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Western countries spend much of their energies fretting about relations with Russia. But could these countries be making a big mistake by ignoring the anti-western alliance forming between Moscow and Beijing? As Jim Mattis, the US defence secretary, puts it, a “natural non-convergence of interest” could bring the two countries together.

Jamil Anderlini argues in his latest column that it is both wrong and dangerous to think that Russia and China can never be friends. Although their economic ties are significant, the military relationship is even more so. The strongest ties, however, are personal: presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are both autocratic strongmen who are distrustful of representative democracies. The US and its allies should consider the threat that a strong Sino-Russian alliance would pose to the current world order.

Karin Kneissl, foreign minister of Austria, calls for a pragmatic, calmer approach towards Brexit because a deal between the UK and EU is in sight.

John Authers argues that the losers from Nafta will always drown out those who benefit from free trade. As elections in both the US and Mexico have proven, there is great political power in harnessing public grievances.

Anjana Ahuja explains the Parker probe: Nasa’s latest extraordinary mission will travel for seven years and endure temperatures of 1,400 degrees Celsius to touch the sun and help us understand how the stars work.

What you’ve been saying

Trump’s supporters are complicit in a theatrical performance: letter from Sam Wycherley, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UK

Gideon Rachman argues that fake news will fail because it must ultimately confront reality. […] President Trump’s act is a theatrical one, in which inconvenient boundaries between truth and fiction are blurred or ignored. He and his supporters among the alt-right lean heavily on ambiguity and irony. What prevails is what the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard termed “hyperreality” — it becomes impossible to distinguish between reality and simulation, between news and fake news. Mr Trump’s politics is the politics of superficiality.

In response to Billionaires have franchised the modern art museum, JimKing says:

Maybe there is a formula here, but I wonder if it is a formula with some purpose or value? The medieval church was a formula, and yet we still admire the great ones. Using these glorious old industrial buildings in a way that can provide a shared cultural space for increasingly atomised communities is not the worst possible thing.

Fixing Facebook should be based on antitrust, tax and transparency: letter from Anders Aslund, Atlantic Council, Washington, DC, US

John Thornhill raises the important question of how to fix Facebook. […] That must no longer be allowed. The US Patriot Act of 2001 cleaned up not only the US but also the international banking system. When you open an account on a social network, you should face the same demands of transparency as when you open a bank account.

Today’s opinion

Why Nafta’s losers will always drown out the winners
Whether in the US or Mexico, workers find it far easier to count losses than gains

The EU and UK need to calm down about Brexit
A pragmatic, dispassionate approach will bear fruit because we are not that far apart

Nasa’s mission to ‘touch the Sun’ and understand how stars work
In its seven-year mission the Parker probe will endure temperatures of up to 1,400C

FT Alphaville: Digital crop circles

China and Russia’s dangerous liaison
The west ignores the alliance forming between Moscow and Beijing at its peril

FT View

The FT View: The tightening vice of US sanctions on Moscow
A unified Russia policy from Washington would be more effective

The FT View: Kabila’s reign in Congo is drawing to a bitter close
African leaders can help to ensure the country’s succession leads to better things

The Big Read

The Big Read: Business behind bars: the judicial threat to Russian growth
One reason President Putin is presiding over a sluggish economy is the persistent harassment and arrest of entrepreneurs by the state

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