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This week saw Mark Zuckerberg in the hot seat. Perched on a booster cushion to make him look taller, the Facebook founder batted away criticisms and questions about the social network's influence on its 2bn members. Mr Zuckerberg has talked for years with messianic zeal about his creation's ability to bring people together, but the huge wealth generated by Facebook’s success has led to suspicions that his idealism has been drowned in self-interest.

Richard Waters observes in a profile that, in reality, the Harvard dropout has never separated the two. While declaring his mission to “make the world more connected”, he made clear from the outset that profits would play an important part: as both the validation of his company’s success in achieving its higher purpose, and the fuel to further his vision.

Mr Zuckerberg’s attempt to project humility this week has met with mixed success. Not known for his empathy or emotional displays, his apologies for data leaks were late, and sounded pro-forma. His 10 hours on Capitol Hill failed to resolve the question of whether he had done enough to hit reset — not just for his company, but for himself.

Syrian story: Westerners are turning a deaf ear to Syrian suffering, despite the half a million killed, over half the population forcibly displaced, and the use of hideous weapons such as barrel bombs, nerve agents and chlorine. This reflects the disastrous experience of intervention over the past two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq, writes Mary Kaldor. We have failed to appreciate the difference between humanitarian intervention and classic military intervention and are in danger of doing so again, she warns. 

Women's cricketing stars: This week, the 154-year-old Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack made history with its annual Cricketers of the Year announcement: three out of the five players named for the honour are female. The game is at a turning point, writes Supriya Nair, particularly in India. In a sport that can sometimes feel hostile to new ideas, the game may just be big enough to accommodate radical change.

Smart sanctions: The US sanctions announced last week on 24 Russian oligarchs and officials, and 12 related companies, are having a much bigger impact than previous efforts to use financial measures to bring North Korea and Iran to heel. Tom Keatinge writes that two factors are at play. Russia is more integrated into the world's financial system than the other two countries, and a string of US enforcement actions against banks for sanction-busting have made even non-US lenders reluctant to do business with anyone they perceive to be a potential target of American wrath.

Best of the week

Mark Zuckerberg cannot control his own creation by John Gapper

US truck driver shortage points to bigger problems by Gillian Tett

The west’s great museums should return their looted treasures by Philip Stephens

Syria response: bombing is no substitute for policy by Roula Khalaf

The US has fallen silent over its sonic attack theory in Cuba by Anjana Ahuja

Brexit: stand by for the museum of Nigel’s garage by Robert Shrimsley

BlackRock’s gun-free funds show ethical investing is a good bet by Brooke Masters

Authoritarians on the rotten fringes imperil European values by Gideon Rachman

Brexit brokers should embrace Belfast-style messiness by Janan Ganesh

US-China rivalry will shape the 21st century by Martin Wolf

What you've been saying

Zuckerberg has shown he is a responsible leader— letter from Rajendra Aneja

It is a fact that Facebook blundered by letting its data be misused by Cambridge Analytica. However, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg has shown remarkable maturity, courage and leadership at the age of 33, in handling the US Congress hearings. His comment, “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” is an exemplary admission of personal and corporate responsibility. Very few leaders in the corporate world or governments globally will have the courage to take personal ownership of their mistakes or of their institutions. Leaders are quick to seize credit for success, but slither away in times of distress. I salute Mr Zuckerberg.

Comment from Paul A. Myers on Syria response: bombing is no substitute for policy

Retaliatory air strikes against abhorrent behaviour do little good because the perpetrators are not punished. They are feel good exercises for the western public and stunt policy by western leaders . . . Retaliatory air strikes and cruise missile strikes are simply another tool in the toolbox of endless war leading to no political outcome

Lack of nuance over EU views hinders dialogue— letter from Marnix van Stiphout

Increasingly people are referring to liberals as migration-loving anti-nationalists, and to people who vote for populist parties as racist. The dialogue and nuance seem completely lost. Understanding what really motivates people and picking up on what we agree on is the only way to come to some kind of resolution.

Today's opinion

Isao Takahata, animator and film executive, 1935-2018
The director who helped found Japan’s Studio Ghibli animation studio

The danger of repeating past mistakes in Syria
We must not confuse a military response with the need to intervene for humanitarian reasons

Person in the News: Mark Zuckerberg, a tech visionary tripping up on his own success
The Facebook founder has never learnt to separate idealism from self-interest

This time, sanctions on Russia are having the desired effect
The country’s integration in global finance has made it vulnerable

Mark Zuckerberg goes to the Hill
Can Facebook get past the scandals?

Political lessons from Telford’s sex abuse scandal
Were it not for a fearless MP, girls in the town would still have nowhere to turn

Ingram Pinn’s illustration of the week: Missile crisis
A Trump twitter barrage

Instant Insight: Emmanuel Macron faces challenges in France and abroad
The president’s plans for deeper EU integration meet German resistance

City Insider: John Cryan and the beauty of the boutique
What next for the Brit ejected this week as Deutsche Bank boss

Undercover Economist: Statisticians know we cannot rely on personal impressions alone
There is a lot to be said for our own experience, but it has obvious limitations

FT View: Tax reform could boost London’s housing market
Economic uncertainty has resulted in fewer UK property transactions

FT View: Mark Zuckerberg under the hot lights in Washington
Regulating Facebook is not as tricky as Congress makes it seem

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