DAVOS, Switzerland — It’s been a tough week for Davos man. A week of listening to warnings about the end of globalization, about trade wars, about the rise of populism and nationalism, about the anxiety of those left behind by ruthless business strategies, about pitchforks ready to be wielded.
Could it get worse for the global elites? Yes. At the end of the week, a bitter speech by an angry white male, who happens to be the 45th president of the United States, confirmed the fears of most and sounded like a slap in the face of the C.E.O.s buoyed by the prospect of a Trump stimulus plan.
Many participants to the World Economic Forum had already left this Swiss Alpine resort by the time President Donald J. Trump spoke. Some of those still here, oblivious to the “revolution” in Washington, chose to attend the closing performance in the Congress Hall, given by an Afghan women’s orchestra joined by young Swiss musicians. The performance was introduced as “a powerful affirmation of friendship and trust across cultures.” Not exactly the mood emanating from the presidential platform on Capitol Hill.
We in Europe know only too well the dangers of aggressive rhetoric. If this is going be the tone in Washington for the next four years, if “carnage” and “ravages” are going to be part of the daily political vocabulary, if we in the rest of the world keep being blamed for making America poorer, then what do we have in common?
As I listened to the inauguration speech, I was reminded of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comment, earlier this week, on Mr. Trump’s interview to the German newspaper Bild: “We Europeans have our destiny in our own hands.”
Sylvie Kauffmann, the editorial director and a former editor in chief of Le Monde, is a contributing opinion writer.