Trump threatens decades-old ‘One China’ policy

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Donald Trump is not so much rewriting decades of entrenched US foreign policy as tearing it up. Over the weekend the president-elect upped the ante when he questioned whether his administration would continue to respect the four-decade old “One China” policy — essentially suggesting the policy be used as a bargaining chip in Sino-US relations. This came just one week after he broke diplomatic precedent by accepting a phone call from Taiwan’s leader.

The comments came after the president-elect rejected the assessment of the US intelligence community that Russia intervened in his candidacy, calling it “ridiculous”. The unprecedented rejection — including language mocking the CIA — set Mr Trump on a collision course with the national security establishment. Some Republicans joined Democrats in calling for investigations, while others in the GOP shrugged it off. Here is why the mixed response to Russian meddling in American democracy is alarming. (FT, NYT, WaPo, Economist)

In the news

On the topic of Russia… ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson emerged as the strong favourite to be Donald Trump’s secretary of state. The move would put a global dealmaker with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin — of whom Mr Trump has spoken admiringly — at the heart of US foreign policy. (FT, New Yorker)

Paolo Gentiloni to be new Italian PM The foreign minister has been chosen to replace Matteo Renzi. Mr Gentiloni’s restrained demeanour marks a stark contrast to the ebullience and high ambitions of his predecessor. His mandate is narrow: to lead the eurozone’s third-largest economy through to new elections, probably in the second quarter of 2017. (FT)

China’s new trade war China is gearing up for a new round of trade battles with the US, EU and other leading trading powers after failing to secure widespread recognition for a bid to be viewed as a “market economy” under World Trade Organisation rules. (FT)

Tata Sons wants Cyrus Mistry totally out The holding company for the $100bn Tata empire renewed its appeal to shareholders of Tata group companies to oust its former chairman from the boards of those companies, saying his presence is “likely to lead to fragmentation” of the conglomerate. It was the latest turn in an increasingly acrimonious divorce after the group abruptly ousted Mr Mistry in a boardroom coup in October. (Reuters)

Boeing inks $16.6bn deal with Iran Iran’s national carrier and Boeing have finalised their $16.6bn deal for the sale of 80 aircraft to the Islamic Republic’s airlines. The contract marks the first multibillion-dollar contract with a US company since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (FT)

Venezuela plays Robin Hood The government has seized nearly 4m toys from a private company and says it will hand them out as Christmas gifts for poor children. There is disagreement over whether the toy raid is an abuse of power or a step to ease the country’s troubled economy. (NPR)

It’s a big day for

New Zealand The ruling National party has elected Bill English, a longtime party heavyweight, as prime minister following the unexpected resignation of John Key. (FT)

Christine Lagarde The IMF chief will go on trial on Monday for negligence over a fraudulent €405m payout that the French state made to a businessman when she was finance minister. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s WeekAhead.

Food for thought

The answer is blowin’ in the wind Sam Leith on the graceful, “humblebrag” speech Bob Dylan sent — but did not deliver — to the Nobel committee that had awarded him the prize for literature, which danced elliptically around the eternal question at the heart of his work: “Is this literature?”. You can read the full speech here. (FT, Rolling Stone)

Renminbi stalls on the road to global prominence New capital controls have led to doubt, especially over hopes of forcing economic reform in China, and placed another obstacle in the way of Beijing’s dream of making the renminbi a global currency. (FT)

White supremacy by any other name They call themselves “alt-right” or nationalists and, with Donald Trump’s racialised rhetoric and the elevation of Stephen Bannon as his top adviser, their movement has been validated in many ways. But while they may be playing down the swastikas, the message, of white supremacy, remains the same. (NYT)

Michael Lewis on the triumph of irrational thinking The great chronicler of the American experience has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. With the election of Donald Trump, Lewis may have beaten the competition to the punch without even trying. (FT)

Who killed Alexander Perepilichny Three years passed before a theory emerged that might explain what happened to the Russian businessman and enemy of the Kremlin who died in London in 2012 under suspicious circumstances. But highly interested parties — including a wealthy American-born investor and quite possibly officials in the highest reaches of the British and Russian governments — were watching the story the whole time. (Atlantic)

Elixir of death? Many dose up on multivitamins and dietary supplements as if they are the elixir of life. At best, they are probably ineffective. At worst, they may send you to an early grave. (BBC)

Video of the day

A look at the week ahead Vanessa Kortekaas highlights the stories to watch in the coming week, with the Fed expected to raise interest rates and president-elect Donald Trump set to clarify his separation from his business holdings when he takes office. (FT)

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