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For many westerners, America has long stood for something noble: the guarantor of freedom and prosperity. Not just for its own citizens but for millions in other countries around the world. It helped save Europe from fascist and communist dictatorships and offered refuge for those under siege. The US embodied democracy and the rule of law.

Martin Wolf bemoans the decline of those values in his latest column. The US’s economic stability and willingness to engage with allies are under threat from Donald Trump, he argues. The US president is rejecting America’s finest traditions and shows little loyalty to allies, instead admiring strongmen such as Vladimir Putin.

How did this happen? Mr Trump is the logical outcome of a politics that serves the plutocracy, Martin argues. He is aiding the rich while giving his electoral base the nationalism and protectionism it craves. This “pluto-populism” is a potent combination.

Brooke Masters writes that Papa John’s is succumbing to the curse of the founder’s dilemma: the lack of proper succession planning.

Michael Skapinker, having recently watched Paul Simon live in London, thinks the American songwriter has benefited from reinvention and cultural appropriation.

Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, argues that the Presidents Club saga shows that charities face a tricky balancing act.

What you’ve been saying

March was a celebration of shared values — Letter from Dr Roger Booker:

To one who participated, your report on the London protest march against Donald Trump’s visit, “Verdi and disco sound discordant note on the streets” (July 14), contained an unfortunate note of condescension. Why describe the combination of Verdi and disco “discordant” — why not embracing of diversity? Why be surprised at the celebration of shared values alongside the deep anger that tens of thousands who turned out for the event?

Comment by Maths on Britain must stop inflating the biomedical bubble:

The UK system of funding research is deeply flawed. Government announces a large sum of cash for a research project and then ‘consults’ the people likely to be funded, who say, “My area is where it should go!” Then — surprise, surprise — very little value comes out. The current Quantum Technology scam is a prime example. Politicians do not know science, are easily fooled and don’t care about outcomes, as no one ever checks to see if the results promised ever materialize.

US-UK trade deal will be difficult to achieve — Letter from Anthony Luzzatto Gardner:

To abandon the advantages of friction-free trade with the EU for a free-trade agreement with the US would make no sense economically: the former is vastly more important than the latter. And magical thinking cannot substitute for the hard fact that a US-UK ambitious free-trade deal will be difficult to achieve: many US-EU disputes in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations were reflected in UK concerns as well, especially government procurement, agriculture and services.

Today’s opinion

How we lost America to greed and envy
The US president is hostile to the core values the country used to stand for

Presidents Club saga shows the balancing act that charities face
They need the reach and resources that businesses offer

Free Lunch: The world must join battle in Trump’s trade war
Doubling down on liberalisation is the best defence

Paul Simon’s music benefits from cultural appropriation
The singer embodies reinvention, while acknowledging how much he owes to others

Papa John’s succumbs to the curse of the founder’s dilemma
Few tasks are more important than planning for the replacement of a chief executive

Instant Insight: Trump’s five days of diplomatic carnage
The US president leaves Europe with Nato in turmoil and Putin in a stronger position

FT View

The FT View: A measured cheer for the EU-Japan trade deal
Brussels and Tokyo should try to broaden and deepen their approach

The FT View: Trump, Putin and the betrayal of America
The US president put in a shameful performance in Helsinki

The Big Read

The Big Read: How Russian gas became Europe’s most divisive commodity
Nord Stream 2 will pipe energy to Germany but critics warn of political tensions

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