Listen to this article
This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.
Donald Trump is a pretty angry man. A glance at his Twitter account or any of his recent interviews suggests that the US president has many targets: North Korea, Capitol Hill, the Republican establishment, the “fake news” media, Hillary Clinton and James Comey to name a few. He was carried into the White House by people who felt similarly angry. But now he is in power, it is not a carefree proposal.
Philip Stephens has been to Seoul and argues in his column that Mr Trump’s abrasive style risks some dangerous consequences. Although it is tempting to ignore the president’s more bellicose rhetoric — and senior White House officials have created systems to work around Mr Trump — his promises of action may still be fulfilled. In Iran, this could be the collapse of the nuclear deal and a restart of its weapons programme. In North Korea, Kim “Rocket Man” Jong-un, has further proof that America cannot be trusted.
The strategy of navigating around the president is reaching its limits. If the US faces a crisis point soon over North Korea, it will not entirely be Mr Trump’s fault. But his ego-driven strategy of belittling his opponents and not seeking any diplomatic solutions will speed up the race to crisis point. As promised during the campaign, the Trump presidency is reshaping both liberal democracy and America’s role on the world stage.
Zombie ideas: Martin Wolf says there are some Brexit notions that simply will not die. One is that the EU is being unreasonable, another is that the UK really is in a stronger position than its negotiating partners; or that the UK is an economic powerhouse than can easily survive a crash exit out of the bloc.
Shifting sentiments: Gillian Tett argues that the ever-rising stock market is masking some real fears about the Trump presidency — namely the geopolitical risks (see above) and protectionism. His threats on quitting Nafta, for example, should be of real concern but business leaders are unsure of how seriously to listen to what he has to say
Power to the people: Tim O'Reilly brings some optimism: people power, not robots, will overcome humanity’s challenges. The fundamental economic question facing us is not about how to incentivise productivity, he argues, but how to distribute its benefits. Tackling this will lead to a happier world.
Best of the rest
Generation Y Takes Over — Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal
Preston, Jeremy Corbyn’s model town — The Economist
The Trumpist Case for Janet Yellen — David Leonhardt in the New York Times
Brexit can strengthen the UK — but only if handled well — James Forsyth in The Spectator
Hurt feelings are no reason to quash free speech — Philip Collins in The Times
What you've been saying
Barbaric attack against a fearless journalist— letter from Keith Taylor, Jean Lambert and Molly Scott Cato:
“The detailed investigative work on the Panama Papers she and her colleagues undertook was crucial for uncovering the murky reality of corruption in Malta. There were also links to the British Virgin Islands and thus to the UK’s position at the heart of a global network of tax havens that facilitate tax avoidance and crime. It was thanks to the Panama Papers exposé that the European Parliament was able to secure an EU-wide inquiry into tax avoidance and financial secrecy.”
Comment from Judyw on Donald Trump’s poisoning of global trade:
“The Problem with free trade is that it has been used as a “talking point” which large corporations used as the reason to ship jobs and in the case of Mexico actual factories over seas. These trade deals have cost the US a lot of jobs while enhancing the job prospects and opportunities in foreign countries. The US has too quickly conceded the wishes of Trading partners and have failed to “stick up” for American workers. Since this has been going ton for many decades it has not reached the boiling point and trade deals are now not viewed very favorably — hence the cancellation of TPP. It is interesting to note the Hillary Clinton came out against TPP during her campaign.”
The very concept of data privacy is archaic— letter from Syed Wajahat:
“The data protection regulations, although a step in the right direction, are usually still heavily tilted in favour of the corporate giants and still focused on cross-border transfers than on the real risks of monetisation. The fines imposed on the Silicon Valley giants are minuscule compared with the money they have made from data monetisation efforts. And this is all achieved in the age that is still a forerunner to the era of artificial intelligence and quantum computing.”
Tim O'Reilly: People power, not robots, will overcome humanity’s challenges Look around: crumbling infrastructure and ageing show how much work there is
Gillian Tett: The rise of US stocks masks shifting sentiment on Donald Trump Business leaders are concerned about geopolitical risk and protectionism
Martin Wolf: Zombie ideas about Brexit that refuse to die It is fanciful to suppose the UK could survive without a favourable deal with the EU
Robert Shrimsley: The Famous Five Go Brexiting in No Deal Land Leading Leave campaigners hatch a clever strategy to keep Britain trading
Instant Insight: Madrid’s stand-off with Catalonia is coming to a head There may be wriggle room, but there is little sign either side is willing to use it
Free Lunch: Do we need deposit insurance? EU should aim higher than mutualising old models
The Big Read
The Big Read: Chinese property boom props up Xi’s hopes for the economy Real estate development helped put the economy in a good place but is the demand sustainable?