byword for the growing consensus around an increasingly globalized world. Now, U.S. President Donald Trump is on his way to tell those who consider themselves the global elite that they have been wrong on just about everything.

Trump will be the first serving U.S. president to attend Davos since Bill Clinton in 2000. But Trump won’t be the only major world leader in attendance. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be there for the first time, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also join the party after reaching preliminary agreement with the Social Democrats on a new coalition government for Germany last week.

Their presence, along with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among others, sets the stage for a fascinating face-off with Trump.

Davos can be a great opportunity for leaders to showcase themselves. Last year’s meeting was dominated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose speech focused on opposing protectionism and painting Beijing as the new defender of free trade in the age of Trump. That burnished the Chinese leader’s credentials abroad in the run up to the Communist Party Congress, where he cemented power at home.

The number of big-ticket leaders this year, however, will inevitably make that space more contested. Macron and Merkel will likely use it as a platform to........

© The Japan Times