After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the World Economic Forum returned to the ski village of Davos in Switzerland on Monday, where some 2,000 of the world’s most influential leaders gathered this time to talk… geopolitics.
It’s true, for the first time Davos isn’t driven by business, but rather by what’s happening around the world – at a time when the general feeling is that globalization is happening, the president said. of GZERO Media, Ian Bremmer, in a live chat on Global Stage hosted by GZERO. in partnership with Microsoft.
Indeed, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt observes that “Davos can no longer escape geopolitics” as “things are falling apart” with Russia’s war in Ukraine and the global food crisis it has aggravated.
A focus on global politics may be unavoidable, but “that doesn’t mean people are necessarily excited to come to the party,” said Microsoft Chairman Brad Smith, who cited food and l energy as two of the second and third order consequences. of the Russian invasion.
The thing is, according to Bremmer, most people still don’t know what those consequences will be. In his view, we should brace for the impact of two major ripple effects: NATO and Russia on the brink of something resembling a hot war, and plenty of starvation if the conflict drags on.
The war is also taking place in the virtual world, where many have been surprised by the lack of successful major Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine. Smith says that’s partly because Microsoft has helped Ukrainians defend and prepare by taking steps like moving government agencies’ physical servers to the cloud.
And then there’s online misinformation, which remains a big problem almost everywhere.
Smith said he thought it was difficult for governments to unilaterally decide what constitutes fake news, while Bremmer called for an intergovernmental panel to tackle the issue, and Thorning-Schmidt suggested the America could learn from Europe’s experience with coalition governments so that one day Democrats and Republicans could really get along. on what the problem is first, before trying to solve it.
Meanwhile, Russia’s war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight. What’s more, Bremmer increasingly views it as what he calls a “Goldilocks crisis” – not too small to notice, but not so massive “that you legitimately don’t have the tools to address it. “.
We need something to really get us “out of our skin” to deal with these crises, as United Nations Foundation President Elizabeth Cousens has said.
The longer the Russians continue to fight the Ukrainians, the more the ripple effects of the conflict will worsen in other parts of the world, such as world hunger. For Cousens, ending the catastrophic humanitarian crisis we already find ourselves in largely depends on governments responding by either cooperating or doing nationalistic things that end up hurting everyone else, like export controls.