‘Stand up to Trump, but stand with him,’ British media advise May for meeting The Donald

Prime Minister Theresa May says she can forge a strong personal relationship with Donald Trump, arguing “sometimes, opposite attract,” as she embarks on talks with the US president in Washington on Friday.

On the eve of the much-anticipated visit to the Oval Office, the PM used a speech to Republican leaders in Philadelphia to pledge that the two countries have a “joint responsibility” to lead.

May’s meeting with the president is being hailed by the British government as a sign that the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” is valued by the new administration. She will become the first world leader to meet with Trump since he was sworn in.

However, the British media has its own stance on the meeting – with some saying the visit is “dangerous,” and others claiming that it marks the beginning of a “new era.”

‘May must stand up to Trump’ – Guardian

The Guardian is warning May her visit is “more fraught with dangers than opportunities.”

“There is an immediate danger with the visit and an underlying one. Both are large,”Martin Kettle writes.

“The immediate one is Trump himself. What he is doing on issues such as torture, wall-building, China or entry bans is reckless enough.

“But what he might say with May by his side is the stuff of spin doctors’ nightmares. She doesn’t do personal chemistry, and he is loathsome.”

The newspaper says May will lose credibility at home if she doesn’t put a clear distance between herself and some of the things Trump has been saying. Above all, rejection of torture should be a red line, it says.

“Theresa May must stand up to Donald Trump. Britain doesn’t need a poodle.”

‘Push for US-UK trade deal’ – Independent

The Independent writes that despite the political differences between May and Trump, both leaders should work on developing “a constructive partnership which builds on the traditional ties between the two nations founded on demographics, religion, culture, law, politics and economics.”

It says “for May, the rekindling of this special relationship, post-Brexit, would potentially add some credence to her aspirations for a new ‘global Britain,’ while Trump’s untested credentials as a leader on the world stage would be burnished.”

The newspaper says a US-UK trade deal would be a “boon” for Trump, and would represent “a significant win in May’s battle to prove that the UK can potentially prosper economically after leaving the EU.”

In a separate article, the Independent writes that Britain is “once again” overestimating its influence in the US.

“Yet again, it would appear, a UK government is overestimating its influence with Washington – as, most egregiously, did Tony Blair – and chasing the fiction of that ‘special relationship.’

“So far, Trump has shown that he is serious about what he said during his campaign, so it would be as well to prepare for the eventuality that he was also serious about NATO and engaging with Russia.

“And if he was, then the UK needs to take a hard look at its current security engagements. Is there an alternative to the transatlantic alliance? Should there be? How valuable … is the intelligence sharing, really? Or Trident, given the revelations of last weekend?”

‘New era’ – Daily Mail

The Daily Mail has welcomed May “tearing up two decades of ‘failed’ liberal interventionist foreign policy that has dragged Britain into disastrous conflicts.”

In a break with the Blair and Cameron eras, May said the days of using military force to “remake sovereign countries in our own image” were finished.

In a speech to senior US politicians, she laid out rules that will see the UK intervene only when the “threat is real” and is in British interests to do so.

“At long last, and end to the era of Blair follies as May calls a halt to Anglo-American military adventures,” the Daily Mail says.

May’s comments effectively end what has been dubbed ‘wars of choice’ and the so-called ‘Chicago doctrine’ established by Blair.

“It’s in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe. This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past.”

‘Torture is wrong, but intelligence shared is intelligence squared’ – Times

It’s troubling that two days before May’s meeting with Trump he stated that “torture works,”The Times says.

Trump is expected to rip up restrictions put in place by former President Barack Obama after earlier stating that he wanted to bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse.”

It has been highlighted that May could withhold intelligence sharing with Trump’s CIA if it adopts torture techniques. May said the UK’s guidelines on torture were “very clear” and that the approach towards it had not and would not change.

“What we think about torture is we condemn it. We do not believe in torture. That position has been clear for some time and that position is not going to change,” the Times writes.

“As May left for Washington, Conservative and opposition MPs alike urged her to talk tough on torture in the Oval Office. What is needed is clarity.

“There will never be a level playing field in the fight against terrorism, and stooping to torture will only postpone victory. May’s message should be that torture is wrong, but intelligence shared is intelligence squared,” it adds.

‘May must talk Trump out of waterboarding’ – Telegraph

Trying to rein in the Trump administration from “disastrous policies such as the reintroduction of waterboarding should … be one of Mrs. May’s primary objectives” when meeting with the US president, the Telegraph writes.

“Mr. Trump has certainly afforded Mrs. May a significant privilege by making her his first foreign minister.

“Her challenge will be to reciprocate in a nuanced fashion – reassuring Mr. Trump that Britain is ready to be a staunch ally of the new administration in terms of trade, diplomatic, military and intelligence cooperation, while at the same time inculcating some of her own natural caution into the way the Trump administration tackles Islamist terror groups.”