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January 27, 2007 SouthAmerica: The author of the enclosed article has a good grasp on what is happening around the world in 2007: as the United States wastes all its energy, prestige, and a ton of money fighting wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, in the meantime the rest of the world continues changing at the speed of light â and he said: âThis year's theme at the World Economic Forum annual meeting here â "the shifting power equation" â confirms the view of many participants that power is draining away from the United States to multiple centers as countries from âBrazilâ to China move beyond "emerging" market status to establish themselves as major players on the world scene.â ********** International Herald Tribune - France âAmerica no longer owns globalizationâ By: Nathan Gardels â Tribune Media Services January 24, 2007 DAVOS, Switzerland: This year's theme at the World Economic Forum annual meeting here â "the shifting power equation" â confirms the view of many participants that power is draining away from the United States to multiple centers as countries from Brazil to China move beyond "emerging" market status to establish themselves as major players on the world scene. The conference theme also acknowledges the panic in traditional business circles as power shifts from the producer to the consumer thanks to the Internet and the digital distribution revolution. Far from some kind of conspiracy of the global elite plotting the future as they whisk down the Alpine slopes, Davos is in fact a back-end barometer of their evolving worldview. It does not break new ground but consolidates opinion. It does not generate new trends but codifies them into conventional wisdom.That is its power and its importance. Usually, Davos gets is right because its motto, which might be described as "follow the money, with the conscience trailing behind," pretty much approximates how the world works. Over the nearly 20 years I have attended the Davos conclave as a member of the media leaders club, I have witnessed many times how it offers a snapshot of world power relations at a given moment. After Nelson Mandela was released from prison, but before he was president, for example, there he was on stage with F.W. de Klerk, foreshadowing the peaceful transfer of power after apartheid. (In those days, before the Davos forum grew into an unwieldy convention, you could bump into almost anyone and have a chat.) Mikhail Gorbachev never came to Davos. But no sooner did Boris Yeltsin come to power than the place was swarming with Russian business oligarchs replete with their contingents of prostitutes in hotel lobbies. Famously, these primitive capitalists connived in Davos to ensure Yeltsin's second term. Probably that same year, the rambunctious, newly elected Polish president, Aleksandr Kwasniewski, plied me with endless shots of Chopin vodka, all the while insisting that, for his kids at least, "MTV was more important than NATO." More recently, when the moderates in Iran were on their last legs before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over, a dinner with the Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, at the Belvedere Hotel fell into awkward disarray when he did not show up. It turned out wine was being served, a breach of radical Islamic etiquette. Even so, over the years, Senator Joe Biden or Bill Richardson, when he was UN ambassador, would from time to time "bump" into Iranian leaders walking along or sitting in the cafÃ©s along main street and manage a conversation. This year's theme of a power shift completes a cycle that began in 2000 at the high moment of American triumphalism, before the dot.com bust and 9/11. For the first time in its history, an American president, Bill Clinton, addressed the World Economic Forum, descending on Davos, helicopters aroar and echoing across the pristine valley, with practically the entire U.S. cabinet in tow. I wrote then that, "Paradoxically, Clinton's presence codified the triumph of the American challenge the WEF was founded to resist." It was paradoxical because this annual gathering two hours up the mountain from Zurich had first been organized decades earlier under the name "European Management Seminar" as a way for Europe's business leaders to come together and figure out how to respond to what the French author Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber had called "the American challenge." I wrote then, not wrongly but now far less true, that "clearly, globalization is an American-led phenomenon. Those gathered in Davos were in awe of a U.S. economy in the midst of its longest expansion in history with full employment and low inflation thanks in good part to freer trade and advances in information technology. "Industrial titans from Europe and Asia sat gaping as Microsoft's Bill Gates, AOL's Steve Case and Viacom's Sumner Redstone offered their version of how to make billions in the new economy. Sessions on the other great revolution under way in genetics were also dominated by Americans, from the scientists to the regulators. "From so high up in the Alps, you can see clearly all the way to the future. And the future, if this year's Davos meeting was any indication, will be undeniably American." In the intervening years, Bush's unilateralism, the war in Iraq, the warrantless wiretaps, the revelation of racism and inequality after Katrina and the aggressive religious right have all tarnished America's luster. Yes, today America retains it technological lead. Gates, Google's Eric Schmidt and other American technologists still dominate the Davos chatter. But globalization is no longer an American-led phenomenon. Globalization now belongs to everyone who can figure out how to take advantage of its opportunities and minimize its dislocations. American-bred technology may be its midwife, but Americans are no longer solely the parents. That's a big power shift indeed. And when the participants leave Davos next week, it will be the new conventional wisdom. Nathan Gardels is the editor of NPQ and Global Viewpoint. .