Did you notice how odd it was that during the shutdown and the subsequent debt ceiling game of chicken that there was precious little discussion of the international implications? I did. It worries me.
Thinking that the United States is invulnerable like Superman might make you confident but it can also make you dead.
What other nations think and do matters? How much was put at risk overseas by actions here? Did we put our allies at risk and give our enemies an advantage?
A few brains in Washington would be good, some working ones anyway.
BERLIN: Europeans agog at Americans’ inability to compromise, aghast at likely long-term impact | Politics | McClatchy DC
No one was amused, however. The United States, after all, is not a bit player on the international stage like Greece. It is the unquestioned global leader. And while after a decade of controversial war it’s not so unusual for Europeans to express hostility toward the United States, many were shocked to see how hostile Americans seem to be to one another – and disinterested in how their internal fight might affect the rest of the world.“This is pure domestic politics,” said Xenia Dormandy, an expert on the United States and its place in the world at the London think tank Chatham House. “Nobody cares about any of the international implications. There’s a lack of desire to even think about the repercussions.”The discord will have long-term consequences, even if the United States is able to see its way through this crisis to yet another battle over spending and the debt ceiling that will come early next year, some predict.
I was going to quote a paragraph from this. And then after reading it a while, I decided to quote four paragraphs. And then, I just decided this is just excellent writing and quoting a piece out of it was like slicing up a Picasso.
AS MIDNIGHT on September 30th approached, everybody on Capitol Hill blamed everybody else for the imminent shutdown of America’s government. To a wondering world, the recriminations missed the point. When you are brawling on the edge of a cliff, the big question is not “Who is right?”, but “What the hell are you doing on the edge of a cliff?”
The shutdown itself is tiresome but bearable. The security services will remain on duty, pensioners will still receive their cheques and the astronauts on the International Space Station will still…
I am appalled by what’s happening. I freely confess I don’t know what will happen if this last beyond the 17th and we go into default. It could be anything from very little happening to a worldwide economic catastrophe culminating in a decade long Depression. If I were a legislator, I like to think I would want to avoid going into default where the unknowns are so perilous. But I do not believe I can count on the intelligence or judgment of those willing to shut down the government as a form of blackmail. It was irresponsible to begin with, and it has only become less moral, less ethical and less intelligent as the days have gone by.
Trudy Rubin: Shutdown repercussions | Opinion | McClatchy DC
How far we have come since the heady days of the 1990s, when eager civic activists from ex-communist and third-world countries looked to U.S. experts to show them how a multiparty system worked.Indeed, America\’s longtime allies are bewildered by a system where a small minority of legislators can hijack Congress. They also can\’t understand why Congress has to vote separately to authorize the borrowing of funds to pay for expenses it has already approved. Perhaps because no other modern democracy except Denmark has such a system.The commentary in friendly countries has been scathing.\”For a country that fancies itself the greatest democracy on Earth, the fact that a small band of outliers in one party can essentially shut down the federal government over a petty political brawl seems woefully undemocratic,\” Lee-Anne Goodman of Canadian Press told the Talking Points Memo blog. Le Monde columnist Alain Frachon told the New York Times that \”Washington is looking more like the Italian political system, with its permanent crises.\”David Usborne wrote in the British newspaper The Independent: \”America is indeed exceptional, at least in terms of its place in the global financial system,\” but \”in almost every other respect right now it is starting to look exceptionally silly.\” Even if a budget and debt-ceiling deal is completed in the next two weeks, he add …
“That leaders of one of the most powerful nations on earth willingly
provoked a crisis that suspends public services and decreases economic
growth is astonishing….Even in the middle of its ongoing civil war,
the Syrian government has continued to pay its bills and workers’
wages.” In western Europe, a think-tank scholar tweeted, “Next time you
blame the woes of developing nations on ‘poor governance,’ think about
how the U.S. government arrived at today.”
In France, the newspaper Le Monde assailed the “grotesque” shutdown, and aimed its editorial message at one of America’s founding fathers: “Jefferson, wake up! They’ve gone crazy!” In Germany, Der Spiegel Onlinedeclared, “A superpower has paralyzed itself,” and the business daily Handelsbatt depicted the Statue of Liberty in chains, capped by the headline, “The Blocked World Power.” In Spain, the El Pais newspaper marveled at America’s “suicidal madness.”
Granted, some of these reactions have a touch of schadenfreude,
taking pleasure in our misfortune. That’s especially true with the
French, who always love to tweak us, even while forgetting that if not
for America 69 years ago, they would’ve stayed under the Nazi heel. But
why give them an excuse to treat us as a laughingstock?
And the current scoffing spans the continents. In China, an
entertainer tweeted, “Chinese must be wondering – When will America
embrace real reform? How long can this system survive? Where is
America’s Gorbachev?” In China, a government-run news website said
the nation should be “on guard against spillover of irresponsible U.S.
politics.” In India, business executives told the Voice of America that
they couldn’t fathom how an advanced nation like America could allow its
government to close, and a college student in New Dehli said it was
“sad and shocking.” In the Philippines, an editorial writer asked, “How
did the world’s lone superpower come to such a sorry pass?” In Malaysia,
a news website ran the headline, “U.S. shutdown leaves the world
scratching its head,” and the story said that some Malaysians “had
trouble suppressing smirks.” And The Australian newspaper said that the shutdown “doesn’t say much for the budgetary process in the world’s largest economy.” And so on.