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On Sunday, on the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, more than 60 global leaders will gather in France for the Paris Peace Forum. The simultaneous presence in the French capital of President Emmanuel Macron and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, will carry echoes, argues Gideon Rachman in his column this week, of debates a century ago about the competing merits of international governance and national sovereignty.

Mr Macron, Gideon suggests, is the heir to Woodrow Wilson’s high-minded internationalism, while Mr Trump’s robust embrace of the doctrine of “America First” recalls the views of Wilson’s critics in the US Senate. The best clue to which of these outlooks will prevail this time around will be found not in the warm words with which other world leaders will greet Mr Macron’s speech next week, but in their actions.

Lawrence Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, writes that while Mr Trump’s public attacks on the Federal Reserve are misguided, there is a need for some pragmatism about central bank independence.

Robert Shrimsley argues that Brexit is teaching Britain a hard lesson about its diminished standing on the world stage.

Anjana Ahuja warns that unprecedented human demand for energy, land and water is threatening the survival of several animal species.

Patti Waldmeir has been interviewing America’s Midwestern blue-collar workers. This demographic, often characterised as angry and disenchanted, seems to be feeling much more cheery as the midterm elections approach.

What you’ve been saying

Not a good idea to give autocrats a platform, FT: letter from Jonathan Israel, London, UK

I am not impressed with the Financial Times’ decision to publish an op-ed by Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran. Providing a platform and normalising autocrats who routinely oversee the execution of homosexuals and declare “Death to the West” is in my opinion not a sensible decision. I did though enjoy the rich irony of seeing the president accuse other nations of committing atrocities in Yemen and funding terrorist groups. I hope the FT gifted the president a big black kettle in return.

In response to “Friedrich Merz: conservative disrupter in the race to replace Merkel”, says:

“But the mere fact that a retired politician is a serious candidate with a chance of winning the leadership of Germany’s largest political party is astonishing. It tells us that the country is in trouble.” Not sure about that conclusion. Most voters look for ideas, principles, and competence that they think will improve their lives. Can ideas, principles, and competence come from a retired person? Arguably, yes…

Votes for women in Sierra Leone: letter from Colin Tapper, Chevy Chase, MD, US

Further to Marianne Pitts’ letter (November 1): women were first enfranchised in Sierra Leone about a century before New Zealand followed suit in 1893. Women who were heads of household were able to vote in the 1792 elections.

Today’s opinion

Brexit is teaching Britain its true place in the world
Politicians and voters alike have nourished delusions about the nation’s global role

Fed bashing is a fool’s game
But there is a need for pragmatism regarding the independence of central banks

America’s cheerleader-in-chief chases the blue-collar blues away
The White House highlights a poll showing manual labourers are feeling cheery

Lex: Subaru: spoiler alert
Carmaker is partaking of Japan-wide soul searching over falling quality standards

Dear Jonathan: Can I do something I love, in an industry I am not crazy about?
Your questions for our expert — and readers’ advice

Humanity’s calling card is the destruction of our planet
Species are vanishing under our watch thanks to demand for energy, land and water

Lex: Hiscox: mortification oration
Rapid jumps in premium income have a way of coming back to bite insurance companies

Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump and the ghosts of 1918
The presidents represent competing traditions of thought about international relations

FT Alphaville: Markets Live: Monday, 5th November 2018

Free Lunch: US election is adrift from short-term growth
There are reasons to leave behind ‘It’s the economy, stupid’

fastFT: Opening Quote: EasyJet co-pilot lands at ITV

Russian resources will be needed despite US sanctions
The energy majors show no sign of selling out their interests in the country

Inside Business: Why deregulation ahead of a downturn is dumb
The outlook for banks is more worrying than US policymakers intended

FT Alphaville: Do financial markets care about a blue wave, red wall or gridlock?

Managers can draw a line between slack and slacking
More thinking time for staff often results in better ideas

Global slowdown begins to look more troublesome
October’s collapse in equities may reflect weaker global growth

The battle between India’s central bank and the government has deep roots
Attacks on the RBI are one example of politicians undermining institutions

FT View

The FT View: Italy’s recipe for another eurozone financial crisis
Rome’s budget will not prove a model for the rest of Europe to follow

The FT View: Recycling alone will not solve the plastic problem
Manufacturers must develop and use more ecological packaging

The Big Read

The Big Read: Arron Banks and the mystery Brexit campaign funds
UK crime agency probing whether executive was true source of £8m donation to Brexit backers

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