Jonathan Derbyshire: Since US president Donald Trump took office just over a year ago, the world has held its breath as he has appeared to flirt with the idea of junking, or at least fleeing, the global rules-based order that America built after the end of the second world war. The coming year, writes Gideon Rachman in his latest column, will be a test of just how serious Mr Trump is about tearing up, inter alia, the international trading system and the North Atlantic alliance. But the president's often incendiary rhetoric notwithstanding, we should not assume, Gideon cautions, that profound and lasting change to the global order is on the cards. There are four possibilities, he argues: (1) the US succeeds in securing changes to the existing set of international rules and with it maintains global hegemony; (2) a new system that excludes the US from multilateral agreements emerges; (3) US withdrawal from the rules-based order results in widespread chaos; (4) the US satisfies itself with merely cosmetic changes to the current dispensation. The fact that, for all that Mr Trump has inveighed against the iniquities of the global system, nothing much has changed lends support, Gideon concludes, to the last of these possible outcomes. But even so, Mr Trump is playing a "high-risk game".
Gene geniuses: The announcement last week by scientists in China that they had cloned a pair macaque monkeys not only raises profound ethical questions, writes Anjana Ahuja. It is also a reminder that the Chinese are winning the global arms races in biotechnology. The country is spending huge sums of money in order to become a “research superpower” — and it is working.
Definitely May-be: There several sound reasons to remove Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister, argues Janan Ganesh. But Conservative MPs are deluding themselves if they think defenestrating the premier will make any difference to the Brexit negotiations with the EU. On the contrary, the choice facing Britain has always been the same: either the “Norwegian” model of “substantial enmeshment” with the bloc or the “Canadian” model of external trade with it. Changing the occupant of Number 10 Downing Street will do nothing to shift the balance of power in the Brexit talks — this favours the EU, and always has.
The sorrows of Young Strauss: A debut novel by the young writer Simon Strauss has caused a cultural and political convulsion in Germany, writes Frederick Studemann. Strauss’ mix of Romantic aestheticism with a rightwing world view has been seen by many as a breach of civic decorum, if not something altogether darker. But the prospect of yet another “grand coalition” between Angela Merkel's CDU and the Social Democrats leaves a large space which new conservative voices are clamouring to fill.
Source: Financial Times