US Press: pick of the papers

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

1. Tea Party: Savoring the red meat (Boston Globe)

The Tea Party movement insisted early on that its interest was economics, but the impassioned audience at the GOP debate cast the movement in a more disturbing light, says this editorial.

2. The GOP field goes AWOL from Afghanistan (Washington Post)

This editorial points out that the Republican candidates are largely ignoring the war in Afghanistan.

3. Bachmann's foolish attack on vaccines (Star Tribune)

The congresswoman's fear-mongering put politics over health, says this editorial.

4. Shrewd Palin strategy is Populism 101 (USA Today)

Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell suggest that Palin could seize a banner once reserved for Democrats or third parties.

5. Ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (Los Angeles Times)

Hazel R. O'Leary and Daryl G. Kimball urge the Senate to ratify the anti-nuclear weapons accord.

6. Why Obama Is Losing the Jewish Vote (Wall Street Journal)

He doesn't have a 'messaging' problem, argues Dan Senor -- he has a record of bad policies and anti-Israel rhetoric.

7. Is It Weird Enough Yet? (New York Times)

Thomas L. Friedman takes a look at the chatter behind the recent attacks on the science of climate change.

8. 'Supercommittee'? More than stupor committee (Washington Post)

Dana Millbank warns that the public should not expect much from the new supercommittee.

9. Uncle Sam play venture capitalist? See Solyndra (USA Today)

Solar Solyndra is a cautionary tale about why government should be extremely wary about betting tax dollars on specific companies, says this editorial.

10. A Well-Regulated Wilderness (New York Times)

The reach of government extends even into the pristine wilderness we seek out to get away from it all, says Michael Lipsky.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

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.