Davos' Dark Knight Unmasked

A logo of the World Economic Forum is on a window of the congress centre on January 22, 2013 at the Swiss resort of Davos. Th
A logo of the World Economic Forum is on a window of the congress centre on January 22, 2013 at the Swiss resort of Davos. The World Economic Forum (WEF) will take place from 23 - 27 January. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

With the eurozone crisis "in remission," and the economic outlook moderately more stable across the developed world, the biggest global risks in 2013 stem from emerging markets. We have turmoil throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Tensions surrounding China's rise abound; in fact, I'd peg China-Japan as the world's riskiest bilateral relationship for the coming year. Where the issues do include Europe, they're more globally focused -- issues like the widening gap between rich and poor and the growing vulnerability of elites aren't unique to any one continent.

But at Davos, you wouldn't know it. Conversation is disproportionately Euro-centric. Europeans make up some 10 percent of the world's population -- but about 37 percent of Davos-goers. And the Europeans who do show pack a powerful punch: all the heavy hitters are in attendance.

But we couldn't keep talking about 'eurozone crisis response' forever -- so this year we needed a fresh hook to keep attention on the Old World.

And today, not a moment too soon, we got it. David Cameron's much-anticipated speech, in which he called for a referendum on Britain's EU membership by 2017, instantly made the British PM the Dark Knight of Davos. And wouldn't you know it: he is slated as a keynote speaker here later in the week. His speech in London was widely hated by Davos attendees, who have a predominantly pro-Europe bent. But that only fans the flames: everyone here is now waiting on pins and needles for his keynote -- this year's 'big event.' I'll keep you posted on how this develops.

Let's unpack the actual issue a bit. From my perspective, the biggest risk here isn't the euro-skepticism; rather, it's the potential for five years of uncertainty as this decision looms. Even if most of it turns out to be rhetoric and 'Brexit' is no more than a canard, markets won't read it that way. It could put significant pressure on the Brits... that they can't afford.

So if Europe's getting outsized attention, what's getting short shrift?

That would be China. While Europe's attendance shines, China is largely absent. Sure, a handful of big executives from the likes of Huawei are making an appearance, but none of China's top political brass showed. The same was true last year, ostensibly because Davos was scheduled in conflict with the Chinese New Year. This time around... no such excuse.

So what's the explanation? One well-connected member of the Chinese delegation told me it's because Beijing doesn't have much influence over the agenda here. Beijing will keep its focus on other summits closer to home; namely, the Boao forum as well as the "Summer Davos," hosted alternatively in Tianjin and Dalian.

Bottom line: it's hard for the World Economic Forum to be truly global when the soon-to-be world's largest economy doesn't bother showing up.

Davos Buzz -- Grab Bag

*Check out the WEF's top 10 quotes of the day from Davos. My personal favorite comes from my friend Larry Summers: "Average IQ goes up by two or three points every decade. If you don't believe it, compare Beverly Hillbillies to The West Wing."

*Christine Lagarde commented that if women's salaries were at the same level as men's, then U.S. GDP would jump 5 percent. A very good point. But I would see her U.S. and raise her Japan -- it's an even starker issue there, one that I've discussed in the past.

I would keep my dog too. And my iPhone...

Blake Hounshell isn't the first person to ask this question here at Davos. My quick response: it's "Antifragility" -- without the need to cite Nassim Taleb. Here's his brief description of his term: "Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, disorder, and uncertainty. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better."

*For more on some of the biggest threats in 2013, here is my interview with CNN from Davos. It might be hard to see me behind my huge furry hat. From here on, I'm taking a page out of Andrew Ross Sorkin's Davos playbook: bring the giant winter hat... but don't wear it on TV.

Ian Bremmer is writing a Davos Diary exclusively for Huffington Post, and will update it frequently throughout the summit.