US Press: pick of the papers

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

1. Which candidate should answer that 3am phone call? (Washington Post)

During the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton famously asked whether Obama was ready for the 3am phone call about a foreign crisis. Kim's death reminds us that it's always 3am somewhere in the world, writes Eugene Robinson.

2. Obama's foreign-policy strategy must confront new dangers (Omaha World Herald)

David Ignatius on what's next for Obama.

3. What a couple of grandpas learned at Occupy Detroit (Detroit Free Press)

Robert Deneweth and Ronald Aronson went to Grand Circus Park last month before Occupy Detroit moved out of its encampment; they reflect on what they discovered.

4. Blaming the Jews - Again (The Weekly Standard)

Elliott Abrams on Thomas Friedman, Joe Klein and anti-Semitism.

5. GOP candidates: Bashing judges, threatening democracy (Los Angeles Times)

Americans should flatly reject rhetoric by Republican presidential candidates and remember that an independent judiciary enforcing the Constitution is crucial to our democracy, according to Erwin Chemerinsky.

6. Higher education should not lose in budget game again (St. Louis Today)

Despite lofty rhetoric from governors and lawmakers about how education is vital to economic development, Missouri remains near the bottom, as this Editorial shows.

7. Instead of just taxing the rich, put cap on income inequality (New York Times)

As 1-per centers themselves, Ian Ayres and Aaron S. Edlin call on Congress, for the sake of democracy, to end the continued erosion of economic equality in our nation.

8. Protecting liberty means knowing your Bill of Rights (Washington Examiner)

Janine Turner on the the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

9. Barack Obama at a crossroads (again) (Politico)

Stand up to House Republicans - or cave under pressure rather than risk an unwanted outcome? Carrue Budoff Brown and Glenn Thrush examine the crossroads Obama finds himself at.

10. US mail is slow and getting slower (The Plain Dealer)

It's time to end the post office's monopoly on letter delivery, writes James Bovard.

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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.