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.
On the face of it, this ought to be a boom time for defence contractors, with Donald Trump raising the US defence budget and haranguing America’s allies to contribute more to Nato spending targets. But BAE Systems’s unveiling of a model of its planned Tempest fighter this week — and its pleas for partners to help pay for it — highlight the problems European countries face as they try to improve and integrate their weapons systems.
Chief among these, argues John Gapper, in his column, is the fact that weapons are inherently expensive and Europe is the least efficient buyer. The continent suffers from fragmentation and a lack of economies of scale. Brexit does not help matters, but the difficulties are deeper-rooted. Members of the nascent European Defence Agency operate far too many different weapons systems and their software is often incompatible. The Tempest model promises to be “capable, flexible, upgradeable, connected, affordable”. That last claim, says John, is the biggest stretch.
The Trump doctrine
Janan Ganesh asks whether Donald Trump’s chaotic policies will survive his presidency. At home, his busting of the three pillars of balanced budgets, free trade and liberal borders may endure. But, Janan predicts, successors will not stomach his pivot to Moscow and reckless dismantling of the western order.
Despite recent headlines, a report on genome editing from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics does not give the green light to designer babies, says Emily Jackson, professor of law at the London School of Economics. What it does open the door to, however, is an informed debate on how and when DNA editing could be valuable.
David Pilling warns about the dangers of the “destiny instinct” — the assumption, when talking about developing countries, particularly in Africa, that they have innate characteristics that will determine their fates. It was this kind of thinking, he says, that kept the west blind to the spectacular rise of China.
It is high time that the British architecture profession dragged itself out of the 19th century and opened up to young and diverse talent, says Elsie Owusu, who is running for the presidency of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
What you’ve been saying
Strength of an argument counted more than truth— Letter from Bernard H Casey:
Protecting democracy is not a trivial matter. What the ancients taught was not “logic and philosophy” (Letters, July 16) but logic, grammar and rhetoric. This comprised the “trivium”. What is more, and as many classical texts make clear, one of the highest paid professions in classical times was that of professor of rhetoric — paid much more than other teachers (see for example Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices of 301AD). Rhetoric was used to make a point — either in the courts or in the parliament. It was the strength of the argument that counted, not its truthfulness or “fakefulness”. Maybe, despite all his supposed ignorance, Donald Trump knows what he’s up to.
Comment by International Economist/Observer on How we lost America to greed and envy:
There was “a perfect storm” to bring this con man, scam artist, and fawner on Putin to power. Plutocrats in America (the Mercers, the Kochs, etc.) financed Trump and bought the Republican Party to lower taxes and wage war on the middle-class and poor. Eight years with a person of color in the White House was more than 40 per cent of American voters were prepared to tolerate. White Supremacists and xenophobes made common cause on slogans: “the Wall”, “illegal immigrants”, “Muslim terrorists”. Meanwhile, Putin nursed his revenge on America for the collapse of the Soviet Union and Hillary Clinton’s daring to criticize his rigged elections in Russia. More, Obama imposed sanctions when Putin attacked the Ukraine and later the American election system. What better than to activate the rich, half-crazed, self-important, deluded scam artist Trump?
Summit did not advance the euro reform process— Letter from Dr Jakob Vestergaard:
The positive gloss on the EU summit is particularly problematic because there was little progress on what most analysts agree is the crucial issue, namely breaking the bank-sovereign vicious circle. Two of the signatory economists to the Franco-German paean argued only weeks ahead of the summit that “the very lowest threshold” for completing the banking union — the longstanding, overarching objective of the Euro Summit — would be “to effectively break the bank-sovereign vicious circle”. I find it difficult to understand how a summit that agreed to nothing on what is arguably the very lowest threshold for completing the banking union can be framed as progress.
Germany asks difficult questions in the EU migration debate
An article in Die Zeit ruffles feathers among liberals and hardliners alike
Reasons to be optimistic about Africa’s future
Important changes are taking place in the region that confound the ‘destiny instinct’
Beware the unintended consequences of genome editing
Any law on ‘designer babies’ is years away but informed public debate is essential
Donald Trump’s foreign policy will not outlast his tenure
American voters are with him on many subjects, but they are not anti-western
Instant Insight: The moral and political collapse of Britain’s Labour party
UK opposition has failed to perform its responsibilities on Brexit and anti-Semitism
British architecture cannot afford to remain an old boys’ club
The industry would benefit from opening up to diverse talent
Free Lunch: Theresa May’s Brexit model is alive and kicking
Far from weakening the prime minister, political turmoil has freed her hand
The cold war revival will be very expensive
Nothing eats cash like a weapons programme and Europe is the least efficient buyer
The FT View: US Federal Reserve’s steady tightening may be taking it too far
The US central bank must be prepared to halt or reverse rate rises
The FT View: Europe is right to stand up to Google’s power
Vestager has emerged as a global antitrust enforcer on Android
The Big Read
The Big Read: Britain’s digital divide: how inner cities are left behind by patchy broadband
The FT’s interactive broadband speed map reveals more than just an urban-rural divide in internet access
Get alerts on Opinion when a new story is published