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As we approach the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump, it is a propitious moment to consider what has happened to western-led globalisation and the post-cold war “unipolar” order in which American hegemony lacked a serious challenger.

Martin Wolf argues in his column this week that Mr Trump’s first year in the White House has done little for the cause of liberal democracy. He has shown scant interest in behaving as US presidents normally do, while across eastern Europe the “illiberal democracy” of Vladimir Putin’s Russia has found numerous admirers.

Meanwhile, China has begun to match its economic prowess with levels of military spending appropriate to a putative superpower. The high-income countries which enjoyed pre-eminence in the decades since the end of the second world war now have no choice but to co-operate with the Chinese if global economic and security issues are to be managed properly. “The old days of [western] domination,” Martin writes, “are over.”

The problem is that securing co-operation between states with divergent interests and political cultures is going to be a tall order. 

Brexit ruses — In the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, the UK government has won most of the significant procedural battles, writes Nick Clegg. But its strategy of focusing on process will have diminishing returns in phase two of the talks — especially when (or if) MPs at Westminster have the “meaningful” vote on the final deal that they were promised.

Blockchain bluster — All the hype around blockchain, the term for the bundle of technologies that support cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, not to mention the inflated stock prices that go with it, is a reminder, argues Izabella Kaminska, that you can do anything with language.

Collusion controversy — Donald Trump’s repeated use of the word “collusion” recently may be part of a deliberate strategy, suggests Courtney Weaver. It helps to obscure what special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has already established.

Best of the rest

The west must turn the screw on Burma’s junta — Richard Lloyd Parry in The Times

Trump reopens an old wound for Haitians — Edwidge Danticat in the New Yorker

The Americans fear Chinese domination — Charles Thibout in Le Monde (in French)

Remainers need to start telling a better story — Anand Menon in Prospect

What you’ve been saying

Smith saw that the poor deserve to be educated — letter from Sharon Footerman, London, UK

“Sir, Further to Dr Clark McGinn’s timely reminder to read Adam Smith in the round ( Letters, December 27). I wonder how many readers of The Wealth of Nations make it through to Book 5’s sublime reflections on the education of the poor: “A man without the proper use of the intellectual faculties of a man, is, if possible, more contemptible than even a coward, and seems to be mutilated and deformed in a still more essential part of the character of human nature. Though the state was to derive no advantage from the instruction of the inferior ranks of people, it would still deserve its attention that they should not be altogether uninstructed.” Our league-table-obsessed educational policymakers might take note.”

Comment by Paul A. Meyers on Gideon Rachman’s latest column, The case for optimism in 2018

“To participate in world growth, a country, and its people, have to be “in.” That is what the unrest in Iran is all about — millions of ordinary people want to be “in” the world growth, not having their future suppressed to finance the imperial dreams of the Revolutionary Guard hardliners. One suspects that fundamentalism has always been a tougher sell in the more cosmopolitan Iran than in the traditionalist Sunni regions. Millions of Iranians see themselves as having the potential for a European-style future rather than some modern caliphate…North Korea is one of the world’s most disconnected and impoverished places — sitting in the middle of one of the world’s most potent economic growth areas consisting of Japan, South Korea, and North China (Pyongyang sits on the direct flight path between Beijing and Tokyo.) Somehow one suspects the answer to the problem of North Korea is how to connect the place into its neighbors — and maybe the neighbors will figure out that problem (one can be quite sure that Washington will not).”

UK must reverse decline in technical training — letter from Lord Baker of Dorking, Chairman, Baker Dearing Educational Trust

“The Design & Technology GCSE is being squeezed out of all secondary schools below the age of 16 by just academic subjects. We are the only country in Europe doing that — 70 per cent of 18-year-olds in Germany have experienced some technical education: in Britain it is only 30 per cent. The government should urgently arrest this decline.”

Today’s opinion

FT View: Mifid II can succeed if it encourages competition Financial rules that create oligopolies serve customers poorly

FT View: Tehran would be wise to listen to the protesters Incitement by belligerent outsiders only helps the regime’s hardliners

Truth and fiction in blockchain’s brave new world Why has the mere mention of the technology sent stock prices soaring?

Playing with process on Brexit offers May diminishing returns Government claims about the effect of a no vote in parliament are built on sand

The new world disorder and the fracturing of the west The geopolitical situation remains tense, although the world economy is improving

Donald Trump and the art of non-collusion The president’s repeated mention of the word collusion may be part of a wider strategy

Business School Insider: Strategy — short-term gains can lull us into long-term losses Tacit processes such as innovation too often lose out in favour of cost cutting

The global economy 2017 Confidence in central bankers is shaken. Are their models fit for a modern economy?

The Big Read: Red tape, radios and railway gauges: Nato’s battle to deter Russia The alliance is building up its presence on its eastern front, but the practical problems are formidable

How to make art out of the mystery of money A new exhibition in Frankfurt is a reminder of the power central banks still wield

FT View

FT View: Mifid II can succeed if it encourages competition Financial rules that create oligopolies serve customers poorly

FT View: Tehran would be wise to listen to the protesters Incitement by belligerent outsiders only helps the regime’s hardliners

The Big Read

The Big Read: Red tape, radios and railway gauges: Nato’s battle to deter Russia The alliance is building up its presence on its eastern front, but the practical problems are formidable

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