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The atmosphere at the 2019 World Economic Forum reflected the global picture perhaps more genuinely than in years past, and the painting was not very pretty.The White House scrapped the official American delegation's trip to this year's conference -- an outgrowth of President Donald Trump's spat with Congress -- providing a perfect metaphor for the broader outlook: America has withdrawn from the world. Of the continent's three major leaders, only one, Germany's lame-duck Chancellor Angela Merkel, even showed up.In this environment, there was a gaping absence of leadership in Davos from the usual defenders of liberal democracy and the rules-based international system.This did not mean that any new global leaders stepped into the void. It sent a respected statesman, Vice President Wang Qishan, with an anodyne message aiming to reassure the world that Beijing seeks "win-win" solutions and global cooperation.With no one actively shoring up the international system, the great question remains: In a world without leaders, will that system over time weaken and eventually crumble?
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