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The west has long been willing to turn a blind eye to unsavoury details in the pursuit of lucrative contracts and political deals with Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom’s vast oil riches have proved irresistible to successive governments, notably those in the US and Britain, who have preferred not to look too closely at its human rights record, its pursuit of a devastating war in Yemen or its close affiliation with the Wahhabi brand of Islam that has been a theological basis for both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

But the brutal and botched killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has changed that, writes Philip Stephens in his column. It is now too late for a return to business as usual, and while politicians may have selective memories, the public will find it harder to forget these gruesome events, Philip notes. If anything good comes of the affair, it will be that it has shredded the west’s self-justifying pretence.

Gillian Tett interviews the legendary former chair of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. At 90, Mr Volcker is about to publish a memoir that is laced with advice and warnings for the next generation of bankers, financiers, politicians and public servants.

Chris Giles explains why, despite the more than two years that have passed since the UK voted for Brexit, the ‘will of the people’ remains a frustrating elusive concept.

Liu Jun, a member of the China Finance 40 Forum, argues that China is committed to playing by the rules on global trade, whatever the US might say about its state interventions and attitude to competition.

Jamie Smyth reveals a drama in Australia, where the number of kangaroos has doubled to about 50m. While culling is controversial, he argues that if Aussies could be persuaded to eat more ’roo meat, the problem of overpopulation could be solved.

Viv Groskop has found a way to fight back against the attention merchants of Silicon Valley, who want to glue us to our phones: buy a hulking great traditional alarm clock and embrace being jolted awake the old-fashioned way.

What you’ve been saying

Soft power has little to do with who is president: letter from Deborah Lewis, Washington, DC, US

Your editorial claims that the Trump presidency has lessened American soft power. This confuses the popularity and reputation of a political leader with that of the country. American soft power has little to do with who is president. The spread of the #MeToo movement even to India illustrates this, as does the global spread of a very American interest in ideas of race and equality. The sheer number of good American universities, with students and scientists from around the world, results in soft power influence on what is being researched or invented.

In response to “America’s allies must master the art of dealing with Donald Trump”, GSG says:

It would be more reassuring if there was some sense that Trump understood the consequences of what he is doing. Bilateral “deals” have multilateral consequences. While the intended consequence may be to be able to have something to tweet (or lie) about, the long term consequence of causing every ally to consider the future of their reliance on the US cannot be known but it is unlikely to be positive.

Gridlock will reflect the mood in national politics: letter from Indranil Chakraborty, Mumbai, India

I enjoyed Wolfgang Münchau’s commentary on German politics and its implications for Europe in general. Yet I do not believe that the fracturing of the mandate at the European Parliament is necessarily bad for Europe. It seems to me, looking from afar, that building coalitions across party lines and the necessary compromises that come with it will allow the parliament to be more reflective of the mood of Europe’s citizens rather than that of a secluded elite.

Today’s opinion

Paul Volcker sets a challenge for the next generation
The former Fed chair wants attention to public service to be part of his legacy

A Bolsonaro victory will put Brazil’s democracy to the test
Hatred for Lula, the disgraced former president, pushes voters towards autocracy

China is committed to playing by the rules on global trade
Criticisms of state intervention and forced technology transfer miss the mark

Global Insight: US ‘imagination’ breaks in two over what it means to be American
Donald Trump is successfully pitting country’s nationalists against its globalists

Chargrilled kangaroo restores balance to an overrun outback
Australia’s marsupials are out of control — but culls are controversial

Logic explains why the ‘will of the people’ remains elusive
Feasible Brexit outcomes seem to have a majority of UK voters in opposition

Jamal Khashoggi’s killing has broken the Saudi spell over the west
Governments must accept that it is too late to return to business as usual

FT View

The FT View: The right to know about workplace harassment
In cases of serial abuse, silence does not serve the public interest

The FT View: Japan’s warming ties with China are a positive step
Trump’s trade war with Beijing has prompted a realignment in Asia

The Big Read

The Big Read: US midterms — Donald Trump’s tryout as a ‘master of industry’
Amid talk of a trade war between the US and China business has urged calm. But some manufacturers relish the clash

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