As a legion of heads of state and business leaders head to Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) next week, world affairs are as unpredictable and unstable as ever.
In the 12 months since the last forum, global trade relations and diplomacy as well as domestic politics have been fractious, to say the least.
Since President Donald Trump first announced tariffs on a selection of Chinese imports last January, the U.S. and China have gone on to impose tariffs of $250 billion and $110 billion on each other's goods, respectively. Washington is currently witnessing its longest ever shutdown because of an impasse over funding for a border wall and Brexit remains as chaotic and unclear as ever just weeks before the U.K.'s departure from the EU.
The forum released a "Global Risks" report Wednesday in which it noted that "global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking."
In continental Europe over the last year, we've seen a populist government take charge in one of Europe's major economies, Italy, and a demise of mainstream politicians that could lead to a power vacuum — and moral crisis — in the region.