US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Free to Die (New York Times)

Compassion is out of fashion among the G.O.P.'s base, says Paul Krugman.

2. Where are the compassionate conservatives? (Washington Post)

Eugene Roberts argues that Republican candidates have forgotten the moral dimension to economic and policy choices.

3. GOP's mixed message on life and death (USA Today)

Chuck Raasch notes that the presidential debates were startling for the self-described pro-life party.

4. Connecting the dots on the deficit (Boston Globe)

The driver of the long-term deficit is the aging of the population and rising health care costs, says Scot Lehigh -- not programs enacted by Obama.

5. Michele Bachmann - a woman's view (Star Tribune)

Bachmann is a challenge for feminist-friendly voters, says Gail Collins.

6. Obama's jobs strategy should be a North American one (Los Angeles Times)

Robert A. Pastor says that few Americans realize is how dependent the country is on Canada and Mexico.

7. Before Palin, remember those classic Doonesbury strips on Obama and Rezko? No? (Chicago Tribune)

John Kass argues that there is a liberal bias in the famous cartoon strip.

8. Bipartisanship of the Wrong Kind (New York Times)

It's not just Republicans who are opposing President Obama's jobs program, says this editorial. Americans need Democrats to step up now.

9. A Ponzi scheme that should be fixed (Washington Post)

The political chatter misses the bigger picture about social security, says Charles Krauthammer.

10. Why cut taxes for rich investors? (USA Today)

Eliminating capital gains tax would mean losing $574 billion in revenue in five years, says this editorial.

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Britain is running out of allies as it squares up to Russia

For whatever reason, Donald Trump is going to be no friend of an anti-Russia foreign policy.

The row over Donald Trump and that dossier rumbles on.

Nothing puts legs on a story like a domestic angle, and that the retired spy who compiled the file is a one of our own has excited Britain’s headline writers. The man in question, Christopher Steele, has gone to ground having told his neighbour to look after his cats before vanishing.

Although the dossier contains known errors, Steele is regarded in the intelligence community as a serious operator not known for passing on unsubstantiated rumours, which is one reason why American intelligence is investigating the claims.

“Britain's role in Trump dossier” is the Telegraph’s splash, “The ‘credible’ ex-MI6 man behind Trump Russia report” is the Guardian’s angle, “British spy in hiding” is the i’s splash.

But it’s not only British headline writers who are exercised by Mr Steele; the Russian government is too. “MI6 officers are never ex,” the Russian Embassy tweeted, accusing the UK of “briefing both ways - against Russia and US President”. “Kremlin blames Britain for Trump sex storm” is the Mail’s splash.

Elsewhere, Crispin Blunt, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, warns that relations between the United Kingdom and Russia are as “bad as they can get” in peacetime.

Though much of the coverage of the Trump dossier has focused on the eyecatching claims about whether or not the President-Elect was caught in a Russian honeytrap, the important thing, as I said yesterday, is that the man who is seven days from becoming President of the United States, whether through inclination or intimidation, is not going to be a reliable friend of the United Kingdom against Russia.

Though Emanuel Macron might just sneak into the second round of the French presidency, it still looks likely that the final choice for French voters will be an all-Russia affair, between Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen.

For one reason or another, Britain’s stand against Russia looks likely to be very lonely indeed.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.