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For 70 years America has been western Europe’s dependable ally. But Donald Trump’s habit of insulting friends has raised the prospect in Whitehall of facing a future without American protection. The irony for Britain is that its views on major geopolitical issues are closer to its neighbours’ than the White House’s - just as it is set to pull out of the EU.

Philip Stephens argues in his latest column that Britain and the rest of Europe will have to make painful choices between President Trump’s America and Xi Jinping’s China. The latter is presenting itself as the guardian of the international order, even through its values contrast sharply with those of Europe. But, Philip writes, every time the US takes a step away from the international stage, China will try to take a half-step forwards. For Europe that means unwanted choices lie ahead.

The FT editorial board makes the case Theresa May’s Brexit deal deserves conditional support.

Gillian Tett writes that Donald Trump’s attack on the Federal Reserve is just a distraction from America’s slowing economy and ballooning deficit.

David Miliband and two other former British foreign secretaries argue that Britain needs to rethink Brexit if wants to maintain its overseas influence.

Ed Luce explains why Donald Trump is siding with Nigel Farage and wants Theresa May’s Brexit deal to fail.

Henry Mance imagines what a Brexit TV debate would look like if it included a wide cast of British political characters.

David Gardner argues that universities are risking their reputations through their links to oppressive regimes

What you’ve been saying

India is getting ready to use its EVMs again: letter from N K Unnikrishnan, Mumbai, India

Further to Tom Wilson’s report “Congo takes ‘huge gamble’ with electronic voting”. The largest democracy in the world, that is India, has been using electronic voting machines since 1999. In the general election held in May 2014, more than 1.7m EVMs were used. The general election due in May 2019 will also use a similar number of EVMs — the heat and dust of May 2019 is already in the air now.

In response to “Theresa May’s Brexit deal deserves conditional support”, Dogs dinner says:

The WA [withdrawal agreement] has been damned by faint praise. The unsatisfactory nature of the outcome will become more and more apparent with time. The only good outcome would be the demise of the present Tory party and that sane MPs in all parties do something useful and find a way of cooperating to reverse Brexit.

Look to the likes of GE for sign of the next downturn: letter from Johannes Mauritzen, Trondheim, Norway

Your editorial “Learning the lessons of GE’s steepening decline” is enlightening. Forecasting economic downturns is so hard because each is unique. You have pointed to a likely culprit for the next downturn: the over-leveraged corporate behemoth. The faulty assumption has been that these giants have positioned their companies to thrive in the long term. The future may show that they have behaved as myopically as house flippers did 10 years ago.

Today’s opinion

Donald Trump’s attack on the Federal Reserve is just a distraction
The US president diverts attention away from the slowing economy and ballooning deficit

Britain’s overseas influence requires a Brexit rethink
Three former foreign secretaries join together to call for a second referendum

Markets Insight: Bolsonaro’s bid to kick-start Brazil economy destined to disappoint
Limited fiscal options and other restraints mean investors should be wary of new president

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May in a historic Brexit debate
Imagine what might happen when the political rivals take to the podium at last

Dolce, Gabbana and the business of brand colonialism
The controversy over the brand’s show in Shanghai served as a timely lesson in the pitfalls of pursuing the global market

Global Insight: Why Donald Trump wants Theresa May to fail on Brexit
There are deep reasons for US president’s hostility to UK’s exit deal from EU

We are all losing out as corporate concentration grows
Misguided ‘consumer welfare’ standard is hampering antitrust enforcement

Universities risk their reputation through links to repressive regimes
The Matthew Hedges case highlights curbs on academic freedom that extend beyond the Gulf

Europe’s unpleasant choice between Trump and Xi
A less dependable US leaves Britain and the EU vulnerable to China’s blandishments

FT View

The FT View: Theresa May’s Brexit deal deserves conditional support
If parliament cannot ratify it, a second referendum may be needed

The FT View: Ghosn’s fall exposes poor governance at Nissan
Carmaker’s board failed to constrain the charismatic chief executive

The FT View: China should take steps to bolster its private sector
Slowing economy weakens Beijing’s ability to withstand US pressure

The Big Read

The Big Read: Electric cars: Will Australia’s battery gamble pay off?
The country’s lithium miners are at the forefront of a green energy revolution just as prices for the metal are falling

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