US Press: pick of the papers

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

1. Only conservatives can end the death penalty (Washington Post)

E.J. Dionne Jr. lays out the US conservatives' case against state execution.

2. Budget like it's 1995 (Los Angeles Times)

Republicans in Congress should remember the lessons of the Gingrich House and compromise, argues Tom Campbell.

3. Euro Zone Death Trip (New York Times)

There is a frightening gap between what the euro needs to survive and what the policy elites are willing to do, says Paul Krugman.

4. The Economy Needs a Regulation Time-Out (Wall Street Journal)

Why send jobs overseas by creating more rules for American business? asks Susan Collins.

5. Bachmann is right (The Washington Times)

This editorial argues that HPV vaccine has dangerous side effects

6. Retro TV revisits birth of 'culture war' (Chicago Tribune)

Clarence Page asks: Do Mad Men, Pan Am, The Playboy Club and BBC America's The Hour exploit society's barely suppressed appetite for a more sexist, racist and conservative era?

7. Seeing is not believing (St. Louis Today)

The questions surrounding the case of Troy Davis have not died with him, writes this editorial.

8. Why the Antichrist Matters in Politics (New York Times)

Apocalyptic fears helped fuel the antigovernment movements of the 1930s and '40s and could play a role in the 2012 elections, too, says Matthew Avery Sutton.

9. The Postal Service's ticking time bomb (Boston Globe)

The US Postal Service is going under, and there isn't much anyone can do to stop it, says John E. Sununu.

10. Supporting female innovators (Washington Post)

Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen describe how to attract women to scientific fields.

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Donald Trump's inauguration signals the start of a new and more unstable era

A century in which the world's hegemonic power was a rational actor is about to give way to a more terrifying reality. 

For close to a century, the United States of America has been the world’s paramount superpower, one motivated by, for good and for bad, a rational and predictable series of motivations around its interests and a commitment to a rules-based global order, albeit one caveated by an awareness of the limits of enforcing that against other world powers.

We are now entering a period in which the world’s paramount superpower is neither led by a rational or predictable actor, has no commitment to a rules-based order, and to an extent it has any guiding principle, they are those set forward in Donald Trump’s inaugural: “we will follow two simple rules: hire American and buy American”, “from this day forth, it’s going to be America first, only America first”.

That means that the jousting between Trump and China will only intensify now that he is in office.  The possibility not only of a trade war, but of a hot war, between the two should not be ruled out.

We also have another signal – if it were needed – that he intends to turn a blind eye to the actions of autocrats around the world.

What does that mean for Brexit? It confirms that those who greeted the news that an US-UK trade deal is a “priority” for the incoming administration, including Theresa May, who described Britain as “front of the queue” for a deal with Trump’s America, should prepare themselves for disappointment.

For Europe in general, it confirms what should already been apparent: the nations of Europe are going to have be much, much more self-reliant in terms of their own security. That increases Britain’s leverage as far as the Brexit talks are concerned, in that Britain’s outsized defence spending will allow it acquire goodwill and trade favours in exchange for its role protecting the European Union’s Eastern border.

That might allow May a better deal out of Brexit than she might have got under Hillary Clinton. But there’s a reason why Trump has increased Britain’s heft as far as security and defence are concerned: it’s because his presidency ushers in an era in which we are all much, much less secure. 

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