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When historians look back at this period in the history of western democracies, they may well devote a chapter to the effect of migration on our politics. In this week’s column, Gideon Rachman explores the rise of anti-immigration sentiment and its strong pull on leaders and electorates.

The forecast for population growth in Africa is 1bn over the next 30 years; Europe, by contrast, is ageing. In the Americas, people hazard the journey across the US border, driven by poverty and violence. These trends will continue to fuel populist politicians like Italy’s League, while those with liberal instincts are likely to have been sobered at the electoral results of Angela Merkel’s attempts to welcome large numbers of immigrants into Germany.

Meanwhile, as Gideon points out, large numbers of refugees from Syria are stuck in Turkey or trapped just the other side of the border and vulnerable to the next phase of the war. Keeping them there has been a political choice of the sort politicians will have forced on them for years to come.

A victory for Hizbollah and Iran
David Gardner sees the election result in Lebanon as a political milestone for the Islamic Republic’s proxies. The Shia Arab paramilitary spearhead in Syria and the region will use its parliamentary majority to legitimise a position won through Tehran’s patronage and force of arms.

Constructive indecision
Janan Ganesh argues that the UK is stuck in a pattern where neither main political party can defeat the other because that is what the public, in their wisdom or uncertainty, has chosen. For all the talk of changing the post-crash status quo, no such appetite has been discernible in election results for some years.

India’s regional water wars
Amy Kazmin reports on the plight of communities whose local rivers have run dry, and the water scarcity that afflicts farmers and the urban poor and sparkes disputes between states. In affluent city areas, meanwhile, profligate water use carries on regardless of the impending crisis.

Shanghai takes on the City of London
Alice Han explains the advantages Shanghai already has as a challenger financial hub, but warns the Chinese government that investors seek security that it will need to provide through swift and bold reform. Otherwise its ambition to rival London (or New York, or Frankfurt) will suffer the same fate as Tokyo in the early 1980s.

Best of the rest

Don’t Scuttle the Iran Nuclear Deal — Boris Johnson in The New York Times

Leave vote has placated the public on immigration — Alex Massie in The Times

Even when the likes of Macron foul up, multilingual politicians get it right — Agnès Poirier in The Guardian

Bernie Sanders’s job guarantee: Is it a boondoggle? — Robert J. Samuelson in The Washington Post

The Dangers of Undoing Dodd-Frank — Nicholas Lemann in The New Yorker

What you’ve been saying

A sense of perspective is lost in ID cards debate— letter from Carlo De Felice

[There is an] irony to complaining against potentially compulsory ID cards, while accepting the current system that makes the more expensive passports de facto compulsory…. Driving licences are often used to prove identity (not citizenship), but what if you don’t/can’t drive? Have you tried to apply for a job or open a bank account without a driving licence or a passport?

Comment from King of the world Privileged students should face greater scrutiny despite A-grades

If you go to a top private school, there is no doubt that you are more advantaged than someone who attends a mediocre state school. Universities should be able to take into consideration these differences since they do affect grades…The social benefit of having someone from a disadvantaged background attending university is also likely to be greater than having a privileged individual attending it.

‘Mere concoctions’ undermine economic debate— letter from Neil Smith

Availability of recursive computer simulation has allowed followers of Keynes’ realist approach to leapfrog “the economics we have” in explaining the dynamics of a financialised capitalist economy. Keynes’ keen observation still applies: “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.”

Today’s opinion

Hizbollah passes another milestone as Lebanon hurtles towards war
Iran-backed movement will trumpet legitimacy for position won through force of arms

Shanghai needs a more resilient market to challenge London Global financial centres require strong institutions to give investors confidence

Migration will drive western politics for decades to come
As pressures build they will provide ample ammunition for politicians like Trump

Fragile Balkans’ future depends on Macedonia deal
For 27 years, Athens has accused its neighbour of laying claim to Greek territory

India’s dried-out rivers feed spate of water wars
The battle over the Yamuna river highlights a profound but little-acknowledged crisis

The Big Read: Retail: Is the beauty industry ‘Amazon-proof’? Record numbers of bankruptcies and store closures have devastated the retail sector. So why is the beauty market thriving?

Access to energy is an essential step in African development Investment in infrastructure can unlock the continent’s potential but is far too low

Why groupthink never went away
First identified in the 1970s, our capacity for flawed decision-making is unchanged

The threat of secular stagnation has not gone away
The economy is prone to sluggish growth — if the past few years are anything to go by

FT View

FT View: The odds are stacked in Malaysia’s elections
Economic growth cannot disguise Kuala Lumpur’s autocratic tilt

FT View: Donald Trump’s irrational trade demands on China
Beijing should reject the US’s entreaties on investment and the deficit

The Big Read

The Big Read: Retail: Is the beauty industry ‘Amazon-proof’? Record numbers of bankruptcies and store closures have devastated the retail sector. So why is the beauty market thriving?

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