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What do Jeff Bezos and Winston Churchill have in common? One is the chief executive of one of the world’s biggest retailers, the other is a British wartime prime minister. On the surface, there is not much to link them. What they both appreciated, however, was the value of a good memorandum.
In his latest column, John Gapper looks at the similarities between the pair, comparing Mr Bezos’ recent letter to Amazon shareholders with Mr Churchill’s August 1940 memo. Both men saw the virtues of managerial efficiency, limiting the number of meetings and unnecessary paperwork. Too often stuck in meetings himself, John reckons people spout off without knowing much about the topic in a battle of rhetoric.
The other similarity John has noticed between the pair is a faith in narrative and vivid storytelling. Mr Churchill was a journalist turned politician, so understood the power of words to shape policy and opinion. Mr Bezos, who is in the business of data, has said that where anecdotes disagree with statistics, the former are usually right. Greatness, it seems, can come in different guises.
Trump’s global regime change
Edward Luce argues that the US president’s decision to abandon the Iran deal will be remembered as the moment his country lost belief in its allies. Now that Donald Trump’s top team is dominated by America First cheerleaders — such as his national security adviser John Bolton — he argues that Mr Trump’s rhetoric on foreign policy should be taken both seriously and literally.
A new Hanseatic League
Nick Clegg, the former UK deputy prime minister, says that Northern Europeans will decide the future of the eurozone. With Britain’s impending exit, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the Baltics are stepping up to become the primary advocates of free trade and economic liberalisation in Europe.
Roula Khalaf writes that Mohamed Salah, the Egypt-born Liverpool striker, has become an icon for young British Muslims. With populism and xenophobia on the rise across Europe, Mr Salah carries his beard proudly, prays before games and throws himself on the ground in prostration to God when he scores. His faith may be no different to anyone else’s but his fans love it.
Best of the rest
After Obama’s Iran Deal — Wall Street Journal editorial board
Trump Has Wrecked One of the Most Successful Arms-Control Deals in Modern History — Fred Kaplan in Slate
A Courageous Trump Call on a Lousy Iran Deal — Bret Stephens in the New York Times
Watch out, Tories. Your southern strongholds are turning red — Ian Warren in The Guardian
Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web — Bari Weiss in The New York Times
What you’ve been saying
Trump may encourage more rogue nuclear states — letter from Jonathan Shaw (Maj Gen retd):
Some years ago I was speaking to Egyptian generals in Cairo who gave their conclusions from recent events in Iraq then Libya. One, if you don’t want to be invaded, have a nuclear bomb. Two, if you start a nuclear programme, don’t stop it. Three, never give up your nuclear weapons on a promise with the west; they will not stick to the bargain. Is US President Trump about to prove them right
Comment from KLRJ on Donald Trump declares trade war on China:
The Chinese Communist Party has been waging a trade war against the west, the US in particular, for 40 years. Trump is the first western leader to fight back.
Why the misleading term ’emerging markets’ feeds instability — letter from Philip Bowring:
The emerging markets tag contributes to global financial instability. Bad news from Turkey or South Africa is often transferred in headlines and commentaries into emerging markets problems. Many traders who know little about, for example, Indonesia or Thailand are quick to draw wrong conclusions.
FT View: Trump’s America First policy carries a heavy cost
Renouncing the Iran nuclear deal will damage crucial alliances
FT View: IMF considers whether to support Argentina again
The fund must not bend its lending rules to help out Mauricio Macri
The Big Read
The Big Read: Bond trading: technology finally disrupts a $50tn market
Fixed income is being dragged into the 21st century with a shift towards electronic trading on exchanges