Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

How the world sees the U.S. government shutdown

The media in the United States has discussed the government shutdown by analyzing the impasse, calculating domestic losses and bolstering the blame game between party leaders. Foreign media, however, has expressed concern about the country's leadership and how the shutdown of the world’s leading economy may have a ripple effect on global markets.

The Times of India wrote the headline: "World holds breath as U.S. government shutdown imminent." India’s daily newspaper The Economic Times discussed the possible gains for emerging markets as Asian markets saw a modest selloff of stocks and dollars trading upon the shutdown: "US faces shutdown, 'fiscal cliff': Its advantage India?" The Deccan Chronicle, an English-language newspaper in South India, also wrote about the possible visa delays caused by the shutdown.

In the United Kingdom, the Daily Mail website headlined on Oct. 1: "America shuts Down". Meanwhile, The Telegraph wrote about U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's concern of the U.S. shutdown damaging global growth. "It is a risk to the world economy if the U.S. can't properly sort out its spending plans," said Cameron in an interview with BBC Radio 4.

The BBC wrote about how the international world was confused and worried. "For most of the world, a government shutdown is very bad news — the result of revolution, innovation, or disaster. Even in the middle of its ongoing civil war, the Syrian government has continued to pay bills and worker's wages."

France's Le Monde newspaper expressed shock with the headline: "Jefferson, reveille-toi, ils sont devenus fous!” — translated as, “Jefferson, wake up, they've gone crazy!” The German press also gave its reaction to the shutdown and warned about "unthinkable consequences". Spiegel Online said that "a superpower has paralyzed itself," while the newspaper Zeit blamed the shutdown on a "handful of radicals", who would rather hold the "country hostage to their ideology" than compromise.

In Russia, The Moscow Times reported that the U.S. government would not halt the U.S. embassy in Russia so that citizens would still be able to get visas: "U.S. Embassy Offers Assurances Amid U.S. Shutdown."

However, Russian media criticized the U.S. government in the midst of President Obama canceling an expected meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk about Syria and other issues. The meeting was reportedly canceled because of the political crisis in Washington. The Kremlin spokesman said that it was unfortunate the two leaders could not meet, "especially given the recent downward spiral in U.S. — Russian relations," The Christian Science Monitor reported.

The Taliban has also criticized the American government by accusing politicians of "sucking the blood on their own people," reported the Agence France-Presse and Al-Arabiya news services. The Islamic political movement also said, "The American people should realize that their politicians play with their destinies as well as the destinies of other oppressed nations for the sake of their personal vested interest," USA Today reported.

President Obama also canceled his scheduled trip to Asia, which included a stop in Bali, Indonesia, for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The U.S.’s absence weakened its leadership and left the floor open for Chinese president Xi Jinping to take center stage at the meeting.

The Indonesian newspaper The Straits Times wrote on its front page: "U.S. shutdown hurts its credibility with allies: Hagel," where the article raised the question of whether the U.S. was a "reliable partner to fulfill its commitments with its allies."

President Obama's absence also sent the message that the U.S. is too distracted by national issues to focus on international affairs, despite the president’s outspoken support for the APEC forum, which is one of the most important trade meetings of the year.

The Washington Post pointed out that the APEC summit picture itself was a reflection of the diminishing role the U.S. played in the Asian trade meeting as the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in the corner of the shot while Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping took the center.

"It's reasonable to think that the United States isn't at the center of trade talks… and China's and Russia's influence is all the stronger," The Washington Post reported.

By Maria Jose Valero. 

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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