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Davos 2016: Panic Of The Western ‘Elites’ And Division Within Left – OpEd


The Davos 2016 World economic forum was concluded, with its usual pomp and grandiloquent rhetoric. While it started as a genuine intention to bring power brokers, including the most powerful men and women, including its critics from the right and left, to decide on the fate of the world, it is increasingly proving to be lofty emptiness, and broken multi stake holder initiatives. The model of elites gathering and deciding the fate of the world is showing to be a failure with every passing day and every meaningless quotes and false outrages and pseudo vows.

Here’s what I gathered from following the Davos 2016.

I had no intention to, but when you’re in Europe, and the entire news cycle is blaring constantly, and your work is related to foreign policy and international relations, you don’t have a choice. Here’s the thing, no one has a clue as to the state of the World, or how to fix it, and they are not even faking it anymore. Davos summit is committed apparently to improve the state of the world, well, going by that logic, they did a pretty shoddy job, as the world is not improving, infact is getting worse with every passing day.

The summit started with Leonardo Di Caprio barking and raging against “elites”, who are neglecting climate change and global warming, in a speech possibly written by his publicist, funded by his agents, and his performance guaranteed by his flying to Davos in his own private jet with more carbon emission than any random village in sub Saharan Africa. Interestingly enough, he was barked back by none other than Justin Trudeau of Canada, the darling of the left liberals who said, it is not prudent to have “inflammatory rhetoric” as it might hurt people, who lost their oil industry job in the recession. What does this highlight, as a start to a summit on improving the condition of us poor mortals? It highlights that Trudeau is learning that governing and managing economy is much, much more difficult that campaigning. It also highlights the growing rift between Western left, between traditional pro-science pro-technology, pro industrialization left and the migrant and gay rights and climate concerned postmodern left. If this was not a symbol of things to come, I don’t know what is.

Brexit was another issue that riled almost everyone. With Europe’s economy in comatose stage, and no one having a clue on how to improve growth, or fix oil prices and stocks, everyone from socialist Valls to Conservative Merkel was unanimous that Britain leaving EU, will destroy Europe and its economy as we know today. Strangely even Cameron seemed to understand the gravity of that situation. However it is not clear he knows how to deal with it, or if it has already gone too far. In International Relations there comes a time, when the movement controls the mass, UK is facing such a crossroad. The constant narrative of Britannia being different from Europa, has taken its toll, and no matter of how much fiscal sense is pumped by business and political leaders, the crowd is hell bent, and the conditions of Europe is not making them any more optimistic.

Meanwhile in Europe, Draghi warned that Migrant crisis will change EU as we know. I might add that this observation comes a tad late, as migrant crisis has already changed EU, and the demise of a liberal institution in a conservative and traditional continent, is in order. With news of Swedish women being chain whipped by drunken migrants from Middle East and refugees defecating in a swimming pool and trying to storm women’s changing room, the mindset of native Europe is getting harder every passing day. Football hooligans in Poland are raising banners in matches against Germany asking them to protect their women and not EU. Europe, which has been traditionally the most brutal, clanistic and conservative of continents for the greater part of the last two thousand years, is turning back to its terrible roots; the elites are powerless to change it. Ideology upon ideology has neglected the basic human nature as Hans Morgenthau once wrote, the Animus Dominae, and people are finding out that the neo-liberal institutionalism which tried to mold and impose the continent, is to the shock and horror of everyone involved in this doomed experiment, failing.

Nothing was fixed in this summit. The world is not getting better anytime soon, and it is naïve to expect that. Middle East is going to be in flames, with a newly bolstered Iran and paranoid Saudis ramping up their involvement and proxy war. The priorities of different countries differ. America is perfectly happy to get out of Middle East, and it doesn’t care how. Russia is happy to have a stake in the great power game. Iran and Saudis and Turks and Kurds are all happy to increase or retain their sphere of influence. The fourth technological revolution is a hyped failure. Gay rights in continental Africa and Eastern Europe and South Asia is not improving anytime. Wars and conflicts not just in Africa and Middle East, but in Europe will only spread. Ironically enough, looking at Davos talks, East Asia seems like an oasis of calmness. Perhaps when we look back at the inevitable ashes, we will look back to these summits as the symptomatic complacent chaos that reflected the real world.

This article appeared at Bombs and Dollars.

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Sumantra Maitra

Sumantra Maitra is a Doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK. He spends way too much time on Twitter, @MrMaitra

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