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Donald Trump has taken an axe to the foreign policy consensus that has reigned in Washington since the end of the second world war. The idea of a global network of American-led alliances and security guarantees is one to which the US president is at best indifferent, at worst hostile.
But is that hostility merely the product of an easily distracted and disordered mind? While Mr Trump clearly has a taste for causing chaos, it would be a mistake, argues Gideon Rachman in his column this week, to conclude that there is no doctrinal consistency to the positions the president has taken on the world stage. There are, Gideon writes, four main pillars of the emerging “Trump doctrine”: the primacy of economics; an emphasis on nations rather than institutions; a belief that the west is bound together by culture not values; and a revival of the notion of “spheres of interest”.
Liberals and the foreign policy establishment might find that doctrine unsettling or morally suspect. But they cannot deny that it is coherent.
Robert Shrimsley deplores the effect that the regular reshuffling of ministerial personnel has on the UK government’s ability to address long-term policy challenges.
Anjana Ahuja argues that a substantial proportion of UK R&D spending on biomedical science is wasted.
Weijian Shan believes that China is better placed to survive a gruelling trade war than the US.
Laura Pitel finds echoes of longstanding charges of crony capitalism in Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey in the chaotic construction of a new airport for Istanbul.
David Allen Green writes that last week’s Brexit white paper is a significant document, even if it fails four significant tests.
What you’ve been saying
Lack of diversity in your summer economics reading list— Letter from Dr Carolina Alves:
This year every single author was based in either the UK or the US, 12 out of the 13 authors were men, and most of them were writing within the so-called mainstream of the profession. Such lists perpetuate the existing white, western, male and mainstream biases in the field of economics. Over the past year, the sexism problem in economics has gained increased attention, in particular in the wake of the #MeToo movement and Alice Wu’s paper on misogyny in the profession. Research shows that the economics profession is biased not only against women, but also against minority groups.
Comment by Judyzara on Britain must be able to control all regulations after Brexit:
What opportunities? What new trade deals? What cumbersome anti-competitive regulation? These people are winning the game of saying it loud enough until people believe them. Of course being subject to rules you have no say in is dangerous. But the answer was to participate in the most prosperous advanced trading bloc in the world — not to invent a boy’s own story about sovereignty that you don’t understand the consequences of. Ugh.
Lights that won’t switch off are the most infuriating— Letter from Anya Lawrence
Michael Skapinker’s readers are right. The most mysterious things in hotel rooms are connecting lights with their switches (“The frequent flyer”, Life & Arts, July 7). It reminded me of the time I stayed in a high-end hotel in Singapore where there was a light inside a clothes cupboard, which only became obvious when it got dark because the doors were louvred. Try as I might, going round the room, turning every switch off and on and even checking inside the cupboard, I could not find a way to switch it off. I finally resorted to stuffing towels in the louvres but the light was still visible.
A race to finish a mega-airport reflects Turkey’s endearing chaos
The delayed project is a microcosm of the charges levelled against President Erdogan
Britain must stop inflating the biomedical bubble
The drugs sector receives funding out of all proportion to the results it delivers
The curious case of the vanishing ministers
The value of a settled cabinet is obvious, especially in critical areas like housing
China can bear more trade pain than America
But there will no winners, only losers, the longer the tit-for-tat continues
One cheer for the Brexit white paper
The document is significant and welcome, even though it fails four immediate tests
The Trump Doctrine — coherent, radical and wrong
The US president’s worldview puts economics ahead of ideals and values
May’s Brexit position will crumble so Article 50 should be delayed
Extending the March 2019 deadline is the best alternative to no deal with the EU
Iran is a potential disrupter of the oil market
With instability in the streets, a revolution and regime change have become possible
Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication, by Thomas Abraham
A primer on the costly effort to rid the world of a deadly disease
Sexual harassment policies are stuck in the past
Workplace mechanisms set up 30 years ago have fallen short in the age of #MeToo
France power way to World Cup victory as Croatia’s luck runs out
Defiant Croats created danger on every attack but were finally undone by youth and flair
Trade wars may make the Fed less hawkish
Rising inflation and lower growth pose new problems for monetary policy
The FT View: Teamwork in Thailand triumphs over solo ego
Elon Musk plays an understudy role in underwater cave rescue
The FT View: Carillion’s collapse demonstrates the need to reform outsourcing
The UK model for public-private contracts must be refined, not junked
The Big Read
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The streaming service hopes to exploit a boom in internet use in the country. But can it avoid the pitfalls that have dogged other ventures?