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The disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, is a personal tragedy. But it is also a significant blow to Donald Trump’s strategy in the Middle East. The US president has been relying on Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) to help build an alliance against Iran, crush Isis and deliver peace in Israel. America also hoped he would liberalise Saudi Arabia and deliver deals to boost its domestic economy.

Gideon Rachman argues in his latest column that the Trump administration will therefore attempt to limit the diplomatic fallout from the Khashoggi affair. Thanks to the grim realities of realpolitik, President Trump is unlikely to abandon his strategy of depending on MbS — despite growing concerns and evidence that he may not be the most trustworthy ally.

Robert Shrimsley argues that Britain's Conservatives are facing a tough choice: compassion or hard Brexit. Grand ideas such as leaving the EU and sweeping welfare reform are only ever as good as their implementation and the UK will struggle to find enough money if it does both simultaneously.

Nicholas Shaxson believes that European capital that woo banks away from London may be drinking from a poisoned chalice. Outsized financial sectors can be a drain on national economies, he says.

Martha Lane Fox thinks that Britain has a chance to tame technology and drive innovation by creating resilient regulations.

Jude Webber writes that the decision by Mexico's president to outsource the renaming of Nafta is a prime example of people power.

What you've been saying

Now balance the green incentives with food policy: letter from Dr Alan Bullion, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
Sarah Gordon rightly argues there is much to be welcomed in the new UK agriculture bill. However, many of us are concerned that the policies announced to date are focused almost entirely on agri-environmental incentives but not on boosting domestic food production. We are already importing about 40 per cent of the food we eat in the UK. Feeding our population is a vital public good. Michael Gove, environment secretary — where is the food policy, please, to complement these enhanced greening measures?

In response to “Corporate elites are overlooking deglobalisation” Beemer says
Isn't the crux of the problem that although globalisation has succeeded in consistently increasing the aggregate wealth of countries, such as the US and UK, the concentration of wealth has at the same time become ever more concentrated in fewer hands?

Drag racing has mixed the genders for half a century: from Eric J Redemann, Walnut Creek, CA, US
In your report “Racing prize aims to put women in F1” you quote Catherine Bond Muir, the chief executive of W Series, as saying: “There are lots of different sports where men and women can compete equally and all of those sports have segregated series.” Ms Bond Muir is mistaken. The rather American motorsport of drag racing has had mixed genders for more than half a century. And the women are often driving machines generating close to 7,000 horsepower. Women running motorcycles have enjoyed sponsorship of such nominally male brands as the United States Army and Marlboro.

Today's opinion

Nafta name vote a weak display of people power
Mexico’s incoming president vows to let the people decide — on some issues

Compassion or Brexit: the choice facing Britain’s Conservatives
Simple economics could scupper the effort to streamline the welfare system

Tame tech and drive innovation towards a fair inclusive society
Britain has the chance to lead and create a resilient system of regulation

Brexit offers London’s rivals a poisoned chalice
Research shows an outsized financial sector can be a drain on a national economy

Trump’s dangerous reliance on Saudi Arabia
Do not expect radical shifts in US Middle East policy despite Khashoggi scandal

Free Lunch: The meaning of Amazon’s wage rise
Better entry-level pay has ramifications far beyond the online giant’s workers

How petrochemicals are fuelling oil demand
Demand for the sector is surging but it has a substantial environmental impact

Not every company is a technology company
Solid, long-established corporate names are confusing customers with sector-fluidity

Corporate elites are overlooking deglobalisation
Last week’s market rout reflects investor worries about nationalistic politics

FT View

The FT View: A chance for Turkey and America to rebuild ties
The release of pastor Brunson offers an opportunity for diplomacy

The FT View: German voters have turned right — and left
The CSU’s heavy losses in Bavaria speak to political fragmentation

The Big Read

The Big Read: Future of food: inside agritech’s Silicon Valley
Investors are flocking to a Dutch university at the centre of a food production revolution

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