News / USA

    Political Crisis Could Hurt US Image Abroad

    Political Crisis Could Hurt US Image Abroadi
    X
    October 09, 2013 6:44 AM
    As the U.S. political crisis and government shutdown move into a second week, there is growing concern about how the stalemate could damage the U.S. image around the world.
    Political Crisis Could Hurt US Image Abroad
    As the U.S. political crisis and government shutdown move into a second week, there is growing concern about how the stalemate could damage the U.S. image around the world. 
     
    House Speaker John Boehner declares, “it’s time for us to just sit down and resolve our differences,” while Obama replies, "we can't make extortion routine in our democracy." The bickering over the government shutdown shows no signs of letting up.
     
    Now, another dangerous deadline looms: October 17th, when Congress must raise the U.S. borrowing limit or put the country on a path to financial default.
     
    Concern about the global economic impact is spreading, including in London’s financial center.  
     
    “I think it’s a massive fear that we go into recession again, especially since we are starting to recover from the previous one,” said Oliver Elliot, a student, sounding a common sentiment.
     
    Other observers, such as Beverly Thomas, a financial analyst, feel the entire episode is little more than partisanship gone amok. “I think it is really about two-party politics and they are not thinking about the wider implications.”
     
    Although the city has always had a certain amount of disagreement, the level of dysfunction in Washington today is so bad it is undermining the U.S. abroad, claims James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations.
     
    “I think it raises real questions in the mind of many foreign publics, many foreign leaders about whether the United States is a country that can be counted on,” said Lindsay.
     
    President Barack Obama cancelled his trip to the Asia-Pacific summit in Indonesia because of the U.S. government shutdown, and sent Secretary of State John Kerry in his place.
     
    “I want you all to know that in 2004, obviously, I worked very, very hard to replace a president.  This is not what I had in mind,” joked Kerry during his remarks, referencing his failed bid for the White House against George W. Bush.
     
    The president’s decision to stay at home disappointed Asian leaders, noted Lindsay.
     
    “I think it sends troubling signals in the region because Asian leaders look up and wonder is the United States going to be a stalwart ally.  Is it really going to be here in Asia for the long term or is America going to be too withdrawn, too insular, too focused on its own particular problems to really play a major role in the region?” wondered Lindsay.
     
    John Fortier at the Bipartisan Policy Center says the dysfunction on display in Washington shows no signs of easing anytime soon.
     
    “It’s now part of our polarized world to the extent that we have divided government and our parties differ a lot.  Some of this is likely to be the new normal,” claimed Fortier.
     
    If that’s true, the rest of the world will simply make adjustments, according to Lindsay.
     
    “We really run the risk of lurching from one fiscal crisis to another fiscal crisis.  That ends up producing a country that can’t invest in its future but it also produces a country that hardly serves as a model that will inspire others,” pointed out Lindsay, making clear the potential implication to American soft power.
     
    The political fight may be taking place in Washington, but unless it’s resolved soon, the impact could be felt worldwide.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
    October 09, 2013 8:14 AM
    This so called "crisis" could not do much more damage to our credibility than our current president already has.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora