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Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy continues to confuse onlookers, particularly regarding North Korea, which the US president once said could be a target of his “fire and fury”. Now the despotic regime has become a potential partner in peace. With Iran too, Mr Trump may be close to upending the status quo and reneging on the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor.

Philip Stephens argues in his latest column that Mr Trump’s ducking and diving approach is shattering international trust in American leadership. On Korea, Philip’s recent visit to Seoul showed him there are many doubts about the peace eagerly pursued by the US president and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Hope may be chasing out realism.

Even so, Mr Trump might eventually ignore South Korea and pursue a nightmare scenario: a deal with Kim Jong Un that would scrap Pyongyang’s ICBM programme but maintain its other nuclear and other missile capabilities. That might be a good outcome for America, but not for its allies.

The most underrated prime minister
Martin Wolf reflects on Harold Macmillian, the British leader who embodied a courageous pragmatism that, he argues, is sorely missing in the Conservative party today. With Brexit, insularity has finally overwhelmed Mr Macmillan’s common sense.

Advice for Tesla
David Michaels, the former US assistant labour secretary, reckons Elon Musk’s car manufacturer needs to work on safety before production will fall into line. Worker injuries are often evidence of bigger problems in the system.

The media circus
Robert Shrimsley says that the White House correspondents’ dinner is an example of everything that looks wrong with political reporting. Journalists’ relationships with their sources need not be antagonistic, he argues, but an outsider mentality can help produce honest reporting.

Best of the rest

Mayday! How Theresa May has been trapped by her enemies and her friends — James Forsyth in The Spectator

Gut feeling, not income, drives voters now — Philip Collins in The Times

The Growth Man of Europe — Wall Street Journal editorial board

As far as the local elections go, what matters is location, location, location — Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

Let Abbas’s Vile Words Be His Last as Palestinian Leader — New York Times editorial board

What you’ve been saying

Move on overseas registers shows British weakness— letter from James Anderson

It is wholly disingenuous to enforce [corporate registration transparency] measures unilaterally on BOTs without also enforcing them across UK crown dependencies as well. What a great way to destroy the UK’s unique global cross-border business network, just when Brexit makes it all the more important, as a means of facilitating global trade and London’s position as the world’s leading centre for financial and professional services.

Comment from mackieap on Theresa May cannot solve her customs union conundrum

I am waiting for May to coin the term “quantum Brexit” i.e. the state of being both inside and outside the customs union, single market, and EU at the same time

May more chief operating officer than an executive— letter from Bruce Dalton

Janan Ganesh identified UK prime minister Theresa May as a: “reticent type; conscientious who needs instructions to be getting on with”. These admiral qualities are the hallmark of chief operating officers in business and military staff officers, not of successful chief executives and generals — or of prime ministers, ie of leaders.

Today’s opinion

Tories pay for forgetting Macmillan’s courageous pragmatism
The former prime minister persuaded his party to abandon imperialism and embrace Europe

Advice for Tesla: manage safety and production will fall into line Businesses that strive for operational excellence are better, safer places to work

AllianceBernstein’s Nashville move threatens New York and London
Digital disruption makes it easier for financial companies to relocate

Perils of media’s candlelit festival of complicity with Donald Trump
White House correspondents’ dinner is everything that looks wrong with political reporting

FT Alphaville: Further reading

The question of identity cards
Four writers discuss the political and social impact they have had around the world

The Big Read: Priced out of the American dream
High rents are pushing people out of some US hotspots but in California legislation to boost housing has met fierce resistance

Donald Trump shatters international trust in America
Doubts abound over the US president’s moves on North Korea and Iran

FT View

FT View: An accelerating AI arms race can be slowed
Scientists should help limit destructive uses of artificial intelligence

FT View: Fewer dark corners for dirty money to hide in
Requiring transparency in UK overseas territories is a welcome step

The Big Read

The Big Read: Priced out of the American dream
High rents are pushing people out of some US hotspots but in California legislation to boost housing has met fierce resistance

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