How the US debt-ceiling crisis affected America's foreign standing

Oct 24, 2013

At dawn, the sun breaks through dark clouds over Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
Foreign countries were generally puzzled by the U.S. government’s partial shutdown and its flirtation with the debt ceiling. With the debt authorization deadline fast approaching, the newspaper Le Monde’s front-page story had this headline, referring to France’s favorite founding father: “Jefferson, wake up, they’ve gone crazy.” 

There was real anxiety in foreign countries invested heavily in U.S. currency and dependent on its economic well-being. And on the day the government came to its senses and reopened, President Barack Obama was in no mood for humor. Here’s what he had to say from the White House:  

Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claim their actions were needed to get America back on the right track, to make sure we're strong.  But probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we've seen these past several weeks.  It's encouraged our enemies.  It's emboldened our competitors.  And it's depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.

To learn more about the international fallout from the partial government shutdown and debt negotiations, Global Journalist spoke to an American correspondent in Asia and a Danish correspondent in Washington, D.C. Panelists:Steve Herman is the Southeast Asia Bureau Chief for Voice of America.Erkan Ozden is the Washington correspondent for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.