Putin: opportunist or master strategist?

Vladimir Putin has been playing brinkmanship in Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Is the Russian president a master strategist or are his moves merely opportunistic? Gideon Rachman discusses the question with Neil Buckley the FT’s East Europe editor.

South Africa’s political turmoil

South Africa has been shaken by news that the country’s respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan is facing fraud charges in what appears to be the latest episode in a power struggle with President Jacob Zuma and his allies. Many suspect the charges are trumped up and designed to give Mr Zuma total control of the levers of power. Ben Hall discusses what happens next with Joseph Cotterill and Andrew England

Theresa May’s Brexit vision

At the UK Conservative party conference this week we got a clearer sense of Theresa May’s Brexit vision, with the prime minister announcing that the process for leaving the bloc will be formally set in motion early next year. So what are the implications at this stage for Britain – and for Europe? Gideon Rachman puts the question to Daniel Dombey, the FT’s Brexit editor, and Brussels bureau chief Alex Barker.

Renzi’s big test

This week Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, set a date in December for his high-stakes referendum on constitutional reform. The vote will determine the political future of a leader already struggling with painful party defeats in local elections, troubles in Italy’s banking system and a persistently weak economy. Ben Hall discusses with James Politi, the FT’s Italy correspondent and Europe news editor Joshua Chaffin.

US election 2016: the what ifs

The US presidential election has taken a dramatic new turn with the sudden illness of Hillary Clinton, and a tightening in the opinion polls. Could Donald Trump actually win? Gideon Rachman discusses with the FT’s chief political commentator Philip Stephens and Shawn Donnan, the world trade editor based in the Washington bureau.

Merkel’s populist challenge

Angela Merkel is facing a new challenge to her leadership after the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany dealt her party a stinging blow in a regional election on Sunday. What threat does the success of the populist party pose for German stability and for Merkel’s chance of remaining as chancellor? Gideon Rachman puts the question to Stefan Wagstyl, the FT’s Berlin bureau chief and Fred Studemann, comment editor.

Europe’s fraying economic ties with America

Economic ties between Europe and the US took a knock this week when the EU slapped huge back taxes on Apple and several European politicians declared transatlantic trade talks to be effectively dead. Gideon Rachman asks Tony Barber, the FT’s Europe editor, and Shawn Donnan, the FT’s world trade editor, what hopes remain for a successful conclusion to the TTIP talks. Read more

Turkey’s Syrian gamble

Turkey sent tanks into Syria on Wednesday, as part of a major offensive ostensibly against Isis – but also to contain Syrian Kurds. The move follows a recent coup attempt against President Erdogan and a deadly terrorist attack in the southern Turkish town of Gaziantep. Andrew England, the FT’s Middle East editor, speaks with Turkey correspondent Mehul Srivastava and former Turkey correspondent Daniel Dombey.

Russia and Ukraine: a new crisis?

Russia has been back in the spotlight recently, after President Putin replaced his long-standing chief of staff Sergei Ivanov. Meanwhile, tensions have mounted in eastern Ukraine, prompting fears of a new Russian offensive. Russia is still heavily involved in Syria. Is a new crisis building? Gideon Rachman speaks with Kathrin Hille, the FT’s Moscow bureau chief, and Neil Buckley, Eastern Europe editor.


This week, Donald Trump gave a major speech on the economy and Hillary Clinton fired back. While Trump attempted to appeal to a more traditional Republican base with many of his proposed policies, how is his trade protectionism being received? And is Clinton tacking to the left or heading for the centre ground? Gideon Rachman puts the questions to Shawn Donnan, the FT’s World Trade editor and Sam Fleming, US economics editor.

The battle for Aleppo

The battle for Syria’s second city is both a grave humanitarian crisis and a potential turning point in the country’s long civil war. The FT’s Erika Solomon and David Gardner join Gideon Rachman.

Discord at the Democratic Convention

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia got off to a turbulent start this week, revealing deep divisions between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The FT’s World News editor Ben Hall discusses what this means for Clinton’s campaign for the White House with Washington bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo and Gideon Rachmann, the FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator.

Turkey’s bungled putsch

Following a failed military coup in Turkey, President Erdogan has launched a sweeping crackdown on alleged plot sympathisers. Who was responsible for the uprising? And how have Ankara’s western allies responded? The FT’s World News editor Ben Hall speaks to Mehul Srivastava, the FT’s correspondent in Turkey, and former Turkey correspondent Daniel Dombey.

Italy’s struggling banks pose a test for Renzi and the EU

Italy’s banking system is struggling in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and ahead of stress tests this month. What does this mean for the future of Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, and for Europe’s wider economic prospects? Daniel Dombey puts the question to the FT’s Alex Barker and James Politi.

European rivals eye London’s banking business
How far will Frankfurt and Paris go to claim the business of the City of London once the UK has left the European Union? Which other cities are in the running and how many jobs does London stand to lose? Gideon Rachman puts these questions to Michael Stothard, the FT’s Paris correspondent and James Shotter, Frankfurt correspondent.Cancel

What next for Modi’s India?
The Indian government announced welcome reforms to attract foreign investors this week. But India-watchers were distracted by the resignation of the much-respected head of the country’s central bank, Raghuram Rajan. Gideon Rachman discusses the future of prime minister Narendra Modi’s reform programme with the FT’s South Asia bureau chief Amy Kazmin and former Mumbai correspondent James Crabtree.


France in crisis
Beset by strikes and deepening terrorism worries, France is struggling to cope as it hosts a major football championship, the Euro 2016 games. Gideon Rachman discusses the country’s security problems and political strife with World News editor Ben Hall and Anne-Sylvaine Chassany, the FT’s Paris bureau chief.

Tensions rise in the South China Sea
China and the US clashed over the South China Sea at a defence forum last weekend, amid island-building by Beijing and increased naval and air patrols by the US. Gideon Rachman discusses the escalating tensions with Geoff Dyer, the FT’s Washington correspondent and former Beijing bureau chief, and James Crabtree, contributing editor.

Is Venezuela becoming a failed state?
Life in Venezuela is becoming increasingly difficult, with soaring crime, widespread food shortages, rampant corruption and a political stalemate that thwarts all attempts at change. Gideon Rachman discusses whether the country is becoming a failed state with the FT’s Latin America editor John Paul Rathbone and Andes correspondent, Andres Schipani.