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China and the US face each other on the world stage, a challenger and an incumbent superpower, balancing their respective ideologies and poised to act. What they do next will affect not only the fortunes of these two giant economies, but the rest of the world, argues Martin Wolf in his column.

In the tussle to come, there will be several important factors, says Martin. First of all, size matters: even if the average American continues to be more prosperous than the individual Chinese, it is unlikely that China’s overall economy will not end up far bigger than that of the US. Meanwhile, China’s spending on research and development is driving innovation. The US should stop whining about China’s military expansion and its exploitation of intellectual property, he argues.

But the emerging rival is also challenging the US on ideological grounds. Its planned market economy might not be admired by lovers of free markets, but recent failures of the western economic model have made China’s seem more enviable. The west has no choice: it can and must live with a rising China. 

Gun-free funds are a good bet:
The world’s largest investment manager, BlackRock, has announced options for gun-averse investors, writes Brooke Masters. Gun manufacturers and most gun retailers will be excluded from its socially responsible mutual and exchange traded funds. And while so-called “sin stocks” have traditionally outperformed the market, in today’s climate, ethical investors may now actually be sacrificing less than they feared.

Brexit mess for aerospace: 
The ongoing muddlearound the precise nature of the relationship between the UK and EU after Brexit is becoming hard to bear, complains Tom Enders, chief executive of Airbus. Sectors like aviation need clarity on customs and the UK must ensure alignment with EU rules and regulations. The alternative will be very bad news for Britain’s competitiveness. And time is running out.

Syria’s deadly cycle:
A year after the last chemical attack in Syria, it seems almost certain that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has once again used gas and a nerve agent against its own people. But how should the west respond, asks David Gardner. In 2017, US president Donald Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base. That was clearly no deterrent. Now his administration looks set to act again; this time it needs to do better.

Running off the rails:
In an FT video feature, Miranda Green interviews the politicians behind the UK’s railway privatisation, disgruntled commuters protesting against poor service and key supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for renationalisation. Why does the political pendulum seem to have swung so far back towards state control, and was the sell-off worth it?

Best of the rest

What are the French doing to protect Jews? A lot. — Pamela Druckerman in The New York Times

The Central Bank song remains the same — Paola Subacchi for Project Syndicate

Sorry Brexiters. Banking on the Commonwealth is a joke — Philip Murphy in the Guardian 

Mark Zuckerberg’s Apology Tour — Andrew Marantz in The New Yorker 

Why America’s return to $1 trillion deficits is a big problem for you — Heather Long in The Washington Post 

What you’ve been saying

Women lacked role models in finance— letter from Alison Lee

When university students consider career choices they inevitably look to the world around them and talk to adults they know; a student with lawyers in the family might be drawn to the law, one who admires a local doctor might be drawn to medicine. As a woman who worked at an investment bank in the 1980s I can attest to the fact that there was a dearth of women with careers in the City in that era. I suggest that the reason female graduates were not looking to work in the financial services sector is that they never saw a woman who had a career there.

Comment from KissMeHardy on Donald Trump is standing up for American interests

It’s a shame that, as an adviser to President Trump, Peter Navarro is not standing up for small businesses in the USA like mine. We are bullied by contract into giving up proprietary information and technology every time we do work for a large corporation. The example I have in mind is a contract I was asked to sign which contained a clause stating that all software used in course of executing the work would be provided to the client, free of charge, with no limitation on its use by the client, or the client’s contractors . . . Companies signing away their rights in China do it knowing the price they have to pay. They do it because it’s profitable.

John Bolton is capable of constructive dialogue— letter from Armen Martirosyan

In 2005, as the permanent representative of Armenia to the UN, I was a first-hand witness to then US ambassador Bolton’s aggressive campaign for an anti-Iranian resolution at the UN General Assembly. Armenia’s position on the Iran vote did not meet American expectations, so the US mission contacted us with an urgent request for an appointment with Mr Bolton . . . My advice to all potential interlocutors is to treat Mr Bolton as a rational agent who is perfectly capable of engaging in constructive dialogue and adjusting positions based on new-found insights.

Today’s opinion

US-China rivalry will shape the 21st century
Beijing’s rising economic and political power poses great challenges to the west

FT View: Takeover defences will not stop short-termism
The problem goes deeper than the predations of ‘vulture’ investors

FT View: Northern Ireland’s peace is still taken for granted
Two decades on, the UK province is post-conflict if not post-sectarian

Donald Trump’s spendthrift appointees prove an expensive luxury The controversies that have dogged the president’s cabinet seem relentless

Brexit confusion threatens the UK aviation industry
We need Britain to provide clarity on customs and ensure alignment with the EU rules

Syria must not be allowed to normalise the use of chemical weapons
A western response should dent Assad’s invulnerability and that of Moscow and Tehran

BlackRock’s gun-free funds show ethical investing is a good bet The investment manager is creating options for those who want to avoid firearms

What Mark Zuckerberg should do to fix Facebook’s privacy problem
Four simple steps the social network can take to protect its users

India’s crackdown on fake news masks a more sinister message
Modi’s government quickly backtracked on its plan to blacklist journalists

FT View

FT View: Takeover defences will not stop short-termism
The problem goes deeper than the predations of ‘vulture’ investors

FT View: Northern Ireland’s peace is still taken for granted
Two decades on, the UK province is post-conflict if not post-sectarian

The Big Read

The Big Read: UK housing: a crisis in the Conservative heartlands
Britain is desperate to relieve a housing shortage, but plans to build on ‘greenbelt’ land around London have angered many of Theresa May’s supporters

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