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The rules-based international order used to underwrite American global leadership. Not any longer. Donald Trump parades his disdain for it.

During Mr Trump’s presidency, the US has already abandoned the Paris climate change accord, given up on a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine and threatened a trade war with China. But, argues Philip Stephens in his column this week, the American withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is different. It is, Philip suggests, the biggest rupture in transatlantic relations since the end of the cold war.

How should the US’s European partners respond? While they should be realistic about the leverage they are able to wield, realism does not entail submission, Philip insists. France, Germany and the UK, all signatories to the original deal, should do what they can to hold together what remains of it. They should also indemnify European businesses trading with Iran against the threat of US sanctions and vow to oppose any military strikes against Tehran. Maybe then Washington will get the message that it now stands alone.

Peso panic
After the peso fell to historic lows, Argentine president Mauricio Macri asked the IMF for help. While this is obviously bad news for Argentina, writes Gillian Tett, it serves as a useful reminder of the challenges facing markets around the world. Policymakers need to be sure that the global financial safety net is robust enough to survive more widespread turmoil.

Generation game
Britain’s contract between the generations is under unprecedented strain. Millennials, notes Chris Giles, are the first generation to have lower living standards than their predecessors at the same age. A new report from the Intergenerational Commission suggests some remedies — not all of them plausible. But the commission has at least reminded politicians that solutions are required. We can’t go on consuming the family silver indefinitely.

Geography exam
It emerged this week that geography students at Oxford university have forced the faculty to remove a portrait of Theresa May that had been surrounded by protest slogans. Robert Shrimsley imagines the unflattering slogans the prime minister’s cabinet colleagues, divided over two unworkable plans for Britain’s future customs relationship with the EU, might be tempted to deface her picture with.

Best of the rest

Britain’s appalling transgender ‘debate’ — Jennifer Finney Boylan in the New York Times

Trump’s plan B on Iran: utter chaos — Dana Milbank in the Washington Post

Taking children from their parents is a form of state terror — Masha Gessen in the New Yorker

The double standard of America’s trade policy — Dani Rodrik for Project Syndicate

Should we fear an oil shock? — Guillaume Maujean in Les Echos (in French)

What you’ve been saying

A look at alternatives to customs union reveals its benefits— letter from Lord William Wallace of Saltaire

The driving force for avoiding continuing membership of the customs union is the Leavers’ passionate belief that Britain alone can pursue better trade deals with third countries. Since the referendum, however, the Department for International Trade has spent well over £500m, without accumulating any convincing evidence that major trade partners will be willing to offer the UK, once outside the EU, better terms than it has gained through EU membership.

Comment from Bushey Beano on Memo from Amazon: tell a good story

Narrative is a good idea. Here’s another one that’s a bit wacky but bear with me: Listening executives should be blindfolded so that they can’t use facial expression or body language to influence others. A raised eyebrow or a smirk can speak louder than a thousand words. Watch people in a typical meeting; eyes flit around the room looking for which way the wind is blowing. Groupthink in action.

Deeper engagement will help tackle illicit finance— letter from Judith Tyson

Illicit activities in IFCs need to be robustly tackled. But the UKs full engagement in implementing the new global standards, not ineffective unilateral gestures [such as the transparency rules recently imposed on British overseas territories], is what is needed.

Today’s opinion

A portrait of Brexit defaced by geographers and cabinet members Mrs May faces a split in her top team over two unworkable customs union plans

Argentina’s plea for IMF help is a reminder of global fragility
If the country’s turmoil spreads, the safety nets will undergo a severe testing

Malaysians reject fear tactics and opt for change
A first ever opposition victory signals voters’ disgust with corruption

Armenians should grasp their chance to transform their homeland Tap into the diaspora to fulfil revolutionary promises and build long-term prosperity

Free Lunch: Is the European project anti-social? Part 1
Has economic integration in the old world damaged social cohesion?

FT Alphaville: Further reading

Instant Insight: Malaysia: a victory for Asian democracy
Election win for Mahathir and opposition follows years of setbacks for liberals

How Europe should react to Donald Trump
Turning off the TV set on the US president is not an option but nor is submission

Only productivity gains can resolve intergenerational conflict Both Britain’s young and old suffer from government failures

FT Magazine: My life tips for graduates: embrace your ignorance ‘Avoid all house-price talk, diet talk and name-dropping. It will save you years’

Inside Business: Elliott victory cannot hide Telecom Italia’s weakness
Former monopoly’s troubled past does not offer much hope of a happy ending

FT View

FT View: Malaysia has the chance for more accountable rule Mahathir’s return is an opportunity for the country to transition

FT View: Germany’s surpluses should be put to work
Fiscal largesse would serve the country’s interests and the world’s

The Big Read

The Big Read: Hong Kong’s tycoons: handing over power in troubled times
A new generation faces waning influence in Beijing and rising anger over inequality

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