It is becoming something of a tradition: the presentation of the Greek version of the Economist's "The World in....." gives the floor to personalities to comment on current affairs - with a view towards the future.
Daniel Franklin, Executive Director of the Economist, who led the discussion , put squarely the spotlight on the Donald Trump phenomenon as "the man who will most influence the world in 2017". Along with Brexit, the new political set-up in Europe - with the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen's claim to power and the potential of a Frexit "which will void the EU of any meaning" - the Trump dimension will radically alter international relations.
As the keynote speaker to the event, Francis Fukuyama - of the End of History memory... - joined in considering the advent of Trump as a major factor for any future global equilibrium. He pointed to the audience that the world at large tended to disregard the fact that the liberal consensus globalisation was based on, was mainly supported by American power (or at least influence). Under Trump, this realisation is coming back with a vengeance. As some kind of hope that a measure of moderation might prevail during the Trump years, Fukuyama offered the thought that Republicans as a party do not necessarily side with Trump...
Speaking from a clearly Greek angle, Opposition chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis pushed forward the message that , for Greece, the year 2017 might (and, indeed, should) be an election year; a year in which the Right-wing Opposition would accede to power with an agenda of providing renewed reliability to Greece's relationship with its creditors/European partners. To him, Greece being the first European country where populists came to power (and disappointed voters) it might well prove first to go the opposite way.
Asked how large Greece looms in international politics, Fukuyama was eloquent in recalling the country's older glories - but then was interestingly incisive in explaining how Greece acceding to modernity after its Revolution in the early XIX century and gaining its freedom from the Ottoman Empire did not allow either its political system or its people to build a State free from the ills of clientelism and clean relationships. A situation that still plagues Greece and Greeks.
Giving his point to the same question, Mitsotakis also dwelt on Greece's image to the world based on its earlier radiance - far greater than its effective size. He then went on stress the importance that getting a new branding can have in the years to come for Greece.