Trump calls for bipartisan cooperation …
US papers highlighted President Trump's State of The Union speech - delayed by the government shutdown - and his attempt to play down partisan political division, particularly over the border wall. "Trump seeks to reset wall debate," headlined the Wall Street Journal.
Wall Street Journal February 6
The Washington Post accused Trump of offering "a thin sheen of 'unity' over large helpings of the same old polarizing demagoguery."
"Trump's appeal clashes with political rancor that he helped fuel," was the verdict of the Dallas Morning News, while the Chicago Sun-Times saw Trump offering "unity … to a point."
The New York Times headlined Trump "asking for unity" but then renewing his "bid for border wall."
New York Times February 6
The NYT concluded that the apparent appeal for bipartisan political cooperation instead reflected "the vibrating hostility between the two sides" and that the true state of the union was "fractured, fractious, painfully dysfunctional."
The Wall Street Journal reported attempts at compromise between the White House and Democrats in Congress over the border wall along the lines of an increase in security spending.
… and says no to "endless wars"
President Trump's claim in his State of the Union speech to end US military involvement in "endless wars" in Syria and Afghanistan sparked considerable comment.
The New York Times took issue with the president's claim of "constructive talks" with the Taliban. "Those talks might be most accurately described as a negotiated capitulation," the paper argued.
Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall also saw US withdrawal from Afghanistan as a "capitulation" since none of the objectives of the 2001 invasion had been met. "In short, the US has lost the war, and lost badly."
The Wall Street Journal, however, warned that the president's rhetoric could encourage a public belief that America can simply end all military commitments overseas, including to NATO. "History shows the great danger in failing to distinguish between fighting wars and deterring them."
Maduro blocks US aid to Venezuela
"Maduro blocks Venezuela border" headlined the Wall Street Journal, as the Venezuelan military used a tanker truck and a shipping container to block the arrival of US humanitarian aid in the latest twist in the crisis.
Wall Street Journal February 7
The Washington Post called the standoff a "test of wills over aid" and warned the Trump administration not to make the US a protagonist but "work closely with the Lima Group and avoid separating itself from the regional consensus."
The New York Times feared that because of the US administration's "all-in support for regime change, the crisis has become a dangerous global power struggle. That's the last thing Venezuelans need."
Pope makes first visit to UAE
"Pope calls for peace in first papal visit to the cradle of Islam," was how the Wall Street Journal reported the Pope's visit to the UAE, the first by the head of the Catholic church to the Arabian peninsula. The paper quotes Pope Francis calling on religious leaders to reject the "miserable crudeness" of war.
Financial Times February 4
The Financial Times also featured the visit on its front page and quoted the Pope saying the UAE was "striving to be a model for coexistence, human fraternity, a meeting of faiths and civilisations." And the Dallas Morning News reported the Pope "seeking peace and brotherhood."
British PM faces test in Brussels
British papers noted the "strained relations in Brussels" as Prime Minister Theresa May held further talks in an attempt to reach a deal acceptable to the EU and the UK parliament.
The Guardian February 8
The Times, however, struck a rare optimistic tone, reporting a change of position by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn that could lead to cross-party agreement on a Brexit deal. "Out of the mist, a compromise is emerging, one that could bring the country closer to a deal with the EU," the paper concludes.