Of course, some are condemning the president's decision.
“Trump’s planned appearance at an event that is synonymous with wealth and elite prestige comes as he enters the second year of a term he won on a message of economic populism.” https://t.co/Jdbjk6nBlQ— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 9, 2018
But while no U.S. president has attended the summit for 17 years, the annual gathering of top business and political leaders offers Trump an opportunity to advance U.S. interests. If nothing else, Trump's ability to schmooze powerful officials will help improve global confidence in his leadership. And considering the many billionaires who also flock to Davos, Trump might be able to attract new investment to the U.S.
Yet the most important rationale in favor of Trump's attendance is the fact that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the summit as its keynote speaker. That matters because India is the linchpin on which U.S. geo-strategic interests will rise or fall in the 21st century.
When it comes to these interests, there's India's increasingly wealthy 1.2 billion person market for high-value U.S. goods like iPhones, integrated circuits, and medical devices. As India's economy grows, those exports will mean well-paying, sustainable U.S. jobs.
This latter point is especially crucial as China continues to consolidate its influence over traditional U.S. allies (French President Emmanuel Macron is currently in China sucking up). Put simply, unless the U.S. is able to offer a compelling and powerful counterbalance to Chinese mercantilist-imperialism, China will become the 21st-century shot caller.
And that will mean the subjugation of emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region and a global economic feudalism in which all nations must bow to Beijing.
It will mean American jobs and intellectual property and values all suborned to Xi Jinping's architecture of statism.
So yes, if for no other reason than to continue befriending Modi, Trump is right to go to Davos.