US press: pick of the papers

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

1. The GOP scrambles for a bogeyman (Washington Post)

Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, one thing is increasingly clear: Boy, do the Republicans miss communism, writes Harold Meyerson.

2. Those mudslinging Republicans (Los Angeles Times)

Santorum's next up, but the negativity is turning independents against all the GOP candidates, says Doyle McManus.

3. Obama's Palestine Test (Wall Street Journal)

Will the U.S. send money to a government that includes Hamas? Asks this editorial.

4. The forgotten swing voter (Politico)

Mitt Romney's loss to Rick Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri demonstrates that the former Massachusetts governor is still not connecting to the electorate and has yet to offer a positive vision for how he would govern the country, writes Douglas E. Schoen.

5. Why the U.S. should resist stoking the chaos in Cairo (Washington Post)

Cutting off U.S. aid would only worsen the situation, argues David Ignatius.

6. What Davos, Occupy have in common (Politico)

There could be a surprising amount of common ground between the demonstrators marching outside the conference and those in the meetings, says Tim Roemer.

7. Occupiers' dangerous, desperate last move? (Washington Times)

Disrupting CPAC will only expose discredited leftist ideology, says David A. Keene.

8. CPS must learn from successful turnarounds (Chicago Sun Times)

A seminal report hit the Chicago Public Schools last fall like a ton of bricks, writes this editorial.

9. Tales From the Kitchen Table (New York Times)

This is a really old story, but let me tell you anyway, writes Gail Collins.

10. Will more money buy an Alzheimer's cure? (Los Angeles Times)

In a long-sought breakthrough, the Obama administration is proposing a dramatic increase in federal funding for Alzheimer's research, says this editorial.

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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.