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How The World Sees The US Shutdown

How The World Sees The US Shutdown

PARIS – The United States woke up Tuesday to a rather expected, but nonetheless stunning government shutdown after Congress failed to agree on a new budget by the midnight deadline in a political standoff over Republican attempts to reverse President Obama's landmark health care reform.

The government is forced to put an end to non-essential services, an estimated 800,000 federal employees face unpaid leave beginning Tuesday, with no guarantee of back pay once the deadlock is over.

Goldman Sachs estimated that the U.S. could lose as much as 0.9% of its GDP this quarter if the shutdown lasted three weeks. This domestic political row from the world's largest economy and, er, temporarily lamest democracy are bound to have reverberations around the world.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC radio: "It is a risk to the world economy if the United States can't properly sort out its spending plans and its deficit reduction plans."

The shutdown is the leading story on many top global news outlets:

Commentators are chiming in:

- In French daily Le Figaro, Pierre-Yves Duguawrites: "The U.S. is being humiliated by the inability of its political system to carry out its primary mission: to pass a budget."

- In Germany's leading business daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Patrick Welter writes: "The failure to reach agreement casts a dark shadow on the next and more important forthcoming round in the fiscal row."

- Andrew Coyne of Canada's National Post adds: "Today’s crisis is driven not by the leadership or even the majority of the Republican party, but by an intense and disciplined minority, itself a product of the changes that have overtaken the country in recent years.

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Geopolitics

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

Turkey's objections to Swedish membership of NATO may mean that Finland joins first. But as he approaches his highly contested reelection bid at home, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to use the issue to his advantage.

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

January 11, 2023, Ankara (Turkey): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Conference of the Board of Grievances on January 11.

Turkish Presidency / APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — This story has all the key elements of our age: the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the excessive ambitions of an autocrat, the opportunism of a right-wing demagogue, Islamophobia... And at the end, a country, Sweden, whose NATO membership, which should have been only a formality, has been blocked.

Last spring, under the shock of the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia, Sweden and Finland, two neutral countries in northern Europe, decided to apply for membership in NATO. For Sweden, this is a major turning point: the kingdom’s neutrality had lasted more than 150 years.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised objections. It demanded that Sweden stop sheltering Kurdish opponents in its country. This has nothing to do with NATO or Ukraine, but everything to do with Erdogan's electoral agenda, as he campaigns for the Turkish presidential elections next May.

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