Foreign Policy Digital

Inside the Strange Bubble World of Davos

Scenes from Switzerland’s annual gathering of the rich and clueless.

“I want a world of peace, freedom, and democracy,” new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro declared in his keynote speech at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. The far-right leader then asked everyone in the audience—all his wealthy new friends—to come and invest in the “new Brazil.” He got a polite welcome.

It’s exactly the kind of feel-good nonsense we’ve come to expect from this strange annual gathering of the very rich, the very powerful, and the very clueless. At home, Bolsonaro—occasionally known as Brazil’s Donald Trump—has disparaged gays, women and blacks and waxed elegiac about his nation’s past military dictatorship. But all that tends to be forgiven when the Bolsonaros of the world arrive in Davos, which confers upon every attendee a kind of immaculate reconception as a member of the global elite.

For years, the annual meeting in this tiny

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