U.S. Debt Crisis As Seen By the Rest of the World

World reacts to U.S. debt crisis

An editorial and op-ed round-up from the world’s English language newspapers.

Compiled by John Cookon, CNN

SAUDI ARABIA—“[I]nternational markets are becoming increasingly nervous about the fate of the dollar, the world’s only reserve currency and in times past a haven for anxious investors,” says an editorial in the Jeddah-based Arab News.

“Saudi Arabia is paid in dollars for its oil. Our currency is tied to the dollar. The Kingdom has approximately 2 trillion invested abroad, the greater part of it in the United States. The value of those investments, the value of our oil earnings and the value of our currency are all under threat as politicians in Washington grandstand for their constituents and argue bitterly from two utterly polarized positions.”

AUSTRALIA—““Had Australia – or any other country – tried to build up debt on the U.S. scale, their currencies would immediately have been punished and their folly quickly exposed, ” says an editorial in the Sidney Morning Herald.

“That has not happened to Washington. The arrival of what might, following Paul Keating, be called the United States’ banana republic moment has been long delayed, and the delay will make the shock of it worse.”

CANADA—“For the U.S. to begin defaulting on its obligations would be catastrophic, not just for Americans, but for all those who depend on U.S. stability and leadership,” says an editorial in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail.

“The power the U.S. exercises on the world stage comes largely from its economic strength. Default would demonstrate the U.S.’s inability to meet its commitments. In addition to the economic consequences, that could lead to a loss of its moral authority in international affairs – and that would be a very bad thing.”

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—“While the U.S. is used to the spectacle of noisy squabbles in Congress, the current game of chicken at the heart of the world’s leading economy is unsettling to say the least,” writes Alan Philips in the Abu Dhabi-based National.

“In past years, the raising of the U.S. debt ceiling has been treated as a technical issue to be nodded through by Congress. But this year the ideological battles lines are drawn between those who demand cuts, and those who see borrowing yet more money as the only way. But there is another point of view which is gaining attention. This view holds that there is nothing exceptional going on here. Rather, the progress of liberal democracies from affluence to the brink of bankruptcy – and beyond – is normal, and indeed inevitable.”

CHINA—“When countries across the world hold breath watching the debt negotiations between the Democrats and Republicans in Washington, they are once again ‘kidnapped’ by U.S. domestic politics,” writes Deng Yushan in China’s government-run Xinhua.

“Given the United States’ status as the world’s largest economy and the issuer of the dominant international reserve currency, such political brinkmanship in Washington is dangerously irresponsible, for it risks, among other consequences, strangling the still fragile economic recovery of not only the United States but also the world as a whole.

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