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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

DAVOS, Switzerland — By the end of the week-long annual gathering of the world's elite here, the procession of leaders had given an inkling of the world order to come.

The big picture: "We may have to get used to a more modest definition of 'liberal world order,'" Columbia University economic historian Adam Tooze told Axios. That likely means removing liberal politics as a requirement to join the club.

What they're saying:

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the "global architecture will only work if we are willing to compromise," accept a changing balance of power, and assuage "those who harbor doubts about the international system."
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, representing the U.S. via video link, argued that the "disruption is a positive development." International institutions can never "stand up for a people as well as their own leaders can," he said, and will only endure if pulled into this century.
  • It fell to Vice President Wang Qishan of China, the main threat to the liberal order and core to shaping whatever replaces it, to argue for an ambitious global system — on Beijing's terms.

What's next: There will still be rules the major players can agree to. "You could have a liberal trading system with a majority of authoritarian regimes," Tooze said.

  • But at this stage, the divided West is "not really in a position to go around postulating orders," he said, and even if it were, "China is simply not going to go along with it."
  • Counterpoint: We spoke to other experts who said that ceding space to China is exactly the wrong approach, and that the West has to go further to assert itself.

The bottom line: No one we met told us the world order will survive in its current form.

Go deeper: Read the full Davos Special Report

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."