Neither the left nor the right is particularly happy about the deal that was passed this week to avert a U.S. default -- memorably described by one congressman as a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich." Overseas, the reactions to Washington's dysfunction have ranged from confusion, to concern, to barely contained gloating.
As the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, China's interest in the debt ceiling debate was hardly academic. State wire service Xinhua expressed its dismay at the potential of a default in the run-up to the final debt decisions, calling the political brinkmanship in Washington "dangerously irresponsible" in an editorial last week and noting that the "ugliest part of the saga is that the well-being of many other countries is also in the impact zone when the donkey and the elephant fight."
But now that Democrats and Republicans have come to an agreement, Xinhua hardly seems satisfied with the conclusion, enlisting American economist Dan Steinbock who writes, "Despite all the hype and drama," the deal is "unlikely to avert the downgrading of US credit rating."
The state-sponsored paper Global Times takes a bigger picture view, editorializing on how the -debate has already negatively affected U.S. standing in the world. "The US is well-known for promoting rules and regulations to other countries, but now countries are increasingly realizing Washington can stamp all over its own rules and regulations," the editors write.
The piece goes on to speculate that U.S. instability could lead the country to lash out militarily at its rivals. "When the country prospers, it will use more civilized methods to secure its national priorities, but when it faces a crisis, it will use all methods to defend itself."
And as a final turn of the screw, the United States is made to look like an unruly, wayward child -- the editors lament that "the US debt China holds is too small to have any major leverage" and suggest that China needs "more patience and wisdom to acquire the capability to deal with the US."
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