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Donald Trump is a master at attracting and holding the world’s attention. To the media in particular, he is a gift that keeps on giving. And as we gaze in spellbound admiration — or horror — at the US president’s latest tweet-storm or sensational television appearance it is easy to miss what is going on behind the scenes.

What is going on is a veritable bonfire of America’s regulatory culture, Edward Luce explains in his column. Whether in the education department, at the environmental protection agency or the consumer financial protection bureau, old rules are being torn up and Mr Trump’s appointees are loosening the law. In practice, Ed warns, America’s governance is being sold to the highest bidders. When the circus moves on, Washington will be more corrupt and Americans more disenchanted than ever.

Wolfgang Münchau argues that the EU’s immediate priority should be a stronger international role for the euro. That will not be accomplished by tinkering at the edges with policy adjustments but by rewiring the bloc’s whole machinery.

YJ Fischer doubts the US will renew its support for the Iran nuclear deal she helped coordinate while working in the US state department in 2015. But she proffers an arrangement by which Iran could buy itself some breathing room from US sanctions and Mr Trump could claim a victory.

Luke Patey looks ahead to this week’s Forum on China Africa Co-operation, when African leaders will gather in Beijing. He argues that leaders should carve out their own development plans instead of living out President Xi Jinping’s dreams.

What you’ve been saying

Rubinstein, turned away, bought the apartment building and moved in— letter from Ellen Perecman, USA

An article on the film ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ notes that the film begins with a flashback to 1980s London, in which Nick Young’s mother is turned away from a fancy hotel by a racist manager, calls her husband and has him buy the property. I was expecting a reference to the real-life event on which this scene is presumably based. In 1941, Helena Rubinstein tried to purchase an apartment in a building on Park Avenue but was turned away because it did not allow Jews. She proceeded to buy the building and move in.

Comment by rajnest in response to The irksome headlong Brexit rush for Irish passports

Irish passports are granted very freely to anyone with an Irish grandparent. The granny rule should go — it dates back to a time when depopulation was a major concern. A sworn oath of allegiance to the Republic and its constitution should be required. The annual fee for non resident renewals should be greatly increased.

Politeness may arise from more than one source— letter from Hedley Stone, UK

Alan Locke argues that Janan Ganesh’s thesis that Americans’ politeness arises from their wide open spaces “cannot be correct”, apparently on the grounds that Japanese politeness arises from the density of its population. I might as well argue that my friend cannot obtain his protein from meat as I obtain mine from eggs. In this rather impolite age, it would be good to acknowledge that politeness, like bodily nourishment, may arise from more than one source.

Today’s opinion

A deal to give Iran breathing space — and the US its victory
Pausing missile testing could be a natural exchange for a reprieve in US sanctions

The Chinese model is failing Africa
Struggling infrastructure projects are leading to a debt crisis

Tinkering at the edges will not deliver a stronger euro
Giving the currency a bigger global role means rewiring the EU’s machinery

Donald Trump’s circus act is a sinister distraction
The president vowed to drain the swamp but has handed the US to the highest bidders

Small Talk - Companies: Kettle parts-maker Strix aim to build head of steam in US
Investors have shown themselves thirsty for company behind thermostatic controls

Is it a cheap shot to criticise employee engagement?
Measuring staff happiness is a huge industry but its usefulness is unclear

John McCain, Republican senator, 1936-2018
Vietnam vet and old-school conservative whose friendships crossed the political aisle

FT View

The FT View: Why South Africa needs land reform legislation
Donald Trump’s clumsy intervention damages a legitimate cause

The FT View: Corbyn wants to tame UK media, not to free it
Proposals aim to address the digital era but are surprisingly analogue

The Big Read

The Big Read: Battle stations: Asia’s arms race hots up
China’s military expansion and an unpredictable White House are sparking increased defence spending in the region

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