“America’s political class has shown itself in the past few years to be as dysfunctional as we’ve seen European states to be, including Italy right now,” writes Clemens Wergin in German’s Die Welt. “Apparently it doesn’t take old and new rivals Russia and China to shove the West down the staircase. We do it ourselves.”
The same point is made by Eric Grenier of the Globe and Mail of Canada: “A political class so despised by and disconnected from the American people can hardly damage itself any further as a result of the shutdown of the U.S. government. They are likely to come out of it unscathed and as unloved as they were before it occurred.”
In other regions, the critics have decided on the source of our problems — the tea party and Republicans.
“Wake up, Jefferson, they’ve all gone mad!” declares France’s Le Monde. “There’s no rational explanation for the Tea Party’s actions. It’s pure hatred of the president, a conception of politics as permanent civil war.” Obamacare, says the newspaper, “is the pretext chosen by the core extremist, fundamentalist, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, to sabotage President Obama.”
From Pakistan, of all places, a verbal missile from the Express Tribune complains that the United States drops drones on that country but cannot govern itself. “Were the same yardstick to be applied to America that it so often applies elsewhere, it might be possible to say that it is displaying one of the symptoms of failed statehood — namely a breakdown of governance to the detriment of the populace as a whole.”
Even from Down Under sounds a strident voice blaming it all on Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts to gain seats. “That’s a clear perversion of democracy and it’s no accident,” asserts Waleed Aly in Australia’s The Age. “America is now two artificially created countries, operating in parallel. There’s the country that chooses presidents and the one that can only rail righteously against them.”
And there’s this caustic sally from the UK Daily Mail’s very long-winded Max Hastings: “Like players in one of those Hollywood movies about a divided hick town with lynch mobs baying, the legislators of the greatest nation on earth trade insults about blame for the government shutdown, resulting from the stand-off on the U.S. budget. ...
“Most Republicans hate 2013. They want to reset the clock to around 1955, when the world lived in terror of nuclear annihilation, but when Dwight Eisenhower occupied the White House, women and blacks knew their place, there was no swearing on TV, and sex was kept in its proper place under the carpet,” Hastings spews.
“America remains the greatest society on earth, but its leadership looks sickly and feeble, for reasons that relate partly to this President but mostly to the fact that the U.S. constitution and its standard-bearers are failing their country.”
Bottom line: after all is said, consider the sources.